Determined to make 2016 a breakthrough year for your business? Then use our ’16 Audience Engagement Strategies for 2016′ to kick-start your next marketing campaign.
1. Build an Authority Blog
If you want to cement your online presence you need a blog. But not just any old blog; you want to create what’s known as an ‘authority blog.’ An authority blog is a platform where you provide valuable content to your audience on a regular basis and thus build up trust with them, so they begin to recognise you as the go-to authority within your niche. There are additional pay-offs in the form of enhanced recognition and higher rankings from Google in the search listings.
As you might expect, establishing an authority blog doesn’t happen overnight, so the sooner you start work on your ‘valuable content’ programme, the better!
2. Seek Cross-Promotion Opportunities
All top marketers know that the key to success in any kind of business lies in building their audience before they launch. So who do you know who already has access to the target audience you want to capture? Ideally, this will be a non-competing business within the same niche.
Perhaps you are a wedding planner; in which case you could approach a renowned local wedding photographer, florist and catering company, with a view to teaming up and cross-promoting one-another’s businesses. Even though you do not yet have your own audience, non-competing businesses will still appreciate the ongoing benefits a reciprocal arrangement like this can bring.
3. Video Marketing
We can’t escape the fact that video marketing is expected to be a HUGE deal in 2016. All the web’s authority players are telling us so, though fair to say that fronting up to a video camera isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Perhaps you think that having a professional video made for your business will prove a budget-buster and that doing it yourself is too tricky and time-consuming.
But you know what? Your video doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be authentic. Authenticity wins out over pretentiousness every time. So go on, take the plunge. Grab your smartphone, tablet, or DSLR and give it your best shot. You can do it!
4. Pinterest & Instagram
Do you run a creative or manufacturing business where the visual product is king? Then you absolutely must view Pinterest and Instagram as two your key marketing channels for 2016. Resist the temptation to sell at every opportunity, instead use these dynamic visual platforms to engage with your audience by posting images relevant to their lifestyle and aspirations. Smart Insights has produced a great article on why Instagram ads are essential for 2016.
5. LinkedIn Pulse
Whether you sell B2B or B2C, LinkedIn Pulse is a superb channel for building your brand and increasing the level of audience engagement within your business. Not only can you link back to your blog or website from a Linkedin Pulse post, but you can use the valuable feedback you get to leverage your social media marketing through Twitter teasers, Facebook updates and more.
Here’s some valuable insights from Marko Saric on how one of his LinkedIn posts attracted 20,000+ views, 950+ likes and 2000+ social shares. Oh and his article was placed alongside one from none other than . . . (drum roll please) . . . Richard Branson.
6. Email Marketing
Measurable, shareable, and highly cost-effective, there is no business in the world that can’t benefit from the superior pulling-power of email marketing.
When should you start your email list? As soon as possible – there’s no such thing as being too early. Having a direct link between you and your customers, wherever they happen to be in the world is a truly powerful prospect. You can launch your first email campaign today with a company like MailChimp. Their ‘Forever Free’ plan allows you to send 12,000 emails a month to your list, (up to 2,000 subscribers).
You’ve probably heard established marketers proclaim that they could lose all their accumulated wealth tomorrow, providing they could hold on to their email list – it’s that valuable!
There’s no doubt that many people consider podcasts valuable content. Perhaps it’s because you can listen to them virtually anywhere: in the car, out walking, doing the gardening, cooking, relaxing . . .
And you don’t have to be the star of your show to make podcasting work for your business. Whilst best-selling author, Tim Ferriss, (The 4-Hour Work Week; The 4-Hour Body; The 4-Hour Chef), has featured the likes of Kevin Costner and Jamie Foxx on his series of podcasts; you’ll find most entrepreneurial business people and niche experts are only too happy to oblige.
8. Native Advertising
You recognise the benefits of SEO (search engine optimisation) as a medium-long-term strategy for your business, but when you want to see immediate results from your efforts, then a paid ads option is the way to go. The beauty of Native Advertising is that your ad is designed to blend in (almost seamlessly) with the platform or publication it is delivered on. All the top social media sites now offer this kind of integrated advertising, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Want to know more? This Sharethrough article provides an overview of the science behind Native Advertising and outlines the key benefits for your business.
9. Giveaways, Competitions and Quizzes
We all like the idea of getting something for nothing, whether it’s money-saving coupons, a freebie, or winning a prize in a competition.
But you don’t even have to give anything away to get your audience engaging with your brand. Just look at the success of a site like JetPunk, which boasts: “Over 110 million quizzes taken since 2008.” People love to ‘pit their wits’ against others and frequently share their results on social media.
How might you create a giveaway or quiz that will get people engaging with your brand and sharing your content?
10. Mobile-Friendly Websites
In short, do you have one? If not, then you are missing out on the significant opportunities of engaging with an increasingly ‘mobile’ audience, as well as improved Google rankings for mobile search. Check out our recent blog post: “Still Ignoring Your Mobile Visitors? At What Cost?” for more information.
If you’re not certain whether your site caters for mobile visitors, see how it ‘views’ on Google’s mobile-friendly test tool.
11. Guest Posting
Guest posting is an immense, (and much under-rated), strategy for extending your reach into other communities, as well as getting more traffic to your site. It’s well worth doing some advance planning to target blogs in your industry that have a good level of engagement or a high number of followers, before making an approach. Also check that the blog owner is active on social media, which indicates that your post may well enjoy greater leverage.
A simple way to find relevant blogs that accept guest authors is to type in your browser: name of niche or keyword + “write for us”, for example, if you sell camping equipment, you could search: camping”write for us”.
12. Exploit Relevant Long-Tail Keywords for SEO Success!
What phrases might your ideal customer or client use in a Google search to find information about a ‘thorny’ problem or issue your business can solve? What are your potential customers most pressing pain points?
As experts in our fields, it’s easy to get caught up in using professional terms or industry jargon when trying to get our sites ranked, whilst overlooking the common, everyday terms a typical client might use.
For example, I once met a trichologist who had optimised her website for the phrase ‘trichology’ and many other keywords associated with it. She wanted to know why, despite ranking on Google’s first page for that phrase, she wasn’t getting any custom from her website. One glance at Google’s Keywords Planner, revealed that virtually no-one was searching for “trichology”. Instead they were searching for everyday terms like “hair loss treatment”, “baldness cures” and “hair transplants”.
13. Local Networking Groups
The fact that we have email and Skype and all manner of efficient electronic technology that allows us the benefit of immediacy when it comes to online connections, makes it easy to forget that there is a whole world of opportunity ‘beyond the laptop’ that is worth cultivating. There are Meetup events in all the major UK cities serving almost every kind of business sector or hobby, so if there’s not one in your area that suits your interests – well – why not start one?
Aside from Meetups, there’s Chamber of Commerce events, local breakfast clubs and trade association get-togethers. Why not explore what’s happening on your doorstep right now?
14. Get Featured in a Local Newspaper or Magazine
This could be as simple as crafting a press release, or a more in-depth, piece such as an interview or feature. Remember that all journalists need an endless supply of good content, so if can provide content which will engage their readership, particularly if you can ‘piggyback’ on the back of a national news story or trend, then so much the better. Cultivating relationships with journalists whose publications are relevant to your industry can pay long-term dividends.
When a leading international blog like Kissmetrics refers to SlideShare as “The Quiet Giant of Content Marketing”, you know it’s time to sit up and take notice. Far from the dreaded ‘death by PowerPoint’ experience, many of us will go out of our way to avoid, (yawn), SlideShare is a platform that can bring huge benefits to your organisation in terms of traffic, backlinks and low competition, providing you can deliver valuable content combined with first-rate design. The alternative is that the next SlideShare is a mere click away!
16. Run a Webinar, Taster Session, Training Course . . .
People love learning new things, so why not spend some time working out how you and your business could help others learn a new skill, improve some aspect of their lives, or achieve an ambition.
Webinars are perfect for giving people a taster of what your business offers – and by recording your webinars you can share the same content multiple times to attract a larger audience.
There are dozens of webinar software providers including: Cisco WebEx, GoToWebinar, Onstream Media and Adobe Connect, the majority of which will allow you a 30-day trial.
What to do next . . .
Combining a handful of the most relevant audience engagement strategies for your business will leverage your marketing efforts exponentially, placing you head and shoulders above the competition You see, the harsh reality is this: 80% of the people reading this post won’t take any action. Will you?
I’ll leave you with this quote:
“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out” – Robert Collier