GUEST BLOGGER: 5 Methods to Power-up your Business through Behavioral Marketing By Kimberly Maceda

Imagine that you’re walking on the men’s section of a department store looking for a new suit to buy. Then, one attendant suddenly offers you a baby diaper on sale. How likely are you to grab that offer, very unlikely, right? You’ll most probably even be bewildered by the offer.

The situation above is comparative to digital ads that are not targeted correctly. But with behavioral marketing using  email marketing automation software, you won’t be giving content which is out of place. Instead, you will be providing product suggestions, promotions, and contents that are appropriately based on the users’ behavior. As an example, with the situation above, a proper offer will be ‘tips on choosing a great fitting suit’ or a coupon code.

Behavioral marketing gathers information using surfing and searches data, IPs and cookies. This collection of data is used to create an exhaustive user profile, and then the marketing content is could be perfectly tailored.

If done right, behavior-targeting could boost email open rates by 56.68%, and it will ultimately lead to a boost in your sales. Amazon, for example, uses behavior data for their recommendation algorithm; which drives 35% of their revenue.

Here Are a Few Behavioral Marketing Strategies You Must Implement

  1. Use transaction history to recommend products

As mentioned above, recommendation drives a lot of profit for the biggest e-commerce companies today by using upselling and cross-selling techniques.

Cross-selling is offering products that complement the original item. For example, you can cross-sell a tripod to a customer who bought a camera or socks for a user that ordered shoes. By showing what the consumer needs at the right time, you increase your chance to get higher revenue.

On the other hand, upselling is providing a better version of the item your client is currently interested in. Upsell examples can include a version upgrade, customization, and an extended service period.

Both upselling and cross-selling are great for increasing your profit. But you don’t have to choose between the two. Always use them simultaneously. Using behavioral data, your upsells and cross-sells will can be on point.

  1. Monitor your visitor’s action using URL tracking

URL tracking is one way to assess and recalibrate your marketing techniques. If you know what visitors are exactly clicking on before making a sale, you can allocate your resources effectively. It also allows you to remove unnecessary links on your website.

Using this technique, you can arrange marketing campaigns to boost referrals. A unique link is spread across different platforms on the web; ads, social forums, blogs, emails, or socials media. The links are then tracked to see the quality and quantity of traffic from all sources.

Every time a visitor clicks on the link, he or she will be redirected to your destination page. Data about the source and location are then collected.

  1. Use online behavior to provide personalized content

The competition for a viewer’s attention can be won through personalization. But you can’t possibly personalize if you do not know your audience. Aside from transaction history as mentioned in number one, there are other online behaviors you can monitor. For your email subscribers, you can track what content they are opening, when, and for how long.

Though conversion is the end goal of marketing, it isn’t all about sales. You need to establish trust and build relationships. To do this, you must provide valuable content in different forms. The content will resonate most with your users if you personalize them using online behavior data.

  1. Implement retargeting to increase sales

Statistically, only 2% of users convert at their first visit. So are you going to let those 98% slip through your fingers? Fortunately, you don’t have to. You can use retargeting also known as remarketing to reach out to the viewers who have expressed interest in your product but they might not be ready yet.

This technique is a cookie-based technology which places a pixel on your site. Each time someone visits your website, the pixel leaves an unnamed browser cookie. When the user leaves your site, the retargeting provider will serve ads related to the content or product you have been browsing. Retargeting works effectively and efficiently because you will only spend on viewers who have already exhibited interest in your brand.

  1. Send offers guided by demographic data

Demographic data is basic but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Demographic data is a crucial indicator of someone’s behavior, needs, and interests. This includes gender, location, age, ethnicity, and marital status.

With demographic targeting, you can reach a specific group with shared characteristics. It prevents wasted impressions. For example, if you have an e-commerce shop with assorted products, you will show products according to gender stereotypes and social conventions (man’s or woman’s wear). In today’s PC era, it might seem inappropriate but it does boost sales.

Conclusion

Behavioral marketing is a sophisticated way to market your business online. You can leverage behavioral marketing by using transaction history, URL tracking, providing personalized content, retargeting, and sending offers based on demographic data.

