The rapid rise of Internet as a part of the daily lives of people have caused major shifts for businesses, especially in marketing. Many have realized that they are able to target more audiences that were previously inaccessible to them due to location and budget constraints, and have more measurable statistics they can track to figure out if their strategies are giving them their desired results.
The beauty of digital marketing also lies in how it isn’t something restricted to a business’ status or how popular a brand is. With digital marketing, what matters most is how much you understand your audience and potential customers, and while a large budget can certainly get you initial attention via paid advertising, in the end it lies with how well you can connect with your audience in order to convince them to check you out.
Digital marketing, when done right, can even propel SMBs on par with some of the bigger fish in the industry. And to stand out from the crowd, it takes some innovative ways that are guaranteed to reap your business success on its digital marketing efforts.
Today, we’ll discuss 8 innovative ideas for SMBs this year and how they can help them amp up their digital marketing strategies like never before.
Create quality, informative content
Easily one of the methods gaining popularity with recent years, especially with digital marketing trends, content marketing gives you more than a few benefits for a handful of 500-or-more-worded article detailing your insights and expertise.
Image from BloggersandBacon.com
Here are a few tips you can follow for creating content that can help you drive traffic to your website:
- Create and distribute valuable, timely, relevant, informative and entertaining content. It provides you with the opportunity to drive organic traffic to your website and increase customer acquisition. According to Social eMedia, marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to realize a positive ROI.
- Explore other formats of creating content. Unlike before, blog posts aren’t just the only way you can deliver content to your niche. Try options such as e-books, infographics, webinars, podcasts, videos, white papers, and case studies where you can detail topics and ideas connected to your business that can be of use to your audience.
- Have a strategic content promotion plan to attract traffic to your content. Start sharing your content in social media in strategic points – usually when it’s freshly-released and then a few instances over the next weeks.
Employing a full-force social media marketing strategy
Social media has become an integral part in the lives of the most of the population today, and it’s more than certain that your market can be found in multiple social media platforms.
Image from DoraSeeks.com
This avenue is your easiest highway to getting noticed by your market, but you must play it smart as well.
- Focus on one to three social media platforms at a time. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to present in various social media platforms. Not only will you likely end up straining your efforts, your attention is also divided by managing multiple accounts when you can just focus on three at most. It’s also likely that the bulk of your market can be found in a specific social media platform, eliminating you the need to hunt them down extensively.
- Post smartly and strategically after gaining insights on your audiences’ behavior. Social media posting is not also a simple principle of posting whenever you please. Your audience may be active in a specific time period, and many Analytics can give you this information. By posting whenever your audience is most online, you can target their attention more easily.
- Grab the attention of and collaborate with your niche’s influencers – people who are well-known throughout your niche by being people of credible status whose opinions can influence consumer behavior, especially if you are working with a millennial market. Their words get out quickly, and if you manage to grab their attention, you’ll gather more audiences in a shorter span of time.
Repurpose content for more coverage
Publishing content is definitely a good marketing tactic, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t face days when you’re running low on topics to discuss. If unsolved, you might find yourself at a loss on what to publish next, which can deprive you of the benefits you’re enjoying with content marketing.
A way to prevent this is by repurposing your content. Here are a few pointers to consider when repurposing your content:
- Evaluate what format you can repurpose it to. Content can be translated to various formats when repurposing them, depending on where you plan to repost it or what you think can be a better medium for your message. For example, webinars can be recorded and repurposed into video tutorials, blog posts can turn into podcasts or infographics, and even multiple posts about a certain topic can be condensed into a comprehensive guide.
- Determine if you need to update your previous content. Sometimes, all it takes is updating a previous content for it to be repurposed. Great examples of these are yearly trends (i.e. fashion trends, technology trends, etc.) and statistics-related posts. Research on if there are any updates on any of your previous topics and use them to repurpose your previous content.
- Touch up more on a point you mentioned before. In extensive guides or posts, you may have mentioned a point that might be worth expanding on but you never did to cut down on word count and length. Now’s the chance to give more insight on that specific point.
Try out guest posting in various websites
To get your reach out, especially if you are looking to being recognized as a thought leader, you should try your hand in responsible guest posting. It’s a great way of introducing yourself to more audiences without needing to pay for advertising (in most cases).
