While most of us are still in the mindset of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, the world of social media is changing how business is being advised and marketed. Millennials and Digital Natives have shifted the way we look at business and how to engage with consumers.
According to HubSpot Blogs research, 57% of Gen Z-ers use social media to find products they want, while 48% of millennials do the same. And the numbers are rising.
If your business is physical, you’ll need to get online to market yourself, your products, and respond to customer questions. This is especially important if you’re a small business since many potential customers are researching products and companies online before buying from a brand or retailer.
To get started, simply follow these seven steps:
1. Create a business website
If you don’t have a business website yet, create one immediately. That is what Google and other search engines will consider you to be first in line for when a consumer is looking for a product or service related to your niche. Having a website also helps you establish credibility since most people will assume that a company with a website is a more reliable source than one without a website.
Make sure to register your website with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office so that you can protect your intellectual property and prevent others from taking your idea and profiting off of it.
2. Build a brand voice
Creating a brand voice isn’t as simple as it seems. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 65% of consumers feel that corporate websites and emails always sound the same. So if you want to differentiate yourself from competitors, you’ll need to think of a way to stand out while still maintaining consistency throughout your communications.
For example, if you are an attorney specializing in family law, you may want to consider creating an ‘attorney voice’ that is concise, powerful, and easy to understand. And if you are a plumber, you may want to consider creating a ‘plumber voice’ that is professional, authoritative, and confident.
3. Position yourself as an expert
While we all strive to be experts in our chosen fields, you’ll need to position yourself as an expert in your industry even if you aren’t currently considered one. Why? Because people will assume that you are an expert just because you are deemed so by default.
This is why it is so important to establish your website as a source of credible, valuable information. If you want to be taken seriously as an expert in your industry, you’ll need to prove it. And the fastest way to do so is by creating or contributing to an industry publication. Publishing your views on an industry subject allows you to further establish yourself as an expert in your field while also gaining credibility with potential customers who might be interested in your services.
4. Develop a marketing strategy
Once you’ve established yourself as an expert in your field, you’ll be able to create a comprehensive marketing strategy that will help you reach the right audience and grow your business. Developing a marketing strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require you to think through all of the steps that will get you from here to there.
As a small business owner, you’ll likely have limited resources that you are able to invest in marketing. Therefore, you’ll need to choose your spots carefully and consider the value that each individual marketing channel provides.
For example, LinkedIn is a great place for business owners to establish themselves as experts since it is a professionally-oriented platform geared toward business owners and executives. And if you’ve already decided that blogging is a useful tool in your toolbox, then developing a blog that offers valuable information to your potential customers makes perfect sense.
Once you’ve established yourself as an expert in your industry, you’ll be able to craft a compelling message that will make your blog posts interesting and engaging.
5. Create compelling content
Content is vital to the success of any business, and it is especially important for a business that is marketing itself online. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 86% of consumers feel that the content provided on a website is more valuable than the website itself. This means that you ought to put in the time and effort to create valuable content that will keep your website visitors coming back for more.
When developing your content, ask yourself questions such as: Why do I want to write this piece? Is there an opportunity to speak to a specific audience? What am I trying to accomplish with this content?
To generate interest in your business, you’ll need to provide value to your potential customers through engaging content.
6. Use your specialties to establish yourself as an expert
Depending on the size of your business, you may have several specialties that you could develop into a full-fledged marketing strategy. If you’ve decided that blogging is a useful tool in your toolbox but you aren’t sure where to start, focus on the areas of expertise that you possess.
For example, if you are a nutritionist who focuses on health and nutrition, establish yourself as an expert in this field by creating content around diet plans, recipes, nutrition facts, and the like.
7. Measure the results of your efforts
To determine the success of your marketing efforts, it’s important to measure the results of your strategy. To start, you’ll need to consider the metrics that are important to you as a business owner. And, of course, you’ll need to track the results of your efforts for continued improvement.
To determine how effective your content is, you can use several tools. For example, you can use Google Analytics to track the traffic to individual blog posts. You can also use Hootsuite to track the success of your social media marketing strategy by analyzing the engagement and reach of your social media accounts.