Stop wasting your marketing resources with generic ads and content. You have all the tools you need like email marketing automation software and other behavioral marketing tools to drive your business to the next level.  

 

Author Bio:

Kimberly Maceda is a Content Writer for ActiveTrail. She writes for some top online marketing sites and blogging advice on email marketing and marketing automation. Activetrail is a leading provider of professional-grade email marketing and automation software for growing businesses.

 

GUEST BLOGGER: 3 Ways to Respond to Negative PR on Social Media (With Examples)

It is often said that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. But in today’s world of viral social media posts, that may not be the case. A simple negative comment about your brand could snowball into a massive controversy that can paralyze your business and can hamper lead generation.

Bad PR is something that happens to all businesses, especially the big ones. In fact, many companies that have become popular were able to do so by experiencing a massive PR crisis and turning it around on its head to eventually benefit from it.

That said, spinning negative PR on social media is like playing with fire—if you’re not careful enough, you risk getting burnt in front of a public audience and tarnishing your brand reputation.

While responding to negative comments on social media is risky, it’s a hazard you have to take if you want to improve your business. According to Warren Whitlock, one of Forbes top 10 social media influencers, complaints often come from people who actually care about your company and want you to succeed. Ignoring complaints may be a safer move, but you could hurt yourself more by losing potential life-long customers.

Here are some approaches you can use, along with examples, on how to respond to negative publicity on social media.

(1) The Normal Way

What’s the simplest way of addressing negative feedback on social media?

  1. Acknowledge.
  2. Apologize.
  3. Advise on a solution.

 

First, you have to indicate that you acknowledge the feedback and accept that you have shortcomings on your end. Once you’ve acknowledged that, offer a sincere apology, quickly followed up with a suggestion on how you can resolve the issue.

A good example of this is KitchenAid’s response to its Twitter crisis back in 2012, which nailed all three steps in addressing this issue.

kitchen

Cynthia Soledad, who was head of marketing at the time, went the extra mile by issuing the apology not as a brand entity, but as herself. This made the apology more sincere, and helped KitchenAid get back on its feet more easily than if it was done otherwise.

(2) The Swift Response

Due to its on-demand nature, Twitter is a favorite platform for sharing negative reviews about brands. While many businesses usually just ignore these (which isn’t a good idea), Elon Musk turned it into a weapon of his own.

Musk, founder and CEO of two of the most popular tech companies in the world, showed the world how to use Twitter as a customer service-slash-marketing tool when he directly responded to complaints about Tesla and resolved the issue in LESS THAN AN HOUR.

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Like the first example, Musk’s approach was also sincere because the response came from his personal account, not from Tesla’s.

What’s more is that Musk’s sincere apology served as a clever marketing tactic, which caused more good than harm for his company. Proof that feedback often comes from customers who actually care.

(3) Sprinkle A Little Bit of Humor

When it comes to handling customer complaints like a pro, we can all learn a lot from Tesco.

(Notice the rhyme in there? There’s more of that in our next example 😉)

Back in 2016, a Tesco customer shared a Facebook photo when he found out that the cucumber he bought had a worm in it. Tesco cleverly responded with a poem or an “ode to William” which made the post viral.

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This approach is harder to pull off than the others since you’ll need someone really good at telling great stories. It also depends if you think your customers can take a little laugh. But if you do pull this off, you can potentially pivot bad PR into a golden one that could even go viral.

Key Takeaway

Whatever approach you take, there’s one thing that should stay the same when responding to bad PR on social media: always maintain a tone of empathy.

In the end, what your customers really want is someone to listen to their story and help them with a solution.

 

Johanna drives the product and data strategies at PureB2B. She’s a two-decade veteran of the online publishing, B2B demand generation, and technology media markets. When not in the office, Johanna enjoys her family, fitness routines and reading self-help books.

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How are you “creating your presence”?

My tagline is “Creating your Presence” and what this means is that YOU need to be seen on Social Media, YOU need to sell YOU!

When we have made the decision to start using Social Media to build our business, there are many aspects that you need to consider:

  • How do I want to be seen?
  • How do I want my business to be seen?
  • What are my values?
  • Who am I?
  • Who are my potential clients?
  • Which Social Media platforms are they using?
  • What is my marketing strategy?
  • What message am I sending?

