Producing Useful Content Must Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy

By: Debbie Page, www.debbiepage.com 

I hear it time and time again from small business owners, “Who am I to create content? I don’t have anything new to say. People are overwhelmed with information mine won’t cut through the noise.”

And here are my replies:

  • YOU have a unique perspective on your industry and it’s among the reasons people hire you and buy from you.
  • YOU have a LOT to say about your industry and why your clients get exceptional results when working with you. 
  • YOUR message will cut through the noise when it comes from a place of education, information and service. 

When you focus part of your marketing endeavors on quality, useful content you are helping your SEO in big and little ways. Focus on what your customers and clients want to know and tell the story in your own unique way. It’s ok if it doesn’t land with everyone. Your marketing isn’t supposed to, it’s only supposed to land with your ideal clients. 

Not sure where to start? Keep a log for the next week on the questions your current and prospective clients ask and note how you respond to them. This is the beginning of a content plan that you can turn into audio, video and written content that can be repurposed over multiple platforms from your website and blog to social media channels. 

Not only will this help you from an SEO perspective, it will build a library of resource information you can share with clients, colleagues and prospects adding value and deepening relationships.  

What will you do today to begin incorporating content as a key part of your marketing strategy?

Get more great marketing tips from Debbie at this year’s 23rd annual Biz Fair at the 2:30 p.m. Marketing Tips & Tricks seminar on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Renton Technical College.

Social Media Marketing Tips for the Small Business Owner

By: Megan V. Torgerson, Business Impact Northwest

Marketing is a frame of mind and it touches all aspects of your business.

Think about it, when you pitch an investor, that’s marketing. When you’re working on your customer acquisition strategy, that’s marketing. When you’re entering a cross-promotional partnership with your neighboring small business – you guessed it – that’s marketing. For some people, marketing puts a bad taste in their mouth, they think of it as a means of coercion or advertising. But when you reframe marketing as storytelling, relationship building and community sustaining, it becomes a posture we can choose to maintain as we navigate the choppy waters of business ownership. The best form of marketing is always word of mouth, but for life in the digital age, that could mean a friend sharing a Facebook post or tagging you on Instagram. If you’ve heard of the Rule of 7, or the magic number of touchpoints you need to have with a customer before they make a purchase or enroll in your services, then you know that you need to maintain your marketing posture in offline and online circles to stay top of mind in a crowded market.

Social media is one tool to engage your audience, and content marketing, a.k.a. storytelling is a strategy that can be used via social media. Centered on creating, publishing and distributing content, content marketing encompasses writing, audio, video and photography, that is shared mainly digitally via social media, blogs, newsletters and websites.

Digital Marketing is an umbrella term for all online marketing efforts that includes your business’s website, social media channels, newsletters, earned online coverage, content marketing, SEO, or search engine optimization and more. It also includes the promotion of programs or products through measured marketing campaigns that can be analyzed for ROI purposes.

A few things social media can be used for include:

  • Telling your organization’s story
  • Building awareness
  • Growing community
  • Driving traffic to your website

There are many digital marketing strategies and social media platforms out there. It depends on the demographics of your target audience which platforms you choose to engage. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind that are applicable to all social media channels.

Social Media Considerations:

  • Take the time to analyze each platform and the objective for each platform.
  • Ask yourself who you are hoping to reach with each platform.
  • Consider the “why” of your presence on each unique social media channel?
  • Build distinct brand standards for your voice or messaging (a.k.a brand voice) and visual brand identity.
  • Determine what type of content will be used on each platform.
  • Build a calendar of major events where social media will play an intricate role and schedule posts to bring awareness to your events.
  • Take the time to analyze your insights or analytics to determine who your audience is, the ideal time and day to post, and what posts result in the most (and the least) engagement.
  • Is your goal brand awareness, creating advocates, selling products, community building/ all of the above?
  • Define which metrics are most important to you. Is it comments, shares, likes?  Incorporate these metrics into your goals.
  • Go beyond, followers and shares for your goals. Figure out how that’s converting to new supporters/ sales by using Google Analytics.
  • Track time and budget.
  • Follow and engage with clients, partners, collaborators and competitors.
  • Use social media to tell your small business’s unique story!

