The year 2020 will mark the beginning of the first full decade in history in which the majority of humanity will conduct most of its information gathering, shopping, and leisure activities online. What could this change in behavior mean for your company in the next 1, 5 or 10 years? Everything you've learned about using the Internet to promote your business from 2010 until now is likely to change this year as more people than ever will use an increasing number of online tools in their daily lives. That means more distractions, more things to learn, more opportunities to learn about it, and more competitors vying for your viewers' online time will try to block your audience from seeing your posts. Before this shift can happen, business owners and entrepreneurs need to implement some basic modern marketing skills.
It's more important than ever to learn the best strategies to promote your business online for free in 2019. Whether you're just getting started with digital marketing mediums or you already have a thriving business that just needs to add another key strategy for growth, this is the perfect article to read. In addition to having an active online presence, you must harness the power of Google My Business, develop social media collaborations, implement an aggressive blogging strategy, optimize your social media video strategy, and master the art of sending out digital press releases. .
These are just five of the first life-changing tips we worked on with clients to help them prepare for the big marketing shift 2020 is about to bring. Most business owners and marketers understand the organic reach they get from social media much less than they did a few years or even months ago. It is extremely frustrating to watch this change, especially when you dedicate time and resources to perfecting digital content. There are many great ways to leverage social media with free tactics or cheap ad spend. Read current strategies that help our clients earn millions of dollars this year.
1. Harness the full power of Google My Business
So far in 2019, only about 44% of local retailers have claimed a Google My Business listing. Surprisingly, even fewer use all of their tools effectively. We assume you already know that Google My Business is the tool you need to manage your business location details, launch Google Ads and respond to reviews.
But did you know that you can also post content updates to Google My Business in a timeline-like format, similar to Facebook? By combining all these tools and more, we often see clients increase their social media presence or overall impression by 200-1,000%.
Need more tips on Google My Business, why it's important for entrepreneurs, and how to get started?Click here for our recommendationsfor using this platform.
2. Social Media Collaboration
We're assuming you're already on social media, duh. This article goes much deeper than just suggesting basic steps like: How to launch your social media accounts, post great content regularly, and start a sales funnel with message bots and ads. More important and primal than any of these steps is our suggestion that you develop a strategy for collaborating on your social media. In other words, apply the same principles that have made entrepreneurs thrive for over 5,000 years to your modern social media strategy by figuring out how to connect online correctly.
Simply "following" or "liking" hundreds of accounts is not enough, just as shaking hands with 100 people is not enough to guarantee increased sales. In 2020 and beyond, you need to be able to collaborate with others through social media in a variety of ways that add value to you and your audience. This means companies must define and implement plans to identify and form consistent partnerships with like-minded companies to expand reach.
At Shark Jockey, we do this by seeking out local entrepreneurs and adding value to them by offering them free guidance, resources and processes to help them build an online presence. Wherever possible, we appear in videos, write guest blogs, and even match entrepreneurs with potential partners and audiences to help them grow. In return, we sometimes ask for the same thing in return. This way, both our team and our partners grow reach much faster than if they were just pushing to expand brand exposure.
3. Start an aggressive blogging strategy
You've heard about blogging for years, right? But 99 out of 100 readers of this article probably don't understand the boost a great blogging strategy can provide or how to achieve it. In the last ten years we have worked with 4* different types of companies. Or you:
- don't have a blog
- Has a blog but rarely uses it
- Has a blog and uses it, but has no strategy
- You have a blog, you have a strategy but you don't know how to generate income from it,
- Or you have a blog, you have a strategy, you are getting some income from it, but you don't know how to grow it even more.
*The fifth type of business has a blog, has a strategy for it, knows how to monetize it, and knows how to keep growing their revenue. We usually don't work with these types of companies because they're probably already making a lot of money and don't need to spend time with consultants or read blogs like this one.
Remember when people used to tell you to post on social media every day. Some so-called experts even recommended posting multiple times a day. Yep, this has worked really well for some companies over the past 10 years. For most of us who didn't want to be an Instagram model or interested in living behind our phone screens, this concept proved to be a huge disappointment.
