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A small business owner’s work is never done. Now that you’ve had a week to recover from the holidays, it’s time to gear up your marketing efforts for 2014! Marketing was a popular resolution for Bigcommerce clients, and it just so happens that one of the hottest trends for small businesses is content marketing.
If you want to get more attention from the search engines and social networks — but you have limited marketing budgets — content marketing is the answer. Setting up an e-commerce store enables you to sell online, but just having a store doesn’t guarantee you’ll receive orders. Buyers need to find your store before they can make a purchase. Creating and distributing relevant articles, client stories, product spotlights or company updates gets you the visibility you need to attract prospective customers.
Would a 300 percent increase in store visitors and orders help you ring in 2014 with cheer? Content marketing is already delivering these results and more for other Bigcommerce store owners. Just follow this three-step process and you’ll be on your way to achieving your New Year’s marketing resolutions.
Step 1: Set realistic content marketing goals
Get your year started right. Don’t burden yourself by setting unattainable resolutions. You can’t expect to write 500 quality articles in one year by yourself as a solopreneur. Instead you should build your confidence by first setting appropriate goals.
Here are some great marketing resolutions you might want to try on for size:
Start blogging and write at least one article a week. Length doesn’t matter as long as you provide some value and make it interesting. Post your content on the same day and at the same time every week to build momentum.
Exchange one or two pieces of content a month with others in your industry. This is also known as guest blogging. Use a tool like BoostSuite to connect with other marketers in your industry who already need content like yours. It’s a great way to network since it benefits everyone involved.
Send a monthly email newsletter to your customers. Let them know what’s new with your business. The easiest way to write a great newsletter is to link to a few of your recent posts or articles on your site. And don’t forget to ask readers to share your content with their networks too.
Get active on social media and post something at least five times each week. Pick a network or two based on where your customers already are. If you’re selling action figures to soccer moms, LinkedIn probably isn’t the place to start. Maybe try Facebook or Pinterest instead.
Pick at least one resolution to embrace this month. Regardless which approach you’ve committed to, follow up with this quick trick to produce fantastic results.
Create a list of hot topics based on your unique business.
Jot down the names of your most popular products or services. Make sure to include words that explain how they benefit your customers, like making an activity faster or easier.
Now think about the most frequently asked questions you hear from your customers regarding those products or services.
Guess what? Put these lists together and you’ve got a list of topics that will engage your current audience and attract more new customers in 2014.
Step 2: Save time by using easy tools to run your strategy
There are lots of tools out there to help small businesses deliver great content. But the best tools let you do this without breaking the bank or taking up too much of your time. To make things even sweeter, these first two tools can be easily integrated as apps for your Bigcommerce store.
Find new customers by publishing optimized content on your website with BoostSuite.
If you’ve committed to creating more marketing content or blogging, tools like BoostSuite will tell you exactly what to write about based on your actual marketing data. BoostSuite also identifies the key bottleneck pages in your store and lets you test different headlines with visitors to see which one is most effective at driving sales.
Re-engage current customers by publishing a monthly email newsletter with MailChimp.
Create your newsletter with the headlines and short summaries of your most recent website articles and blog posts. This will save you tons of time each month and incentivizes users to click to visit your website to read the full versions of your articles. We recommend sending your newsletter on the same day every month (i.e. the first Thursday of the month).
Introduce your business to your customers’ friends in social networks with HootSuite.
Tools like HootSuite let you publish to multiple social networks at once. Social media users usually see around 10 percent of the content you post at any given time, so a great strategy is to re-post your articles with different headlines about ten times per article. Just like with email marketing, you can link to articles you’ve recently posted on your website to make this super easy. For each article link, write several different short but engaging social posts. Schedule them over a few days and you’ll have a week’s worth of posts ready to go in just a few minutes.
Step 3: Stay disciplined, measure results and refine your strategy
Content marketing isn’t something that you’re going to see huge results from immediately. It’s a long-term investment. Our friend Dan Norris of WP Curve recently said:
“If you are looking for short term results, Content Marketing is not going to work – view it as an investment and don’t feel guilty spending time creating content. Investing is wise… I’m sure someone smart said that. Everyone has the same amount of time, some people prioritize content and others don’t. If you want to build a business using content marketing then prioritize it.”
Here are some helpful tips on keeping your resolutions rolling:
Make the time to actually promote your business online, if it is really important don’t use the “I’m busy” excuse.
Hold yourself accountable for putting in the effort. If you don’t do the work, don’t expect to see any results.
Review your results at least once a week and look for opportunities to improve. A tool like BoostSuite will put your top opportunities in your inbox at the beginning of each week.
Pivot when you realize something is or isn’t working. If it’s working, shift more effort in that direction. If it’s not working, make a slight change. Facebook isn’t producing any clicks to your website? Try promoting your business on Instagram for a while. Don’t keep doing things that consistently aren’t working over several months.
I’m confident that if you set attainable marketing goals, use helpful tools that save you time and money, then keep at it and adjust when needed, you’ll see breakthrough marketing results in 2014. I’ll leave you with an inspirational quote:
[blockquote source=”Helen Keller”]Your success and happiness lies in you.[/blockquote]
In fact, your competitors have already realized this is true. If you sit back and don’t actively promote your store, your competitors will swoop in and take your best customers before they ever learn you exist. Don’t make it that easy for them.
What are your marketing resolutions for 2014? Did you set some for 2013? Were you able to achieve them? If not, why and what are you going to do differently next year? Looking forward to hearing your comments. And on behalf of the entire BoostSuite team, I’d like to wish you a prosperous and successful New Year!
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