As many of us know, marketing is much greater than just digital marketing and doing “stuff” on social media. Let’s go back to Marketing 101 and remember the Marketing Mix. There are 5 P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, Place, and People. In a world consumed by online digital nomads selling “digital marketing” services, it’s important to realize that marketing for your small business should consider all the P’s of marketing, not just “promotion.” For example, if your dream is creating a digital footprint, you should first consider your product, your ideal client/customer, your Unique Value Proposition, competitive price points, and then identify which channel is the most appropriate to communicate to your ideal client. After all these have been carefully analyzed, it is now time to consider the best methods of promotion. You may even find out that digital footprint isn’t even the best way to connect to your client/customer.
I apologize if I am insulting the intelligence of sophisticated marketers reading this, but it is highly important before we delve into the world of social media, digital marketing, and what social platforms are the best, we first consider the client you are trying to reach. For example, if you are marketing to 75-year-old, middle class, men, who enjoy fishing and sports, then Pinterest may not the best platform to pump out content. It seems obvious, but keep in mind, your marketing dollars are precious, and you want to really make them count. So, a tight shot group around “who exactly” your targeting and “where” they hangout makes super cost effective (and mostly free) to connect.
Assuming we have a full understanding of the disclaimer above, we will now focus on the best inbound marketing strategies to focus on supported by the data: SEO, digital footprint, and reviews.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Now, I am not an expert on SEO. However, the analysis I have done with other clients shows this is one of the primary focus areas if you want to be found. Search engine optimization is the science of pushing your business or brand’s website towards the top of Search Engine results increasing visibility. An example of is becoming one of the websites shown when someone “googles” specific key words. According to Global Web Index, 49% of Internet users ages 21-34 prefer to research brands via Search Engine which is the #1 preferred method. Likewise, search engines are the #1 method for discovering brands with about 37% of users. So, if you’re trying to be found and have information about your products or services on your website, SEO can be highly beneficial. Think about it, when you want to go to a restaurant, research something to buy, or want to travel somewhere, what do you do first? You probably hit up google for some due diligence. I am not going to go too crazy with SEO alone as it gets complicated fast with backlinks, keyword searches, website header strategies, etc., so if you are looking for that check out this “how to” guide for SEO click here.
Digital Footprint. Expanding your digital footprint is one of the best ways to organically build out your reach and SEO. I haven’t found the need to hire anyone for SEO or any have any real deep SEO work done for my own brand because I have created a large digital footprint with various other well-known websites. For example, I have created accounts and established a following on LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, iheart Radio, Facebook, Thumbtack etc. Social Networks are the #2 preferred method for internet users to research brands. However, these sites don’t need to be social media sites. They can be Angie’s list, Home Advisor, Trip Advisor, Craigslist, Ebay, Shopify, GigMasters etc. The key is here is to have a generally serious following and your information on as many established platforms as you can. Also, you should have consistent information across all the platforms. Google and other search engines are essentially looking at how serious you are as a business and rewards your consistency. If you have the exact same name, phone number, address, email addresses, etc. on all these different sites, Google will give you more credit as you try to rise through the noise.
Get Reviews. Reviews establish social proof, which is one of the most powerful cognitive bias’, and good reviews provide evidence for others to support your brand. Customer Reviews provided the #3 preferred method for researching brands. Customer “word-of-mouth” (my personal favorite) was the #3 preferred method for brand discovery. Essentially, reviews and testimonials matter a lot. These reviews are also very powerful for SEO contributions. For users focusing on local brick and mortar brands, Google+ accounts with reviews will help you creep to the top of the noisy search engine bars very organically. However, you want to jump on any sites with reviews options and get as many positive reviews as possible. For a beginner, you obviously want to focus on gaining as many positive experiences from your customer as you can. However, the important part is to capture those experiences in as many reviews as you can. The benefits of reviews are obvious as it provides customer feedback, creates trust with your brand, and builds authenticity with the products your selling. Google and other search engines are smart. They will also reward the platforms that have a large volume of reviews and treat them as more credible businesses. Long story short, get positive results from your customers, and then capture those reviews the best you can!
In summary, marketing is a broad science. I wanted to highlight that there are many other aspects in marketing to consider first before you determine that digital marketing is best for you (remember the marking mix). If digital marketing still seems like a good way to reach your ideal client/customer, then we want to focus on three things: SEO, Digital Footprint, and Reviews. Though these seem like different strategies, they are symbiotic in nature and create, in my opinion, the most authentic and organic way of creating traction. Creating good value driven content that comes from the heart and is in the place of serving others is the content that sticks around and gains momentum. The trick is to get this content seen is to be consistent, strategic, and selfless. Most importantly, get out there and be loud! Your product or service has the potential to help people! However, you will never be able to connect with those in need if you can’t master the best channel to market. I hope this helps you get started. #besomebody