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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Fortney

Marketing Tip: Do These 6 Things to Improve Your Digital Marketing

While most businesses continued to thrive this past year, many did not, and it begs the question why that is. In today’s world where everyone has access to information, know how from experts is shared openly and freely, why doesn’t every startup and small business take advantage of this to build a digital marketing strategy that can not only sustain but also build a business?

Maybe it’s that the plethora of information out there is just too overwhelming and finding, rather making, the time to just do it becomes stressful, and many just turn away from it altogether. I get it.

We have a client who we’ve been urging to learn how to use Facebook to sell directly to customers. We urged her for three years and she still felt it was too overwhelming. She finally told us that she didn’t want to post something, and no one react or engage, but we know that is all part of the learning experience. This is how you learn what your customers like and want more of.

I am happy to report that, as of a few months ago, she’s kind of getting the hang of it. We’ve not mentioned blogging…yet.

However, she is like most people. She had no idea where to start and how to sift through all of the videos and “experts”. So, we led her to the Social Media Examiner – one of our favorite resources for free insider information (they literally figure it out for you and give you the simplified version of what you need to know and how to execute).

I cannot tell you how much time we save on our continuing education by receiving this newsletter.

Then we got to thinking about the other simple digital strategies businesses can use to communicate and build there business online. And, more importantly, what do people need to know to get through 2021.

The primary answers are to make learning new things a priority and don’t be afraid to pivot.

When tragedy, hardship or a pandemic hit, you’ve got to feel confident in understanding how to continue communicating and engaging your current audience and generate awareness with potential new customers.

startup inspirational quote

If you’re not already engaging one or more of these, 2021 is the time to up your digital communications game with these marketing tips:

Be bold

There has never been a better time to step up and grab hold of your digital presence. Frankly, if you haven’t yet, then you’re behind the eight ball, big time. It’s a world wide web and you never know where your next customer or partnership will find you.

As we advised a client, again this year, now is the time to be bold, put yourself and your business out there and start building real connections with customers.

Whatever you fear, let go of it and remember that your customers want to engage and build a relationship with your business. The problem is that they can’t unless you open the door.

Customers are looking for community right now more than ever; online communities and groups where they can share and connect around your brand or something that matters most to them. If they can’t go out, then be where they are – online.

Create content media can use

Without the ability to film stories on-site or simply the logistics of doing it safely, broadcast media turned to video content produced by businesses and companies more in 2020 than ever before. In some cases, accepting a poorer quality of video than they would have before simply because there has been little option.

Working from home, TV reporters and digital content producers have been grabbing whatever video they can, editing it into a package from their home computer and sending it in to air or post online.

As local TV viewership soared during the pandemic this demand made it easier for companies well prepared to get more media coverage.

In 2020, we confirmed our strategy for creating your own content and giving it to media to produce their own story.

How to if you’re bootstrapping: most cell phones can shoot high quality video and now YouTube allows you to edit video in its editor, or you can use these editors. This encourages you to set up a YouTube page. YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world.

Bonus - using the video for your own social media purposes, and media will be more likely to come back for more if they know you will do some of the work for them.

chef video graphic

Blog more

Connecting with customers and potential customers who come to your website, or used curbside pick up this year, is crucial to an online strategy. Using your blog for announcements, special promotions or to present yourself and your company as industry experts is a must if you want to increase search visibility.

It can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool, especially when turned into a magazine with content relevant to your brand. A thoughtful, meaningful blog with helpful content that answers people's search questions will bring traffic, create curiosity and sales.

Bonuses – you can share the blog posts as social media content and it keeps your website fresh in search listings, which is the whole key. If you’re website hasn’t been updated in months, then search engines will begin to archive it.

Start writing!

Get published

If you’re an expert with a lot to say or advice to offer look for places to contribute. And when I say expert, it’s not just an accountant or PhD, this includes the boutique toy shop that specializes in vintage toys, the rare books bookshop, the startup disrupting education technology or the Latin restaurant that serves only food from Costa Rica.

Every business owner should know what makes their business special and different and what makes them an expert. Once you understand that, you can begin to create meaningful content that few others can replicate.

Getting your articles published can feel like an impossible endeavor, however niche media are always looking for individual experts to contribute articles that will be of interest to readers. It doesn’t have to be a long article; it just needs to be meaningful to the audience.

The bonus – it builds expert positioning and the ability to invite people to your website to learn more about your business.

Be authentically empathetic

It’s been a rough year for everyone and even harder for many from job loss and the loss of loved ones to the toll put on our first responders, we’re exhausted and it’s time for businesses to show their customers some empathy. Through messaging and social content strategies, 2021 is the year of empathy and an increase in social responsibility programs that focus on giving back.

There’s a reason that the one media format making a comeback is local news, because when tough times come, we find security and comfort within our communities and news from within it. We bond and find empathy and understanding from neighbors.

This concept has been tackled by Fortune 1000 companies in 2020, encouraging them to return to their core values of community and service. They’ve embraced the responsibility of using their influential voices through powerful social pulpits to lead the empathy movement and make big gestures to show that commitment.

Startups and small businesses can do this as well within their community, within their audience base.

Sometimes great marketing isn’t pushing a message. Sometimes it’s about stepping back and listening. Listening, learning and then engaging with empathy.

Bonus – your customers will appreciate your company more. They will see you as more than a business but a business with a soul.

empathy quote

Have fun

People want to engage with content that is meaningful to them but also fun.

Right now, people need more laughter, more fun to brighten their days. Be that source for fun, enlightenment, motivation and inspiration with social content in which people can connect.

Following up on being empathetic, by providing some delight in followers’ days, you are proving that you understand what they’re going through and what they need. The internet is awash with funny photos and videos. I’m sure you can find at least 50 that have a connection to your business or brand purpose. Use them.

Bonus – you will increase your engagement with followers and improve their perception of your company which leads to increased sales and number of loyal customers.

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