If you’re trying to run a successful small business, chances are you’ve got enough on your plate without coming up with a perfect small business marketing campaign.
You’ve probably not got the resources to compete with the big guns, and you’re probably too niche to advertise through smaller generic mainstream media channels.
This is generalizing to an extent, but for my money the best way to run a small business marketing campaign that really snowballs, that is really well-integrated, and that creates the strongest brand presence for the least effort, is to focus on four key areas of online marketing.
Image by Ken Teegardin.
Here are those four key areas in no particular order a and along with an explanation of why you should focus on them, and how they feed into each other.
Pay Per Click Campaign
A pay-per-click campaign, or PPC for short, is simple to start and tough to master. Currently, the dominant force in the PPC world is Google’s AdWords, which is also one of the more reliable options.
Pay per click gives you nearly complete control over your ad campaign. Consequently, it’s up to you how you balance return on investment against meeting your specific traffic and conversion goals.
Going for broader keywords helps boost traffic, but going for longer keywords, known as “long-tail”, and excluding specific keywords from your ads, known as “negative keywords” can greatly improve your ROI.
Pay per click campaigns feed into search engine optimisation targets by keeping a strong brand presence, and reinforcing trust – a top search result and a top pay-per-click ad placement tells the customer “this isn’t some spammy site, this link is definitely supposed to be here”.
Running an on-site blog is the easiest, most reliable way to build reputation as a thought leader, as well as create a highly social community focussed around your business.
Being regarded as an expert in your field is very important in any business. It doesn’t just impress potential customers and clients, it opens up other advertising routes to you.
Someone whose voice is important is more likely to be able to be heard out and possibly even sought out by journalists, and more likely to be able to write posts that get on other people’s websites.
I’ve written about blogging as a powerful social tool before, and as you can see from that article’s sixty-plus comments, people do respond well to an author who engages with them. This makes them more likely to remember you, more likely to engage with you, more likely to trust you, and more likely to talk about you with other people via. social media platforms.
Off-site Blog Posts
Off-site blog postings are now one of the best ways to generate a strong online presence around, for a new campaign.
There are many routes to getting your posts published in the best ways, but they’ll be different for everyone. You have a choice of building the relevant relationships yourself, or paying others to build the relationships for you. Each method has advantages and disadvantages.
This is about getting the message as far out as possible, and compliments an on-site blog perfectly. Particularly successful off-site blog posts can be discussed on-site, and vice-versa, leading to many ‘snowballing’ marketing opportunities.
Social media is a key part of any online marketing campaign, but it’s less useful as a stand-alone feature than people tend to think.
Social media platforms are designed to act as a bolt-on to the content you already have, whether that be coverage in the press and on major blogs, an excellent on-site blog, or simply the quality of the product you offer. In other words, social media enhances SEO work, like on-site and off-site blogging.
The most useful way social media can be used is in making contact with the key influencers, movers and shakers on your scene. In this way, it feeds into off-site post promotion and other forms of digital PR, opening avenues that would otherwise have remained closed.
The important thing to remember about online marketing is that, like offline marketing, it’s not what you do but how you do it that matters.
Write high quality blog posts and high quality bloggers will want to publish you. Treat clients and customers with respect on social media, and they’ll respect you back.
The best place to get creative is in the links between these various campaigns. See what you can do to make these four branches of online marketing feed into each other, and your small business marketing campaign could see exponentially improved results in no time!