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Words of Wisdom for New Business Entrants


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Content Marketing Plan

Content Marketing Plan

 

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In the modern digital marketing mix it is a customer awareness approach that succeeds. This involves planning and understanding your customer. Knowing how your customers seek out answers online and which formats they prefer is vital. Knowing how to create useful, engaging information which encourages the customer to progress from being aware of your product or service, to purchasing your product or service online. This is why clever content marketing and investing wisely in content gives ROI.

By understanding how your target audience discovers, consumes and acts on information, it is possible by using the RACE Model ( Dave Chaffey’s Marketing Value framework to increase sales) i.e. Reach, Act, Convert, Engage them .

The answer for improved online marketing starts with content: You should think of it as how you are going to help your customers get the information they require but it should also come from the heart and reflect what your company stands for. It should be a commitment to your customer that you are there to help them and they should feel confident purchasing from you.

So how do you decide what to write and how much is enough??

Content should be planned in an editorial calendar and should concentrate on the channels that you know the customers you are trying to connect with are using. According to Heidi Cohen author of ‘Actionable Marketing Guide: “Marketers and media firms must create stories people want to read”.  In her book she emphasizes that content marketers must become storytellers. Stories draw people in and if you want to stand out, becoming a better story teller is a good way of doing this. To discover how much is enough is trial and error, constant monitoring to see what is working and what isn’t is probably the best way to discover this. Sometimes what works is completely unpredictable, there are no hard and fast rules that predict what is going to work and what isn’t.

 

Image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net by Stuart Miles

Image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net by Stuart Miles

 

How does Social Media work with search and where does Content fit it?

Content is where your stories are relayed to your customers and social media and SEO are ways to optimize the reach and engagement to these customers. Analysing your SEO keyword research can review subjects which are in demand and may attract customers who are actively searching online. Search engines favour high value content in search results and Social Media sites favour sharable, linkable content. A small business that combines smart Social Media and SEO tactics can create an advantage for attracting new customers no matter which channels they use.  Also monitoring Social Media Insights and statistics can reveal trends and topics that your customers are interested in. Understanding your customer is the key to being successful no matter which channel you are using. Giving your customer the information they require in a fast and efficient manner helps with relationship building and gives your customers confidence in your company and making it easy to buy from your company will ultimately increase your sales.

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Content Marketing Tactics for Start-Ups combining SEO and Social Media

freedigitalphotos.net  by Stuart Miles

freedigitalphotos.net
by Stuart Miles

 

    1. Blog

A Blog offers many advantages for both Social and SEO. Blog posts can concentrate on answering ‘frequently asked questions’. It can contain interesting topics for your customers. You can schedule posts to save time and encourage staff to comment on posts etc. It brings a human dimension to your business and builds good relationship with your customers and they can engage with your business on a 24/7 basis.

    1. Newsletters & Email Marketing

Email newsletters are a great way to inform your customers of offers and information regarding your services and products. They can be segmented and targeted to your direct market. While engaging with your customers through whichever Social Media Channels you are using you can invite them to sign up for your newsletter and they can be more informed about your business.

    1. Social Networks & Media

Customers expect every business these days to be ‘social’. Engaging with your customers through social channels that your target customers are using is essential to succeed. The particular business you are involved in will determine which channels are best suited to your business.

    1. Video

As they say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, and using YouTube to demonstrate your products or services can be very helpful and engaging for your customer. Videos can be embedded within blog posts, extending their value as content.

Conclusion

For small businesses or start –ups it is not necessary to use all the above tactics. What is important that you start small and specific and monitor at all times what is working and what is not. Make it a priority to gain an understanding of your customer’s needs, what topics and keywords are important and then socialize and publicize that content. Strive to be the ‘best answer’ for your customer at the time that they need you most.

 

E-Business & E-Commerce Management, Strategy, implementation & practice. Dave Chaffey (fifth edition). RACE marketing value framework (460-1).

Philosophy of Neil Patel (Quicksprout and KISSMetrics: ‘Combine your content marketing with SEO’.

‘Actionable Marketing Guide’ by Heidi Cohen, Content Marketing & SEO Perspective.

E-Business & E-Commerce Management, Strategy, Implementation & Practice. Dave Chaffey (fifth edition). Chap. 8 ‘Content Strategy’.

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Content publication and syndication process. Source: Smart Insights (2011) The best tools and tracking techniques to save time on your social syndication. Dave Chaffey, 18/1/2011. www.smartinsights.com/blog/digital-marketing/tools-tracking-social-syndication.

