When you set up shop online, your prospects are limitless. You can reach an audience of millions, connect with prospective clients, and earn money from your couch. So it’s no surprise that so many people have taken the bait and jumped in without a paddle.
While you might be tempted to keep your online presence incognito, allowing you to dive straight into the action, local business professionals can be a lucrative market to tap into. If you want to become the go-to source for your niche, you’ll need to learn how to market your business online.
Step one: Define your target audience
The first thing you need to do to start marketing your business is to define your target audience. Who are you marketing this product or service to? What will they benefit from your product or service?
To answer these questions, you’ll need to get to know your customers or potential customers. Take some time to find out more about them, where they’re located, and what issues they’re facing (if any).
By understanding your target audience’s needs and wants, you’ll be able to craft compelling messages that will engage them and make them think of you when they have a need for your product or service. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you could end up with a target audience that’s not at all ready to buy your product or service, but who you share a bond with (e.g., family, friends, and acquaintances). In that case, it could be difficult to market your business, especially since they may not see the true value in what you’re offering.
Step two: Create compelling content
If you’re a newcomer to marketing, you might be wondering where to start. Where should you focus your efforts? What should you write about? What platforms are suitable for your content?
Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Follow the steps below and your content will gain momentum.
First, decide what you’ll write about: maybe you’ll focus on the types of services you offer, how you can help solve their specific problems, or maybe you’ll even publish one or two case studies on previous clients. Whatever you do, make sure that your content is useful and helps solve problems for your target audience.
Then, take some time to gather information about your topic. Check out the topic suggestions below and get inspired — you might come up with a topic that’s already useful to you. Once you’ve got your topic chosen, you can move on to the next step.
Step three: Create compelling calls to action
In order to attract potential customers to your business, you’ll need to incorporate calls to action into your content. These are the specific words and phrases that you and your business rely on to communicate with your audience. For example, if you’re writing a food blog, you might include the following calls to action:
- Browse our recipes
- Sign up for our newsletter
- Contact us about our upcoming cooking classes
As the blog owner, you’re in a unique position to learn about your customers and to learn what will make them tick. By incorporating calls to action into your content, you’ll be able to tailor specific messages to different groups of people. However, it’s also important to include these words and phrases in the body of your content as well. Your readers will not have much patience for a lengthy call to action if you haven’t provided them with enough value (i.e., useful information) in the first place.
Step four: Measure the success of your content marketing
Just because you’ve got content doesn’t mean that you’ve succeeded in your campaign to market your business. In order to learn more, you’ll need to track the results of your content marketing efforts. Luckily for you, we’ve got some tools that can help. We’ve built a content intelligence network that can track the success of your content marketing campaigns. After you’ve entered a few details about your target audience and set up some automated emails to send out, you’ll be able to get an idea of the overall performance of your content marketing strategy. This could include things like the average time your target audience spends reading your content, the number of pages they read, how many times they interacted with a specific piece of content, and more.
Taking the time to measure the performance of your content can give you a better idea of whether or not your efforts were worth it. If you notice that a specific piece of content received a poor response, you can either remove it or alter it to make it more appealing. For example, if one of your recipes was panned by a reader, you could scrap it and try again with a new approach. Alternatively, you could ask the reviewer for suggestions on how to make it better. This could include changing the name of the recipe, simplifying the ingredients, or even switching the recipe altogether. Don’t be discouraged if your first piece of content doesn’t perform well. With a little bit of research and some ingenuity, you could turn it into a winner. And at the very least, you’ll know what didn’t work and won’t be wasting your time (and money) in the future.
Step five: Use marketing analytics tools
Having a good handle on your target audience, content, and calls to action should give you a good idea of how to market your business. If you want to dive deeper into this process, you can use the following marketing tools:
- Google Analytics
- XML Sitemap Generator
- A/B Testing Tool
Each tool offers you a different perspective on your marketing efforts. For example, Google Analytics can help you track the performance of your website and monitor your social media marketing efforts. The XML Sitemap Generator can help you create and maintain a static site that’s optimized for SEO purposes, while HubSpot provides you with a single view of all of your marketing efforts — from emails to social media posts to website content — in one place. Email marketing platform MailChimp is ideal for sending out personalized emails to your target audience. And finally, the A/B testing tool can help you determine the effectiveness of different marketing messages in reaching your target audience.
If you’re serious about marketing your business, you might want to consider investing in a single tool that can help you measure the performance of your content across multiple platforms. For example, if you’ve got a WordPress blog, you could use the Google Analytics platform to track the performance of your content on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook as well. This way you can get a better picture of the effectiveness of your campaign, regardless of whether or not you have a blog.
Keep in mind that no one tool provides you with all of the answers. Rather, you need to build a toolbox of resources, including the people, software, and training you need to succeed. With a little bit of effort, research, and trial and error, you’ll be able to create a solid foundation for your business.