Most small businesses operate with a very tight marketing budget. Without the deep pockets to run TVCs or radio ads, many were limited to flyers, mail inserts or point-of-sale materials in the past. Thanks to social media, the Internet and digital marketing, the playing field has been somewhat levelled.
Marketing technology has enabled small businesses to be more targeted. For example, 98% of marketers agree that personalisation is important. Marketing technology is a great enabler of this. Regardless of the size of the business, personalisation and customisation of the marketing message, as well as the offer, can be achieved. On this note, the gap between the marketing capabilities of big and small businesses have narrowed.
Despite the fact that the boost marketing technology has given to small businesses, some continue to struggle. Desolation and disillusionment describe the experiences of some. For many, ROI is a mirage. Also, others are struggling to keep up with the rapid rate of change in marketing technology.
At the heart of the problem is the perception of marketing technology as the cure to all marketing ills of small businesses. It doesn’t help that some in the industry reinforce this perception with their promises. It’s imperative to remember that the foundations of good marketing have not changed. Execution concepts, strategies and tactics have changed with the help of technology. From creating awareness, a desire to make the right offer, and a solution that solves customers’ problems, these rules apply still. So, don’t turn your back on marketing technology. Embrace, learn and use it.
In this article, we will address one of the challenges small businesses face concerning digital marketing – SEO. The Telstra Small Business Intelligence Survey 2018 reported that only a quarter of small businesses are using SEO strategy and tactics to be found online. With 4 in 5 customers relying on search engines to find a business, small businesses are at risk of missing out. In the age of IoT, out of sight, out of mind is a reality, not just a saying. The average consumer is exposed to 600 messages or signals daily from brands. Without a strategy to facilitate consumers locating your business online, you will be a tiny dot in the algorithm, lost in the neverending pages beyond the first page of search results.
To begin with, what is SEO? An effective SEO strategy puts you in front of the right audience who find information associated with your brand or business relevant to their search. After all, why do people Google? They are in search of a solution to address a problem they have. Your SEO strategy is designed to ensure you get ahead of the queue of countless other brands and businesses vying for their attention. It is actually that simple.
So, what are the precepts of a good SEO strategy?
1. Know your audience
Like everything else in marketing, you build your SEO strategy after you’ve developed an intimate insight into your target audience. Technology can be mesmerising and distracting. It can lead to overlooking the basics of what needs to be done, which includes knowing your target audience well.
Apart from demographics and psychographics, you’ll need to know what the solutions are for the problems they have. In the words of Clayton Christensen, a Harvard marketing professor, it is knowing your target audience’s definition of the job to be done. Of equal importance is knowing how it is expressed; in other words, the language used. That’s the depth you should be getting to.
2. Create the right user experience
The design and functionality of your website are critical success factors in your SEO strategy. Are there sweet spots, both Google and your target audience like that will make them come, hang around and take action? Qualities such as download speed, mobile-friendly, ease of navigation and clear calls-to-action matter. The user experience contributes towards your ranking in the searchability index.
Invest in user-experience research and website analytics. Use data to narrow the gaps between what happens when consumers land on your site and what you’ve designed is a top priority. Ideally, there shouldn’t be any gap. If there is, it should not disrupt the user experience,
If you speak your target audience’s language, a significant part of the SEO battle is won. As mentioned at the start, knowing your target audience goes deep into understanding how they articulate or express the desired solution to their problems. Using these keywords appropriately, that is one or two times in your content helps.
A word of caution: stuffing your content with keywords is not a desirable tactic. Google ranks quality too. If your content comes across as a laundry line of keywords strung together by loose strings, it will fall apart. You’ll be flagged for keyword jamming. For more tips on using keywords appropriately, visit our On-Page SEO optimisation for business staff blog post.
4. With content, quality is always better over quantity, less is more
Content, content, content and more content! You might have been told the importance of content marketing in your SEO strategy. While there is truth to this, it may have been overblown by overzealous content marketers. Your target audience is overwhelmed with content. They are not only exposed to content in your category but others too.
Quality matters in content. More is less. Putting out what truly matters to them just makes more sense. Not only will they be drawn towards it, but it will also engage them. Engaging them is an essential step in the journey. It is a necessary condition to trigger action, whatever may be relevant to your strategy.
5. SEO is an ongoing activity
SEO can never be a done-and-dusted strategy. Imagine the Internet to be a huge Sunday Flea market. Your stall is never at the same place every Sunday. It keeps changing according to the dynamics of the visitor profile, seasons and other varieties of goods that may be available.
The algorithms are continually being changed, so embrace analytics and data to stay current. To have an effective SEO strategy, you need to keep your fingers on the pulse of the market. Know what’s next, what’s happening and adjust accordingly.
A good SEO strategy can accelerate your growth. It helps your digital strategy travel further. Speak to us to learn if your SEO strategy is aligning with your business growth. We are a Melbourne based local SEO company that Melbourne businesses can trust.