5 Ways to Market Your Local, Small Business on a Budget

The idea of marketing is a daunting task to many. Something you may have little time for, and even less of a budget. But it doesn’t have to take endless hours, and you don’t need thousands of dollars to build the online presence for your local, small business. The suggestions below require a small time investment, but little to no monetary expense.

1. Create a Website

According to Inc. Magazine, 60% of small businesses with 1-5 employees don’t have an online presence. Don’t let that statistic include you! If you have a Facebook page for your yoga business, great. But that’s not enough.
Facebook goes down sometimes, and there are a number of adults who chose to veer clear of social media.

Creating a website for your business will cost money, but it will also help new clients to discover you and is worth the investment. 

2. Publish Blog Posts

Consistently posting to a blog can assist in increasing your page rank on search engines and it humanizes your brand. Each time you publish a piece of content, Google comes back to index your website.

Using your blog to communicate discounts with customers is one thing, telling your brand’s story is another. Publishing regular blog posts will encourage your audience to visit your site giving you another opportunity to connect with them and take one step closer to converting them into a client.

As a private yoga teacher, you could break down the anatomy of asanas in a weekly column, post recipes related to Ayurvedic spices, or discuss the metaphysical benefits of energy healing. You should post about whatever it is that differentiates you from other yoga teachers. What else do you know that many yogis have an interest in?

Take a similar approach to your industry by answering your buyers’ questions and sharing content that will interest them. 

3. Host a Twitter Chat

Conducting a Twitter chat can be a very productive way of marketing your business and reaching a new audience. Involving a partner or an influencer from your industry with a substantial Twitter following is even better. Here’s a 6-step plan to launching your first Twitter chat.

  1. Find a partner/influencer in your industry.
  2. Decide on a topic that you can conduct your Twitter chat around and create an event-specific hashtag. Be creative and try to make it on the brief so it doesn’t take up many characters when people respond.
  3. Promote your Twitter Chat! Start early on this and include any involved parties requesting that they join in sharing the event.
    {This handy infographic on using Canva to create images will come in handy here.}
  4. Generate five questions you can ask attendees.
  5. Provide the questions to the involved parties before the Twitter chat so they can prepare their responses in advance. Doing so will allow them to interact with other attendees more because they won’t have to spend time crunching their responses down to 140 characters.
  6. Launch your Twitter chat at the scheduled time and be sure to engage with attendees.

4. Guest Post

Writing for other businesses’ sites will allow you to reach a new audience. Search out companies that attract similar clients, but are not competitive with your business. When pitching an idea on your proposed post consider the problems that your products or services address.

An insurance company could look for local organizations to partner with on a guest post. Do your research and approach non-competitive, industry-related businesses. You can even offer a trade, where they guest post to your site too.

5. Video



Live video is an inexpensive way to get your face in front of customers. It doesn’t require much to air a video. Decide on the platform you’d like to use (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), come up with a topic and maybe a general outline of what you’ll say, and go live! People don’t expect videos that were published in real time to be edited.

Here are five ideas of videos you can create at your business:

  1. Offer a behind the scenes look at the production.
  2. Show the product in use.
  3. Answer FAQ’s.
  4. Interview a customer on their experience.
  5. Interview an employee about their job.

Sharing videos is a great way to get yourself and your brand in front of customers, invite shares, and create an awareness of your brand.

There are a number of other budget-friendly marketing strategies you can employ as a small business. I hope that the ideas listed above provide some guidance and initiate the next step in your social selling efforts.

 

Are you ready to start marketing your small business but aren’t sure where to start? Contact me and let’s build a strategy to generate more sales for your company!

 

How to Write Engaging Content that Makes Your Brand Unforgettable

how-to-write-engaging-content

Whenever you sit down to start writing a blog post, what’s the first thought that comes to your mind? Hopefully, it’s not, ugh, I have to write another blog post (but if it is, get in touch with me – my writing services may be just what you need). In the sea of content that’s available on the web today, a top objective should be to write engaging content that is unforgettable.

How to Write Engaging Content

Today’s readers are inundated by online content. Brands must be creating memorable material that helps the brand to not only stand out but also to connect with your reader and make them want to return to your website.

Publishing unforgettable #content leads to a memorable brand. Click To Tweet

Here are five aspects of a memorable blog post to help your brand connect with prospects, i.e., your readers. Include a mix of these in your content.

  1. Tell a story.
  2. Teach the reader something new.
  3. Present a thought-provoking idea.
  4. Agree with the reader.
  5. Make them laugh.

What should you include in your #content to make it memorable? Find out in this blog post by @meaghanmae. #branding Click To Tweet

Tell a Story

As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” If you can make the reader feel an emotion, you’re golden. They may not remember each of the five statistics you included, but they’ll remember the story and the emotions they felt.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Incorporating storytelling into your content will have the most impact.

In the book The Storytelling Edge, the content strategy masterminds behind Contently.com point out, “When we hear a story, the neural activity increases fivefold.” It’s easier to remember data points when they’re tied to a narrative, so try to weave a personal experience or fictional tale into your content.