What they should have said is that blogging several times a week is a much better strategy for long-term growth. This statement only applies if the right strategy is followed. At Shark Jockey, we work with clients to implement a successful Feeding Frenzy formula in their business. Learn more about this proprietary process now! (sharkjockey.com/feeding-frenzy-formula)
4. Social Media-Video
One of the reasons marketers recommended that business owners post multiple times a day on social media is because there was a time when platforms didn't allow for effective video advertising. Gone are those days!
In 2019, we are seeing more videos than ever being streamed on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. But did you know that your video can be a complete waste of time if you don't have the right strategy in place? Simply posting videos on Facebook and Instagram could do more harm than good down the road, as many videos on these platforms are getting fewer views as algorithms change to encourage more people to spend money on promotional content. Fortunately, platforms like Youtube and Google offer more effective means of contact in many cases.
If you're not already working on a video strategy for your social media platforms, then you're in luck! Barriers to entry have never been lower. In 2019, almost anyone can start recording videos and posting content for free. All you need is a laptop, phone or any other device with Internet access. But most importantly, you need a plan for the type of content you want to discuss, how often you will publish that content, and a way to grow the audience that views that content each month. Remember the collaboration tip we offered above? This can really help your videos reach more people instantly.
5. Press Releases
Press releases are another old school tool that offers great modern benefits to digital media. In today's connected world, press releases can be sent free to media outlets, blogs and even people with large social media followings. All you have to do is spend half a day researching the people behind these options and tracking down the best ways to reach them.
Modern PR teams don't just email press releases. They create Twitter handle lists for reporters, send private messages to writers on Instagram, and behind-the-scenes Snapchat content for media outlets. You should do the same for local or industry media. However, make sure you introduce yourself properly first, and work to build relationships with the gatekeepers. You will find that different organizations have different preferences for receiving content. If you push it too hard or use the wrong platform and format, you could ruin your chances of advertising before you start.
6. Join an online community
There are now millions of online communities for people interested in connecting with like-minded groups or experts. But for some reason, we talk to a lot of new entrepreneurs who are afraid to use these resources. Whether out of shyness or uncertainty about where to start, it's rare that we partner with local business owners who are currently actively involved in online communities. But these are great places to find useful resources and even new customers.
Finding groups like this has never been easier. BothFacebookELinkedInprovide excellent starting points. Just use the links provided here to enter relevant search terms and get started.
There are 2 keys to benefiting from these communities. First, get ready to become a regular participant in daily discussions. This can feel overwhelming, especially when the community is large and very busy. However, it shouldn't take more than a few minutes to actively post a few comments, ask questions about your topics of interest, and respond to others who are doing the same.
Second, find and connect with others in the community who might be good prospects for your products. There are usually rules for using groups like Facebook to promote your products. However, it is impossible to stop members from following each other outside of the group. Make sure this isn't overly promotional. Using groups to find leads and then immediately sending them to submit your product first can result in group reporting and kicking. Think of this relationship as if you were introducing yourself to someone at a networking event. You wouldn't just go up to someone and ask them to buy from you (usually). Start by asking questions to find common ground and learn about issues they may be having that you can help with. After exchanging a few messages, feel free to mention your company and how it can help solve your specific needs.
Bonus: Look for local organizations that also regularly host real-world meetings. Most cities, and even smaller cities, now offer chambers of commerce and local groups to help business owners navigate the rules and networks. In addition to monthly meetings, these groups also often use social media sites to network. Start by looking for these groups on Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. After joining online groups, find other group members and try to reach them using the suggestions above. This tactic can provide your business with countless potential leads down the road.
7. Ask customers for reviews
Entrepreneurs and business owners should never be afraid to ask for help, feedback or referrals. Doing these simple things can be one of the most beneficial ways to build an online presence for free. As it becomes increasingly difficult to get an active following on social media, an easy way to gain support is to increase the number of reviews a business receives on Facebook and Google.
Today, more than 90% of consumers consult online reviews before making a purchase. They want to see a wide range of relevant, timely and helpful feedback from others like them so they can make an informed decision. Many companies seem content to skip this important step. Do a quick search for local businesses in your industry and note how many reviews each listing has. It is now recommended that businesses wishing to appear #1 on Google offer at least 50 reviews in total.
