Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with @JDSaunders. John D. Saunders is the Founder and CEO of 5four Digital Marketing, an innovative digital marketing firm specializing in web design, SEO, SEM, social media and graphic design. As a Certified Google Analytics and Google Adwords individual, John has created successful marketing campaigns for companies including The Wow Factory, mph club, Park Ave BMW, Arraes Miami and more.
SmallBizLady: How can a local business compete in a competitive market?
John D. Saunders: Three words: Provide quality content. Providing easily readable, informative content that talks to the consumer can work wonders for traffic and qualified leads. This content doesn’t necessarily sell but instead offers tips or advice. Content is key, but you also need to promote your content to those in your vertical to convert possible customers. These types of blogs are also important to search engine optimization (SEO).
SmallBizLady: What are some great tools for online marketing?
John D. Saunders: We actually recently finishing putting together a list of FREE tools! You can check it out here. We organized the content into six categories. The categories included design, SEO, creative and more. The list has quite a few tools to help with blog content. From free images to use in your content to free website tools to help get your blog more exposure, it could definitely be a solid tool.
SmallBizLady: How do you come up with ideas for blog content?
John D. Saunders: Take a look at a tool called Google Trends. This tool will give you an idea of the most popular Google search terms which will help get your creative juices flowing! Also, be sure to check out Buzzsumo. All you need to do is input a keyword and Buzzsumo will provide the most popular content online in relation to your keyword. Lastly, if you’re really stumped when it comes to content, be sure to check out Hubspots Blog Generator. Just input a few keywords and it will give you blog titles based on your keywords to get your ideas going.
SmallBizLady: How can organic blog content help me convert traffic to sales?
John D. Saunders: By providing quality blog content you’re essentially creating brand advocates and readers with virtually minimal effort. Add links to similar content on your website on these pages and also include subtle calls to action (such as a pop-up window or a button) to get users to stay on your blog/website and, hopefully, convert! Let’s take a fitness blog, for example. If you’re talking about the best foods to eat, you could also include one of your paid guides or products within the content without selling. I.e. “There are tons of alternatives, including our protein shake…”
SmallBizLady: I have a great blog. How do I get noticed?
John D. Saunders: Your best bet is Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads are relatively cheap compared to Google Adwords, and they can provide dedicated, focused users for your content. It’s easy to segment potential clients by area, interestsm age, demographic and more! Also, Facebook has an extended product called Custom Audiences. Basically, you can utilize your existing marketing database scrubbed against Facebook and easily target your database on Facebook. With this, your marketing targets don’t even need to “like” your Facebook page to see your content.
SmallBizLady: Are there alternatives to spending money?
John D. Saunders: Yes, there are most definitely alternatives to paying for increased exposure. Guest blogging works very well. Perform a few searches for your niche follow by the word “blog” in Google. For example, “Italian food” + “blog.” Take a look at the top results and feel free to each out. A lot of these sites and their content are crowdsourced anyway. Contact them and see if they would like to feature your content.
SmallBizLady: How can I track my success?
John D. Saunders: First and foremost, Google Analytics should be installed on your website. To track a specific blog on your website, or otherwise, use the Google URL Builder to help you add parameters to URLs you use in custom web-based or email ad campaigns. In other words, track your blogs to see their traction in analytics. Visit this page, input your info and, as long as you’ve installed Analytics, you’ll be able to see the clicks, time spent on your site, bounce rate and more for that specific blog.
SmallBizLady: Are there alternatives to Analytics?
John D. Saunders: If you’re looking for a simpler approach, a website called bit.ly can help. Bit.ly is a totally free link shortening service. Take your blog content URL and easily shorten and rename it. For example, our blog “0-100 Real Quick Marketing Tolls to Boost Branding” was changed to “bit.ly/smdlist100.” Share the new shortened link and bit.ly will track clicks, location of clicks and number of times the link was clicked. Bit.ly is a simple and easy tool anyone can use to track links.
SmallBizLady: What type of structure should I follow for my blog content?
John D. Saunders: The current attention span of a consumer has been drastically reduced. You need to work on capturing attention quickly. When it comes to your content, use images to break up large sections of text. Also, using a list format or “Top 10” in your title will also help readership. Those that want to peruse your article will find it easier to find the information they want with images, bolded text, and lists prominent in your content.
SmallBizLady: Are there any social tools to promote sharing on my website blog?
John D. Saunders: If you’re running the Wordpress Content Management System, there are a plethora of great tools. Our favorite would have to be the Cresta Social Share Counter plugin. It floats above your content and is easily seen for readers who want to initiate a quick share. Feel free to change which social media platforms are shown including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
SmallBizLady: How can I leverage my network?
John D. Saunders: Your social media network is your marketing army! Share your blog content on all of your personal and business profiles. Use hashtags on Twitter for more exposure. Also, don’t sell. Instead, provide quality content for friends and family to absorb and that they want to share with their own network as well. Social media is about leveraging your influence so use your network wisely.
SmallBizLady: Besides Facebook and Twitter, where else can I share my content?
John D. Saunders: Surprisingly, Instagram can be a great place to share. Create an image with a text overlay about your blog and place the blog link in your bio – this is also a great opportunity for a custom bit.ly link! When you post content on Instagram, use relevant hashtags to increase your reach and discovery rate. Be sure to clearly tell users to click the link in your bio for more of your great content. It’s that simple!
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter. Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat:http://bit.ly/S797e. For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.