1 10 WAYS YOU CAN HELP YOUR SMALL BUSINESS REACH ITS MARKETING POTENTIAL Some small business owners believe that their budgets limit their ability to play with the big guys. This is not always true. In fact, today s digital marketing channels can help level the playing field, often giving small businesses an increasingly greater number of opportunities to compete successfully in the online marketplace. Cost-effective, targeted, measurable, and scalable, digital marketing allows you to help analyze your efforts quickly, and adjust accordingly to help achieve optimal results and a higher ROI. Is your business reaching its digital marketing potential? The resources referenced herein are not affiliated with Brother nor does Brother endorse or make any representation or warranty regarding success of use. Brother engaged Prime Visibility, An Award- Winning Digital Marketing Agency, to compile this list of 10 ways you can help your small business reach its marketing potential. All trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective owner.
2 In this Brother Office guide we share 10 key ways you can help reach your target audience, build credibility, drive conversions, and make more informed business decisions. Social Media Join the Conversation: Establish a Listening Program What it is: Do you really know what your customers think about your brand? A listening program utilizes social media monitoring tools to help you gain an unbiased perspective of how your customers perceive your brand, services, industry, or products. These tools provide real-time monitoring of your brand (and other keywords you indicate) across Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other social media platforms. Why it s important: Social media listening programs help provide a wealth of information that businesses can use to their benefit. They integrate into your customer relationship management strategy by allowing you to monitor and quickly respond to questions and negative mentions. You can track what people are saying about your products, services, and competition and work towards improving your business based on these findings. Listening can also help engage your target audience by identifying your industry s most talked about topics and developing your content strategy around this subject matter. Best used for: A listening program is important for any business that wants to monitor and grow its social media footprint and remain competitive in the social channels. If your business does not have a strong social media presence, a listening program can help you see what your competition is doing and help you begin to develop a social media and content strategy. As your social media footprint grows, listening is an important way to monitor your brand and campaigns and connect with your audience. FEEDING THE BEAST: THE CONTENT CALENDAR Once you have established a content strategy, it is time to create a content calendar. This calendar will help you organize and schedule the production and publishing of all your different forms of content. Whether you use a list format or spreadsheet, your calendar should include areas for topics, article titles, keywords, development deadlines, distribution due dates, social channel and any other information that is important to you and your team. You can start by creating a calendar for blog posts, and then repurpose the content across other channels such as social media. By planning your calendar at least a month or two in advance, you should have enough lead time to adjust your content accordingly to industry trends and new business developments. Go Beyond the Like : Advertise on Social Media What it is: Many social networks have comprehensive advertising capabilities that let you reach an audience that may accurately represent your customer profile. Plus, many of these ads are cost per click, so you re only paying when a person actually clicks on your ad. Consider advertising on social networks like Facebook or Twitter that have a large user base. Over the past couple of years, the advertising platform of these social networks have evolved to be more direct response focusing on driving sales and engagement over just generating likes. Why it s important: Social media advertising can help give you the ability to segment your target audience by age, gender, interest, location, and dozens of other parameters. It helps your brand connect with the people who will find your ads most relevant. As your connections grow, so can the audience for your brand and marketing materials and promotions. Through social media advertising, brands can also advertise to users newsfeed and tie in a specific call to action that helps meet company goals and objectives whether it s generating more sales or increasing engagement. Best used for: Social media advertising is often best used for driving awareness or traffic to a self-contained campaign, such as a contest. Facebook s Promoted Posts/newsfeed ad unit (either as the only ad unit or in complement to the right column ad ) is best used for campaigns focused on driving engagement, leads/sales, and/or driving users to a mobilefriendly site. Content Content is King: Develop a Strategy What it is: Content strategy is the process of planning and developing content for your business. Whether your content consists of articles, press releases, blog posts, infographics, videos, white papers, images, web pages, case studies, social media updates, or reports, the strategy behind it should take into account your audience and industry. Effective content is valuable, timely, share-worthy information and, most importantly, help reflects your brand s positioning and aligns with your business goals. Why it s important: There is a constant influx of information online. Good, useful content breaks through the clutter, helps give you credibility, and establishes your brand as a thought