Teach

Educate your reader. If your business has employees, involve them in creating content. If they’re not interested in writing or recording a video, you can always interview them and share their expertise that way.

Position your brand as a knowledgeable resource by sharing helpful, expert level advice around your target customers’ pain points. You might even earn your website a few bookmarks from readers.

Shock

A quick way to be memorable is to do something crazy! Think about all of the viral videos you see. You remember and maybe even share them because they’re out of the norm. Apply this same principle to your content and present a new way of thinking for your reader to consider.

Agree

Share something that gets the reader nodding in agreement. Everything that you share doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. Agreeing with your reader allows them to relate to you and your personal brand. It builds a sense of connection. You want them to think, “This is my kind of person!”

Make Them Laugh

Comedian Mike Albanese says, “Funny content is more likely to be recalled than content that has no humor, and that is the point of most marketing and content!” 

Write engaging content by infusing humor into your writing – if you’re funny! Comedy is not something that you can force, and readers will be able to tell if you’re faking it.

If your content is usually pretty dry, try self-deprecating humor. It allows people to relate to you and see a human side that they may not recognize in clear-cut content.

Amplifying Your Engaging Content

Creating your unforgettable content isn’t the end of the line. It needs to be shareable too. Your amplification strategy should include paid advertising, especially if you’re not a well-known company that people are searching out for information.

What do you include in your content to help build your brand and add a sense of community? Let me know in the comments below.

free-def-guide-facebook-pages (1)

If you’re sharing your content on a Facebook Page, are you getting the number of views that you want? If not, download my free eBook to ensure you’re doing everything you can to get more organic engagement.

 

Video and the Future of Content Marketing

future-of-content-marketing-video

What can you expect for the future of content marketing? It has certainly evolved in format since it first started with John Deere’s magazine The Furrow in 1895, but the purpose is still the same – build trust with your consumers.

In addition to one-page leaflets, we now have branded magazines, blogs, podcasts, social media posts, and videos too.

People watch 85 percent of Facebook videos without sound. They’re still interested in reading (and value their silent time), but visuals are a nice addition. The two complement each other quite well.

Imagine watching an hour-long video on how to create a successful content strategy – no thanks! Wouldn’t you rather have a 10,000-word blog or eBook you can quickly come back to and reference? I would take notes the entire time if I watched a video or listened to a podcast that long. Give me the blog, please!

Video Will Bolster The Future of Content Marketing

As a proponent for the written word, I truly believe that video will not eliminate written communications. According to new research from Clutch, “33 percent of B2B audiences read blogs or articles about business-related topics.” People are sharing blogs with others because they think it will be useful and it’s helping to generate leads.

#Video won't eliminate written #content, but there is value in using video to reach more people. Click To Tweet

B2B marketers using blogs get 67percent more leads than those that don’t. Social Media Examiner even reported that more than half of marketers believe that “original written content” is the most important type over images, videos, and infographics. However, I know the value of using video to reach people. Look at the facts, and you’ll agree.

Types of Video to Use in Your Content Marketing Strategy

Now that you understand why you need to create videos for your brand, let’s take a look at how to get started. The first question you likely have is what you should create videos about? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Create explanatory videos about your product or service.
  2. Answer FAQs. Almost half of businesses surveyed by HubSpot claim that video helps them lower the number of support queries they receive.
  3. Short teaser clips within your article of a few of the main points can encourage the viewer to read more. 80 percent of marketers say video increases the amount of time a viewer stays on their website.
    #Video increases the amount of time a viewer stays on your website. #marketing Click To Tweet
  4. Repurpose your current content. Identify content (blogs, eBooks, white papers) that have performed well in the past and add more mileage to the idea you’ve already developed with a video. It will also help with SEO (search engine optimization) of that topic on your website.
  5. Share “behind the scenes.” Give your prospects and customers a taste of what life is like in your business. Share clips from around the office that show the company culture, host interviews with employees or customers, explain how to make the product, or crowdsource questions to answer on a video.

Tips and Best Practices for Video Marketing

Recording and sharing video doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need is your smartphone and an idea. Remember these tips and best practices as you develop your video strategy.

  1. Short, two-minute-long videos get the most engagement (This does NOT apply to live video, see number two).
  2. Go live. At Social Media Day Jacksonville 2018, live video expert Luria Petrucci said to aim for a minimum of 20 minutes when using live video to get the most engagement.
    To get the most engagement from your #livevideo, @luriapetrucci says to aim for a minimum of 20 minutes. #contentmarketing #videotip Click To Tweet
  3. Create a series. In her book, Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Blogging, Amy Landino suggests creating a video series. It gives you an idea for the next video to make and builds a sense of anticipation among your audience.
  4. Share on Instagram or Facebook Stories.
  5. Upload videos directly to Facebook, don’t share YouTube links. Native videos get a ten times higher reach.
  6. Engage with viewers. 

Are you among the 81 percent of businesses that use video in your marketing? If not, it’s time to get started. Grab your smartphone, develop a strategy or outline for your first branded video, and hit record!

free-def-guide-facebook-pages (1)

No Time to Blog? Hire a Ghostwriter

planning_blog_posts

You know you need a blog, but you don’t have the time to write regularly. Does this sound like you? Then maybe it’s time to hire a ghostwriter.

