Do you want to start a business? Have you already started a business and want to grow? (Duh, right?) Business growth is a hot topic, and has been for a long time. From billboards to ads, small businesses have been utilizing certain marketing tactics for a long time. Nowadays, the ROI for many of the traditional forms of marketing has dropped. What used to work well, doesn’t have the same effect. Today’s consumers are not as easily swayed by flashy lights and catchy slogans.
What they do respond well to is authenticity and authority. If you are genuine and transparent, and if you’ve established trust with your audience, you’ll do well as a business. However, getting yourself in that position is not as simple as it sounds. If you are running a business already you know this. Having quality leads on a consistent basis – and converting them – is the cornerstone of business growth.
So, in today’s marketing landscape, you’ve got to do things differently – and digitally. Nearly everyone on the planet is online. Pretty much all of your potential customers are hanging out somewhere on the web and you need a way to get their attention and show them you have what they need.
So, with that in mind, here are three proven digital investments you need to make as a small business.
Of course your business needs a website. Anyone in business nowadays knows this. But all websites are not created equal. Your website is like the online version of what business cards used to be – it is often the first impression a potential customer will have of your business. If you go cheap on your website, your audience will notice.
So, what is the first thing people do to look up a product or service? They pull out their phone. All the browsing capabilities most people need is in the palm of their hand. Mobile search has surpassed desktop search and the gap is ever widening.
This means your website needs to look good on those mobile devices. It is also needs to be easily found. What does that mean? Well, where do you go online to find something? Google. This is where search engine optimization comes in. Not only does your website need to look good. It needs to show up on Google when people search for the types of products and services you offer.
It only makes sense that you would spend your marketing dollars where your desired audience is hanging out. Invest in a professional, mobile-friendly website and good SEO.
What is the best way for people to discover you online? That is a great question that elicits a myriad of responses. Some will say SEO, others will say it’s through social media. You may hear mention of Yellow pages, and others still will say through Google ads and other paid mediums. Even though those are all effectives ways to get noticed, the best way to be discovered and remembered is through content marketing.
What is content marketing? Well, simply put, it is the content that you create and put out online that people see. More specifically it is the content you create to provide value is some way to your desired audience. It can be a photo, video, text on a web page or blog article, etc. It is this article you are reading right now. It is not enough to just have a website and social media pages set up and expect people to find you. You have to provide value through those sources in some way. The value you create consistently through content will build authority. Because you are the one providing the content, you are the trusted resource.
Creating the type of content that gets you noticed takes time and effort, and an understanding of how content gets shared. You could do this yourself if you have the time and expertise, but It is also worth it to invest in content marketing services to grow your business.
Social media marketing is a widely overused term online nowadays. However, if done correctly, social media can be used to effectively grow your business. Many times, the idea of using social media to market your business conjures up ideas of begging people to like your page or posting messages asking people to buy your products. Obviously, those methods don’t work. What does work, however, is the idea if using social media to simply have a conversation with your desired audience. After all, it’s called social media.
Once you start a conversation with just one person, you can find ways to help them. Once you help one person, you can help two, then three, then four, and so on. This is the organic approach to social media marketing. You start it by garnering attention first through sharing content (content marketing). This could be an image, video, or link to a relevant article you’ve written.
Then there is the paid approach to marketing your business through social media. Since sites like Facebook and Instagram have lowered the organic reach of business pages, paid reach has become more and more popular. Done right, it can be a game changer. Many people are using paid ads on Facebook and Instagram to sell products, gather email addresses by offering free content, and draw people’s attention to events.
This can be a tricky area to venture into as a business if you are just starting. Spending some money on social media marketing services through a trusted source is a great investment.
So, there you have it. Three areas that you need to invest in online if you want to grow your company online – or offline – and compete with the big boys. What other areas online should someone invest in that aren’t mentioned here? Let us know in the comments.