You need to take the time and answer these questions, in great detail, so that you can determine which Social Media sites you are going to focus on, what is the content you will be providing and how much time do you need to dedicate to it.

The mistake that many people make is that they believe they need to be working ALL Social Media sites and it is leading to being very time consuming.  Which in turn, causes people to give up or not get the growth they expected.

I encourage you to find your primary and secondary Social Media sites to focus on (based on where your target market is sitting) and make a marketing plan for both based on the above questions you answered.  From there, you need to schedule time on your calendar to focus on these platforms DAILY.  You can’t build a presence, you can’t build a business, without committing to it every single day.  Popping in and out will not help you to reach the goals you have set out to obtain.  It is a HUGE commitment and don’t let anyone tell you that it isn’t.

There are more elements that need to be considered when building your online presence.  You need to look at blogging, free opt-ins, networking on and off the computer, doing speaking engagements.  We live in a very competitive online world and you have to stand out above the rest.  This is why it is important to understand the value of selling yourself.  People buy/support because of the like/know/trust factor.  It is NOT going to happen overnight, I wish I could tell you that, BUT the reality is that it will take time, lots of time, to build your presence and see a return in your hard work.

When thinking about your marketing plan, I want you to go beyond your business.  I want you to look at the other elements that are available on these platforms and take advantage of them.  Look at groups, look at your personal profiles, how can you use them to create your presence?  Schedule the time needed to focus on the other elements that are available to you and go a step beyond in creating your presence.

When you commit the time to creating your presence, you will see a growth in your business BUT it takes time, don’t expect it to happen overnight and don’t fall into the trap of the “get rich quick schemes”.

Go out there and “sell you”!

 

GUEST BLOGGER: Do You Want to Get More Bang For Your Buck? Then Repurpose Your Content

We hear it all the time: “Content is King!” We are told we must have the content that reflects our values and expertise if we are to grow our businesses. But how do we find the time?

  • Do you want to spend less time creating new content and more time finding new clients?
  • Are you finding it really hard to find quality time to create quality content?

If you answered yes to either of these questions you may want to consider repurposing your content.

What does it mean to repurpose content? It means taking content you have used for one purpose, example a blog, and using it for another purpose, example course material.

Repurposing content helps you to share your work and expertise with a different audience. Some people prefer the written word, others prefer audio and still others absorb information best when it is on video. So by repurposing work across different mediums you satisfy more people and thus grow your following.

But the content must be evergreen; that is topical for a long period of time. A whitepaper that compares different desk top computers from 5 years ago is not topical. An instruction video that explains how to achieve value from networking is topical; its content will not significantly change over time.

Blogs Are Rich with Content to Repurpose

Blogs are full of valuable content that deserve a second and third life by being repurposed into something else.

Dissect your most recent blog into very small chunks of content to post to your favourite social media platforms with links back to the blog. This will reinforce your expertise to your followers and provide additional traffic to your blogs, without writing any additional content!

A favourite of ours is to write a series of blogs on a topic important to our ideal clients and followers that we later repurpose into a workbook that can be offered as a free value or as material to accompany a paid course. While we don’t have to rewrite the content we can add to the design and visual elements that increase the learnability of the content.

To reach a further audience we have selected some of our favourite blog topics and created very short audios. We call them the 2 Minute Tips; a way to learn something new in a minimum amount of time; very valuable to some people. You can find these on our website under Free Resources; www.yourplanningpartners.com.

Like many business owners we knew we had a book in us! The challenge that kept stopping us was the enormity of the task. Then we had the ‘aha’ moment. We spent time creating the structure and topics for the book and over a year started writing blogs on all the topics. You guessed it. The time came when we had the book content written and now they just needed editing and tweaking. Our book the Balanced Business Wheel was born by repurposing our blog content.

Tools of Your Trade

We work with small business owners to help them grow their business into a strong and sustainable entity. Over the years we have created tools to help our clients achieve this end. For example, we created a process and checklist to help our clients bring the right people onto their team. This tool was repurposed into a number of blogs and I am sure it will be further repurposed into something else.

Take a good hard look at some of the tools you have created for your practice. Which ones could become the subject of a blog or be used in a course? Keep in mind you are not giving away your intellectual property. You are further proving your expertise and knowledge. You are building your fan base.