(my guest post piece in techinasia.com)
Many websites have blogs that allow guests to write for them and have certain rules about advertising your business – such as allowing you to have an author’s bio where your business’ link can be featured, or can allow you to feature your products as examples for the points you are trying to make.
Essentially, guest posting is similar to content marketing, only you do it in another website and you have to adhere to the website’s posting guidelines. However, the payoff is great, especially if you manage to publish a quality article in a reputable website.
Participate in forums and groups
Mainstream social media platforms are not your only method of connecting with the bulk of your market. Many businesses may not know of this and many marketers may see this as outdated, but you have a good chance of connecting with your market through forums and groups online.
Quora, Reddit, LinkedIn Groups, and Google+ are just some of the platforms that offer this experience.
Here are some tips you should keep in mind:
- Engage with these online communities, share your insights, and converse with them in an authentic manner. Many of these online forum and group members are used to conversing with all types of people online and can feel if you are genuinely trying to give input or just looking for a sell. In a sense, this is where the millennial behavior has rooted from.
- Make sure you are in the best area to be talking about your expertise in order to tap on the right niche you are looking for. For example, Reddit has subgroups called “subreddits” where people talk with others depending on the label of the subreddit – be it video games, politics, science, sports, etc.
- Provide links to your website or blog whenever relevant so people know that you can help them more through the proper channels, and that you may even have some answers in your own domain that they may not be aware of. This gives you credibility and gains trust for your brand.
Switch to inbound lead generation
Big businesses have already started to grasp this concept, but if you haven’t, it’s definitely the time to do so. Inbound lead generation simply makes use of marketing so that customers come to you, instead of you trying to push your brand onto them.
The key with inbound lead generation is the opt-in: everyone you speak with has indicated their interest and given permission for a follow-up. There’s no need for cold-calling, cold emailing, or even extensive advertising involved for campaigns that employ this.
Some of the ways that you can employ inbound lead generation may be methods you’re already doing today – if you’ve been following the tips on this guide so far. You can also take steps like optimizing your landing pages to be more inviting and easy to navigate through or even giving them free stuff in exchange for leads (i.e. email addresses).
Explore video marketing
As we mentioned earlier, videos are starting to become a trend with content marketing, and for good reasons. They are dynamic and informative without boring audiences with excessive words and insane post lengths. In fact, Cisco estimates that by 2019, video will account for 80% of global internet traffic, and 85% in the US.
Image from Linkdex.com
A great example of this lies with BuzzFeed’s Tasty. The minute-long videos (sometimes more) of cooking demonstrations have gained massive popularity for anyone and everyone who loves food, loves watching cooking shows and videos, or are friends of these people. They average hundreds of thousands of shares as well as millions of views in Facebook alone attests to their massive success.
Just about anything can be made into a video – from Top 10 lists to general information – and most of the time you won’t need an extensive production team or equipment for it. Quality phone or digital cameras and a good knowledge of what format you’re going for sometimes is enough to get you started.
Hold contests online
Many people are competitive by nature, especially when the rewards are something they absolutely need or want.
Image from ScottsMarketplace.com
While the idea of contests may not necessarily be innovative, taking it to the Internet has been a trend for the recent years due to its accessibility to everyone, even those who are not in the general vicinity of the business, allowing audiences from far and wide to participate.
- Social media or Internet contests can range from anything like witty captions for pictures, submitting the best content or comments they can give pertaining to a subject, “Likefests”, etc. The key is making your own spin to the contest type.
- Offer them prices that are hard to come by, such as a few hundred dollars’ worth of products or services, concert or movie tickets, the chance to contribute to your business, or even be featured on your social media pages. The more prestigious or hard-to-come-by your prizes are, the better the chance of people joining.
- Associate it with a unique and memorable hashtag, or timing it with holidays, events, or special occasions. That way, it’s easier for you to come up with contest themes and get more people engaged.
If your business is not yet implementing a polished and systematic digital marketing strategy, this year is the best time to do so. With the markets now heavily concentrated in the Internet – a trend that only grows with each passing year – you will be missing out on an enormous portion of opportunities. Digital marketing isn’t hard to accomplish these days, and making the most out of it will give you a huge boost towards success.