Basic Inbound Marketing for Small Businesses

If you’re running a small business, the chances are you’re very busy and involved. While schedule may be tight, have you stepped back and assessed whether your efforts are paying off?

Marketing is one of the most critical parts of a successful business campaign. Considering the newfound dependence on the internet, even small businesses should be practicing inbound marketing already.

So today, you’ll be learning more about the basics of inbound marketing as a small business. Take note because if you’re able to pull this off effectively, you can be sure it’s worth your time and effort.

  1. Outbound marketing out! Inbound marketing in!

Most likely, local businesses still believe in handing out flyers, making posters or infomercials to let their products be known. Well, if you’re one who’s still a great believer of this traditional marketing, then it’s time you open your mind to something else, something more effective.

Inbound marketing is all about marketing online. Not only will this save you a lot more, it will easily capture your market at a shorter period of time— which now leads us to the basic steps you need to take.

  1. Create unique, compelling and shareable content.

One truth in the realm of inbound marketing is that content is and always will be king. Whether you’re about to send an email to your clients, a blog post to share your thoughts or simple social media posts, it’s critical for you to achieve quality content.

If you don’t have the time or don’t trust yourself with writing, hire someone who can. Make sure that a good time is invested on research and there’s also a good flow of creativity. While it’s important what you write, it is also significant how you write it. So ensure that you provide your market nothing less than a thought-leading one.

Another trick is to make use of evergreen content. It’s a timeless, always-significant type of content such as “how to’s” and other tips and techniques that can be related to your industry.

  1. Optimize, optimize, optimize.

If you’ve never heard of Search Engine Optimization, then it’s about time you do so. SEO is the process of practicing techniques that will make your website more visible and increase your ranking in search engines such as Google and Yahoo!.

Even if you’ve formulated content that’s amazing in every way, without the right amount of optimization your website can easily go down the drain. The following are some of the simplest ways to optimize your content:

  • Work well with your keywords. Keywords are the terms that are most searched by users online. In relation to your industry, you need to make use of localized keywords. For instance, you’re running a computer shop. A helpful keyword would be “computer shop in Balmoral Road Singapore”.

Moreover, you should place your keywords well entwined with your content. You can’t just scatter them everywhere because it will be spammy and Google will make you pay for it.

  • Use keyword-drive titles. Another way to optimize your content is to use a set of your keywords into the title so it will be easier for your content to be found. Also keep in mind that it should sound fit with the rest of the words in your title.
  • Link effectively. Linking internally and externally is one way to build your name online. So make sure you maximize your website by linking related topics internally and externally working with other websites that are related to your industry. If you know anyone who owns a computer repair shop with a website, that’s a good area to link to.
  1. 4. Offer sweet bargains online.

Another awesome way you can use inbound marketing is to offer the best deals possible to your market. Whether you’re releasing it via social media or email marketing, it’s a great venue to reach more people and gain new clients.

Give limited-time offers to a specific number of people so that your market will pay more attention. Just keep in mind to not always promote your business. You can even share or post stories that are simply significant to your brand and to your market.

Trust that they will get tired if everything they read is all about you.

  1. Be part of the social media.

Do you have a personal Facebook or Twitter account? Do you realize how impactful and viral these social media platforms can get? Well, that’s how much power and impact you can get when your business is also part of the social media buzz.

Considering the billions of people active in various social media platforms, it’s a great area to find more customers. Not only will you have a greater chance to be recognized by your niche, you also have better opportunities to be patronized.

There are three crucial things you need to remember when using social media in your inbound marketing campaign. First, never talk about your brand all the time and purely. People will skip your posts. Second, learn good timing as to when to post or share content. Break time, before office hours and bedtime are the best moments to do so. Lastly, integrate your content with social media by putting easy-to-spot options of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and other platforms.

Even if you’re running a local business, it’s tremendously important for you to maximize the ways on how you can grow your market, expand it and open new doors to bigger and better opportunities. So make sure to make time and invest on inbound marketing. You’ll be surprised by the impact it can give your brand.

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A Rookie’s Complete Guide to Twitter Hashtags

Ever since Twitter used the pound (#) sign to form a hashtag, this little symbol has made waves all over the net. There are those who overuse it, making their tweet a complete eyesore and there are those who even use it on Facebook— which is utterly useless.

While others seem to be misusing and abusing them, many know how to effectively use hashtags. It’s become an asset to online marketers and is a reliable tool for businesses.

