Small Business Online Marketing Strategies To Employ This Year
The online arena has created a new way in which businesses can reach consumers.
In the past, companies would deliver a message to customers in the hope of influencing them to buy their product. But the introduction of the internet has changed the playing field by giving power of what consumers see into their own hands.
And what people are choosing and opting not to see is advertising, spam and blatant marketing.
Traditional advertising is a one-way avenue that preaches a message to an audience. The more exposure a company has, the more likely it is to see returns and profits. But this form marketing is expensive, and people are becoming adept at filtering it.
Social marketing is a cost effective way small business can promote themselves.
The best way to succeed in social marketing is to engage your customers. Engagement demands that you offer something of value to potential customers upfront.
Advertising is designed to benefit the company. Engagement is designed to benefit the consumer.
In other words, when we discuss engagement-based marketing, we mean you have to offer something that consumers actually want. Returns come later, and are generated from the goodwill, authority and trust generated from that engagement.
An engagement-based marketing strategy must hold intrinsic value for the consumer.
When I talk about intrinsic value, it could be entertainment, information, instruction, guidance, support or anything that people would put in effort to find. This means we have to learn what customers want, and are devoting their time to online. For example, a beauty products company writing tips on how to look gorgeous.
Why not set up a blog or community forum with the goal of meeting this demand instead of adding to the general clutter of ads that everyone tries to avoid anyway?
Whatever your business niche, and whatever method you identify as a way to generate engagement, there is a lot of work ahead. Producing online content that offers significant value to customers means that you need to create quality content, invest in social media and grow your online audience.
The content you create should be designed to meet their needs — not yours. If you want to advertise around that content, go ahead. After all, it’s the community you have created.
Over time, the trust you built up with your audience, together with the social influence, email mailing list and search engine traffic will start to generate vast returns and suck the life out of your competitors — provided you have a good product or offering to start with.