Content, search, social media, and email marketing Putting it all together
In this article, I provide two real world examples of small businesses using each of these online marketing strategies.
Online marketing for a service-based business
For our first example, we have a nutritionist who coaches parents of picky eaters. Up until now, our nutritionist has offered private, individual sessions to parents of young children struggling with eating problems.
As a parent herself, she’s found clients through word of mouth, but now wants to reach a wider audience of potential new clients. She also wants to offer a group class to parents to teach techniques to encourage better eating habits.
One of the best ways for our nutritionist to establish her expertise is to write. When our expert launched her website, she also began blogging.
She maintains a simple editorial calendar to track her blog content. She updates the calendar at least once a week and tries to keep a month’s worth of content ideas. This calendar lists:
- Article title or topic, if title hasn’t been finalized
- Target publish date
- Categories to which the blog post belongs
- URL of the published blog post for quick reference
Her goal is to publish one article each Tuesday at least 45 weeks of the year. She aims for posts between 800 and 1200 words. Her topics include issues that her clients have struggled with, including childhood obesity, food allergies, and eating disorders.
When she’s stuck for a new content idea, she publishes a family friendly recipe or pulls together a list of resources from other blogs and websites that her audience would also find helpful.
To take her content marketing efforts a step further, our nutritionist wrote an ebook that includes some previously published recipes from her blog along with (mostly) unpublished recipes. Web visitors can register to download her ebook, which helps build her email list.
Social media marketing
After she publishes the article, she takes to social media to post links to the article. She has a Facebook page for her business and a LinkedIn profile, so she links in both places. Because she publishes a post each week, she always has weekly content to share on each site.
Another social networking site where our nutritionist spends time is CafeMom.com. Our expert checks the discussion forums on the site a couple times per week to see where she can share her expertise. While she doesn’t post links to her articles each week, she does have a chance to build her credibility and to connect with her target audience.
When visitors arrive at her website, our nutritionist wants to keep in touch with them, so she offers a free, biweekly newsletter called “The Dinner Dispatches.” She sends the newsletter every other Wednesday, so she isn’t working on both her blog post and newsletter the same day.
Because of her regular blogging schedule, she always has content to share. The only original content that she writes for the newsletter is the brief introduction.
Each newsletter contains links to her latest blog posts along with her contact information as well as an offer, such as a free initial consulting session.
When she’s ready to open registration for her group parenting class, she sends an email blast to her list. The class is in-person only, so she uses her email marketing tool to segment her list and send the email to local subscribers only.
In the next issue of her newsletter, she makes sure to include a class description and a link to register.
For our nutritionist, the most time consuming portion of her marketing work is writing her blog post. But once a post is complete, she has content that she can reuse in both her social media and email marketing efforts.
Online marketing for a product-based business
For our second example, we have a jewelry designer who crafts silver and leather bracelets made from recycled materials. Each bracelet has a brief inspirational message engraved on it. Her target audience is female between the ages of 24 and 35.
Currently, she sells online and locally through gifts shops and boutiques. But her goal is to grow her business by expanding to a national market and eventually moving into wholesale.
Our jewelry designer is focused on building her brand, so her marketing efforts focus on generating awareness and building an email list.
Rather than implementing all four marketing strategies, she relies on three: search, social media, and email marketing.
Our jewelry designer knows that she needs to attract two kinds of shoppers: those who are familiar with her brand and those who don’t yet know about her brand or products.
While her home page is optimized for her brand name, she wants to optimize her product and landing pages for keywords that target those who don’t yet know her products.
She’s done her research to identify high volume keywords associated with the kinds of jewelry that she makes. She avoids single keyword terms, such as “bracelet,” because in general, there are fewer searches for single keyword terms.
Instead, she chooses multi-word terms, such as “sterling silver bracelet” and “recycled jewelry.” When she has a chance to create a link either on her website or elsewhere, she uses her keyword in the link text.
Social media marketing
For any online store, quality product photos are a must have. Our jewelry designer invested in professional photography, so she wants to share those photos on social media.
She pins images from her online store to Pinterest with a brief description of her product. Pinterest links back to her product page, which helps drive traffic to her site. In fact, according to DigiDay.com:
Pinterest accounts for 25 percent of retail referral traffic.
She spends at least two days a week adding to her Pinterest boards both her own images as well as other images from around the web.
Our jewelry designer also markets on Instagram. For these posts, she includes a bit.ly URL to her product page in her description, and she uses popular hashtags that she’s researched.
She uses Instagram to post special images whenever she has a flash sale in her online store. Her goal is to post at least one new image to her Instagram account daily.
Our jewelry designer doesn’t send a newsletter, but she sends announcements and offers to her list.
To encourage visitors to join her email list, she uses two tactics:
- Email sign-up. In the header of every web page, there is a field to submit an email address to join her list. This placement ensures that visitors don’t have to scroll to see the sign-up form.
- Pop-up. Certain user actions trigger a pop-up that offers the visitor one-time 20% off coupon in return for joining her list.
Throughout the year, our jewelry designer sends a monthly email to announce sales, to offer a coupon, or to let her list know when a new item is added to her collection. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, she increases her monthly emails to bi-weekly emails to encourage people to purchase.
Through these two examples, I hope to give you some idea of how to use the online marketing strategies outlined in this article series.
I presented each of the four strategies separately so that you can pick and choose the ones right for your business. Online marketing is not “all or nothing.” The best strategies are those that work for your business as well as your audience.