Since the rise of the online consumer, even local businesses have had to dedicate just as much time to their online efforts as they do to their storefronts. Combine that with the economy and people clutching their wallets a little tighter, and businesses are fighting over smaller and smaller pieces of the profitability pie. Digital efforts are now more important than ever to ensuring that businesses can stay solvent.
Small businesses are now covering all of their bases—SEO, SEM, newsletters, direct mail, networking events and attending seminars. They’re turning over stones that they wouldn’t have even considered a year or two ago in order to stay competitive in this cutthroat climate. Read on to see how you, too, can stay in the game.
1. Redouble your SEO Efforts.
Forget what you learned about SEO five years ago. It’s not just about reusing the same old keywords over and over throughout your site. As a matter of fact, Google will actually penalize you for the practice, citing it as keyword stuffing. Now, the key to great rankings in Google is having a robust site that’s full of relevant information about your product or services. Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion, recommends answering every question that a consumer might have about your product. Local SEO efforts are especially important, since an increasing number of your competitors are all trying to grab that oh-so-important local keyword traffic.
2. Newsletters/Direct Mail
Direct mail, once relegated to the backburners of marketing budgets, has grown in popularity with the couponing craze. These printed communiqués have the power to inform local clients about upcoming sales, events and even new product offerings. Direct mail is a lot easier to dispose of than a simple email click, so you may even find that interested consumers are more likely to see them.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a clear winner when you’re trying to reach B2C consumers. It harnesses the power of opt-in marketing, which means only the consumers who want to see your advertising are being exposed to it. Be sure to make your “unsubscribe” link big enough that this continues to be true. Email marketing is best for promoting sales, coupons and events. Don’t email customers just to remind them you exist, unless you’re offering something in return.
Once you have your basic foundation in place, it’s time to have some fun. Consider releasing a web series, like Blendtec. They have a series of 2-3 minute videos where they attempt to blend different objects in their commercial blender. From iPads to Old Spice to Justin Bieber dolls, they’ve blended it all. Think about what makes your product fun and unique, and show it off. If your product is decidedly un-fun, highlight some of your team members.
You can also be a little more buttoned-up and create an eBook. EBooks are great for B2B models since they establish your expertise and, when executed properly, can showcase your thought leadership. However, don’t stop there. Just slapping a download link on your site won’t get you the kind of attention you deserve. Before you release it, hold a webinar or a launch event to get the industry’s attention.
Whether you’re attempting to gain customers from old standbys like email marketing and SEO, or you’re ready to try something new, like making a web series, you’re competing in a larger pond, thanks to the rise of digital marketing. Make the pond work for you by having digital-savvy marketing efforts.