Digital marketing tactics like blogging and link building are a great way to turbocharge small business visibility and sales. They’re cost-effective and the ROI can be stunning – so why aren’t you using them yet?
You’re not alone. Many small businesses still rely on traditional advertising and marketing methods. But in 2019 this reliance will slow growth. Your digitally savvy rivals will steam ahead online while you’re left behind.
The most savvy of your rivals are busy building a web of content and links online. Just like a spider, they have a passive structure that will continue to snag more sales and new customers for as long as they maintain it.
If you’ve been slow to make the transition to online content marketing because you’re worried about a steep learning curve, have no fear. It’s surprisingly easy once you come to terms with two key concepts: blogging and link building.
In this article, we take a look at these functional small business marketing tactics that will help your grow your business.
Blogging is a popular form of content marketing that helps you make a strong connection with your audience while raising awareness of your brand.
Businesses like yours can create blogs about topics relevant to your niche while engaging, informing and even entertaining your audience. Each blog should come with a call to action that tells the end user what to do next.
Blogging is important for a variety of reasons. It educates your audience about your niche, your products, services, and convinces them that you’re the expert in your field.
In this way, it sits at the top of your sales funnel. It can be what sparks that initial interest with your prospects’ to find out more about your business and it helps to build a long-lasting relationship while nudging them in the direction of the sale.
Once you’ve published a new post on your blog, you then need to promote it in order to get as many eyeballs on it as possible. Provided you’ve already got an email list, you can ping an email to your subscribers, letting them know you’ve got an awesome new blog post up.
You should also take advantage of social media to promote your blog, utilising everything from Facebook ads to Instagram Stories. Add one or two lines that create intrigue, present a problem and demonstrate how your blog post will solve it. It’s also a smart idea to add a catchy call to action (CTA) for maximum click-throughs.
The aim should always be to produce high-quality, valuable content that the end-user finds super useful. Long-form content works better than short-form content as your prospects want to find the most helpful, in-depth advice possible.
Your content should always be related to your niche, but you can mix things up. For example, you could try listicles, how-to articles, case studies and even articles that give insights into what’s happening in your business at the moment.
Whatever content you create, it needs to solve a particular problem the end-user has, and it needs to solve it better than your competition.
One of the biggest difficulties with creating a blog is generating new content ideas. BuzzSumo is an awesome tool that shows you the best-performing content in your niche right now, while Answer the Public will help you come up with new topic ideas related to questions your customers are asking.
You should always keep Google’s Keyword Planner by your side, too, so that you’re maximising your SEO opportunities.
Outsourcing your blog has at least one obvious upside – it means you get to save yourself a heck of a lot of time. Moreover, by outsourcing this aspect of your business, you’re handing the reins over to a professional.
That said, there are a few ways you can go about this. You can hand your blog creation over to an agency, which will cost you more money, or you can hand it over to a freelance writer.
Freelance writers vary in price, but if you go down this route you’ll need to properly vet the writer so that you don’t get stranded with an unreliable freelancer who misses deadlines. Websites like Upwork are great for vetting freelance writers.
Working with a freelancer will also mean that it will still be up to you to come up with new content ideas.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you there’s room in your small business budget.
Link building is the process of acquiring backlinks from authoritative, high traffic websites in your niche with the aim of increasing your ranking on Google while also driving more traffic to your site.
The most popular way to build links is via blogger outreach. This is where you create content for other websites and include a link back to your own site.
Link building benefits your business in a few ways. For one thing, it increases your presence on Google. How does it do this? Well, before Google starts to rank new websites like yours, it first has to trust you.
The easiest way to get Google to trust you is to acquire links from authoritative websites. Doing so means the authoritative website will pass crucial ‘link juice’ to yours, which increases your ranking.
Another benefit is that, by adding links to various high traffic websites related to your niche, you’re exposing your business to a new audience, thereby increasing your reach.
Thirdly, the more links you acquire from authoritative websites in your niche, the more you’ll position yourself as an expert in your field.
There are two types of links that it pays to be aware of when you’re link building: no-follow and do-follow links. The key difference between them is the inclusion of a no-follow tag in the HTML code associated with the link. If there isn’t a no-follow tag on the link, it automatically becomes a do-follow link.
No-follow links don’t increase your PageRank (Google ranking), while do-follow links do. So your aim should be to grab as many high-quality, do-follow links as possible.
Not all webmasters offer do-follow links, so you’ll need to ask about this before writing content for them.
Many small businesses don’t have the time to launch a link building campaign, but some won’t have the budget to outsource it either. It’s a balancing act and you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons.
For example: timing. When is the right time to outsource link building? If you simply have too much on your plate right now and even the thought of building links is stressing you out, consider outsourcing to an agency that has demonstrated success in these initiatives.
Also, if you don’t have enough experience with link building – or content marketing in general – outsourcing is definitely a smart move. It’s the same if you can’t afford the top tools, or don’t know how to use them.
Some agencies can charge as much as $500 per link or even more, while others will charge as little as $50. How come? It all comes down to the quality of the link. Some links are more valuable than others. Some will supercharge your rankings, while others could even harm your rankings (these are spam links, from websites with a very low PageRank score).
To make sure you’re getting the most value from your marketing agency, take a look at their portfolio and reviews. Make sure they take the time to research your target audience, and that they only target relevant and reputable sites in your industry. Make sure they produce consistently high-quality content, too.
Outsourcing link building is well worth the money, though. Provided you properly vet the agency, a top-notch agency will get you links that ensure organic traffic growth, increased brand awareness and even funnel optimisation.
The great thing about a marketing agency is that they’ll have access to the right tools. Moreover, you won’t have to pay for them yourself.
These tools include:
If you don’t already have digital content marketing plans in place, or you have so far overlooked the importance of blogging and link building for your business, then it’s time to refresh your small business marketing strategies today and start catching up with – before overtaking – your rivals. Outsource what you don’t have the time or skill to take care of yourself but stay within your budget, and then keep tracking, analysing and improving your results.