Today, great marketing takes more than a flashy billboard on a high-traffic freeway. And gone are the days when starting your business name with “A” — to appear first in the phonebook — yielded streams of customers. Marketing is now digital-first, and businesses of any type need to align their strategies and tactics to match.
Thankfully, the process of implementing digital marketing techniques has been democratized. Business owners have access to easy-to-use tools, widely available information, and free data. If you’re just starting, check out these three digital marketing tactics that’ll get eyes and dollars coming your way.
1. Optimize Your Content Planning and Production Efforts for Search
What are you doing to establish your expertise if you’re not creating content? If this question has you stumped, get used to the idea. Trade professionals, attorneys, and every profession in between owe it to their business to create content.
But what kind of content should you create, and where should you put it? First, think about your industry, where you see yourself in it, and how you want to engage your customers. Next, list out the topics and issues you feel most competent to speak to. Then, review Google Analytics to learn what your customers are searching for. The service is free and easy to use, so don’t be intimidated by a new platform with its own language.
What you’re looking for are keywords and phrases that play nicely with search engines. This process identifies key terms people are searching for and compares them against websites. The more frequently those terms appear on reputable sites, the higher they’ll rank. Called search engine optimization, this practice can help you ensure your content gets seen.
If you’re an attorney developing your law firm SEO strategy, you might create a blog where you share information relevant to your target audience. In a business-to-business space, you may dig into contractual law and what startups may need to know before hiring counsel. In consumer-facing law, you may provide an overview of estate planning options. Both approaches give potential clients a glimpse at your expertise, helping you stand out online and on their list of possible attorneys.
2. Offer Free Education and Resources to Gain Trust and Establish Expertise
Researching topics online can get confusing quickly. It can be hard to know whom to trust and what’s real. Unfortunately, clickbait can trick readers of any degree of digital expertise. That’s why it’s important for you to provide clarity to the confusion.
Start by considering what educational resources, tips, and information you can offer to potential clients. If you’re a skilled tradesperson, you likely perform work that requires hiring someone with your expertise. But your clients may also have home improvement needs in between your visits and could use your expert advice to address them.
If you’re a heating and air conditioning professional, your clients do need to conduct maintenance between visits. But most people don’t take a Homeowners 101 course upon closing their home purchase. Fill their information gaps with educational resources that help them through an often stressful process.
As part of your digital marketing campaign, offer gated access to a free educational e-book for new homeowners. In your e-book, walk them through the steps they need to take to maintain their systems. Offer milestone and pricing information for system replacement, cleaning, and annual maintenance. (Be sure to include your contact information so prospects can reach out to you for any of these services.) After the download this resource, you’ll have their email address in your database to send them newsletters and special offers.
3. Convert Your Valuable Content Into Infotainment That Engages Across Platforms
Creating all of that content on your blog and in your e-book was a lot of work. So why not get even more from your efforts? Convert your valuable content into “infotainment” assets that work across platforms. In doing so, you’ll end up with five or more iterations of information after creating one set of core content.
Use your blog copy to serve as a script for a video. Record it on your high-quality phone camera using the 4K setting for the best image quality. Don’t overthink production; most consumers find self-produced content acceptable. Instead, focus on the quality of the information while maintaining an acceptable image and setting.
Record your video at your desk, or if you’re the HVAC professional, in front of the system you’re discussing. Show viewers the pieces of the complex equipment so they have a visual of what you’re referring to. Create a short intro screen and outro using a free design software platform like Canva. Export your video and upload it to YouTube.
Link your video to your website, include it in your email campaigns, and integrate it into your e-book. Strip the audio from the video and, voila, you have the beginnings of a podcast. Use the free service Anchor, which can guide you step-by-step through creating your first episode. Repeat this process consistently, stamping each item with your company logo, contact information, and call to action. This strategy makes the best use of your time and gives potential customers multiple ways to experience your content.
Digital Marketing Is for Everyone
Launching a digital marketing strategy is a big deal for a business owner. As you graduate from business cards, mailers, and handshakes, don’t lose sight of one timeless tenet — the primacy of relationships.
Whether in person or online, it’s relationships that matter most. Work to establish digital relationships by building trust through authentic communication, helpful information, and candor. When your clients start to work with you, they’ll feel like they already know and understand your methods. This lets you get down to the business of exceeding their expectations.
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