Below I’ve prepared a complete guide on how to use hashtags to your advantage. Considering the influential impact this symbol has, it’s only right you know how to make use of it.

Let’s start with the basic ideas first.

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag acts as a keyword— only with a pound sign. For instance, you’re looking for people who talk about #Singapore. You can simply type it into the search bar and you can see everyone who uses the same hashtag. From there, you can get quite a handful of information and insights.

What does a hashtag do?

Hashtags are the bond that ties different conversations into one category. Even if two people are not in any way connected but happen to talk about the same thing, their tweets will appear in one stream.

This tool is perfect for those who seek out information regarding the hottest, most-talked about topics in a local and global scale.

What’s the meaning of “trending?”

Hashtags can become trending if there are a lot of tweets about it. Thanks to Trendsmap.com, it’s easy to find out what the latest trends are in different countries.

Today in Singapore, pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia just arrived from China. There’s been a lot of rave about it. Twitter users have been utilizing #SGPandas as a hashtag, which is enough to make it as a trending topic.

How do you create a hashtag?

You don’t need tools to create one. Just marry a word with # and you have a hashtag.

While the idea of hashtags is quite easy to grasp, the proper use of it is the challenge. That’s why for the second part of this guide, I’ve narrowed down some of the basic do’s and don’ts of Twitter hashtags.

5 Do’s and Don’ts of Twitter Hashtags

What are the worst practices when using hashtags?

  1. #usinglongwordsashashtagsinjustonetweet

As you can see, this is one of the most annoying things people can do on Twitter. The goal of hashtags are to keep significant topics informative and with sense to people.

If you choose to hashtag long phrases (and space doesn’t count), people will not bother reading it. Also, don’t expect to get to trending because chances are, no one will use the exact hashtag you just did.

  1. Placing #excessive #hashtags on #your #tweet

It’s pointless to put the pound symbol before articles “a”, “an” or “the”. You know what’s even more pointless? Putting # before just about any word in your sentence.

What Twitter hashtags promote are current topics that are of certain importance to other people, not just you. So you’re practically wasting away this tool and making your tweet nothing more than a few characters than burn eyes.

  1. Using acronyms as hashtags

If you use an acronym as a hashtag, the chances are people will not understand what it means. Unless these are very famous acronyms, your #LKHI or #UPOR don’t mean anything to other users.

  1. Using hashtags on Facebook.

Other than Twitter, hashtags serve a purpose on Instagram and Pinterest but to use it on Facebook is unforgivable.

A lot of people use this tool in this social media platform that can’t justify a hashtag. It doesn’t appear as a clickable link and it doesn’t lead anyone to learn anything more.

  1. Spamming hashtags

Hashtags can become spam if you create one that ‘s completely unrelated to your tweet. Desperate businesses who lack strategy end up doing this, which will not at al help build your brand and market.

 

What are the best practices when using hashtags? 

  1. Use at most two hashtags per tweet.

Two hashtags are enough to convey a tweet. It keeps a clean, focused statement with two important topics included. People will also take you more seriously instead of flooding your tweet with too many hash.

  1. Do your research.

Before you create a hashtag, check to see if people are already using it. This is especially helpful for businesses that are vying to start a trending hashtag.

Moreover, use research to know what the current news are surrounding your business. This can be very beneficial if you want to connect and engage with your market more.

  1. Get into other topics.

Having Twitter as a social media marketing tool isn’t just to promote your products/services. One key is to be human and learn to be part of the community.

Be in the know and find out what other topics are there on Twitter. Even if you’re running a real estate business, doesn’t mean you can’t get a piece of the latest news from Mars Curiosity.

  1. It’s still.. the shorter, the better.

Short hashtags are more likely to become trending and memorable. The general rule of thumb on Twitter is to not have more than 10 characters for a hashtag.

If you’re campaigning for a trending topic, it’s best to use shorter and simpler hashtags for people to easily follow.

  1. Promote your hashtags.

Whether you’re doing a webinar or promoting an event, it’s good to let people know you’re using hashtags to make your marketing campaign more effective. So don’t be afraid to let your market know you’re striving to be on top.

Hashtags, if used effectively can greatly help your business online. Not only does it have the power to collate what’s most significant currently, it has the ability to draw in people from all walks of life. So make sure you utilize your Twitter hashtags carefully. You don’t want this little pound symbol to backfire on your efforts.

