Marketing can be expensive, which means it can be difficult to design an effective strategy if you're a small business. However, there are affordable ways that companies can achieve marketing success without having to spend a fortune.
Best-selling author Neil Patel has become an industry leader on just this matter, founding Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics. The 32-year-old has helped companies like Amazon, HP, and Viacom grow their revenue by enabling them to get better insight about their consumers.
But how can this help your small business make the most of its marketing efforts? Read some of his best advice on how companies of all sizes can put together a comprehensive marketing strategy:
Think about the content you're putting out
Producing content is a brilliant thing but if you are putting out mediocre content then you risk alienating your audience and wasting your time on ineffective marketing efforts. You need to think carefully about how content marketing can help you achieve your business goals and what engaging articles you can create to support this. Your business should make sure it's offering unique insights to your audience, rather than duplicating content already available. It's also important to look at the metrics and KPIs you'll use to measure success and your blog's engagement levels so you can tweak it as you go along.
User-generated content (UGC) is a fantastic way to take your content marketing efforts to the next level. There is a variety of ways you can achieve this but they all look to the most engaged and loyal of your consumers to help promote your services or brand. Patel highlights that it's important for businesses to moderate any UGC content that comes across too spammy or below standard.
Preparation is key
Once you have seriously thought about the shape of your content marketing strategy, you need to develop a content calendar. This will help ensure your efforts are cohesive and that your audience will have a continual flow, rather than uploading all your articles within a short period of time. You can then align this with social media and any other marketing efforts you have to make sure your strategy is well-rounded and is targeting people at the right stage in the consumer journey.
If you are creating the articles yourself, you'll want to ensure you have the right tone for your audience. Identifying this often relies on doing persona research, as you may find you're completely wrong about the consumers buying from and engaging with you online. Patel highlights how most people respond much better to a conversational-style of blog, rather than something more suited to a school essay or report.
For those starting from scratch, he recommends utilizing title generators or headline formulas when you begin.
Smartphone usage has steadily become more popular for consumers who want to browse, shop and socialize online. In 2016, there were more people using mobile devices instead of desktop computers to browse the internet. This led to Google updating its algorithm to prioritize mobile-friendly web pages. Therefore, it's incredibly important that you are thinking about how your content will look on tablets and smartphones.
Step outside your site
As well as covering your site and social media in your marketing strategy, it is also a good idea to assess opportunities beyond these that could help raise awareness of your company. Forum marketing can help get your business in front of more people while also showing off your expertise and customer service.
Patel advises finding a forum that is connected to your industry and regularly answering questions and getting involved in conversations. This can allow you to highlight the products and services you provide, as well as help you find leads.
Don't expect overnight success
The best content marketing strategies are built over a long period of time, so you shouldn't expect instant success. The most important thing to do is to make sure you are creating content that aligns with your brand's principles and that you're proud of. ROI isn’t a short-term investment and so longer, more in-depth content that will still be relevant in years to come delivers the best results.
You'll need to be patient to get the best strategy for your marketing efforts and ensure you are prepared to continue giving your audience regular insights.