Small Businesses need help with Digital Marketing

Too many small and medium-sized businesses (SME) run the risk of being left behind simply because they have no idea how or indeed if, they should be embracing things like content marketing, digital marketing and social media marketing.

Traditional and more established businesses and professions have resisted the temptation to get drawn in or to jump on what looks to be a bandwagon, but the truth is that today customers find, research and select the people and companies they choose more often than not based on some sort of internet research.

Sure that “internet research” might mean a simple Google search or a recommendation from a friend or colleague via Facebook or LinkedIN but it’s just as likely to mean reading a well placed and well written article on a subject they’re interested in.

With such a wealth of information, advice and opinion at their fingertips, prospective customers can arm themselves with product or service knowledge, supplier and price comparisons and pretty much everything the need to know to narrow down their search to just a few potential providers.

On that basis how would you or your organisation fare?

A well designed and consistently and competently executed Digital Marketing program will act like a magnet, positioning you in prospective customers’ minds and pulling informed and qualified buyers to your website.

It can be confusing. It looks like there’s a lot to learn, a lot to achieve and potentially even a lot of money to be wasted if you don’t know what you’re doing.

So where should you start?

Could you do it yourself and when is it right to outsource it to the professionals?

To help you address those very questions, I’ve teamed up with a technical and creative expert in the space, Rick O’Neil and together he and I have developed a completely free and entirely comprehensive on line course for anyone looking to develop their own digital marketing, content marketing or social media marketing program.

You can sign up for it here

For those who would prefer a workshop to discover what it all means and how to do it yourself, you can find it here

If you think “Sod it, life’s too short and I want the experts to do it” you can find the outsource option here

AND…if you really don’t know what you should do….here’s a ready reckoner to help you decide.

I hope it helps!

Content Marketing: Silver Bullet or Next Red Herring?

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand or spent your time doing wholly more worthwhile things like actually talking to customers, you won’t have missed the hype and bluster that’s going on the in market  today about Content Marketing.

In essence Content Marketing is an acknowledgement that today pretty much all “direct” and “cold” approaches don’t work or are at least hugely inefficient. The reason they don’t work is that today people do most of their pre-purchase research on line or via social media sites like LinkedIN etc. So in effect, Content Marketing is about helping people find you, your company, product or service based on you providing relevant, interesting and timely content in a manner they can find and read in their own time; as opposed to you breaking their  door down and demanding an in depth conversation about what it is you want to sell.

Thank goodness, about time and of course it’s something we’ve all been saying for well over a decade.

So that’s great then it must be a Silver Bullet?

No. It’s very red and quite herring-shaped. Why?

Simply because if you’re not careful you switch all your efforts and resources from “bashing the phones” or “spamming out emails” to “generating tomes, info graphics and stuff” that people don’t, won’t and CAN’T read.

And you know, just like Direct Mail or Email campaigning, it will feel good for 24 hours or so after you’ve produced something beautiful and then pressed then “go” button on a massive mailing list…but chances are, the outcome will be the same. Very little.

The problem is that getting stuff out the door was never an issue. Making stuff look and sound great was never and issue either.

The real challenge was, is and has always been, getting the right person at the right time to read, understand and act.

Nowadays that person has a bit more than an “in tray” (for people under the age of 30 that’s something you had on your desk where things people put in a post box with your name on, arrived) to distract them; more than one email account to occupy them and significantly more resources, facilities and means of communication through which to do their own research and make their own decisions.

What’s not changed?

They still have (in the main) two eyes and two ears and 24 hours in the day…and they have no choice but to ignore, delete or reject 99.999% of “stuff” that comes their way.

How do you ensure you are the 0001% that actually gets read and acted upon?

So yes, producing intelligent, engaging and informative content is very much a worthwhile pursuit (unlike older mediums), it has a cumulative effect as it is referenced and archived on line (BTW- That can be a bad thing too!).

However, before you get beavering away with your latest missive, white paper or witty info graphic, I suggest you spend some time doing the bit pretty much 100% of your competitors don’t, won’t or can’t. That is, understanding precisely who it is you need to engage, precisely what it is they prioritize as their burning issue  and why, how and what it is you do that can help them achieve their objective better than any one else.

If and when you can truly answer those questions comprehensively, then you can start to plan how to reach them, what they are searching for, what they need to read and how they need to read it and therefore what you need to produce.

Then you have a Content Marketing plan. Until then…you’re destined to go back round the “inevitable cycle of marketing doom and disappointment” only this time you may be accompanied by a strange fishy smell.