In addition to the total number of reviews, timeliness also plays an important role. Comments from months or even years ago are common, but may not provide information that consumers care about. It's important to provide new, consistent reviews each month to show that your business has active customers who value the services you offer.
There are a number of services that claim to help increase and improve ratings on Facebook and Google. Remember, these reviews should never be "fake". Google also has important policies and programs in place to deal with this.Flag and limit comments that may be solicited, fake or spam.Simply asking or even requiring co-workers or friends to post quick five-star reviews on Google could get your business listing penalized by Google. For these reasons, Shark Jockey Digital uses advanced proprietary software to collect, monitor and improve our customer reviews.Schedule a free consultation to see if this service is right for your business.
Remember, it's easier to manage Google Reviews when your Google My Business account is set up correctly.Make sure you follow these steps right away.if you haven't already started this process.
8. Set up listings in local directories
Did you know that Google pulls information from other online directories? In addition to setting up a Google My Business account and profile, marketers should also get the right information about their brand, products and services from sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Bing, Facebook, Apple, CitySearch, Yahoo! and another. Many business owners and marketers are surprised to learn how many online directories there are. Even more surprising and frustrating is the time it takes to create, maintain, optimize and update a company's presence in all these directories. It can take days, weeks or months to set up accounts in all these places. However, it can be important if potential customers see incorrect information about your business on one of these platforms, which could lead to them becoming frustrated with your business or looking for similar products elsewhere.
Some of these platforms allow any random user to open accounts for local businesses. This means that a complete stranger could potentially list information about your business, your services, address, phone numbers, website or social media pages. What's even more annoying is that some of these platforms also allow users to suggest updates to their offerings. So, once you've taken the time to set up accounts, it's important to regularly review offers in case customers (or possibly competitors) enter incorrect information.
Fortunately, Shark Jockey Feeding Frenzy Formula also offers software to simplify this process. Our tools make it easy to manage information on 60+ listings online every month with just a few clicks.
9. Offer to Contribute
The last free strategy that can be used to promote your business is one that has been around since the dawn of the internet. It is closely related to the collaboration proposal made earlier in this blog. By volunteering to contribute to other people's websites, blogs, podcasts and videos, you demonstrate value to a community and build your network.
Writing blogs or other long-form content can feel overwhelming. More and more entrepreneurs are starting vlogs and podcasts. These outlets can offer similar benefits to entrepreneurs looking to grow their following. Whether you become a regular contributor or are struggling to find local businesses that offer these features, it might be time to consider starting your own. Think about it, if you're contributing to a blog, vlog or podcast, how easy would it be to ask the company you're helping to do the same for you? At Shark Jockey, we work with many popular YouTube influencers who produce a huge amount of content quickly. This tactic helps them maximize their time by allowing them to shoot and produce multiple videos at the same time.
Another great way to contribute is to volunteer to speak at local events and conferences related to your area of interest. Even if your business is new, chances are there are some basic concepts that you're an expert on that other people would like to learn more about. Local groups like the ones mentioned above are always interested in helping their members build new relationships while improving their skills. This is also a great tactic when trying to infiltrate groups with exclusive or expensive subscriptions.
10. Whenever possible, offer free consultations and trials
An easy way to get the word out about your product or business is to offer potential customers free trials. Give people a taste, and if they like it, they'll definitely come back for more. Make sure your free trial doesn't offend paying customers who are offended because they haven't had the same opportunity.
Many companies are tempted to offer deep discounts or reduced prices. It's important to keep in mind that this may be attention-grabbing for a short period of time, but could have a negative impact on the business in the long run. We've worked with customers before this attempt to advertise discounts every week or month and that seems to reduce the value a customer receives. This isn't always the case, but it can definitely be something to look out for. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you take advantage of short-term offers and discounts that set a clear start and end date. Many companies offer this type of promotion as a 14-day or 1-month trial.
At Shark Jockey, we do this every day. If you are reading this blog and wondering if any of these strategies can help you,Click here to schedule a quick consultation and assessment. We walk you through every step related to your business, suggest the best place to start, and see how our proprietary process can help.
Nick is the owner of Shark Jockey Digital and has been in the marketing industry for 20 years. He currently assists clients with development projects, lead generation, website building, SEO, SEM, PPC, social media marketing, Google reviews, online listing and campaign management.