A Basic Guide to Mobile Marketing

In this digital age we live in, we rely heavily on our android or smart phones to get us through the day. There is even a saying, “We live in an age of smart phones and stupid people”. While that can be very debatable, there’s no doubt our mobile phone is a big part of our everyday lives.

When it comes to marketing businesses, mobile phones are one outlet that businesspeople have exercised for some time now. This tool isn’t considered as the more traditional one, which makes it a challenge for some marketers to use.

For this post, I’ll help you through learning more about mobile marketing. You will find out more on how it works, why it is essential and what steps you need to be taking to deem this tool effective.

Before anything else, I’ll share with you some mobile marketing statistics to emphasize just how much of a growing trend it is now.

Mobile marketing statistics

In 2010, the mobile share of web traffic in Asia was around 6.1%. This year, it’s rated at 17.84%— that’s a 192.46% increase in just two years! It is even foreseen that fixed internet access will be dominated by mobile phones come 2014.

So as the numbers would have it, it is essential for any businessperson to have not only online visibility in personal computers or notebooks. Each must practice mobile marketing now before getting outdated.

Why do you need mobile marketing?

There are two main reasons why your business needs to have mobile marketing presence now. These reasons are as follows:

  1. The numbers tell you no lies.

Out of the world’s 4 billion mobile phones that are in use, 1.08 billion of these are smart phones and 3.05 billion of these mobile phones are SMS enabled. Moreover, recent statistics have shown that among the 18-34 year olds, over 50% access their e-mails in their mobile phones.

Looking at all the numbers, it’s almost ridiculous for anyone to pass on practicing mobile marketing. If you place your content as accessible through SMS or email, you’re practically tripling your chances of generating leads or converting them into solid sales.

  1. Click through rates (CTR) are in decline.

It’s been found that CTR are in slow and steady decline. Having yet another alternative solution, which is mobile marketing, allows you to maximize other potential lead-generating or sale-winning tool.

How do you use mobile marketing effectively?

Now that you’ve learned more about mobile marketing, below are 5 tips I’d like you to take note of. Remember that whatever tool you choose to use, it’s crucial for you to know how to utilize it effectively.

  1. Have a plan paired with an open mind.

Sure mobile marketing is revolutionary. Sure it has managed to changed lives ever since smart phones and androids came out. But one thing that mobile marketing isn’t too extraordinary about is that it still needs the basics to make it effective.

A plan consisting of your consumer insights, needs and wants as well as your objective as a brand remains the backbone of your campaign. Moreover, an open mind tells you that mobile marketing is essentially in need of the basics but is only implemented differently.

  1. Keep it short and straight to the point.

Say for instance a person is in a subway, waiting for his train to arrive. Nowadays, the typical reaction to waiting is to fiddle with your mobile phone. If you want to get through to your market in that short amount of time, then mobile marketing is what you need.

Remember to keep your information short, simple and direct to the point. Within that span of time the man waits for his train and checks his mobile, you need to get your message/campaign through to him as quickly as possible.

Whether you’re sending an e-mail, SMS or information through a QR code, it’s essential to keep it as collected and concise as possible.

  1. Make it look pretty.

Mobile phones have small screens and can be quite limiting to the eye. The best thing you can do is to bank on aesthetics to grab the attention of your market.

Make your ad look beautiful. Don’t be too heavy on the images, loud on the colors and excessive on the text. Ensure that however way your campaign appears on the phone, it’s pleasing to the eye. Remember that beauty can open a lot of doors, even in mobile marketing.

  1. Be relevant.

What makes mobile phones a defining technology is its power to deliver updated, relevant information into a small device handheld by people. Relevance is what enables people’s current interests, needs or wants.

In line with that, you need to learn how to be relevant in tying in your brand and promotions with the latest news and stories. It’s all about learning how to play out with content and context. Once you’re able to marry these two, your brand becomes significant.

  1. Be and stay inspired.

Learn from the best mobile marketing practitioners. Research on which brands and companies are exercising this strategy and turning them to millions of dollars. You can even check what your competitors are up to.

It’s never too late to find inspiration among those who are successful. In fact, it’s a fuel for you and your business to be better.

To say that mobile marketing is a trend is an understatement. It’s becoming one of the most useful cost-efficient and direct marketing strategies that generate leads, sales and greater profit. So if you’re one who’s still not practicing it, then it’s high time you do so.