Supercharge Your Online Presence: 5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Online Marketing Campaign

Issue: 
July-August 2013

 

1. Video Marketing
Some small business owners may recoil at the thought of taking the bold leap from more “conservative” online mediums to the open-ended realm of video marketing, yet reports from global digital statisticians place it amongst the top most lucrative web-based marketing methods. 

In a recent infographic released by comScore – a leading, worldwide analytics research firm – Canada boasts a level of online video participation that’s second only to the United Kingdom. This study revealed that on average, Canadians spend 24.8 hours per month engaging with video content online, watching up to 291 videos each. Considering Canada’s significantly small population in comparison with the study’s other participants (namely the United States, Russia and Germany) these findings are particularly compelling – a golden opportunity for small businesses. Findings by Video Brewery (a creative community specializing in business explainer videos), reveal that out of 80% of universal internet users who watch a video advertisement, 46% take some form of action after viewing it. 

So, don’t be afraid to initiate a free YouTube account and channel. To avoid the time limitations on your videos and unwanted advertising, create a free Vimeo (www.vimeo.com) account to host your videos. Once the videos are uploaded to your chosen account, they can be embedded into your website via YouTube or Vimeo. Build a subscriber group and keep them entertained with promos of new products and technologies.

Three Tips Towards a Successful Video Marketing Campaign
1. Entertainment Value Counts: For example, instead of a conventional tree felling or rigging gear product demo, consider showing a competition between two professional arborists involving the use of the products to complete a grueling challenge. Use two staff members and make it interesting with an incentive or prize for the winner.

2. Keep it Professional: Where a myriad of small business videos flood the internet, professionally recorded videos always fare better – investing in a creative company that can add the perfect finishing touch to your video through professional editing is an investment well made.

3. The Shorter, The Sweeter: Grab your audience within the first 10 seconds of the video, make your point, include a call-to-action and conclude. In a study conducted by Youtube.com, videos under 3.5 minutes perform better than longer ones.

2. Web Competitions
Incentives are used in the business place as a tool for motivation, by retailers as a way of boosting sales and by service providers to increase customer loyalty. It can be used in the context of a small business online campaign in much the same way – in the form of competitions. 

Global entrepreneur digital consultancy StartupNation quotes Mashable.com in putting online competitions at the top of the marketing list for four central reasons. 

Primarily, contests are a tool for building a database of potential customers – studies have seen exponential growth rates in the databases of small businesses with the onset of a competition. 

They’re also an avenue for engagement with the company’s target market and an effective way of stimulating genuine interest. 

In addition to these benefits, competitions are a rich source of information about the target market – through entry forms or strategic questions, small businesses can get to know the demographic of their customers to a fuller degree. 

More importantly, competitions empower customers to promote the company simply by participating; which is most relevant when the contest includes a referral or voting component. Online vehicles for competitions include social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, company websites, blogs and emails. 

Three Points to Remember
1. Act Strategically: Schedule your competition around big arboricultural events like the annual tree climbing championship to ensure that your small business benefits from the hype of the occasion (particularly if you have one or more staff participating in the OTCC).

2. Monitor Progress: Take an “all hands on deck” approach during the competition process in order to deal with the increased web traffic or queries which may arise, i.e. don’t engage if you’re not ready. 

3. Check the Laws: Always ensure that your competition abides by the relevant regulations (for example, emails must have an ‘unsubscribe’ option).

3. Online Promotions
Another way of “incentivizing” a customer base for their loyalty and ongoing support is to furnish customers with special discounts, deals and promotional offers made available exclusively online. Caution: where other mediums may be relatively straightforward to implement, the terrain of discounts and deals is often a tricky one to negotiate. Offering too many promotional deals on a frequent basis may serve to “cheapen” the image of the business and create the impression that customers are ordinarily being overcharged for the respective product or service. However, promotions can serve a unique purpose – to “re-activate” non-converting customers and to re-engage them through notifying this targeted group of customers about an exclusive discount offer via email. Discounted prices can help to boost sales during off-peak seasons and encourage database growth once the small business has enough capacity to manage an increase in sales effectively. This form of marketing can be translated into a rewards program – it’s been proven that when loyal customers are rewarded for their constancy, they will remain loyal. 

4. Blogging
In the hands of a small business that understands the value of building an efficient online presence, blogging is an indispensable marketing tool. A simple statistic by IMPACT, an award-winning inbound marketing agency and gold Hubspot partner, illustrates this fact concisely: companies that have an active blog get 55% more website visitors than companies who do not. Small businesses the world over are levelling the commercial playing field by utilizing company blogs due to the low-cost nature of maintaining one. Unlike other marketing mediums, blogging affords a small business with the chance to attract customers without actually selling their product or service. How is this done? By generating consumer confidence – by proving to potential customers that the company stays ahead of the trends, remains in the “know-how” when it comes to the latest methods and innovations in the arboricultural industry and by encouraging direct, constructive feedback. The formula for success is simple – according to Hubspot, the more frequently a blog is updated, the bigger the opportunity for a blog owner to acquire a new customer becomes.  

Starting Points: Creating a Blog that Gets the Message Across
1. Build an Editorial Calendar: If you’re a small business blog enthusiast who just does not have enough hours in a day to generate regular blog posts, take a day or two to create a calendar with scheduled topics and articles for each month and where possible, commission a freelancer to share your content load.

2. Set the Right Tone: While blogs can be less formal than websites or other online platforms, keep your language professional and always double (and triple) check the post for spelling and grammatical errors before publishing.

3. Keep Your Posting Consistent: Commit to a day of the week/month or a schedule which your clients can count on.

5. Link Building: Business Directories
Most small business owners who have efficiently run websites will be familiarized, at least in part, with the term search engine optimization (SEO). This highly effective medium of online marketing entails the use of organic web-search processes to ensure that a business is highly ranked on popular search engines like Google and Yahoo. It is primarily concerned with which keywords a user enters into a search engine when attempting to locate a particular retail or service offering. 

One key way of ensuring that your small business ranks highly on search results pages is to list it on local online business directories, along with a link to your website. Not only does listing your business on these directories have the potential to drive traffic to your company site, it also makes it easier for search engines to identify and rank it. Signing up is a simple and mostly free process requiring no advanced web savvy or time-consumption. 

If you have strategic partners or alliances reach out and ask them to link to your site and offer to do the same in return.

Five Places to Start
smallbizpages.ca
canadapages.ca
yellowpages.ca
weblocal.ca
canadaone.com

*Disclaimer: The article’s author and associated companies have no professional affiliations with any of the companies mentioned in this article. All details are correct at the time of going to print.

 

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