When it comes to online marketing, lots of small businesses (SMBs) are in the same boat: they’re all tied up in knots.
The common misconception is that in order to do effective online marketing, you need some big, formal marketing plan that’s 20+ pages long and sucks up a ton of time and expertise.
Now formal marketing plans are a good thing, and if you have one, great!
But to a lot of SMBs, they’re overwhelming. All too often the end result is the marketing plan gets talked about, but never created. And worse yet, the idea of company blog or YouTube demos never gets off the ground – and the company falls lower and lower on Google’s search results pages. 🙁
The Better Way
When it comes to online marketing, no SMB wants to fall behind their competition. But what’s the secret?
Let’s keep this super simple:
The goal of online marketing content is to spark action.
Any blog post or demo video or tweet is supposed to answer a question.
Real questions by real clients, customers or prospects.
(Well, almost any post, video or tweet. Not all of your content needs to answer questions. Fun memes and newsy posts have their place, but when it comes to stimulating action, answering questions does one very important thing: it positions you as an expert.)
The whole idea behind content marketing is to position your SMB as a company prospective clients or customers want to do business with.
And let’s be honest here, if a Facebook meme was all it took to get business, that’s all anyone would do.
But memes don’t spark action. News really doesn’t either.
You must provide content that positions you and your company as experts. If you provide folks with the information they need to address a pain point, they can stop browsing the web. You just saved them a ton of time and, by the way, conveniently positioned yourself as an expert.
Congratulations! You’ve just hopped into the exact position you want to be in: the person they trust for advice.
Did you know that 88% of consumers conduct online research before buying something from a local business?
That means is you – or more specifically, your content – need to be ready 24/7/365 for those searching consumers.
But be patient. Prospective consumers or clients want to be in control of their “discovery process.” When they’re ready, they’ll start by browsing the internet.
And when your content’s at the ready – be that a blog post, white paper or case study – that’s when sparks fly when they initiate contact with you.
But Am I Answering the Right Questions?
Again, let’s keep this simple: all you need to do is pay attention to the common questions you’re hearing from your clients or customers.
Many times – especially in technical or scientific service industries like accounting, engineering or physical therapy – SMB owners think that in order to position themselves as experts they need to use big words. That’s a big mistake. If you use technical terms, you’ll attract other experts in your field – and that’s not who you’re after.
Be mindful of the language your customers and prospects use when asking questions. By using the exact words of your target audience, your content will show up the next time they type a question into Google.
So if your SMB is looking for an easy way to get going with your SMB’s online marketing, just keep it simple and answer real questions from real customers – and be the one-stop authority for your next customer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robbie Moore is the founder of Rushminute, a digital marketing agency in Lincoln, Nebraska. With 20+ years of experience in digital marketing, Robbie has worked with dozens of companies and organizations, large and small, around the globe. He also writes extensively about design, development, and business in general.