One of the top reasons people don’t blog is due to a lack of time. Sales representatives, business owners, virtually any business professional can benefit from hiring a ghostwriter.

Do you need help creating quality content? Click here to contact me.ghost-pumpkin

Ghostwriters don’t just write novels. Today they write blog posts, eBooks, white papers, social media posts, emails, video scripts, and other content to fill out your marketing strategy and build your position as a thought leader.

But don’t worry, working with a ghostwriter doesn’t have to be difficult or break the bank. If you know how to collaborate with a ghostwriter, you can get the most out of your investment.

Working with a ghostwriter doesn't have to be difficult or break the bank. #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

Ways to Collaborate with a Ghostwriter

As a ghostwriter, I’ve written for clients in fields varying from social business, inside sales, insurance, marketing, artificial intelligence, even some content for the food and beverage industry. There are writers out there who are knowledgeable in your industry and open to ghostwriting.

Collaborating with a ghostwriter shouldn’t be hard. Here are a few ways you can seamlessly work with a ghostwriter to get your content created.

  1. Have the writer come up with questions to interview your team and create a blog post from their replies.
  2. Deliver them a list of ideas.
  3. Provide a theme and leave it up to the writer on the particular topic—just make sure they clear it with you before starting on a 1,000-word blog post.
  4. Turn a podcast into an article. If you’re more of a talker than a writer this is an excellent option. Not only does it give you the material for the writer to go off of, but it gives you another outlet to share your message.
  5. Write the majority of your blog post and hire a ghostwriter to copy edit—refining your writing and filling out the content.

3 Tips for Working with a Ghostwriter

Share Feedback – This could likely go unsaid, but once you have the copy from your writer, go through it and tweak it to make it your own. To build a long-lasting relationship with writers, send them your final edits, so they have a better idea of how to write for you in the future. Sharing feedback will make your and their job easier going forward.

Clarify Goals – Be clear in your goals and every detail of what you want and don’t want. There is no magical mind reader tool available, yet anyway. Consider preparing an outline to organize your thoughts. If there are any sources you don’t want to include in the content, be sure to note them. An outline depicting your core objectives will help to secure a quality product faster.

Encourage Creativity – Give the writer some creative leeway. Many of the best articles I’ve written as a ghostwriter has stemmed from when I’m given only a title and a keyword. Once the writer has an understanding of your objectives and voice, let them run with the project. The details should come together nicely.

Remember that the experts may be more expensive. Sometimes a general writer is your best option. A good ghostwriter will conduct comprehensive research into the topic they’re writing about and can save you money.

How can a ghostwriter help you to build your #brand? #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

The majority of my monthly revenue as a writer comes from ghostwriting for busy professionals. If you’re ready to get your time back and still have articles with your byline, then email me to discuss a plan for building up your thought leadership position with a blog.

free-def-guide-facebook-pages

ghostwriter_blog

How Website Load Time on Mobile Affects Your Facebook Page’s Reach

Earlier this week Facebook announced that they’ve once again changed the algorithm delineating which content to show in users’ News Feeds. Content shared from websites with slow load times on mobile will decrease in views over the coming months.

“During the coming months we’re making an update to News Feed to show people more stories that will load quickly on mobile and fewer stories that might take longer to load, so they can spend more time reading the stories they find relevant.”

While this should fire you up to check on your own site’s load time, don’t forget about the OPC (Other People’s Content) that you’re sharing. If you share a lot of OPC from a slow moving website, your Page’s overall reach will begin to lessen.

Facebook went on to say that the user’s “current network connection” will also be considered. If the user has a slower network connection, and the web page URL you’re sharing has a long load time, it will appear lower in their News Feed. Obviously, you don’t have control over their network connection, so the focus is on the time it takes your website to load that page on mobile.

Testing and Improving Your Pages’ Loading Times

The first thing you’ll need to do is check mobile load time. Facebook provided a list of Best Practices to Improve Mobile Site Performance that included a few options for evaluating current load time. Below is an example of the information you’ll receive on PageSpeed. This tool was easy to use and very self-explanatory. It even provides suggestions on how to optimize your page further.

pagespeed_insights

I also tried a few of the other tools on Facebook’s list. Instead of an overall grade, many gave me specific load times and were honestly overwhelming with the amount of data provided. Those tools are more for a developer, while the data from PageSpeed offered suggestions I could follow through on myself with a little bit of digging.

As a site owner, this may feel frustrating, but looking at it from a user perspective this algorithm change makes sense. Improving your website for a better mobile experience is necessary in today’s world, especially if you want to reach your audience on Facebook. According to Venture Beat, 56.5% of users only log in to Facebook from mobile. Another eye-opening data point – there are over 1.74 billion mobile monthly active users on Facebook. If you don’t speed up your pages load time over the next few months be prepared to see your Facebook referral traffic fall.

If you don’t improve your loading time over the next few months, be prepared to see your Facebook referral traffic drop. Now more than ever before is the time to consider the user experience of your website.

free-def-guide-facebook-pages