As a 21st century business owner, you probably already know a fair bit about digital marketing, online marketing, social media marketing etc. However, it’s possible that you don’t quite know how to make it all work for you. Well, that is the point of this article. We’re going to discuss some basic techniques for using the tools that are FREELY available to you to make an impact in your business network and grow your customer base.
Online marketing (and the tools used) can be summarized into three approaches:
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
There are several different aspects of each of these different approaches that we need to discuss in detail, and we will do so over the next few weeks. However, today, we will only do a brief introduction to each of them.
Social Media Marketing
Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest…
Social Media is ‘gold’ for the small business owner, and one of the main reasons is because it is free – mostly. Signing on to most social networks will not cost you anything, yet it provides everything you need to grow and engage your fan (customer) base.
With the ability to share (and collect) information in real-time, gain useful insight (some of which is automated for you) and create/manage conversations amongst your customers, social media is the marketers dream. A few decades ago, you would need to pay top dollar for this sort of information.
Another advantage of social media marketing is that the tools are quite familiar and intuitive. This is probably because you already use social networks, albeit for your personal needs. Look at it this way: you have been doing your own marketing training in your own time – and you’ve quite enjoyed yourself while at it. You already know how to post to Facebook, Like pictures on Instagram and Retweet. Now, all you need to figure out is how to use all of this for your business – we will get to that.
You’ve probably received an email or two from Konga, Jumia or DealDey. Those emails are part of a solid email marketing strategy, which they have honed over the years and as a result, on Friday afternoon, while you’re winding down at your desk, gearing for the weekend, a timely email pops up: “Enjoy Your Weekend with Extra 20% Off All Orders”, or “Last Minute Deals for Weekend Getaways”. The truth is you’re quite likely to click on that email and you may not buy anything, but that’s just it – you’re engaging with them at that particular point in time. That is that whole idea.
Email marketing is not just about sending out proposals to your potential customers. It is about creating a following, and engaging them in a timely manner, in order to deliver your message – and that message could be anything:
- “I offer a better cleaning service that your current cleaning company”
- “Help me help starving children in war-torn Africa”
- “If you click me now, I will help you save 50% on that dress you know you want”
- … etc.
In the coming weeks, we will look at different tools and strategies for email marketing – and see how we can help you get started.
First of all, what is content marketing? Content marketing involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant information, which is designed to attract and retain a specific audience, and ultimately convince them to perform a certain action, such as buy your products or hire you for your services. Summarily, content marketing is how you show your target market that you know what you’re talking about.
Take for example, you claim to be the best handyman in all of the city. Why should anyone believe you? I suppose you could post before-and-after pictures of your work *hint hint*, or you could have your customers write you fantastic testimonials *hint hint* again. Then again, what if you could establish yourself as the local guru for all things regarding domestic repairs? By sharing knowledge that will help the locals perform simple fixes (such as repairing leaky faucets and rickety door hinges), you build your own following amongst the locals and earn their trust. Thus, when something major happens, say their roof caves in, they will be quick to run to you.
This is just one of the many ways you could use content marketing. We will explore it in further detail later.
With that, we’ve come to the end of our first post in this series. Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject. We’d love your feedback.
That said, until next time… have a good weekend! Cheers!