Online marketing using good content and social media is by far the most cost-effective way to get new business, when done effectively. You may already be using some content marketing strategies. But sometimes it’s tricky to do this well and get results.
You can waste a lot of time doing the right things the wrong way. While there are a dozen different models for how to go about it, here are four strategies you can implement right away to grow your business.
1. Content Marketing
People search for solutions to their problems every day. You have that solution, so it’s important to make it easy for potential customers to find you. Let’s say you sell accounting software. This time of year, many of your target audience probably have questions about taxes. By writing blog posts or articles that address some of the most commonly asked questions, you help lead people to your blog, and by proxy, your website.
Many of my clients are concerned that by sharing their knowledge they are giving away information for free…to competitors! Let me be clear: if you want to survive in this new marketing and buying paradigm, you MUST share your knowledge. Today, information IS free. You can Google pretty much anything and find information on it. You want your prospects to find you and YOUR information.
Clients need to find YOU, and see and experience your expertise through your content and feel comfortable you’re the right person to solve their problem – long before they ever have a conversation with you.
What got you where you are in the past will not work today. While you’re worrying about your competition stealing your ideas, they are out sharing theirs and getting clients. Don’t worry yourself into extinction.
Tip: Use keywords throughout your articles that people would search for to find you. In the example above, the keywords might be things like “questions about taxes,” and “2011 small business tax form” or “1099 for contractors.”
2. Social Media Networking
Just like you’d do at an in-person networking event, social media gives you the opportunity to connect with people online. Focus on connecting with people who fit your customer demographic and don’t worry about the rest. If you want small business owners who need accounting solutions, look for them rather than other accounting software companies.
I often hear this is a “waste of time,” from the same people who wouldn’t think twice to drive an hour to an event with 20 people they don’t know, just to meet and mingle with them. With social media, you can meet hundreds more, even thousands, and never leave your office.
Tip: Schedule your networking time on your calendar daily. You can spend an hour and get a lot done. Spend some of this time adding new contacts and the rest interacting with them. Respond to comments, retweet their posts and share content.
3. Answer Questions
A rather new phenomenon online is sites where people ask and answer questions, like Quora and Focus. Experts (that includes you) answer questions in their field. People see your profile and visit your site or connect with you through social channels. It’s a great way to show your expertise as well as connect with others.
Tip: Set up a profile and create alerts so that any time questions with particular keywords, or in a particular category, are asked, you can immediately reply with your best answer.
Tip #2: If you’re active on LinkedIn, you can ask users a question under the Answers tool. People love sharing their opinions on issues. You’ll get to know people, and gather material for future articles or blog posts. If enough of your answers are marked as expert answers on a particular topic, LinkedIn will note that you are an expert in that particular topic area.
No, email’s not dead yet! It’s still a great way to stay in touch with your contacts. Someone you met at an event years ago might pop up after getting your monthly newsletter with some business for you.
Tip: Focus on providing a useful article and letter about what’s going on at your company. Keep the promotion factor to a minimum. Instead, work to provide value to your reader.
Are you ready to take your online efforts to the next step? Maybe you’ve tried these tips but haven’t gotten good results? Sometimes the answers lie in a few tweaks. We can help: read this page about our services and give us a call if you have questions.