Content Marketing for Small Businesses — You Reap What You Sow
When Kevin Costner’s character in the movie Field of Dreams said, “If you build it, they will come.”, he was referring to a baseball diamond. Yet this iconic quote is constantly used by web design companies hoping you’ll believe that a new website will make you successful. The truth is, it takes a lot of hard work. If you’re counting on traffic from search engines, you’ll need to earn it by creating content that provides value to your visitors. You reap what you sow online.
That’s never the sort of message that prospective website owners want to hear. But have no fear. The internet is still full of opportunity. Not everyone can create a viral video like Christmas Miracle or Epic Splits spot and not everyone can just be amazing. But you can start communicating with your customers, building an online reputation, selling, and networking with potential clients. In doing so, your small businesses will grow.
Start with a website and go from there. What happens when that website goes live? Actually, nothing—at least not right away. But if it has been designed right and you’ve posted a few messages, you’ll probably start showing up in search results within a few days. At first, visitors will trickle in and this is the beginning for most small business websites. But think of it as the first few steps in cultivating a powerful online presence that can work wonders for your business.
If you want to see how search engines view your page, Google and Bing each do a great job of providing tools for webmasters to do this. Webmaster Tools are dashboards from which you can check the search engine’s activities on your website, submit sitemaps, and identifying errors the search engine experiences while accessing your page. You or your marketing team should get in the habit of checking this.
Search Engine Optimization
Good web designers will create websites that are search engine-friendly, but SEO is an ongoing process of checking, testing, and making improvements to your website. It also means adding and improving content and building your online reputation with links and referrals from other websites in your industry. Link building alone can take a concerted effort over an extended period (and building links faster is not necessarily better). A good start is to make sure you’re listed in local business directories and ask your suppliers or business partners to add links to your page.
Marketing Your Website Online
For many small businesses, the fastest way to really building traffic to the website is from search engine marketing or paid search. Google AdWords is one of the best advertising platforms available to a small business. It’s a pay-per-click advertising system that allows you to bid for placement in the “sponsored results” section of a search engine results page. It can be a very effective marketing strategy on a limited budget and may drive more conversions than your organic website traffic.
Marketing Your Website Offline
Of course, we all know organic is good. So you should also promote your website offline by adding your URL to promotional material, your newspaper, radio, and/or television ads, signage, QR codes, and word of mouth. This can even help in your link building strategy because you don’t always know who and where your links will come from.
If you want to find success for your small business online, start by sowing the right seeds. If you need help, please let us know.
And just for fun, here’s Westjet’s Christmas Miracle and Volvo’s Epic Splits: