In the world of online marketing, the goal is to help potential customers find your company and then build a strong relationship with them that leads to sales.
To attract customers, you need compelling content that is optimized to help your business rank high on search engine results.
Your content—articles, social media posts, videos, podcasts, eBooks and so on—should be interesting and relevant to customers, positioning your company as an industry leader and a trusted adviser.
“You have to be genuine and your content has to be of value to customers,” says Ravi Dindayal, BDC’s Director of Internet Consulting. “When it comes to online marketing, content really is king.”
But creating that content can be a daunting undertaking for many entrepreneurs. The good news is that it’s easier to create than you might think.
Dindayal offered some tips on developing content as part of a larger Internet marketing strategy.
1. Watch and learn.
Look at what others are doing in your industry both locally and around the world. How do companies like yours use blogs, social media, e-newsletters and videos to create engagement with customers?
2. Figure out what your customers like.
What type of media is most appealing to your audience? What expertise do you have that could be turned into content? For example, an auto dealership could develop a blog and series of simple videos offering car care tips.
3. Do an inventory.
Look for existing content in your business. You may be able to easily revise and use existing articles, brochures, presentations and client success stories.
4. Be strategic.
You should develop a content strategy to engage customers and tell your company’s story over time. As part of the strategy, make a schedule for publishing content regularly and be disciplined about updating it. Don’t just randomly throw things out there when the spirit moves you.
5. Find a content champion.
Online marketing isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. It takes time to build an audience. That’s why it’s important to find someone who has a passion for your content, a knack for producing it and is committed for the long haul.
6. Avoid hard sales messages.
Remember you want to engage with people and build relationships. Flogging product is a turn off.
7. Encourage audience contributions and feedback.
Ask your fans to post comments, stories, photos and videos on your website and social media pages.
8. Build a fan base.
Make sure your team learns and applies search engine optimization techniques (SEO) to increase traffic to your site. You can also attract and retain followers by conducting online surveys and holding contests. Contests should be designed to appeal to people who are genuinely interested in your business, not just looking for a freebie.
9. Put a human face on your business.
Use photos and videos to give people a peak behind the scenes at your company and events. Research indicates that photos and video create more audience engagement than plain text articles.
10. Have fun and be imaginative.
Look for something unique to offer. You never know, it just might go viral.