3 leader. It can attract new customers and engage current ones. When shared through social media, your content will aid in the expansion your digital footprint. Even more important, being thought of as a relevant content provider in your category can have a very positive impact on your search engine rankings helping you to appear above your competitors, driving clicks to your site. Best used for: Any company that creates and distributes online content on a regular basis should probably have a content strategy. It gives your content focus and direction to help you reach your short-term and long-term goals. A content strategy often forces you to define your customer and their needs and develop content topics that can give them what they want, in the way that they want it. Be a Thought Leader: Create a Blog What it is: For social engagement and branding, content is critical. And one of the best ways to generate new content is through a blog. A business blog is a web page or section of a website that is continually updated with articles relevant to the company s target audience. Small businesses can create a blog with little to no design / tech knowledge with various platforms available online. Why it s important: Blogs help enable businesses to become thought leaders relative to their respective industry while simultaneously engaging both consumers and prospects. Blogging is not only beneficial from a social media / branding standpoint, but fresh content that attracts readers and subscribers can help give your site an SEO boost. Topics for blog articles can include company news, how-to tips and guides, case studies, industry trends, business resources, and other subjects that deliver information and value. Your internal team can be a great resource and help you create original content for your blog. It may also be beneficial to connect with bloggers in your industry and create reciprocity from a communications perspective. There may be opportunities for your team to help contribute to their website as a guest blogger. Guest blogger articles generally include a link back to the contributing author s website. Best used for: Blogs can benefit just about any business, as long as the company has the resources in place to maintain a regular schedule of posting of quality original content. Blogs can help build brand credibility and loyalty, engage conversations, improve SEO rankings, and grow natural links. They offer a unique opportunity for you to share your expertise with your target audience and establish yourself as a leader in your field. Right on Target: Segment Your List What it is: Targeting your via list segmentation can be an essential part of an effective campaign. Depending on the information in your database, you can target your according to your business key metrics including sales cycle stage, browsing/purchase history, product group, age, gender, location, interests, customer value, etc. Why it s important: marketing can be an important and relevant digital marketing channel, but is often only successful if your messages are sent to the right people and you are compliant with applicable laws. Most people receive dozens of s every day and if you use a one-size-fits-all approach, chances are your message will get lost. Targeted s allow you to create specific messages for specific people. You can reward your existing customers with a coupon or promote an accessory or upgrade to a particular product they may own. When you segment s, you send your recipients relevant messages that can help you communicate the right message to the right audience.* Best used for: Targeted marketing is best used by businesses that want to nurture their current customer base, communicate information, and generate sales. marketing is not recommended for acquisition. Renting lists is expensive and typically does not have a good response rate. TEST FOR BEST RESULTS A/B testing of your s can help you improve conversion rates. You can test different subject lines, call to actions, design layouts, body text, personalization, offers, send time of day, and more. For accurate results be sure that you are using a random list split and test only one variable at a time. If open rates are underwhelming, you may want to test your subject lines first. If you are getting good open rates, but less than stellar conversions, consider testing your CTA. Evaluate your results carefully to determine the best combination of elements. Have a Clear CTA for Your What it is: A call to action (CTA) tells your readers what to do next. By getting your readers to focus on the next step, you can encourage them to take action. The most effective CTAs are often clear and persuasive, value-driven, and stand out. Why it s important: Simply put, a good CTA can help increase your click through rates, so they should be created using best practices. Common, but not optimal, CTAs such as Submit or Click Here do not grab the attention of the reader. Remember, s are typically read very quickly,
