Tell me if this describes you:
- You haven’t fully invested in digital and social marketing.
- You’ve had a lot of success with word-of-mouth referrals over the years.
- You see your competitors doing creative and successful marketing campaign.
- You don’t have a team that’s well-versed in digital OR you have one person who handles everything promotional (social media posts, press releases, website info, etc.)
- You know you have to do something…but you aren’t sure where to start.
Not every company has (or needs) a full marketing department. Many of the small to medium-sized companies (spark) works with have one or two people that handle most marketing, PR and communications functions. And, sometimes, that is not their primary job.
This is the nature of business in 2019. Increasingly, smaller companies need to compete online without having the same breadth of resources or manpower as larger companies.
The beauty of digital is that smaller companies can create an outsized impact with a strong digital and social strategy.
Who are you looking for?
So you’re thinking, “OK, great! I’m ready to roll on some digital!”
Hold on, cowboy. Before you hop on the bull, let’s talk about who’s watching this rodeo.
You know your clients – their needs, struggles, their personalities – but what does that audience do online? How do they consume information on the internet? What do they do on social networks?
Narrowing down your audience’s demographic and what their needs are is a huge part of what (spark)’s Research + Strategy team does for our clients. We’ve even published articles about customer personas and how millennials consume media.
You’ll also want to consider your industry and business model. We’ve written in the past about how to personalize marketing based on your industry, and it’s something to review before starting your campaign.
Where to Target:
There are innumerable places online where you can get in front of your audience, and a lot of different ways to go about cutting through the noise.
- Quick conversion: If you offer a product a customer will need quickly, such as a plumber, locksmith, towing service, etc.) consider paid search ads on Google.
- Brand Awareness: If your goal is to promote your brand to a wide audience and drive awareness (rather than quick results), consider display ads from Google. You won’t necessarily get phone calls right away, but you’ll spread your name and brand to a wide array of internet users. This can be automated to optimize your ad spend.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the ongoing process of adapting your website (on-page SEO) and your online presence (off-page SEO) so when someone uses a search engine looking for your goods and services, they’re more likely to find their way to you.
A good SEO strategy can help build trust and credibility with potential customers, lead to more site traffic and expose your company to new audiences. However, it’s best to view SEO as an investment. Furthermore, you’ll want to invest in SEO for the long-term to keep your website near the top of Google’s search engine results.
The way consumers use websites over the years has changed, as has expectations for websites. It’s more important than ever to provide value with the content on your site. Users come to you for information, and if they don’t find what they need, they will quickly search somewhere else. Your site has to provide value and efficiently help users find what they’re looking for.
Your website can be of value to your lead generation team, as you can gather info on prospects, push them to take action and measure what products/services pages are of most visited by potential customers.
Furthermore, your website should be optimized to integrate well with other platforms. Making sure your site is technologically adept can be a huge asset. If your website isn’t serving a purpose, why have it? Make it work for your customers AND for your lead generation team.
There are a lot of benefits to having a continuously updated blog section on your company website. First, you can repurpose content you create to your social channels or your email newsletter. Second, a blog establishes your company as a thought leader and authority within your industry, and provides an added value for your customers.
Lastly, SEO Advantage recently found that small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than businesses that shirk creating their own written content.
Facebook remains the top social media platform. Sprout Social found the average user spends almost 40 minutes on Facebook a day.
If you want to market on Facebook, you’ll need to know organic reach is dead, so you’ll need to budget money to put behind your posts – luckily, it’s not too expensive.
Consider video content instead of static ads, as social networks weigh video more heavily in their algorithms.
Instagram launched as an app (unlike Twitter or Facebook that started out as browser-based sites), meaning they have always been focused on mobile. As DMR Business Statistics lays out, there are now over 1 billion Instagram users, 500 million of whom use the app daily – you’re sure to find a lot of your customers are on the platform.
As HootSuite reports, “Instagram is all about the visuals, so it’s important to have a recognizable visual identity.” If you don’t have something to say visually, then Instagram may not be a good fit for your brand.
If Instagram is a good fit, the platform provides a number of benefits: You can sell products directly via the platform, utilize paid influencers, make your business more relatable and more personal, easily engage with customers, and use hashtags to increase your brands visibility at no cost.
Twitter has two key elements to keep in mind: paid and organic campaigns. Paid campaigns can be easily planned and executed over a longer timeframe. Organic campaigns need to be more in the moment.
Paid: You can use promoted tweets to target your chosen audience that will drive traffic to a specific webpage (for a monthly fee). Or use Twitter Ads to grow your number of followers and increase awareness of your brand. These ads can drive users to take a specific action: website conversations, video views, app installs, etc.
Organic: Generally speaking, Twitter is the best platform for a brand that wants real-time engagement with customers and followers.
(human)x recently published a strategy guide for YouTube that should give you an idea of how to best use the platform. YouTube has numerous ways to advertise to their users and, according to Fortune, YouTube is effectively replacing TV as the most watched format in the United States.
For your company, though, ask yourself if your team can dedicate time and money to create high-quality videos for the platform. Video can be a powerful tool for your brand.
If you aren’t active on Pinterest, it’s likely your customers are active. There are over 250 million users and 500,000 businesses on the platform marketing to them. If you have high-quality graphics, photos or infographics at your disposal, this is a great platform to publish them. This is especially true if your goods and services line up with any of the top categories users are interested in: food and drink, crafts, DIY, home décor, fashion, weddings, design, art, kids travel or photography (among others).
It’s hard to stay abreast on all the marketing options available. There are new social media platforms or algorithm changes rolling out every year, Google is constantly adapting their advertising offerings, etc. Finding a balance for all your marketing efforts will continue to be a struggle, but it’s a great feeling when it clicks with your target audience.
The best way to stay in control and have a defined plan is to identity your audiences, learn where they are online and hone in on the best ways to target them.
If nothing else, you can always just post videos of tortilla chips singing Adele songs.