To view Business Impact NW’s original post, please visit businessimpactnw.org/social-media-marketing-tips-for-the-small-business-owner.

You can find Business Impact Northwest at the Biz Fair Resource Center on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. to speak with business counselors and sign up for business workshops.

10 Things Savvy Online Marketers Do To Get Web Traffic

 By: Anita Campbell, SBA Guest Blogger

Today there are 1.2 billion websites — or one website for every seven people in the world! That’s a lot of competition. If you want to get traffic to your website, you’re going to have to take the right steps.

Take a look at the following 10 things savvy online marketers do to get web traffic.

Improve Website Speed

Sites that load painfully slow will cause visitors to bounce away. Slow loading sites can be penalized by search engines, too.  Tip:  Use one of the free testing tools to test your site’s speed.  Google offers one, but there are others including Webpage Test and Pingdom. Use test data and insights to identify improvements, and then talk with your website developer.

Attach a Blog to Your Website

Having a blog gives you a place to add content to your website — content that attracts traffic. According to Hubspot, businesses with blogs tend to get 3 to 4 times the traffic as those without. Tip: Keep blog content relevant — and informative — but not a sales pitch. Ask yourself, is this topic relevant to why a customer might choose to do business with a company like mine?

Use Proper Keywords

Keywords are search phrases that visitors use to find web pages when hunting in search engines.  Include relevant keywords in your pages and blog posts, used in a natural way, and over time you’ll be more likely to attract traffic from search engines.  Tip:  Choose keywords as specific as possible to your type of business, product, service or industry. That way you’ll attract visitors that are really interested in what you have to offer.

Share all Your Content on Social Media  

Share all of your blog content, whitepapers, videos and more on social media. Social media is no time to be overly modest. Tip: Don’t go overboard. For example, don’t share the same blog post ten times a day on Twitter — that’s spamming not sharing. And don’t forget to be a good social media citizen by commenting on and liking others’ updates and sharing their content.

Seek Guest Blogging Opportunities

Write original engaging and informative content. Then approach sites in your industry and request to publish it. This exposes your business to a new audience. Tip: Approach guest blog posts as an opportunity to provide information to readers, not as a free ad. You’ll have more credibility.

Publish an Email Newsletter

Regular newsletters can be a great way to drive traffic. Include blog post snippets in your newsletter along with links back to full content on your site. Tip: Put a “subscribe” box on just about every page of your website. Also, when your newsletter comes out each month, alert your social media followers to encourage them to subscribe.

Participate in Social Groups

Become an active member of groups on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Regularly comment  or answer questions. Tip: Know the rules before you post links back to your site or blog.  Some groups do not allow links.

Use a Call-To-Action on Posts

A call-to-action can be used at the end of blog posts to encourage people to click on other content in your site. The more relevant content a visitor sees, the more likely he or she will visit again. Tip: A blog post is a great way to promote longer form content such as ebooks and whitepapers.

Make Optimum Use of Headlines

Half the battle today in getting visitors is the headline. You have to grab a reader’s attention to get the click through.  Tip:  Don’t let the headline of your content be an afterthought. Titles of blog posts, videos and social updates are so important that I actually created my own title generator tool.

Pump up Your Local Listings

If you operate a business with a brick and mortar location, then being listed in local directories is crucial. Bing Places for Business, Google My Business, Apple Maps, yellow pages sites, and Facebook Places / local are just some of the places to make sure your business appears. Tip: Check to see if you’re listed using free checkers at places like AdviceLocal, Synup or Moz Local.

Finally, remember that getting web traffic is a marathon, not a sprint. Be in it for the long haul.