Social Media for Start Ups

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Social Media for Start Ups

 

freedigitalphotos.net by Stuart Miles

freedigitalphotos.net
by Stuart Miles

 

Social Media Strategy

In this modern era of digital marketing, start-up companies with any serious aspirations must enter the marketing arena armed with a killer social media strategy. People are finding their cars, their homes, their jobs and even their partners through the medium of the internet so you best be sure they can find your product/service on there too. For all intents and purposes, if your product/service can’t be found on the internet then it doesn’t exist.

Facebook & Twitter

The two heavyweights of the social media marketing tools are quite clearly Facebook & Twitter. According to Social Bakers.com there are over 2.3m FB users in Ireland, 47% male & 53% female and the largest age group 25-34 closely followed by the 18-24 age bracket.  Twitter has a staggering 600,000 daily users in Ireland sending 1 million tweets each day. So with these statistics a successful utilization of these two digital facets can go a long way in whether your company sinks or swims. They are now crucial for building awareness and creating a buzz for new products & services. A new product can be launched using the scope & audience reach of social media in a time efficient manner. Facebook campaigns and Twitter marketing strategies are now part and parcel of a product/service launch.

 

freedigitalphotos.net 'Social Network' by JSCreationzs

freedigitalphotos.net
‘Social Network’ by JSCreationzs

 

Identifying your Audience

So where to start for Social Media Start ups? Identifying your audience is the first step. You can pinpoint your audience in real-time. Research the sector, industry and competition. Finding out exactly what your competition is doing, what is working and what isn’t will help identify their weaknesses which in turn will help you fill in what they are missing. Metrics on keywords, follower profiles will help define your target audience. There is no point hitting every network when you start up initially. Locate your core customers, and prioritize to reach them and whereabouts they reside online. Facebook and Twitter are the first channels to start with and they can be used for all business models. If your business provides a service for other companies you might consider LinkedIn. Also B2B companies that are focused on lead generation LinkedIn would be the ideal channel. LinkedIn ads are actually a fraction of the cost of paid search advertising with an average CPC at about €3. LinkedIn ads can generate a click through rate that is 60% higher than the average across other social networks. If your business is more of a visual/physical you might need to consider YouTube and Flickr/Pinterest for a more visual presence.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rules to Follow

There are certain rules that would be advisable to follow when using Social Media Networks. Their main objective and the reason why millions download and use them every day is, quite simply, to help connect people with each other. Try and make every post personal. Ideally put a face to your social media outlets. When a follower interacts with your site they should feel like they’re interacting with a person and not a business. On Twitter follow only profiles that are potential target audience members or profiles or like minded business. Social Media does not only provide a channel to connect with consumers but also to build relationships with other business which can be just as valuable.

Tips & Insights

On Facebook it can be useful to talk to the fans of competitor companies, and can even gain you a few of their fans. Don’t just add people to increase your numbers, followers and ‘likes’ you will gain by becoming friends or following won’t be as worthwhile as the ones you get from genuine interest. It is essential to keep the community active by constant interaction and asking for feedback, which is a valuable source for any company. Facebook and Twitter feedback is the modern day comment cards and are far easier to receive. An example can be seen in Ryanair’s recent foray into the world of social media with Twitter and their improved customer friendly website. This proved as a delivery on a promise to improve customer relations. They had no alternative as they were losing business because other airlines were becoming more successful and Ryanair’s cheap and cheerful, no frills airline was losing business because of poor customer service.

 

freedigitalphotos.net by Master isolated image

freedigitalphotos.net
by Master isolated image

 

How to Engage

Offering something to your valued customers is a sure way of engaging them and getting the community talking. Competitions on Facebook and Twitter is a great way of building your customer base. Most people want ‘free stuff’. Although the prizes don’t have to be costly, they should reflect the image of the company. No matter what image you are looking for, make sure your social media presence reflects it in every way.

The businesses that are getting the most out of their social media outlets are the ones that react first and respond intelligently to whatever is in the news that has grabbed people’s attention.

Remember you’re being social for your brand, but represent it as yourself. Be human and personable and you will find you will build up the strongest bond with your customers and will be the most successful.

Good luck with your new business and share your experience all you new Social Media Start Ups out there!

– Maria –

Useful websites with great insights and information on Social Media:

1.Mashable.com website:

http://mashable.com/2011/06/22/twitter-marketing-guide/

2. North Social Media.com Website

http://northsocialmedia.com/effective-facebook-marketing-strategy/

3. Social Bakers.com – great stats on all Social Media /channels