So sit down with your favourite beverage and list all the tools you have in your program and identify which ones you want to repurpose. These tools might be processes, questionnaires, checklists, articles all aimed at helping your clients achieve the results they want. You will be surprised how long the list is!

Webinars Are an Excellent Source for Repurposed Content

If you do webinars read on. If you don’t do webinars read on so you can see their ongoing value.

Clarification; I mean recorded webinars. The result is a video of the webinar that can be used for many other things. A reminder; the reason we want to repurpose is because we want to expand our followers and some people much prefer video over the written word.

You repurpose the video into many things:

  • Video clips for social media
  • Video tutorials on how to use specific tools. We have done this with our business development tool called Top 20, which was part of one of our webinars.
  • Video blogs
  • Videos for your website
  • Videos for online courses

To effectively repurpose webinar recordings you need to edit the recordings into smaller chunks. To do this you have two options. Find someone to do it for you or do it yourself. If you don’t want to do it then you can find someone by asking around and/or searching Upworks.

If you want to edit videos yourself here are three different softwares we recommend:

  1. If you are PC user – Windows Movie Maker. It’s free.
  2. If you are a Mac user – iMovie. It’s also free.
  3. Photoshop Premier Elements. This is the software we use. It’s priced around $145 at Staples and you can buy it bundled with Photoshop Elements ($215) if you want to also edit photographs.

Keep in mind there are numerous video editing softwares available. These are the three we are most familiar with.

Repurposing content is only as restrictive as your creativity. We created a series of blogs to help small business owners understand their financial statements. We then took those blogs and turned them into a workbook called the Three Pillars of Financial Management™.   Its third lease on life became a webinar. All three of these still exist and are still available, each one attracting a different following.

This blog does not attempt to cover every possible repurposing strategy. If you have any questions or comments on the content of this blog, and/or you have an example of repurposing you would like to share then please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me; nick@yourplanningpartners.com.

Happy repurposing!

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Nick Hughes is cofounder of Your Planning Partners Ltd, a company that works hand in hand with small business owners to help them grow their businesses.  He and his partner Judi Hughes owned a number of successful companies before launching Your Planning Partners

Follow them on Facebook HERE

Visuals for Social Media Posts

I received a request from Action CIND to do a blog in regards to visuals

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When it comes to Social Media, one of the KEY elements is the visual that you attach to the post.  The visual will draw people in to read your posts, so it is important that you either create or choose the “right” photo that will attract people.

You can create your own visuals/graphics through a couple of options:

  • Canva
    • This site provides templates for posters, cover photos for all Social Media sites, through a drop and place method.  It allows you to upload your own photos or use existing free ones that they provide.  You can also add text, choose font styles and colours.
  • Adobe Photoshop is a program that you can purchase to create your own graphics however, personally I don’t feel that this is as user friendly for us beginners
  • PicMonkey
    • This site is similar to Canva and you can get a free trial
  • Powerpoint
    • This is a Microsoft product and most of us have it available on our computers.  Personally, this is my favourite to use to create my posters/graphics because I can work with the whole slide and then “save as” a jpg/png to upload into Social Media.  I do have a step-by-step tutorial on how to use Powerpoint to create visuals.

Click the poster to take you to purchase:

HOW TO CREATE VISUALS and POSTERS USING POWERPOINT – ONLINE VIDEO

Here are a couple of samples of what I created in Powerpoint

focus-on-building-relationships     i have learned to love me    are you offering YOU.png

When you are ready to use these graphics in a Facebook post BUT also want to have a link for people to go to, you will want to make sure you upload the photo FIRST when you are writing the post.

  1. Go to Business Page
  2. Click in the box where you are going to write your post
  3. Click on the “photo” icon and upload your visual
  4. Then write the post and paste any links you want to drive traffic to.  You might want to have accompany words like “Read More HERE” and then paste the link.

IF you write the post FIRST and paste the link, then it will auto-populate with what is existing on the website.

When it comes to finding the right visuals to use, I always encourage people to use photos of themselves, of their team, of their organization, where you can.  When you want to upload a “generic” type photo, there are a couple of FREE sites that you can some great stockphotos (these sites also allow you to purchase photos for a very low cost).

