In an earlier article, I shared some thoughts and strategies about the incredible opportunities that this new world of online marketing offers to small business owners. Starting with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and social media, and moving on to the various forms of online advertising; the basic tools available to the small business marketer are truly powerful.
I would like to dive a little deeper into this subject and share four more “advanced” e-marketing techniques that you can use to get more business and build your brand.
1. Content marketing: There is a saying in the Internet world that you have probably heard – “Content is king.” Content is king because with so many sites and platforms vying for people’s attention, the one sure way to get noticed is by creating and offering valuable, great content.
Content marketing takes that idea and doubles down on it; content marketing has become the new e-kid on the e-marketing block.
For example: While people may not be eager to watch an online ad promoting, say, toothpaste, they would be more inclined to read an article (which mentions the toothpaste) entitled, “6 Amazing Things You Never Knew About Toothpaste.” That’s the idea behind content marketing. It emphasizes content, and blends in marketing.
You can use content to market your business in one of two effective ways:
- First, like the example above, within your content you can embed your product. Since sharing content is such a big deal now, when people find your content they will hear about you.
- Second, you can simply create great content that links back to your site and use it to generate leads.
Of course, the key is that phrase, “great content.”
2. Opting-in: One of the beautiful things about e-marketing is that you can get people to give you permission to market to them. Think about it: When you sign up for an e-newsletter and give a site your email address (i.e., opting-in), what are you doing other than giving that site permission to contact you? Of course, the deal you are implicitly making is that they won’t take advantage of it.
Creating a list of people who give you permission to contact them is crucial in the e-marketing world. Here are some other ways to get people to opt-in:
- “Register for more content” – Have people register on your site in order to read more or get more exclusive content/info.
- Offer a freebie: Have people opt-in to get a free e-book or a valuable report or a whitepaper.
- Have a contest: Contests are a tried-and-true way to get people to opt-in.
3. E-newsletters: You can use e-newsletters in two ways to market your business online:
First, by creating your own valuable e-newsletter, people will want to opt-in, and again, as long as you don’t take advantage of that permission, you will be able to send them valuable content (and an occasional pitch!) on a regular basis.
The second way to market with e-newsletters is to find someone else’s e-newsletter that reaches your desired demographic and advertise in it. For example, “this week only – our super effective, whitening toothpaste on sale for only $4.95. Click here to learn more.”
4. Digital exercises: There is a content explosion these days which means folks are open to many different platforms offering various types of content. To take advantage of this trend, you could, for example:
- Do a webinar
- Have a tweetchat
- Create a YouTube show
So yes, there are a lot of ways to promote a business now. The important thing to remember is that whatever you do will live forever online, so make sure it will continue to shine a positive light on your brand.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.
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