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5 Ways to Market a Small Business (In a Digital World)

5 Ways to Market a Small Business

5 Ways to Market a Small Business in a Digital World – Find out how content marketing increases exposure in Google Search Returns. Spring 2018 Small Business Report

5 Ways to Market a Small Business (In a Digital World)

The April 2017 ComScore Mobile Insights Report is a real eye-opener for ANY small business owner. 

Why?

Ways to Market a Small Business -2017 ComScore ReportBecause back in mid-2015, Google announced that just a tad over 50% of web searches in the U.S. were performed on a mobile device. That was announced just a few weeks after Google publicly stated they were attempting to eliminate desktop only websites with “Mobile First” listings in search returns to a mobile device (affectionately called “mobilegeddon” at the time.) Truth be told, they had been warning business owners to upgrade their websites for at least two years prior to this point.

But in 2018 and beyond, the concept of “Mobile First” is now the default position for a rapidly growing number of internet users who now spend the majority of their time on smartphones…

And that is why in 2018 Google will be rolling out “Mobile First”. What does this mean in 2018?

First…back before smartphones, Google gave one set of search returns. Then, back in 2015, Google started to give 2 separate search returns…one for phones and one for desktop/laptop – showing more mobile-friendly sites on a phone than on a laptop. In 2018, Google will revert to jut one set of search returns. The mobile returns only.

The latest ComScore report puts the mobile share of internet searches in the U.S. at 71% in 2017.

That’s right, roughly speaking, nearly 3 out of 4 web searches for products or services is on a mobile device, most commonly a smartphone.

And, this should come as no surprise. A Boston Consulting Group survey reinforces this fact.

Having a mobile device is now a “primal” need, as 45% of respondents would rather give up their vacation plans than surrender their smartphone (and 1/3 would rather give up sex for a year).

In the vast majority of industries, online audiences are now larger on mobile then desktop/laptop.

Lastly, just two years ago, roughly 9% of households in the U.S. had only a smartphone and no other device in the home to access the internet. No laptop or pad or tablet or even and old desktop computer and a dusty CRT monitor.

Nothing but a phone.

In 2017, that figure doubled to nearly 1 out of 5 households.

5 Ways to Market a Small Business

5 Ways to Market a Small Business (In a Digital World)

There is a little gem of a take-away in the April ComScore Report.

“Content sharing on social media is overtaking personal status updates.” 

In other words, consumers are posting less about what they had for dinner, or what they are up to, but rather sharing content in their feed more. Typically a product or service they like, or something they see that aligns with their views.

The fasted growing categories on social media in the U.S.

  • Read/Share Posts from Organizations, Brands/Companies
  • Follow Links to Websites

Keep this in mind as we explore the best ways to market a small business in a digital (mobile) world.

5 Ways to Market a Small Business (In a Digital World) – Web It 101

#1 Content Marketing

The importance and role of content marketing and how it works across social media, Google (and Bing) searches, multimedia and mobile is becoming the primary focus for many brands.

But the simple fact is most small businesses don’t understand the importance content marketing and how it underlies and supports all other marketing efforts. Brands such as Coca Cola, Taco Bell, and others have recognized this and changed their strategies to meet the demands of the mobile market.

Over the last 10 years, small business owners have been blinded by a shiny new toy called Facebook and think that Facebook marketing is all they should be doing beyond their day-to-day habitual marketing that they have been doing for years and years if not decades.

That is just one piece of a  a much larger puzzle. Along with constant content marketing directed at niche and long-tail search engine research, don’t forget a correctly set up blog, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and others to market your content to.

Content Marketing is the Alpha and Omega of digital marketing and is the reason people read, view, pin, like, favorite or most importantly, share.

And when done correctly, it vastly increases your Google Footprint.

Because when it’s set up correctly, that Content on your site will get indexed by Google.

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Content Marketing uses two primary avenues – Search Engine Return Pages (SERP) and Social Media.

5 ways to market a small business - Google Search Returns The big prize channel is Search Engine Return Pages (SERP). And this is where content marketing shines. Google calls it Micro-Moments. It’s Optimized Content Marketing. It’s where you can go from zero to hero. It’s giving life to your online presence by using Google Best Practices for SEO and Local SEO on every page and on every post, on every image and every file, for every keyword and every long-tail phrase.

The ultimate goal is to increase your web presence across the search engines when businesses and consumers are looking for your product or services.

