MAKING YOUR BRAND STAND OUT
Billboards, TV & radio ads, magazine spreads- these are expensive ways to advertise, and the ROI on these tried and true methods are starting to diminish in return. Because people don't watch commercials anymore. We don't read magazines as much, and with the growing popularity of podcasts, we don't really listen to the radio either. So, whilst these methods do still work to a degree, they are nowhere near as effective as the online marketing strategies outlined below.
Remember, the first thing you need to do to get a customer is to have them know that you exist. And now, whilst it is hard (due to the sheer number of people who are starting new businesses), it is easier than ever. Because, for the first time in forever, the cost of entry into internet marketing is so low (perhaps even free) that anyone can get started!
CONVENTIONAL INTERNET MARKETING
Nothing new about these, because people have been using them for years:
WEBSITE- Every business needs a website right? I think so. But you can't just have any website. Once you get your customers there (by getting your name out there, and being easily searchable), it's got to make them want to stay and click stuff. So your website has to look good, not be too text-heavy (ie. you need awesome pictures), be updated regularly, and most importantly, you gotta watch for broken links. Nothing kills a potential customer's interest more than having them click on a link, and that link doesn't lead anywhere (including error messages like "this page does not exist"). So you need to test your site regularly. Every time you change something, just make sure the links still work. And whilst you can pay somebody else to design your website, a lot of companies offer templates etc that can make your website look really pro, even if you don't know anything about coding or design. Try Wix, Squarespace, etc. There's a monthly cost, but it's actually not bad. And whilst you're at it, make sure you get your own domain name. Stuff like Nike.com. Not nike.wix.com.
EMAIL- This is a main way of communicating with potential customers. And it's also a great way to market to them, by creating mailing lists using software like Mailchimp. But remember, it's 2020, and most of us get so much stuff sent to us from various companies that it's highly likely your email will end up in the spam folder, or at least unopened. Targeting your email is one way of increasing the likelihood that somebody will open your email. For example, if you are selling bikinis, there's no point having loads of 90 year-olds on your mailing list, because they are not your main target audience. And just like your website, you need an email address that is associated with your business domain name, not something like: email@example.com!
BANNER ADS- You remember that stuff at the bottom of a webpage that you click on, and it sends you to another site. Don't even bother! Nobody ever clicks on banner ads anymore.
This is where all the growth is right now. If your business isn't all over the popular 5-10 social media platforms, then your customer will never find you. Period. end of story. The end. And posting once a week isn't nearly enough.
INSTAGRAM- Traditionally, this app is highly curated, and basically a highlight reel of sorts. But it's not just about the picture. The copy (the stuff you write) and the hashtags are also important. And don't forget about IG stories (you do need 10,000 followers to activate the "swipe up" function which allows you to link to other sites, but you can still use stories effectively with less followers. IGTV is also a place that you can upload some videos about your business. And there are IG ads as well.
FACEBOOK- This app is starting to evolve into one for "older" audiences. And from a business standpoint, that is a good thing. Because adults control spending. FB ads are very effective, inexpensive, and they allow you to target specific audiences (eg. 18-30 year-old women who live within 10km of your location, who have been engaged for less than 6 months, and are looking for a wedding photographer). That specific. You can also create FB groups that allow you to have deeper engagement with your audience.
TWITTER- This app isn't as popular here as it is in the US, but it's still very useful. The posts are short (max. of 280 characters), and is a great place to start conversations. People can "retweet" your tweets to expand your audience. You can also search your local area for other people's tweets, and join the conversation. So, if you sell toys, you can search #toys and add your 2 cents.
YOUTUBE- Everybody consumes YT videos, but there aren't many people who make videos. And that's a shame because it's a great way to not so much sell to potential customers, but rather to demonstrate your product or service. YouTube is also a great way to show some behind-the-scenes footage, make vlogs, as well as tell your audience about the person behind the business. You don't need expensive equipment to make YT videos, but you have to start.
LINKEDIN- It's just for business-related posts right? Not any more. People are posting some personal and fun stuff on here too. And whilst the way you communicate might be somewhat more "formal" than other platforms, there's no reason why you can't tell your origin story here too!
TIKTOK- This is a very popular app, and is not just for kids lip-syncing and making dance videos. There are lots of things you can do on this platform, including telling people about your business. There are also lots of GIFs and filters to enhance the look of your videos too. Just be aware that there are currently potential security issues with this app, and it has been banned in certain countries. There is also talk that it might be banned in the US. If this is so, this app is dead in the water.
TRILLER- Tik-Tokers are hedging their bets and moving to this platform, just in case TIkTok gets shut down. Maybe worth a look, just in case.
PODCASTS- Until Covid, podcasts was the up and comer. It still is, but less so. Because we spend less time commuting, which is where a lot of people would listen to a podcast. Podcasts are different in that it has everything to do with what you say, because people can't see you. And with an app like Anchor, you can have your podcast automatically distributed to platforms like Apple Music and Spotify.
A FEW STRATEGIES FOR ENGAGING CONTENT
First thing is that, you don't have to do what everybody else is doing. For example, you don't have to dance on TikTok; you can just video yourself demonstrating your product.
The thing about social media is that most people use it either for entertainment, to find stuff, or to show what they have or what they can do. Basically, the stuff you post needs to be interesting- to the audience you're going after.
Nice pictures are great, but if you're branding, you also need to write stuff that gets attention. And don't just copy and paste from one platform to the other. Things have to be contextual to the platform you're using.
One last thing: respond to your audience! If somebody has taken the time to post a comment, ask a question, etc, you need to reply. Not just with a heart, but actually with words. People love getting replies, because it makes them feel special.