The most obvious difference is resources (more money to invest/spend and more people to help out).
But the other thing is that successful companies in online marketing understand how to systematically scale and grow their businesses.
They know what the Cost of Customer Acquisition is, and the Lifetime Value of a Customer. So they know how much they can spend on paid channels, and how to optimize conversions and testing to improve.
They have a long-term strategy set in place, and the individual tactics they use or experiment with follow that strategy.
Smaller companies, or less successful corporations spend too much time obsessing over tactical issues (that usually don’t have a huge influence), and may lose sight of their goals because they don’t/can’t quantify their effort.
How can the small business stand out online?
1. Have a voice (personality): I was once at a conference, and one of the panelists was in charge of PR for a large multinational. She literally had a list of “social media responses” that her legal team blessed. She (and her team) weren’t allowed to deviate from that.
That is the exact opposite of how social media works. No one will feel passionate about a brand that hides behind a list of standard responses.
So you can be more human, and use speed to your advantage.
2. Stand for something: SImon Sinek has a great TED talk about how people buy “why you do it”. Almost every product or service you can sell today is a commodity. So what you need to realize is that people don’t buy your “product” or “service”, they’re buying a solution.
So Simon’s talk hits this point home and gives you pointers on how your business can stand for something.
3. Have enemies: If your business is going to stand for something, then there needs to be examples (whether it’s other companies or ways of doing something) that you don’t agree with. You’re not trying to market to every single potential customers. You’re trying to market to customers that buy into your worldview.
So these customers will respond when you get them emotionally engaged and committed to your cause - not the other persons.
What is content marketing in your eyes?
Content marketing is the process of creating content for the purpose of increasing awareness, attention and engagement around your brand.
It can help companies create their own media marketing asset - which gives them the ability to build an audience and market directly to that audience over time.
The result is that you’re able to acquire customers for much less, and keep them around longer (all while decreasing your costs related to advertising, etc)
Which forms of content marketing are effective for small businesses?
- Blogging: It gets people “in the door” and keeps them coming back. This format is also most widely adopted and distributed - giving you the best option for reach.
- Email newsletters: Email is still the best converting online channel by far. So invest in creating email marketing campaigns for prospective, current, and past customers. You can even automate and schedule lifecycle emails (http://fixcourse.com/lifecycle-email-marketing/) to give you the best return on your effort.
What are the 3 most important criteria that a business owner must look out for in creating a content strategy?
- Why should my target customers care? Most businesses produce terrible content, so it doesn’t compel people to take action (like share their content, subscribe for updates, or purchase).
- Are your expectations realistic? Successful content marketing is really difficult. Even coming up with one post could take a long time. So you need to have realistic expectations. Not only in terms of success, but also what it takes to succeed. You can’t hire cheap writers, produce mediocre content, and expect huge results in the first 90 days.
- How does this support my business?How are these actions going to support your revenue goals? Most people start social media because they hear about it on TV and in the news. But a bad social media presence is worse than none at all. So don’t fully commit unless you understand what you’re getting yourself into.
With all the talk about social media (Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest), should I have a blog or just use social media instead?
Your blog, hands down!
Why should a business (or any person interested in making money online) get involved in social media / blogging in the first place?
The answer is to get attention. (That’s why blogging is like a media marketing asset). You want to provide value (by doing these things) in exchange for their attention.
So the most valuable thing to an online marketer needs to be their audience’s attention (and data).
When you’re on other social networks, you don’t have control or ownership over your customer’s information. If your company page violates Facebook Guidelines (which is really easy to do), then you’ve just lost all that data and valuable information.
Is there a great example of a small business using content marketing and the web to stand out and increase sales?
The best (and most well known) that come to mind are Copyblogger, SEOmoz, and HubSpot.
They’re all software companies that use content marketing as a way to get customers.
It helps them reach new customers, but it also helps them keep existing customers around longer (so they buy more products, or buy more frequently).
If you believe having a blog is important, what are your top 3 words of advice on how a small business can leverage it today?
Define - What does your company/brand really stand for? Who do you serve? And what is the unique solution you provide? This helps answer #2 below.
Positioning - How will your blog be different from all the competition? Make sure you come up with a unique positioning (i.e. Blue Ocean Strategy), otherwise people won’t remember you.
Goal - What is your content marketing/social media goals? Unless you have realistic goals set, you won’t know what daily actions or tactics to use.
What advice do you have for the small business owner who has trouble coming up with engaging content?
- Niche down to focus on a specific market segment
- Focus on what your product/service does for your customers (experience, etc.)
I just wrote a post about this -> http://fixcourse.com/blog-content-ideas/
What are the biggest mistakes that a small business owner could make in online marketing?
1. Can’t define success - You need to be able to define success, or what success will look like, before investing time and effort into this. Because it will take a lot of commitment, and consistent actions to achieve anything significant.
2. Chasing latest shiny tactic - Most small businesses owners get obsessed about the latest social network, etc. because it’s “all the rage”. You’ll waste a lot of time and effort if you chase everything. Instead, identify the biggest priorities for your business - no matter how sleek or sexy - and get to work on those first. For example, if you don’t have email marketing campaigns set up for prospective, current and past customers, then don’t even think about other social networks.
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