Online Marketing for Small Business: 3 Top Strategies

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Digital marketing is a world of its own. Your small business cannot prosper on the web without mastering some of the tactics that professional digital marketers use. The reality is that most of their techniques are learned — not paid for — which means you have the power to generate online marketing results for your startup.

Don’t worry about taking any Udemy courses or anything like that. The knowledge you need can be extracted from authority sources. Just check out the three top strategies we’ve listed below and spend some time learning them before shaping your own marketing campaign.

#1 – The Right Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is a blanket term. You must understand what can fall into this category before you try to plan a campaign. The best way to look at it is that you are trying to accomplish one of four outcomes. You should strategise around these areas while making use of marketing funnels which are very important to learn.

3 Top Strategies

The four main goals of content marketing material include:

– EDUCATE

Content marketing can educate your target audience about your business, what you offer and why you’re so special. The most common forms of educational material include guides, trend reports, press releases, infographics, website articles, and eBooks. This material will be more on the formal side but helps to build your brand as an authority in its respective market.

– ENTERTAIN

Content marketing can prevent a lead from stagnating in the midst of the B2B or B2C buying cycle. Some fun and interactive methods that you might utilise include competitions, contests, quizzes, games, branded videos and social media promotions. Your entertaining factors should be integrated into your educational materials when possible. For instance, your eBooks might contain quiz sections and in some cases, your blog posts could even include short video explainers.

– INSPIRE

Content marketing can help you inspire your target audience to trust and try your brand. Some effective techniques include celebrity endorsements, forum discussions, and company/product reviews. The right techniques depend on your business — for example, maybe you’ll mail free products to YouTube publishers to make video reviews of your product. The key here is to obtain as much positive exposure as possible.

– CONVINCE

Content marketing can help you convince your target audience that they need your product or service. Some possible strategies for doing this include promoting product features, offering interactive demos, supplying compelling case studies and doing free webinars. Show the value you bring to your customers/clients and why they absolutely need what you can give them.

What Content Marketing Methods are Essential?

The point is to have a full-scale idea of what works in the content marketing world. You can consider all these strategies as part of your arsenal — but only use the tactics you need when you need them. For the most part, every business will use content and social media marketing as the core of their content marketing plans. That’s because these two factors make for useful content and create engagement from within the target audience.

The result of a quality initiative in these two avenues is a constantly growing reach. Getting more attention to your marketing efforts will yield you more performance metrics to evaluate and strategy around as well. Once you have a large enough audience, you can begin A/B testing different landing pages, ad titles, etc.

So, focus on social media marketing but don’t be overly promotional. Tell a story that fits your brand so your followers paint an image of why your company is special. Beyond that — master your content initiatives by blogging and posting SEO-friendly content as much as possible. Lean startups can do the content creation in-house. Another cost-saver would be to bring on contributing authors that are niche experts, in turn for publishing credit and a byline back to their site.

#2 – Creating Inbound Marketing Friendly Content

“Inbound marketing” entails anything that generates traffic to your website. Think of inbound as nothing more than people reaching your website. The method for how they reach your site can widely vary, from SEO to press releases, word of mouth and more.

Now, what’s inbound-friendly content all about? Catering to your readers. While you do this you can also consider your marketing funnel outline. Give the readers what they want but also push them further into the buying path you’ve set out. It’s a win-win-win situation; the third victory comes from the extra leads you pick up when your hot content achieves social engagement.

The concept is that your site’s content will be built around the people that reach it. There are two ways you can look at this — general optimisation and traffic-based optimisation.

Some general tactics to employ include:

– Making content that tells a story/draws emotion from your readers

– Infusing CTAs naturally by showing how you solve a problem/pain

– Analyse traffic performance of blog posts, repeat what works

– Include graphics and other visuals that emphasise points in your content

Some traffic-based tactics include:

– Segment, track, and serve users based on the traffic source

– A/B test landing pages (design and copy) for maximum results

– Intuitively capture more info about your traffic and categorise users

– Build email marketing campaigns around where a user is in the buying cycle

You can get strategic and smart about this stuff. It will take a while, but the most effective strategies require the trickiest planning. The key is to define the buyer’s journey, which you can learn a bit more about reading HubSpot’s piece on ‘How to Create Content for Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey“’. This kind of mentality is important to have because you won’t ever succeed loosely throwing up marketing material; you need to know what path your customers are on and lead them in every step of the way.

#3 – Advertising in a Scalable Fashion

Many startups dip their feet in the water with digital ads and get scared when the results are cold. Practice makes perfect in this aspect. It’s not what business owners want to hear because they usually have to lose money before they make any. The upside is that once you figure out what works and you optimize further, your ROI from ads could easily be 200 to 2,000 percent.

So, for lean startups especially, it’s imperative to advertise in a scalable fashion. Don’t just throw all your ad money into one campaign and hope for the best. Don’t stick with the same copy either. A/B test ads, try different media sources and weigh out the cost-effectiveness of each form of advertising that you test out.

When something seems to work (even if that just means breaking even), run with it. Expand the budget for those a bit and split test some alterations of those ads to see if any create premium quality results. Eventually, you will find winning strategies that can become gold mines. Take notes on what works and apply some of that logic into future advertising efforts too.

Conclusion

Your online marketing efforts will either make or break your business’s chance for fast growth. Take the time to learn the ins and outs of digital marketing before you move forward. It’s not essential to become an expert in all of these tactics. However, to successfully manage your business and your marketing budget — you’re going to want to know the fundamentals.

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