Your next step?

Go CREATE!!

 

GUEST BLOGGER: The importance of building and managing a database

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Back in 2011 I decided to hang my hat up as a custom home builder and get into the real estate industry. I was already used to working for myself, and real estate sales seemed like a perfect fit. A great industry, however, not for the faint of heart. You must have tenacity and confidence, like most businesses.

What I quickly realized after I did my studies and was told about how much money you can make in this business, is that there is a path to getting there and it’s not by listening to the masses, surround yourself with knowledgeable, successful people and have them as peer mentors. As a builder, we built up a reputation, for high end, quality work and with that my business was mostly referral based and work just always rolled in. Most of our work came to us through a couple of architects.

As a realtor, all that went away. Within two years of start up in our industry it is widely known that that 80% fail and of that 80%, 20% take the lions share of the business out there. My biggest goal, be one of the 20%.  I was lucky enough to have some connections and quickly started calling people in my circles and within three months, had my first couple of transactions underway. Then I hit a wall. I thought, signs out in the community would just cause business to flow in, that’s some of what you are taught in training. Not So.

I had quickly realized that I knew less than I thought I did about the inner workings of the real estate industry. I had to quickly face my fears. Cold Calls, door knocking, what, that’s how I must get business outside of print advertising. Hmm, suddenly I am seeing that all the things I have anxiety over are the exact things I need to get over to succeed. As they say, be careful what you ask for.

I decided to enroll in some training to get used to door knocking and cold calling and got on with it, as I was told this is the best way to build a database of contacts. I went at it, nervous, often not liking cold calls or door knocking. Time and practice got me better at it, I just didn’t like going about business this way, so I set out to set ourselves apart in our industry. We live in Keswick, ON. A town of about 25000 people and just under 10000 households.

We didn’t have deep pockets full of money, so I was thinking, how can I build my business and database in the community without spending a ton of money. Print is very expensive and unless you get calls, can’t be tracked. I noticed that our community was heavily connected on Social media, specifically Facebook, so I started following some people in my industry in the U.S. because at that time, social media was not yet a viable corridor for business in our marketplace. I learned quickly how to communicate and create content that was causing us to stand out from the crowd and we started to build a following. Then, I began to create and run at this time, six Facebook groups. Keswick Rentals to real estate resource, Newmarket Rentals to real estate resource, Georgina Lakeside living, The ONES vehicle events, the Realtor Referral Network and our business page The York Region Eco Team. Each one is Niche based and since 2015 we have build up group membership to approximately 4800 people and another 1500 plus people on my personal wall. As of late Facebook has really been stepping it up and making it easier to communicate with those we don’t know through ad posts, boost posts and with active buttons and sign up forms. With clear intention, we keep our business and personal lives separate on Facebook. ONE THING that is a KEY factor in using social media and I mentioned earlier, is to surround yourself with the right people, personally and professionally. Don’t be scrolling for hours on end, reading one negative story after another, or in groups scrolling through all the dogma, it will affect your being and it was my single biggest motivator for who I keep on personal and business walls. I control the content and energy in my groups in a positive manner and on my personal wall as well. You don’t need to unfriend or delete people. The negative ones will begin to fall away on there own. We all have stuff in our lives. Facebook should not be a portal for it. Look at it this way. Think of someone famous that uses Social outside of Donald Trump. They often share all the great highlights of there lives. Family, places, contribution to society and then they walk away. They don’t applaud or condemn those that remark to their posts, they simple create a reason for you to follow them as a fan, a leader, or for your inspiration, so that you can take this into your own life and create paths to joy and success.

People know what we do, so we do not breach that trust by boring them on our personal walls with business. Because we communicate with these people with frequency through our Niche based focus. Since 2015, we have been able on average, generate commission sales of between 80,000 to 100,000 plus each year and it is growing, with very little ad spend, until recent times, all organic, just time and genuine interest invested. In 2016, that amounted to close to 40% of how we generated income in our business.