5 Ways to Market a Small Business - social mediaOn social media, that first sentence or two of your engaging content, as well as an optimized image, is your “money shot” that drives traffic from the social site your business is on, back to your website where a user can see and digest the content and can re-share from your site to their preferred social networks providing even more links and exposure to a new group of consumers or even a new social network you may have had no presence on until that very moment.

In short,

  • posting a link to something on your website that is posted on social media drives users to your website.
  • setting up content marketing correctly, allows Google to index it for search returns, leading users to your website.

Content Marketing vs Inbound Marketing - They Work TogetherContent Marketing, Social Media and Web Search all go hand-in-hand, and all three paths arrive at the same destination, working together in a synergy no other marketing effort can offer. 

For a Deep Dive into Content Marketing for Small Business

5 Ways to Market a Small Business

#2 Long Tail Content Marketing

Most Small Business Blog/Updates/News have some content. You may not always do it every week (or month or year) but there is content. The sad thing is in most cases Google could care less because;

  • You Didn’t Use Any Helpful Keywords
  • No Long-Tail Keywords
  • No SEO Efforts to Convince Google to Index it Favorably. 

First up, what is long tail?

Simply put long tail keywords are the more narrowly focused keywords for your product, service or location.

Product

  • Keyword – Puma Sneakers
  • Long Tail – Puma Blue Suede Tennis Sneakers

Service

  • Keyword – Guitar Lessons
  • Long Tail – Best Beginner Guitar Lessons

Locality

  • Keyword – Bodyguard Training
  • Long Tail- GI Bill Bodyguard Training in Tampa

The benefits of long tail content marketing for a small business

  • Easier to rank well on searches then simple keywords (fewer websites competing for a phrase)
  • Help build your authority – work on basic keywords later
  • Enjoy higher quality website visits
  • Capture a niche market then pitch your other products/ services 

Ways to Market a Small Business - Long Tail Content MarketingLet’s say your business provides guided mountain hiking tours in Seattle. Certainly, you would want to get tourists traveling to the Seattle area so you might look at “travel” as a keyword.

But that means you are facing completion from Yahoo, Travelocity, Expedia and every other ticketing site out there, flights, ocean cruses, and more which have nothing to do with hiking.

So now, you look at “mountain climbing’ and are buried in the search page returns by About, Wikipedia and even the US Forest Service.

Your Long Tail Keywords for Content Marketing

  • Washington mountain climbing tours (I know there are mountains here, but I don’t know the names)
  • Beginner hiking tours in Seattle (I really haven’t seriously hiked before)
  • Guided mountain hiking tours in Seattle ( I don’t want to get lost)
  • Mt Rainier family climbing tours (I want to take the kids)
  • and potentially hundreds more

And if your competitors are not doing any long tail content marketing, you will stand a very good chance at landing on a fair number of first page search returns.

And it goes without saying…SEO plays a huge role in long tail content marketing for a small business.

Managing long-tail keyword marketing is simply a matter of establishing better lines of communication between your business and the customers who are already out there, actively shopping for what you provide.

5 Ways to Market a Small Business

#3 Inbound Marketing

The simplest explanation is always the best: Inbound marketing provides a complete methodology that helps companies adjust their marketing to better fit the way today’s buyers are shopping for products and services.

Content Marketing vs Inbound Marketing - Inbound dataPeople don’t want to be bothered or interrupted, so inbound marketing includes tactics that help companies get found when people are looking for them (Pull Marketing), as opposed to attempting to interrupt people who are not yet looking for products or services related to your business (Push Marketing).

And Inbound Marketing provides a systematic approach to turning those anonymous visitors into leads, and then helps nurtures those leads until they become sales. All along the way, inbound marketing provides real-time data and insights that can be used to continuously improve performance and results.

5 ways to market a small business - Google Search ReturnsInbound Marketing is the process of attracting the attention of prospects, via content creation, before they are even ready to buy; it’s one of the very best and most cost-effective ways to convert strangers into customers and brand promoters of your business.

How? Because Inbound marketing promotes earning a prospect’s attention, as opposed to renting it by buying direct mail lists, attending trade shows, buying TV and radio ads, print or making cold calls.

Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people in to your business and brand. They are already searching for answers online, researching your industry, scoping out your competitors, and trying to decide if they really need your service or product.

Inbound marketing is an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful – not interruptive like push marketing. With inbound marketing, potential customers find your business through channels including blogs, search engines, and social media.

Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing does not need to fight for potential customers attention. By creating relevant content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers, inbound marketing attracts qualified prospects and builds trust and credibility for your small business.

So, the goal is to have content that speaks to all of these scenarios and stages of the buying process in order to capture these interested prospects where they naturally are.

Online.

Inbound marketing includes almost every type of digital marketing, including content marketing.

Smart business owners are realizing that inbound marketing should not be a “one and done” tactic. Social media and content marketing is impacting search results. Google created Google+ for a few reasons, including capturing social signals. Google is also integrating Twitter and Facebook results (when it’s pertinent to the query). Strong, constant content creation amplified by social media, combined with Google Best Practices SEO creates an inbound marketing plan that grows your digital footprint every day of the week.

5 Ways to Market a Small Business

#4 Visual Marketing

Once upon a time, there was Facebook.

And you posted a picture of your business storefront or service vehicle on your Facebook page and all was good.

And almost a decade after Facebook sent your business their door and window stickers of a big blue thumb stating “Like Us On Facebook”, today they severely limit your post, instead prompting you to “Boost” that post and actually reach a few people for just $3.

5 Ways to Market a Small Business - visual marketing And then along came YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Slideshare and more. With wider internet traffic lanes and 4G mobile pipelines, beautiful hi-res images and video are now a fixture on the web.

As a small business owner, if you’re not posting images or video of your store, warehouse, office, whatever… to personalize your brand, shame on you.

Bottom line, take a look at the “minimalist” social network, Twitter.

You have just 140 characters to relay your message. It used to be that the picture ate up 23 characters. Not anymore. Even twitter knows it’s best to include an image.

Because a tweet with a image has a 300% increase in views and shares.

5 Ways to Market a Small Business - Search ReturnsAnd virtually every Google search features an “images” link. Do the images on your website and business blog have the correct information embedded in the code? The Title, Caption, Alt Text, and Description that Google needs to index it?

A few short years ago, many websites such as CBS, CNN and others started posting videos, but with no text on the page. Traffic from Google plummeted an average of 44%. Today, you’ll see transcripts and text below the video.

Lesson learned.Video and Images need SEO.

We live in a visual world. While it’s true you need to get the word out, images and videos help build your brand.

5 Ways to Market a Small Business

#5 Continuous Marketing

Among the marketing trends you just can’t afford to ignore is continuous marketing.

5 Ways to Market A Small Business - Continuous MarketingContinuous Marketing is a strategy in which the consumers of good or service are continuously reminded of your business, even during periods when sales of your product are insignificant or unlikely.

Small Business owners need to realize that a strong trend is emerging as they see brands and their competitors do continuous digital marketing. The reality is that being found online (found in social network feeds, Twitter streams, getting pinned, and most importantly popping up in a Google search query ) requires constant SEO activity, constant content creation, constant publishing for web indexing and a constant digital marketing effort.

As a small business you need to have a constant presence with fresh content across the web (Google/Bing Searches, Social Media) to grow your digital footprint. This is how you get in front of the right person at the right time, who becomes an inbound lead, then a satisfied customer, and then grows your business as they praise and share your content. Rinse and repeat.

And repeat. 

And don’t stop.

5 Ways to Market a Small Business (In a Digital World) – Web It 101

Summary5 Ways to Market a Small Business

The Good News.

Compared to the costs of traditional “push’ marketing to days gone by such as newspaper, radio and broadcast TV, these digital ways to market a small business are affordable for nearly any small business owner.

The Bad News.

If your small business website is not fully and completely responsive to mobile, and if you are not HTML coding for Google rich snippets and rich cards, events, bookings, calendars, Google maps, payments and more…

Well, you need to.

None of these ways to market a small business work well, it at all, without a mobile responsive, well-coded, SEO energized, user-friendly website.

The Web is full of horrendous business websites, and we’re not just talking about bad design, or mobile display issues. There are many other elements besides how your website looks that go into making it customer-friendly.

As a small business you need a website that inspires potential customers to actually do business with you.

For many businesses, your website is your first impression on a customer. You want to give them what they’re looking for, and more importantly, give them a reason to keep coming back.

A typical web user is looking for something. Make sure you give it to them. and make sure your content is original, well-written and valuable.

Your website is not only the first thing a potential customer sees. It’s also most often the very last thing someone sees before they contact you.

Make it work for you.

And that’s where Web It 101 comes in.

  • Custom Responsive Website Design (RWD)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Optimized Content Marketing (OCM)
  • Social Media Management (SMM)

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