Writing a Q&A small business column as I do for USA TODAY, I necessarily hear from a lot of small business owners. They tell me what works and what doesn’t. They share their tricks and tips and strategies and in turn, I share those with my readers.
One thing that has become abundantly clear in the past few years is that marketing has taken a decided turn for the better. Certainly I have seen this in my own business. Back in the day, I practiced law (but fear not, I came to my senses long ago!) Back then, getting clients was both an iffy and expensive process. Put an ad in the paper and hope people saw it. Record a radio spot and hope people heard it.
That was a lot of hoping. Way too much hoping. There is a better way these days. While I don’t have a favorite method per se, here are my top tech marketing tools today:
1. Content marketing: People love content. Look – you are reading some right now. Using content to drive traffic and sales is called “content marketing.” There are a lot of ways to do it, but here are my three, simple, handy dandy tips:
- First, create some valuable content. It could be a blog, an article, a video, a podcast, whatever. There is no shortage of options today, that’s for sure. Say that you own a nail salon. A video entitled “3 Mani-Pedi scams you better to know!” might work.
- Second, in your video (or article or blog), link back to your site.
- Finally, share the article via your social networks, your e-newsletter, your blog, wherever. Get people to share it.
And that’s it. While certainly a simplified plan, the fact is, if your content is valuable, people will share it, and they will click the links and go to your site. Voila!
2. Video: I mention video twice up front because it is that important. Did you watch a video online today? Most likely, the answer is yes. There are 900 million unique visitors to YouTube every month and 300 hours of video added to it every minute. While yes, that is a lot of competition, it is the broader point that is more important:
Video is hot.
Add video to your website or Facebook page and people will watch it. Period.
3. Search engine optimization (SEO): No, getting to the top of a Google ranking is not easy. SEO is not easy. But it’s not impossible either. What it takes is a little knowledge and some time. If you create some keyword-rich, specific pages on your website and SEO them, they will get found, and when that happens, it is marketing gold because people will start clicking over to your site 24/7/365 with no additional effort on your part.
4. Pay-per-click (PPC): Even if you have a tough time getting that No. 1 Google ranking, you can still get found on a Page 1 search result by buying an ad for those keywords and phrases. And one of the ways that marketing is so much better today is that you don’t pay for that ad until someone sees it and clicks on it.
5. E-newsletters: What I love about e-newsletters is that they are permission-based ads. That is, by opting-in, people are giving you permission to contact them. That is amazing.