You can have the best product in the world but if nobody knows about it, it isn’t going to do anybody any good. Digital marketing is a necessity whether you’re a multinational corporation, a mom-and-pop shop, or a lone entrepreneur striking out on your own.
1. Analytics – The most important tool for any marketer is data. When done properly, an analytics platform can tell you key insights about what marketing efforts are performing, will identify customer problems with you your product/site, and will force you to think about what the key metrics for your business are. When you have pile of money and unlimited ad budgets, digital marketing is easy. When you’re a small company, choosing how to spend your marketing dollars and time become a lot more important. Although there are thousands of marketing options out there, here is a list of options that are cost efficient, should drive customer growth, and should set you up with a solid marketing infrastructure. Resources: Google Analytics (free), Kissmetrics (plans start at $150/month), RJ Metrics (has special plans for startups).
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Organic search is a highly cost effective marketing channel for most businesses. Despite this, a lot of people take for granted that the search engines will just be able to find and index their site. While this may be true to some extent, you can improve your chances of appearing in results for key phrases by applying a few search engine optimization tactics. A good first step is to set up your site in Google and Bing’s webmaster tools, which will help to identify any issues of the site that are preventing it from being indexed and will also give you insight into the types of keywords for which your site and content are ranking. Resources: Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools, Moz, Search Engine Land
3. Start a Blog – A blog can educate users about your product and services, help to establish you as a thought leader in a particular field, and can help your site appear for key terms in search engines. When setting up your blog, think about the type of customers you would like to reach and what sort of information would be useful to them. Experiment with content to see what resonates and drives conversions. Resources: WordPress, Blogger, Hubspot
4. Video Search – When people think about Search engines, they typically think about text. But written content is only one part of the search universe. Youtube is actually the second largest search engine in the world. It’s very easy and inexpensive to set up a video channel. In terms of content, you could created simple videos featuring product demos, tips and tricks, how-to videos, customer testimonials, webinars and Q&A events. Resources: YouTube, Vimeo
When people think about Search engines, they typically think about text. But written content is only one part of the search universe. Youtube is actually the second largest search engine in the world.
5. Social Media – 73% of online adults use some type of social media network. Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin can be great vehicles for connecting with targeted audiences, gaining customer feedback, for inserting yourself into relevant conversations, and for managing your brand’s reputation. Resources: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn
6. Trending Topics – Most social networks have tools that tell you which topics are especially popular at a given moment. When a topic is trending, it means that there is a big audience discussing it. If your product or service is in some way related to a particular trending topic, you might want to consider inserting yourself into that conversation — just be mindful that you do so in a respectful and appropriate way. Resources: Google Trends, Facebook Audience Insights, Twitter Trends
7. Online Community – No matter what industry you work in, there is bound to be an online community based around that subject. If there isn’t, create one. Online communities can be a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader in a particular industry as well as a way to gain insights about how potential customers talk about your product or service, how they view similar products, and understand what their industry concerns are. If someone in an online group asks a question that is relevant to your company, feel free to mention your service, but just be sure that you understand the tone of the community and that you are actually answering the question and not just plugging your product. Resources: Quora, Linkedin Groups, reddit, Google Groups
8. Partnerships – Look for organizations, publications, companies, podcasts and websites that are complimentary to your services. Reach out to them to see if you there is an opportunity for you to work together. Some examples would be offering to host a webinar or participate in an ask-me-anything session on the company’s social media channels, or to guest blog an article. Resources: Vary by industry
Are there marketing channels you’ve found to be particularly effective for your small business? If so, tell us about them in the comments below or on twitter.