Too many businesses overlook their website as a critical and key marketing asset. They view their website more as something that they have to do to avoid falling behind the competition. They put together a website as though it is something that they have to do rather than something that will be impacting their bottom line for the next 3 years. Growing your business using your website is not something that small business owners think about naturally. It is more about just filling in the gaps and they view the lack of a website as exactly that.
Part of the issue there is with the education around the use of a website as a marketing tool to grow your business. So I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss growing your business using your website.
Your website is much much more than a yellow pages listing.
I get phone calls regularly from businesses who say, “Well I need to update my website because it looks out of date.” They are more focused on making sure that their website looks fresh than making sure that they are using it as a cornerstone for their marketing efforts.
Growing Your Business Using Your Website
Content marketing is a great way to build your website into a lead generation machine. Content marketing utilizes strategic mediums to build communications channels with your desired customer.
In an interview with Inc.com, Michael Brenner, head of strategy for NewsCred and a Forbes Top 40 social media marketer said “Small businesses should be even more focused on content marketing than larger brands. Small businesses don’t have the luxury of massive budgets that are over-weighted in ineffective advertising. But they also need to drive brand awareness and leads with limited resources. Content marketing is a great way for small businesses to do both.”
But I don’t know how to use my website for growing my business
There are countless resources across the web that are happy to show you the basics of what you should be doing to utilize your website as a marketing asset. If your website is not driving your business as a key component, then you are leaving money on the table.
Here are some basic steps that you should put in place to get the most out of your content marketing efforts:
Define your goal
If you don’t know where you’re going, you definitely don’t know how to get there. You need to identify what your objectives are before you can begin to define a strategy that works for your business and place your targets. Here are 3 questions to get you started. Who is your audience? How do you want to grow? How do you want to define your business?
Identify your subject matter
Much of this is going to be determined by your audience’s needs. A great place to find some of your first pieces of content can be right in your email. What are the 3-5 questions that you hear over and over again? Don’t worry about things like “well if I give them all of that information, then they won’t need me anymore.” That is never true. Your audience wants to see that you know what you are talking about. Sure, a couple of people may choose to paint the corners around the windows in their home, but, because you are being found because you are answering questions and showing up in search engine results, the number of new leads coming your way will far outweigh the DIYers.
Determine your strategy
You know who your audience is. You know how you want to present your company to your audience. Fantastic. You are already ahead of 90% of businesses who are trying to use content marketing.
Now here are a few questions you can ask. Where is your audience online? What types of content are the right types of content to reach your audiences? Graphics? Videos? Blog content?
Staff and Build
The reality of content marketing is that it takes up a large amount of time. Having someone who can take care of the content creation, curation, development, publishing, calendars and communications associated with your content marketing efforts will help you substantially. The person that you hire should have a basic understanding of content development (from idea to editing), taxonomy, the ability to manage content workflow and scheduling, understand content repurposing, SEO and social optimization, local optimization, and, probably most important, they should know how to measure and communicate content effectiveness. Otherwise, they won’t know if the effort and money that is being put in is or will return on your bottom line. The reality is that if you are really focused on growing your business using your website, it is going to take a lot of work but it is work that will pay off.
Content marketing won’t work in my industry
If we can put it frankly, bullshit. Content marketing is being used everywhere from the big Fortune 100 brands to small agricultural businesses and auto mechanics. The reality is that, as Brenner said, content marketing is a critical component for local businesses because you are able to talk about your local community, associate it with the services or products that you offer, and begin to drive more organic search traffic to your website. Further, if you are using this tool properly, you are cross-pollinating with your social media platforms to allow yourself to build a reputation online reaching those customers locally so that you are gaining authority and thought leadership.