When you’re looking to grow your business, there are a lot places you can turn to: fellow business owners, consultants, marketing firms. All of them can feel like you’re swimming upstream without a paddle and stranded in a sea of marketing jargon. And the whole time you’re listening all you want to do is run and grow your business.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of marketing terms every small business owner should know and use to grow their business. Or, more accurately, if you only want to run your business and not worry about marketing, what jargon to look for when you contact marketing firms about these online marketing tactics (otherwise known as jargon).
It used to be that all you needed was a beautiful website to grow your business online. Today a beautifully-designed website is not enough to get your business customers off the web. Your website just sits without promotion—unless you optimize your website for search engines.
An optimized website starts with a well-built website, structured for search engines. Your optimized website should have an easy-to-navigate menu system and fast loading speed, both for optimal user experience and search engine credit. The next step is adding optimized content to your website, written for search engines and customers. Make sure your contact information is clearly included on your website for customers and search engines to use. Use compelling images on your website optimized for search engines and to get customers’ attention. Make your website mobile-friendly for the benefit of smart phone and tablet users alike (and a huge turn-off to customers and search engines if your website isn’t mobile-friendly). How can you tell if your current website is optimized well? Ask the pros.
To expand the reach of your optimized website, consider search engine optimization which is everything mentioned above with a technological boost. SEO technology is offered by specialized companies that keep up with this evolving technology (more information here). There are several types of SEO technology, but we’ve seen great success for companies that use local SEO to target a local audience.
Local SEO technology targets users that are searching online in your target area. Local SEO gets business websites at the top of search engine listings in towns and cities within a 10, 20, or 50 mile radius. Think of it as a prominently displayed modern phonebook ad—without looking like an ad. SEO gets your website in the listings below the ads, which is important when you look at the statistics. Today, 54% of Americans have substituted the Internet and local search for phone books (comScore) and 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information (Source: The Mobile Movement Study, Google/Ipsos OTX MediaCT , Apr 2011). 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search engine results.
Content marketing is the equivalent of an online newsletter article posted online regularly, though it doesn’t always have to be an article. Content marketing is the strategic producing of videos, images, and articles that give your customers/readers something. That ‘something’ can be an answer to a problem, entertainment (when appropriate), or information.
All of this content is added to your website on a regular basis (several times a week, once a week, once every two weeks, etc.) So how does all this good content (find out how to tell if your content is good here) help grow your company? If you plan your content and marketing of that content well, your blog posts can be a valuable asset to your customers and potential customers. Your content can help them with their problems, build their trust, and entertain them (when appropriate).
Content marketing also has another benefit: it gives your website more credibility in the eyes of search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Adding content to your website adds more valuable pages (if you post excellent content) that search engines want to deliver to their users. This in turn can help boost where your website is listed in search engine results when customers and potential customers search for your business.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is more than just a place to keep up with your friends. It’s also a valuable place to market your business, so you don’t alienate your personal friends with sales pitches. More than that, it’s an excellent platform to market your brand.
More than that, social media is an ideal place to connect with your customers even when they don’t need you. Pictures of your staff (when appropriate) and day-to-day operations, entertaining memes, content that answers their questions—all these types of content give your business a face and a personal connection with potential customers (here’s how to build that social media following). One note: marketing your business on social media is only effective if you post regularly so your connection is consistent (other signs of a solid social media presence are listed here).
Sending emails to your customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your business—if you do it right. Build a solid email list (here’s how to and how not to build an email list). Write emails with strong headlines and content. Strong headlines are not always sales pitches, they are creative attention-grabbers.
The content of a successful email is different for every company, but it doesn’t have to include a lot of text. Give your customers value, like a discount or information that your readers want. Make it worth their while to open your email—and to click on the links to your optimized website, social media marketing, and content marketing pages.