Staying Relevant in a Changing Business Scenario

online marketing consultant

With Online Marketing being in a constant flux, seeking professional help can help you stay on course.

A question we often get asked is how does a small business stay abreast of the changes happening around it. Here are a few things that you need to know to stay ahead of the curve.

Embrace the Changes – The Power of Open Mindset

Darren Rowse, the famous Australian blogger once wrote an article about the reasons for his blogging success. One of the reasons he cited was his early entry to the blogging scene when there was little to no competition. Monetisation and internet marketing were quite simple. He admits that things have changed today and small businesses have a lot of competition.

So what do you learn from this? Well, you can take this information in two ways: you can either be heartbroken about the competitive world that you have to fight to secure your position or look at it positively. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • There was a time when you could rank your website high by placing keywords all over your website. When search engine algorithms changed, these sites not only lost their rankings, but they had a tough time getting back to where they stood, some of them never making it because newly launched sites with latest algorithm compliance already overtook them!
  • Link building through article marketing was the best way to increase traffic till a few years ago. A new marketer will feel heartbroken by looking at a competition’s website that has backlinks from dozens of article directories through hundreds of articles. You see, writing hundreds of articles takes time and effort and often small business owners can’t justify that to themselves. Despite the money and effort you put in, it was hard to outrank a competition that already established traffic through high traffic or high conversion keywords. But what happened when Panda updates from Google hit these directories? Sites with article backlinks were either vanishing in the search engine land or they were pushed way back in their position? New start-ups that recognised these algorithm changes were quick to move on and outrank their competition.

Change is the Only Constant – Be Ready to Fight the War

Small businesses have a trend to rely heavily on Google, ‘Big G’ for their traffic. However, working out ways to get the traffic you need from the Big G is getting difficult day by day. Did you forget something important in your attempts of finding your way on Google search results? For example, let’s ask, SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING anyone?

Let’s look at some interesting facts about social media:

  • 77% of B2C customers are acquired through Facebook by some companies (State of Inbound Marketing)
  • 80% of the loyal customers connect with their brands through Facebook. ‘OK, so what’s the big deal, right?’ The big deal, of course, is the number of shares, happy customer testimonials and referrals that you are likely to miss with poor social media presence.
  • Today it’s fresh, relevant content that drives search results. Social Media is a great way to spread the word on your business and stay in touch with your audience. Post engaging content and linking it back to your website can boost your SEO efforts social channels.

Seek Professional Help

We understand that it’s not easy for businesses to stay updated on the changes around them. End of the day, you have a business to run and you only got 24 hours like anyone else. Find an online marketing consultant who will quickly help you identify the right content and social media mix for your business. You’ll be surprised how much important insights you can get just through your interaction with an online marketing consultant.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Logical Approach to Measuring ROI

social media for small businesses

If you can’t measure it, you can’t control it.

Many argue, correctly to some extent, that social media is just one tool in the overall marketing mix. My view is that we need to look at social media holistically. Like all your business initiatives, you should be able to measure the return on the time and investment you put into social media. Measuring Social Media ROI is in many ways a complex task. E.g. how do you ascertain the value of a Facebook like, or a retweet, follow or share?

How do you measure value?
In essence, when measuring social media ROI you are effectively attempting to measure the value it creates for your stakeholders. There is no one size fits all approach to measuring this as different businesses use social media differently. Some small businesses will find deeper value in direct engagement and focusing on individual clients to influence them over a period of time than others. When viewed as a whole, social media is a complex mix of social and marketing elements.

Metric-driven method
What is important is that you focus on metrics which are aligned with your overall business strategy. Whether your aim is to strengthen your competitive positioning or to cultivate a consistent line of communications with your stakeholders, you can only find out if you are on track if you can, to the extent possible, effectively measure the end value your efforts are creating.
It’s not possible to precisely measure the ROI only in financial terms and there are non-financial indicators we must take into account. Simply put, social media has both quantitative and qualitative aspects.

Before starting out, you must be able to answer the following questions:
1. Where do you see social media in your overall marketing strategy?
2. What non-financial benefit do you get from social media?
3. Do you see social media as a short-term or a long-term investment?
4. How does social media contribute to the likeability of your brand?
5. What is your ideal social media split (tangible and intangible goals)?

Quantitative Measurement 
1. Referral Traffic – Google Analytics – to show the increase in the traffic to your website from social media channels.
2. Another metric is using a measurement tool to measure the number of mentions a brand receives over the course of a 3-month period and identify trends.
3. Number of likes/followers, retweets, engaged users etc.
4. Tracking the number of mentions for brand-specific keywords using tools such as Google Alerts.

Qualitative Measurement 
1. Compilation of most effective/interesting comments, shares etc.
2. Seeking feedback from clients and highlighting testimonials
3. Are you among one of the influential sites in your field? If not, why?
4. Exploring avenues to become a thought leader
5. Identifying brand ambassadors – frequent visitors/supporters
6. Building influence

Even though one can’t quantify everything, it’s still important to develop a metric-centric approach to social media measurement.

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