Leadership was telling me if you really want to be successful, build a Niche based business, I was like Huh, what, HOW. They said, that’s up to you to figure out, so I sat down and started to think of what can we do that no one in our community is doing from a real estate standpoint. Giving back was important to our family, so we decided we will start doing events. Our 1st, a community garage sale for the neighborhood we lived in. I got graphics done, picked a date and then communicated through our groups and other groups in town. I also went door to door and got close to 50 homes to sign up and picked up two listings from that effort. We handled the permits, arranged to tables for those that needed them through a local supplier and I also called a friend with a green house business that donated all his end of season flowers and vegetable plants that we sold at our house with all the proceeds going back to local organizations/charities. Since starting that in 2014, We then started a yearly pie giveaway to celebrate Thanksgiving. We went to a local market and got them onside to pick up a portion of the cost and then approached a local lender to get involved and each year we giveaway 200 pies at our event, with a car show, music, face painting, our ask is to bring non-perishable food items that we donate to the local food pantry in exchange for the pie and fun times. In 2015 we started a local car show in Georgina, every Saturday night May to September, free to the public. We fund it from our real estate business, local grant, calendar sales from a calendar I create each year, with pictures from the weekly shows. We have gotten our lottery license and hold a weekly 50/50 draw, half goes to a weekly winner and half back to one of four chosen charities each summer.

We are now known as the Event King and Queen of Georgina. It is a fun and rewarding Niche we have tapped into. We have really gotten our brand built up quickly and relatively low cost, by influencing local businesses to contribute to our events, so we can offer prizes, etc. This in turn got us connected to the community. At each one of our events we have numerous prizes we are giving away and we have people filling out ballets for the prizes, along with stay in touch cards, so that we can update them on our events and how much we are giving back to the community, pictures, etc. My singular goal was to not abuse the privilege of people filling out cards and then have us harassing them. We always approach everyone from the mindset of contribution and have our brand softly build into all of it. Because of our events, open houses, door knocking, client communication, meeting people we have built our database to over 4100 individuals with emails, addresses and phone numbers, double that, when you include all of our Facebook communities, close to double that again when you include all the other platforms, like Linked In, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

This brings me to my final point of how to build up a database of client information, management!!

I quickly realized that we needed to get a Database management system. I looked at many and wanted one that best suited our needs and wants. We use a cloud based app called Contactually. It is easy to use, integrates well across all our platforms and allows me to segment all the different ways we are connecting with people and communicate with them in very focused ways. It also integrates well with Video. We use Bomb Bomb as our templated video host to communicate with our database.

It is key that you touch your database with frequency. In our industry, we are trained that you should be communicating 33 times per year. We took this very seriously and sat down and created a plan that comes from contribution first and foremost. When it comes to asking for business, we never ask directly for business and we share how clients benefit by having my 30 plus years of build knowledge at their side. We always ask who they know that may need our services and come back around to them if they are responding to us. We always reward our referrals generously. We cannot advertise this, compliance rules do not allow it, so make sure your able to do that within your business, otherwise you could get yourself in trouble.

We do a lot of video, along with edgy marketing that in not conventional in nature, always listening and learning new ways to communicate. It works, especially when you tap into your genuine self. You must however push past glass ceilings. True success lies just beyond what you believe you are currently capable of. We have gone from not being known in our community in 2014 to being in the top ten percent of realtors in our community. We didn’t spend tons of money with print ads, or highways signs, we utilized technology, social media and coming from contribution by getting out into the community with events and leveraging others through solid ideas, planning and doing what we say we will do. This has caused our business to be primarily driven by referrals now and in real estate, this is a far more economical way to build your business and I am sure, same goes for most businesses.

The Brick and mortar way of doing business is fading away. Case in Point. Amazon, versus Sears, Netflix versus Blockbuster.

There is an abundance of business everywhere in any type of economy. Just step into it and stay focused on your end goals and do not waver. Keep moving, embrace technology and leverage people…. You MUST attract people and cause them to want to communicate with you. CONTRIBUTION and TRUST are key. Then they will do business easily with you.

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Gary Semeniuk, Sales Representative.

The York Region Eco Team/Keller Williams Realty centres, Brokerage. www.yorkregionecoteam.com Email, info@yorkregionecoteam.com Facebook,  www.facebook.com/theyorkregionecoteam

GUEST BLOGGER: Why content marketing is no longer “optional” for your business

Cast your mind back ten years ago. The world was a different place. Twitter was only just coming into its own, businesses promoted their services in magazines and newspapers, and the iPhone was unveiled by the late Steve Jobs. Crazy how much changes in a decade, huh?

