Your small business averages half a dozen views a day, maybe as many as twenty or thirty. Then, one post goes viral and suddenly, the sky's the limit. You start getting new page hits faster than you can refresh your screens. The servers crash and your product is sold out before you’ve had a chance to realize what’s happening.
It’s every online marketer’s dream - all except the crashed servers and empty inventory, of course. Even if you haven’t personally experienced a viral post, you’ve seen it happen time and again, and you may have felt a tinge of jealousy at the unearned publicity the post seemed to be getting. You hunt up a manual on digital marketing strategies for startups and start reading.
But here’s something you may be missing: you don’t have to go viral to let online marketing propel your business forward. You can experience that same viral effect every day on a smaller scale if you make online marketing a priority.
So be consistent, be engaging and use every single new follower as an opportunity to reach further, to get your message to more people. Here are four tried and test ways to do this.
Social Media Engagement: Instant Connections, Long-term Fans
Social media is your bite-sized online marketing: content tidbits that keep your audience connected and ready for more. Post regularly, and make every post count: words you’d like to read, images you’d smile if you saw. Good memories are the ones that stick with us, and those Facebook posts which make you laugh are the ones that people will remember tomorrow.
Take a page from the playbook of SparkNotes. How does a test-prep company get 262.4K followers on its Twitter, of all places? By making every single post one that their followers will want to share with their friends, their neighbors, maybe even their English lit teacher - hilariously funny posts with pop culture references that keep their fans coming back for more.
So don’t be afraid to be funny. Be approachable, simple, and real, and interact with your followers whenever you can. If you don’t overdo the puns and start making things complicated, you won’t go wrong.
There’s another trick to social media marketing that can make the difference between dry words and something alive and real: images. In ordinary life, an image is worth a thousand words. On social media, make that more like a billion. Jazz up your posts with images that draw the reader’s attention. You can find high-quality social media templates at PosterMyWall, an easy to use online graphic design program. Scroll through their massive library and browse their themes till you find something that inspires you, then customize it till it looks like it belongs to you and you only. Protip: spend an afternoon making fun images for your social media for the week and schedule them all together to save precious time.
Share Your Perspective on a Blog
The next step up from social media is blogging; providing a steady stream of long-form content your readers will grow to look forward to. Choose relevant, unique topics that spark the interest of your niche audience, and make sure every post is informative and provides real value. Take the Hubspot blog as an example. The index of posts reads like an online marketers wish list: every topic you’d love to find out more about. The posts themselves are packed full of interesting and well-researched information, and there’s a reason they’re highly shared.
But don’t overdo the technical information. If you’re focused on online marketing, you’ll want to make sure each of your posts is accessible to a general audience, too. For SEO purposes, the ideal writing style for content creation is a 6-8th grade reading level. Short sentences make your writing easy to read but do vary sentence length to avoid monotonous monologues.
Break up your text blocks and provide a visual break by adding images at intervals. Don’t let more than 400 words get by without an illustration. Ideally, you should add even more: a study by Buzzsumo found that articles with an image every 75-100 words get twice the shares of articles with other image ratios.
Images can speak volumes, so take your time and choose well: relevant images may include quote imagery, annotated screenshots, and infographics. You can make stunning blog post visuals online on PosterMyWall and embed them directly into your website or blog: no download/upload step required.
Going for Gold Status: Publishing Ebooks and Guides
A blog can set you up as an industry expert, but publishing an ebook will give you gold status. It also gives you a chance to provide your valued customers or new followers with something of tangible value—an opportunity that should not be disregarded.
Everyone loves a freebie, and a relevant, informative guide can be used as a lead magnet to build your email list. Offer to mail your ebook, guide or other resources for free to anyone who provides an email address, and before long you’ll have a tidy list of people who are actually interested in your niche. These may not be followers or customers yet, but it won’t take you long to convert them with the right targeted email campaign. Here’s an example of a successful lead magnet:
Email Marketing: Taking Personal One Step Further
Email marketing is successful because it gives you direct access to potential customers and allows you to meet them on their home turf, so to say. It’s one of the more economical advertising methods, and it can be easily automated. What’s more, it’s intensely personal—and this allows you to position yourself as relevant to every single user in your email marketing list.
Marketers that use segmented campaigns experience a 760% increase in revenue, and a DMA study suggests that targeted and segmented email campaigns generate 58% of all revenue. People want to be listened to and when you send targeted emails, you’re letting them know their priorities and individuality matters.
Make email marketing easy - and get measurable results - by using an ESP like MailChimp or GetResponse. Take advantage of segmentation options, utilize PosterMyWall to create brand-consistent email headers that will grab your audience’s attention as soon as they open their mail, and then watch the conversions come in.
Online Marketing: Don’t Limit Yourself
Take advantage of all the content marketing channels available to you and provide interesting, engaging content that gives real value to your target audience. Write tweets you’d love to read, blog posts you’d enjoy scrolling through, and ebooks that deliver the kind of value you and your consumer base both appreciate. Then follow that up with an email that reaches them where they’re at, packed with actionable content that speaks to their felt needs.
Maybe you’ll be the next one to go viral, but even if you don’t, that exponential organic growth you’ll be racking up has the power to move you up from a small player to the big leagues on its own. So start putting these strategies into action today!