Imagine a 28 year-old starts a business competing in your market. You spent years building a brand and reputation in your community. One day, you realize it is all taken away by this person who became an “authority” overnight. This is going to play out with businesses all across the country over the next few years. So what can you do to stay relevant?
Some business marketing tips just aren’t all that successful anymore. What worked for Internet Marketing for small business a few years ago is not necessarily what is going to pull in the customers and the profits in today’s social media-dominated environment. In order to stay in tune with your niche and prospective customers, it is important remain current with your efforts—from marketing communications to brand strategies. Rather than allowing your competition to pass you by, you can update your marketing strategy and keep your business relevant.
The new, effective marketing for small business is a shift in focus from “advertising” to “engaging.” What this means is that you are getting in the middle of discussions that are happening on the social web, building relationships and attracting customers—not because you have the best ad, but because you are offering valuable information to these conversations.
You may hear reference to the “distributed web.” This is related to the fact that people are going to search engines like Google and Yahoo and even YouTube to find solutions to their problems. As customers become savvier, they are beginning to see banner ads and other forms of advertising as gimmicky and even scammy.
In fact, consumer studies show that 78 percent of customers value peer recommendations versus a small 14 percent who trust advertisements. A move away from this type of marketing to a more social method is your ticket to staying relevant and competing with the big dogs in your niche.
Because of this change in the online environment, you will see greater results for your small business if you focus on meeting these customers where they are. Utilizing content distribution and affiliate marketing are two simple and relatively easy ways to connect with your ideal customers and convert them into buyers.
How content distribution works
Content distribution is creating keyword-rich articles, audios and/or videos to provide quality content for customers and then distributing around the web in key places where your customers will be seeking information. The reason for the key-rich content is because search engine spiders are crawling around the web trying to find content that contains certain keywords.
You can find the best keywords for your business by utilizing free web tools, such as Google’s Keyword Tool, finding out what keywords your competitors are targeting and what your customers are plugging into the search engines. Once you have a keyword and phrase list, you place them into your titles, headings, tags and content and distribute them to a number of free article directories online. This is how you become a search engine spider magnet.
The search engines will find your content, place it into the search engine results, and the customers will eat-up the quality info you provide. Once you have established yourself as someone who knows your topic, the customers will then come to your business when they need a solution to a problem.
How to utilize affiliate marketing
What if you had dozens of people who knew your business and wanted to share it with others? This is basically every small business owners dream. Affiliate marketing can make it happen. Marketing 101 tells us that word of mouth is the number one best marketing method, and affiliate marketing is where it’s at.
Because people are more likely to trust recommendations over advertising, affiliate marketing is becoming one of the most effective methods for pulling in customers. The typical affiliate marketing program is based on the business owner paying affiliates who refer a paying customer to the business. Rather than having to pay people up-front for marketing on your behalf, you only pay when the customer makes a purchase. This is ideal for small business owners who typically do not have a lot of money to invest in marketing.
To ensure you have quality affiliates who will spread your message as effectively as possible, you can offer trainings and reports to keep them connected with your business. Furthermore, by doing this, you are creating loyalty and trust with your affiliates who will in turn do a better job marketing for you.
Is it possible to have free internet marketing? With content distribution and affiliate marketing it is. Thanks to a plethora of no-cost article directories at your fingertips and affiliates you only pay once you’ve made a sale, you can create a free internet marketing strategy that works.