Today, there have never been so many ways to market your small business. Indeed, the internet has made it easier than ever to sell products and services to the world, and opening a bricks and mortar store is a thing of the past. Yet, despite social media and drag-and-drop website builders making marketing more accessible than ever before, there are still some things that you must do in order to promote your small business most effectively.

One of those digital marketing techniques is content marketing, which, simply put, involves you creating content (like blog posts, social media GIFs and infographics) and sharing it online. People are consuming more content than ever before – the chances are that you are consuming content from your favourite brands and influencers every day.

Five years ago, blogging and content marketing was considered a “nice to have” and helped you make a splash online. Today, it’s a technique that cannot be avoided. If you want to get ahead and grow your small business online, you need to start publishing today. Here’s why.

  • You’re already behind

Visit one of your competitors’ websites and click on their ‘blog’ section. When was it last updated, and how many blog posts have they published? If the answer is anything more than you, then you’re already behind what everyone else is doing and you risk losing out on business because of your competitors’ forward-thinking actions and attitudes to marketing.

Every blog post your competitor publishes is one more than you – and another chance for them to rank on Google for a term that you probably hadn’t even thought about.

The good news is that you can still catch up – and you don’t even have to put in as much time and effort as they have if you know what you’re doing.

Brian Dean’s skyscraper technique is a great example of this. Simply take the content that your competitor has published and rank for, and make it ten times better.

Add resources, go into more detail, turn it into an infographic or bring video and animation to the table. Just do something that takes the content to the next level, and get it published as soon as you can.

From there, you can reach out to bloggers and let them know about your swanky new creation; if they like it enough, they might share it on social or link to it in their content.

  • Content can convert

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of content marketing is its ability to help convert your visitors and readers into leads and customers. While the main purpose of your content should be to inform and entertain your audience, a secondary aim should be to extract data from readers or get them to enter your sales funnel. You can do this with a call to action.

Calls to action can be added to the bottom of every post manually (for example, “if you want to find out more about our latest products, click here”) or you could set up code in your website’s template or theme to automatically add a call to action to the bottom, or inside of, your content. You can do this on your website with a WordPress CTA plugin.

  • Google wants to reward you

Let’s talk about search engine optimisation. Long-form, engaging content that offers value to your readers and is linked to by other bloggers will rank highly and help you increase the amount of organic traffic coming to your website. And so every time you add a new post to your website, you’re giving Google another reason to come back to your website and crawl it – and as such, you’ll have another chance to rank for a competitive term or search query.

If your blog section is empty or non-existent, then Google won’t be able to give you the same ranking benefits as a site that has lots of juicy content published on a regular basis. That means it’ll be harder to rank for your keywords and harder to stay there if you do.

  • You’re future-proofing your business

The truth is that nobody knows where the digital marketing world will be in ten years’ time. Of course, we’re beginning to make strides into live video and virtual reality, but there’s still a need for written, engaging content – and there probably always will be. Just like how radio and television revolutionised news and media, video and VR will change how we consume content – but that doesn’t mean ‘traditional’ methods like written content will die out.

By writing content on a regular basis (like once a week, twice per month) will allow you to create a “bank” of valuable resources that drive consistent traffic to your website. And as your material becomes stale or outdated, you can go back over them and refresh and reuse them to keep them at the top of search engine results pages. After all, Google is known to favour older content than fresh content that’s only just been published.

We’ve only just scratched the surface on why content marketing is so important for your business, and there’s certainly more than we could cover. Like how content can streamline your social media strategy and send more referral traffic to your website; or how content can help you generate backlinks through blogger outreach and guest blogging.

The truth is that the benefits of content marketing are endless, so starting today will help you land more customers and keep your business as competitive and current as possible. So what are you waiting for – it’s time to dust off your keyboard, fire up your CMS and start writing quality content that your customers are just waiting to read. Good luck!

About the Author

Max Greene is the Managing Director of Muffin Marketing, a marketing agency specialising in content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimisation.