There is a paradigm shift happening in the world of online marketing. The most effective small business marketing now and in the future will focus on providing real value and benefits for the customer as well as society as a whole.
Think of your online presence as an opportunity to show why your business is important in people's lives. If they find what you offer to be helpful and useful it creates a perception that your products and services make their lives better or solve their problems.
Best Practices Go Viral
Look at the news on TV or the Internet. People are talking about the things that matter to them -- with everybody. Tea Party members, Occupy Wall Street activists, and mothers meeting at their local book club are all actively looking for new and better solutions to the problems in their lives and the lives of those they care about.
Don't pass up the opportunity this new public awareness and outreach offers your small business. The content your company offers, the helpful and useful information freely offered as a service to the public is some of the best advertising you can do. It can get people talking about your business with friends and family and that can get feet in the door and make the cash register ring. Viral marketing is great because it works and best of all -- it's nearly free.
Effectively reaching your market with a positive message must be more than a press release or pep rally blog post. You must give your customers and potential new customers something positive to talk about.
Get your small business actively involved in community affairs, projects that are making a difference in your community. Service, like helping the victims of disaster or providing assistance to needy or homeless people are examples of this type of outreach. Offering information that allows people to find the help or answers they need is another but your work has to genuinely offer a benefit to be effective.
Outreach efforts will be successful if they are consistent. As a result, your business will grow because it will be seen as having value in the newly aware public mind; a solution instead of part of the problem.
This isn't just a liberal feel good fairy tale. You are in business to make a profit and that can only happen if you offer goods and services that provide real value as well as service to the community. Effective online marketing should showcase the benefits your business offers to the consumer without being overtly commercial. If the value is real and you offer useful and helpful content related to your readers' issues on a regular basis you will find that your marketing is effective. The search engines will rank your content higher and your readers will share it with friends and family via social media. Offering something that shows that you and your business are truly making a difference in the world opens the door to greater profitability.
Kenneth Vogt is CEO of ContentCrooner.com, a content distribution service that helps you get targeted web traffic. Discover how to create content that drives targeted traffic to your website in our free report: http://www.contentcrooner.com/ebooks/Insider_Report_Article_Writing_Best_Practices.pdf