As Head of Marketing at EO Executives, I have had the privilege of learning some pretty cool marketing tricks and tips over the years. From how to create an engaging inbound marketing strategy, to learning (from scratch and with a helping hand) how to become a PPC account manager. And it's safe to say there are some things I have learned which will always remain vital in marketing.
Are you a small business trying to get your brand noticed? Are you are familiar with the pain that comes with trying to drive engagement in a competitive market? How can you compete with the big brands that have army's of marketing ninjas working on £1 million campaigns?
Regardless of size, if you want to get your brand out there, you need to play the game.
You may not have a high end marketing budget but there are a few fundamental areas you can focus on.
1. Branding is Key
What does your business stand for?
Your marketing needs to align with your business mission and understanding your market position is essential for success. Without a strong brand, you cannot expect customers or even employees to identify with your services.
Branding creates trust, awareness, reflects core business values and allows you to be more targeted with your marketing.
Questions to ask around branding:
- What are your core messages?
- What does your brand look like visually?
- What are the business values?
- What do you offer/ stand for?
- What is your demographic/ target audience? Do you have a persona?
- Are you relevant to your target?
(I will post a separate blog on branding in the coming weeks.. after all it's an entire subject on its own!)
2. Content Marketing
Let's face it, competing with the bigger brands and more established businesses can be tough. After all, they've been around for longer, have a strong following and a stable market position. So, how can your business break into a noisy industry and attract more customers? Well, for starters you need to build credibility and trust.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to do this is by publishing regular content.
Content creation provides businesses with a voice and allows them to be seen as an 'expert' in their specialism. Content marketing is also a key ingredient from showcasing your brand and building an audience that is genuinely interested in what you have to say.
Top tip: Content Marketing is not about direct selling, it's about providing relevant, valuable and frequent content to your audience.
Many businesses will rely on content marketing to generate new business, spark engagement and boost SEO (search engine optimisation) rankings (we will explore at this later on). Just look in your mailbox or social media feeds... as consumers, companies are sending us content daily. They want to get in front of us, they want us to know who they are, and they want us to invest .
It is all about creating awareness and ensuring people know who you are what you can do for them.
You're probably wondering "how do I get my content in front of as many people as possible?" but the key to successful marketing is to target a relevant audience with relevant thought-leadership. Sending irrelevant content on mass just looks generic (after all it is isnt it?) and will only damage your reputation with that individual. Remember, keep content targeted, personal and valuable.
What does your audience want to hear about? What are their pain points and how can you provide a solution?
No matter what type of content you choose to create, as a small business content marketing is essential for attracting an audience to your brand. Some examples of content marketing are:
- Case studies
- Blogs/ Vlogs
- Email Marketing
So, when should we expect to see your next piece of content?
3. Social Media is Your Best Friend
With over 500 million users on LinkedIn, 328 million + on Twitter and 2 billion monthly users on Facebook, your business needs to have an online presence. No business can afford to ignore a potential audience of that size.
Nearly everyone is on social media and if you're not, your target will a. Not know who you are and b. question your legitimacy. After all, social media is one of the most powerful platforms for generating engagement and awareness. But, get it wrong and you run the risk of damaging your brand in one post. Once you press 'post' your comment is out there for the world to see.
So, if you're planning to take social media world by storm you'll need to consider the following:
- Do you have a social media strategy? What are your goal and objectives
- Social media brand guidelines - this will save your reputation and prevent potential brand damaging posts from reaching your target.
- What is your voice? This is essential for branding and is integral if you want people to connect with your brand.
- Where is your audience? Different demographics engage on different platforms and different groups, so you'll need to do your homework to save you finishing in the dark.
- How will you respond to engagement? Fail to engage back and you'll loose your following.
4. PPC and SEO
Would you 'waste' your time endlessly searching google? Highly unlikely. No one has time for that, but as a small business, how do you compete with all the big brands dominating online search rankings?
This is when many businesses turn to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click). If used strategically, both of these techniques will allow your business to appear on the first page of google, meaning more traffic to your website, more leads and more sales.
But how does this magic formula work?
SEO works by enabling your brand/ business to show up higher on an organic Google search and therefore becoming more visible to customers. If you aren't using SEO as a key part of your marketing strategy, your business could be missing out on targeting potential buyers.
How do you achieve this?
You will need to ensure your website is fully optimised to generate a user friendly experience. Your website will also need to have relevant industry keywords on each landing page, as Google ranks based on quality, length, regularity.
Top Tip: Have a list of key SEO words and record their performance.
- Ensure your website loads quickly
- Optimise your landing pages with the keywords you want to show up for in a search
- Provide relevant 'Call-To-Actions' for your customers (links to content, other web pages, resources)
- Ensure your website is optimised for all mobile devices.
PPC is slightly different, it works by buying visits to your website and paying each time someone clicks on you advert. By bidding on relevant keywords and creating targeted adverts, Google will ensure your ad shows up top and at a lower cost.
Top Tip: Bid on relevant key words and ensure landing pages are high quality and optimised with keywords.
Each of these strategies should align to achieve one goal. So, if you do anything, ensure your marketing is targeted, relevant and in niche. Keep it personal and you are bound to drive engagement.
Is there anything we missed? We have only briefly outlined the key marketing areas small businesses need to focus on, but if you'd like to hear more leave a comment blog!