One of the most important functions of a profitable business is to have a successful marketing strategy that brings in new leads and customers on a consistent basis. Spending money on marketing your business can get pretty expensive even for million dollar brands, let alone the small business owner or entrepreneur. Most people consider marketing dollars to be one of the main things to cut when budgets need to be slashed. However, you don’t have to sacrifice marketing your business in order to protect profits these days. On the contrary, you should invest in marketing strategies to assist you in getting noticed so you can have a winning marketing strategy and a profitable business. There are several, simple yet reliable, DIY strategies that you can utilize if you’re attempting to market your business on a budget and still win.
1. Make Videos
When it comes to doing videos to market your business, most people tend to either love it or hate it. Let’s face it, most small business owners would probably say they hate doing videos. However, that doesn’t change the fact that people love to watch videos. By nature, human beings are curious about other human beings. Some people even make a hobby of simply people-watching. That said, it stands to reason that making videos would be a great strategy to get the word out about your business. Studies show that more than 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube each day.
Years ago doing videos the right way would be considered too expensive especially if you were to hire a professional videography company. However, the smartphone and tablet has changed the game when it comes to shooting videos. These days shooting a video is as easy as pie when using any smartphone with video capturing capability. If you are not using videos to market your business, chances are your competitors are beating you to the punch. Research shows that 81% of businesses use videos in their social media marketing efforts. What’s more, according to HubSpot, a whopping 92% of marketers say that video is an integral part of their marketing strategy. The bottomline seems to suggest that in the 21st century, utilizing video to market your business, is the way to go.
2. Learn Basic SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is another way of saying increasing your website traffic as well as your search-ability factor on the Internet. SEO directly deals with the amount of unpaid results that a website accumulates over a period of time. The more eyeballs you have on your website the more opportunity you have to get noticed by your target audience. Having a basic knowledge of SEO means that you understand how search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing work.
The three main functions of search engines are:
crawling, indexing and ranking. Search engines crawl your website looking for key words. If the search engines find your website, they will add it to its index. Once your site is added to the search engine’s indexes, your site will rank on page one, two, three or so on. Learning SEO is not something most business owners want to spend time learning which is understandable because of the complexities involved. However, there are some basic things you should know as a business owner who wants to get found on the Internet. Regarding SEO, you can add simple plugins to your website to make the process easier especially if you are using WordPress.
If you are running WordPress on your website, as 26.2% of people do, then you should download the Yoast plugin that gives pointers to optimize your blog. The Yoast plugin is particularly effective when it comes to the readability of your website’s content and the usage of grammar. Using the Yoast plugin will help you learn the basics of SEO.
Another simple SEO tool is installing Google Analytics on your website. Google Analytics is a free tool that helps you to learn who is visiting your site and where they came from. Through the Google Analytics Acquisition Report you will learn where any user of your website came from. For example, you can see if a website user came from Facebook or a search query. This information is vital because it allows you to know where you should be spending your marketing time and dollars.
3. Publish a Blog
There are several advantages to publishing a blog, for starters you undoubtedly will improve your writing skills the more you blog. Secondly, blogging helps you to be seen as a subject matter expert and authority in your niche. Another fascinating benefit of blogging is that it allows you to manage your online identity while building trust and credibility with your target audience. Not only is blogging a great marketing tool, but it is also a great business strategy. There are many entrepreneurs who have made blogging a full-time business and earned millions of dollars simply by monetizing their blog a.k.a. getting paid. One of the key strategies of monetizing your blog is to use affiliate marketing which is simply the process of earning a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products or services.
If you’re interested in earning commissions for promoting other people’s content, it’s best to start with the companies that pay the highest. Some of the best companies that pay high commission rates for affiliate marketing are: HubSpot, AWeber, BigCommerce and ConvertKit to name a few.
4. Post Shareable Content on Social Media
Anyone who posts content on social media knows that shareable content is a gamechanger. Shareable content is what makes people “go viral.” Shareable content is anything that makes someone want to share it with their following. People who share content, typically do so because it is something that either informs, educates, inspires or entertains them. It really is that simple.
Social media is a very inexpensive and quick way to connect with your target audience in the hopes that they will share your content. However, because the major players like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram continue to change their algorithms, the likelihood of all your followers seeing your content is very slim. One of the ways to combat this is to post shareable content in the form of infographics that include educational content.
When your target audience sees shareable content in the form of a colorful image that educates or informs them on a topic they care about, the likelihood is high that they will share it or comment on it.
Your job is to simply do the best you can to make your content shareable. Here are a few pointers:
- Keep your content short and sweet. If you must share a long post, make it interesting or entertaining. Form the post like a short story.
- Get to the point. Don’t make people wonder why you shared whatever you shared.
- Use colorful images and great photos. A picture is worth 1,000 words.
- Be trendy and topical. Use the current headlines to inspire you.
- Use appropriate hashtags. Hashtags help you get noticed by people who share an interest in the same topics.
5. Implement Email Marketing
You may be asking the question: “why would I use email marketing to grow my business?” Allow me to build a case for why you should be growing your email list and utilizing email marketing to reach your target audience. The fact is, promotional emails are one of the simplest, most economical ways to connect with your customers. If you think about it, people are more likely to read your email than they are to see a social media post. At least with email, you have a direct connection point to reach someone. Most people have their email service loaded on their smartphone. What does this mean? As long as you have a captivating subject line, you’re more likely to reach your target audience via email. And you stand a better chance of them actually reading your email. There are a several strategies you must consider before you begin implementing email as a marketing strategy.
- Create a email marketing plan. Decide the primary goal you want to achieve using email.
- Choose the best email marketing service. There are many companies to choose from when it comes to email marketing services. The prices, features and benefits vary from company to company. Some of the top companies to consider are; Omnisend, SendinBlue, GetResponse, Ontraport, Mailchimp, AWeber and Constant Contact.
- Create a content calendar. Determine what you are going to write about in advance. Choose topics that your target audience cares about and offer DIY tips to help them learn about a topic that you have expertise on.
- Be Consistent. There is nothing worse than sending emails once in a blue moon. If you’re going to use email marketing as a strategy, you must be consistent. The fact that someone signed up for your email newsletter list, means that they want to hear from you. Keep showing up and providing value. It will eventually pay off.
In summary, don’t stress about how you are going to market your business. Choose a couple of strategies and try them out consistently for six months to one year before you switch up. You’ll find that you must monitor and measure what works best and why. The best thing you can do for your business is to test your marketing strategy every so often to determine what adjustments you need to make. Testing, monitoring and measuring any marketing strategy is the only way to determine if you’re winning or losing. Make sure to give yourself a leg up by monitoring each strategy you use, so you can win in the end.
Written by: Lori A. Manns, President, Quality Media Consultant Group LLC