In the past few years, there’s been a huge rush for businesses to get onto social media, and it’s easy to see why. With over 2bn people worldwide using some kind of social network, sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become some of the world’s largest marketing tools.
But in the flurry of likes, shares and retweets, it’s easy to neglect some of the other online marketing channels that are open to you and your business. Far from being outdated, these methods are the bedrock of marketing, and a fantastic way to keep in touch with your entire customer base, not just those with a social media account.
Here are three alternative ways of growing your business awareness online.
Social media is a great way to directly connect with thousands of active or potential customers on a daily basis, but it isn’t the only way.
As well as religiously checking their Facebook and Twitter accounts, people also constantly check their email inbox. Email marketing is a huge and lucrative area, that is often underutilised by small businesses.
There are many advantages that using emails as a form of marketing has over using social media. For example, newsletters and thoughtful email updates can make interesting reading in a way that 140 word tweets can’t. It’s a way to write out carefully considered content for a targeted audience, instead of throwing out brief thoughts throughout the day – your audience may come to ignore such a deluge, whereas a weekly or monthly email could become something to look forward to.
Create great content
At the moment, the world of search engine rankings is still a pretty level playing field. Sure, paid ads can reach more people, but in terms of organic rankings (which make up the majority of results, and the majority that people visit), it’s the useful and high-quality content that reaches the top, regardless of the site’s budget. Google prioritises the pages that have the most relevant information to the question the user searches, which presents a great opportunity for small businesses to climb to the top of Google’s rankings by providing high quality answers to questions relevant to their field.
Since the internet has been dominant in our lives, people have turned to Google with every question they have about the world. Now especially, with features like voice search becoming so popular, the internet is the only place many people turn to for answers. So as long as you have the answer, people will find you.
Even these days, there’s still a lot to gain from traditional PR methods – for example, getting press coverage.
The most-read news websites in the world are established institutions like the BBC, CNN and the New York Times. For many, these are the ‘go to’ places for everything newsworthy, so it is still worth reaching out to journalists, or trying to work your way into the headlines somehow (even if it’s just your local paper). Perhaps you could organise a charity event at work, or break some sort of record.
Getting your company set up on a video channels is another great way to strengthen your brand identity.
If you have the resources, it might be worth making a corporate video for your small business. By creating great adverts and video content yourself, you can bring in customers – if your video is popular enough, it can gain traction and be repeatedly shared on, yes, social media.
Social media is a far-reaching and hugely successful marketing tool, and the importance it could have for your small business in terms of reach, customer service, engagement and cost-effectiveness, cannot be overstated. However, don’t limit yourself, or allow your marketing efforts to grow complacent. There are many ways to grow your business online, and develop a strong and relevant web presence.