4 so any CTA should be direct, strong, and to the point. They should be able to be seen and understood at a glance. If you have a secondary call to action, be sure it doesn t compete with your primary CTA. You can prioritize your CTAs either by using different fonts or colors, or through different positioning on the page. But with CTAs, less can sometimes be more. Too many CTAs can be distracting and cause your readers to be confused. This may lessen the impact of your primary CTA and can result in lower conversion rates. Best used for: Every should have at least one CTA. CTAs are used for motivating the reader and, where possible, indicating value. CTAs can complement the copy, strengthen the message, and promote action! Paid Search Set-Up Paid Search Creative Testing What it is: One of the benefits of Google and Bing paid search advertising is that it is so measurable. You can see what is working, what s not, and adjust your approach immediately. One key way you can help improve the success of your ads is through creative testing. Paid search creative testing involves setting up a control ad to test against one or more other ads. The different versions are rotated evenly on the same set of keywords to identify a winning ad based WHAT TO TEST on key performance indicators (KPIs). Testing can also involve multivariate tests that test multiple combinations of ad copy as well as landing pages to increase performance. Why it s important: Testing identifies what ads or creative combinations are generating the most conversions based on your specific KPI. You can see what ad s performance. call to actions (CTAs), offers, buzzwords, etc. are having the most positive effect on your results. Through this type of analysis you can craft more successful ads and landing pages which may ultimately lower your costs, earn a higher Quality Score, and help increase your ROI. Best used for: All paid search advertisers should be doing creative and landing page testing and paid search is suggested for any business that has trackable online conversions and metrics. Testing your KPIs in paid search can help identify ways you can scale your business. To test your paid search ads, you ll need to modify your ad copy for each of the versions. You can test different call to actions, placement of CTAs, benefit statements, display URLs, copy tone, offer wording, use of acronyms, etc. If you keep your testing to just one variable so that when you analyze the results you ll know exactly what made the difference in your Search Engine Optimization Make Your Mark with Rich Snippets What it is: Rich snippets are extra lines of HTML coded text about the content of a web page that appear below its regular search engine results page (SERP) description. This special markup gives users additional information about the web page that they can easily access from the SERP. Types of rich snippets may include people, reviews, videos, recipes, events, etc. Why it s important: Rich snippets can help your website stand out in the search results and can assist users in determining how relevant the site is to their search query. They may also contribute to higher click through rates and search engine rankings. Best used for: Rich snippets are best used for e-commerce sites. Think Local What it is: Being included in the local listings is important for reaching your market. There are many types of local listings and directories available that can help your business appear in the organic search results when a query is done for a category in a specific geographic area. Examples of keyword phrases that can trigger the search engine algorithm to recognize your business in the local listings include city + keyword combinations such as Brooklyn storage or Miami plastic surgeon. Depending on the type of listings, your listing may feature your url, address, phone number, a map highlighting your business location, or a link to a custom page. Why it s important: A geographicspecific local listing can help give your business online visibility and is a powerful way to target your audience. While local listing features may vary by services and plans, some give you the opportunity to include lots of additional information including hours of operation, videos, photos, payment options, and more. Best used for: If you have a brick and mortar location, a local listing is a key way to help gain more visibility and give your target market the information they need.
5 Analytics Analyze Your Analytics What it is: Web analytics can help you uncover important data and insights about your websites, videos, social platforms, mobile apps, and other digital channels. Many web analytics platforms enable you to get information about referral traffic, top landing pages, time spent on page, the customer path, visitor browsers, bounce rates, visitor location, and much more. Why it s important: Web analytics platforms can provide you with actionable insights about your audience and your website. The data can be used to determine strengths and identify areas for improvement. For example, if you notice low visits and high bounce rates over an extended period of time, you may want to consider purging and merging content. Creating one strong page rather than multiple pages of thin content may improve your bounce rates, time spent on page, and conversions. By looking at your analytics, you have the opportunity to access data and create custom reports that can help you make better business decisions. Best used for: Any business that has a website should be analyzing its data. Web analytics allows you to help monitor and measure your online campaigns, track their efficiency, and identify gaps. Brother International Corporation is one of the premier providers of products for the home, home office and office. The U.S. corporate office in Bridgewater, NJ, was established on April 21, 1954 and currently markets many industrial products, home appliances and business products manufactured by its parent company, Brother Industries, Ltd. of Nagoya, Japan. Our award winning products include color and monochrome laser printers and All-in-Ones, color inkjet All-in-Ones, mobile and desktop scanners, fax machines, video-conferencing systems, label printers and P-touch electronic labelers. Learn more about Brother Office Products at