Digital marketing is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. We understand that owning and/or operating a small business has its own unique challenges, especially when it comes to leveraging available resources and maximizing your efforts. With just a few months down and nearly nine to go in 2014, how are your digital marketing resolutions coming along?
Don’t worry if you’re just now getting started on your 2014 planning – nine months is plenty of time to turn things around! If you’re already off and running, perhaps this is a good time to evaluate and optimize your focus for the rest of the year. In order to help you do just that, we have put together a list of five ways to win big in digital marketing this year.
By now you have probably invested in social marketing to some extent, whether that be monetarily or with human capital. With so many consumers turning to social channels to keep connected to brands in the marketplace, it’s more important than ever to have a presence on these platforms to increase usage or loyalty and stay connected with potential future customers.
With platforms such as Pinterest, Vine and Instagram growing in prevalence, the shift toward all things visual is clearly evident. While it doesn’t make sense to be present on every social channel (especially if internal resources are slim), make sure the channels you do have a presence on are optimized for consumers expecting a highly visual experience. Photos, short videos and images of nearly any kind are more appealing than text alone.
Some might say that Big Data was the big catch phrase of 2013. While we firmly believe that data is the key to making more informed marketing (and business) decisions, we also understand that Big Data is not without its challenges, especially if you’re a small business. The sheer volume of information that is available to business owners and marketers can be frightening, not to mention intimidating.
That’s where analytics come in: without a system in place to make sense of the plethora of data, we might drown. But bigger doesn’t always mean better; after all, what good is a robust, expensive tool without the proper infrastructure and internal resources to dedicate to such an initiative? Consider starting with a small, free business analytics tool so you can fully capitalize on the opportunities available for your business. And remember, always start with a key objective (more sales, increased website traffic, higher engagement) and plan your analytics strategy around these goals.
Content marketing also gained popularity in small business marketing during 2013—and with good reason. Publishing content (via a blog or your website, on social channels, in an e-newsletter) is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and thought leadership and serve as a resource for your current and potential customers. For those with limited budgets especially, content marketing can be extremely affordable and efficient.
With an eye toward further maximizing budgets and resources this year, consider using content created by your customers as part of your distribution plan. Did a customer recently post a positive review on Yelp? Why not feature a quote or two on your Facebook page? Or if your business was mentioned in a local newspaper or magazine, this would make a great blog article or news piece for your website. The key is to make your content work smarter, not harder!
As we wrote about previously, relevancy is a major factor in a consumer’s decision to engage with you and your business. One of the best ways to stay relevant is to be present just before purchase or during a consumer’s moment of need. That’s where local and mobile strategies come into play.
If you are a small business with a brick-and-mortar location, make sure your company’s business listing is up to date. If your marketing budget allows, implement a hyper-local targeting approach that reaches consumers when they are in the direct vicinity of your location. You might even consider geo-conquesting, a tactic that targets consumers near a competitor and serves the customer with an ad for your business instead, oftentimes with an incentive for purchase. Just remember, gone are the days when mobile was considered a separate strategy. Whatever tactics you employ, make sure that mobile is an integrated piece of the puzzle to ensure a local presence and increased relevancy.
According to a recent statistic published on Digiday.com, the number of online video watchers is expected to double to 1.5 billion by 2016 – that’s a whole lot of people watching video content online! Regardless of your industry, there’s a good chance that your customers are watching online video. What better way to showcase your abilities than through a video of your own?
One of the big myths about video is that it is expensive to produce, but even those with the smallest budgets can benefit from quick, informal videos produced on a smartphone or Flip camera. These videos are especially great to put on your social channels to show expertise, demonstrate thought leadership or provide product information that your customers are seeking.
Want to shop for a budget-friendly social management tool to help you streamline your social marketing efforts? Check out our side-by-side comparison of leading social management platforms in our series of Top Social Media Management Software reports. You can also browse exclusive Business-Software.com resources on social media best practices and management tips by visiting the social media software research center.