How to Develop a Marketing Strategy for Small Business: Part 2
I’ve developed a four-video series available on YouTube covering the basics of small business marketing strategy. This blog covers the highlights, but be sure to watch the videos for even more tips!
Marketing is an ongoing process that requires careful preparation. Any smart marketer has a plan, but is willing to change their methods when necessary. Here’s a basic rundown of how you can develop your marketing strategy, as well as how you can best pay attention to your target audience. Check out last week’s post for a discussion on buyer personas and identifying your ideal customer.
Now that you’ve laid your groundwork, it’s time to start cranking out some high-quality content.
Creating a Blog Strategy
Every website needs a blog. Without a solid blog strategy, you’re missing out on opportunities to capture leads, measure results, and further engage your site visitors. Even if they’re only visiting your site to read one blog post, you should engage them further with a call-to-action (CTA). This engagement could bring them to:
- Read other blog posts
- Schedule a call with you
- Look at your plans and services
- Subscribe to your newsletter
You will get your blog to deliver these results by being consistent. Your audience should know what to expect and how often. The bare minimum amount of posting should be once per month, but you should try to work up to weekly or bi-weekly content. Google recognizes when a website is posting frequently and will rank you higher in their search engine results pages (commonly known as SERPs) if you’re consistent. Blog posts should generally be around 500 words, though they could be longer if the content is of high value.
When formatting your blog, use headings, bullet points, lists, and images. Break up the content visually as much as possible so you don’t lose a reader’s attention, but also so casual readers can skim and still get value from the post. At the very least, you will want one featured image with your post, but don’t use too many.
In addition to call-to-actions, make sure you include external links. You can do this via anchor words, which are hyperlinks redirecting to resources that you reference via text in your content. Make sure that your anchor words open hyperlinks in new tabs. You don’t want people to click them and leave your website, after all. Additionally, you can use anchor words to take readers to other posts within your blog, a practice called internal linking. This is a best practice for search engine optimization (SEO).
One last tip! If you are the type that feels more comfortable on camera, you can use your video content as blog content (coincidentally, that’s what I’m doing here!). You can even make this content yourself by offering advice via Facebook or Instagram Live. Afterward, post the videos to LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social channels. Then, convert that video content to a blog post. There are tools that can help you transcribe to a workable format, which will help save you the time that you would manually do so yourself.
Email Marketing 101
Let’s talk about your email marketing. There are three steps to take when planning your email strategy:
- Get your contacts’ permission to email them
- Include CTAs in all of your messages
- Send emails out on a consistent schedule
The first point is the most important. Do not add people to your email list without their consent. There is a law in place that prohibits this.
The type of business you run determines your newsletter content. If your business offers services instead of products, you want to use your email marketing in an educational manner. Be helpful and provide some value in order to keep yourself front-of-mind. That said, within your email, you still want to include CTAs. This will help you to know what content is working and what’s the most engaging. You can analyze this by checking the open and click rates.
In the emails, consider including excerpts of your blog posts with a link that allows openers to read the full post on your website. Clicks are just as important as open rates because you want to see who’s actually engaging with the content you’re sending. As with all digital marketing, consistency is key. Your audience needs to know what to expect, and they should expect it frequently. If your emails are sent two to three months apart, there will be some people that forgot that they signed up for your newsletter, and potentially they could mark you as spam.
Social Media Marketing Basics
Are you posting on social media? Social media a mainstay of modern business marketing. Here are my quick tips for your social media strategy.
In summary, you should:
- Have a presence on three to four platforms
- Post a minimum of once per week to LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook and a minimum of three times per week on Twitter
- Avoid only posting your own content and promotion
- Tag others when relevant and use visual content when you can
The greater your presence on social media, the more likely it is that Googling your company name or your name as the owner is going to result in a link to your online spaces. Additionally, an increased online presence allows partners and customers to refer you via different platforms. Some of our referral partners refer Trusty Oak via Facebook. They tag me personally or the company when their peers are looking for virtual assistants. Because I am on Facebook, people can investigate us even if they don’t respond to the referral comment in the comments section.
When publishing content, steer clear of too many promotional posts. Look for ways to cross-promote with others with relevant content. You may do this by finding a useful article from other companies and vendors, and giving them a shoutout. After all, people are engaging with you because they want to get to know you better. So share things you like or that are useful in addition to content about your company. In fact, I recommend only promoting yourself every three to four posts. When you are sharing someone else’s content, make sure you tag them as well. When they get a notification that they’ve been tagged, there’s a chance they’ll share your content or repost it to their circle of influence.
Last but not least: use images and video as much as possible. You want to engage people quickly and visually. Everyone’s scrolling so quickly all the time anyway, so you’ve got to do something to get them to stop and take a look.
Related: 4 Keys to Captivating a Social Media Audience
I hope you found this useful. If you need help with marketing strategies and delegation, we are always willing to help.