Far too many startups and small businesses lose market share by neglecting simple ways to get—and keep—a competitive edge. Why? Moore’s law is one good example; it’s a commonly accepted observation that technology changes every 18 months. The rules are constantly changing. The old adage “if it’s not broken, leave it alone” could very well leave your business in a vulnerable and unprofitable position.
Here are eight smart tips that will help your business grow in today’s changing and highly competitive digital marketplace.
Try local SEO.
How does your business rank on all three of the major search engines? Yes, all three: not just Google, but also Bing and Yahoo. Your competition is on page 1 of all these, and usually with local listings, and that’s where your market is spending their money. Search engine optimization (SEO) requires some basic knowledge and if you’re too busy to learn it you should hire someone to do it for you. You won’t bank until you rank.
Is your company website mobile-first? Notice I didn’t say, “mobile-friendly.” Websites have to be mobile-first. “In early 2014, the landscape in which businesses operate changed forever when Internet usage on mobile devices exceeded PC usage,” according to Search Engine Watch. The sheer number of people using mobile to find stuff is growing daily. Not being mobile-first may also affect SEO. WordPress, a free and open-source content management system and Weebly, a drag-and-drop website builder, are two platforms that are built with mobile in mind.
Optimize website content.
Does the language, style and tone of your content resonate with your market? Your company website says everything about the quality of your business. Take extra time to get this right, or hire a good copywriter who knows a bit about your industry. Search engines favor a lot of authoritative content. So do smart consumers who are looking for your products and services.
Create fresh company blog posts.
It’s not uncommon to see a business website with the latest blog entry dating to 2013. Nothing screams that you’ve reached a new low of irrelevance more than that. Fresh content says you are an up-to-date voice in your niche. Be a fully engaged influencer in your market by keeping those timestamps fresh.
Tweak sales copy.
Sleaze is pervasive in the digital marketplace and click bait is everywhere. Smart consumers want to know if you’re for real. Sales copy designed to compel customers has to feel genuine and not “salesy”. The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing at all. Well-written sales copy will establish your business as the best solution out there for savvy consumers—the ones who will reach for their wallets and keep you in business.
Overhaul social media content.
Do we really have to talk about this? Yes. Social media takes thought and commitment. Social media ROI can’t be measured after a few haphazard months of selfie posts. Honestly, #whocares. Sounds harsh, I know, but your customers care more about how your business benefits them, than it does you. Inspire your market to engage with smart content and heck, they might even share it. Beef up your brand through a solid commitment to quality social media content.
Prioritize email marketing.
Keep building your email marketing list and treat it like gold. Smart email communication that consistently brings actual value to your audience is the most effective way to boost business with an audience that has taken time to opt-in.
Write and distribute engaging content.
Like this one. I take time to write articles for legit business voices like YFS Magazine because it helps me build influence. The payoff is that content marketing generates more awareness for my business pursuits. Write solid pieces on niche topics that add value to readers and it’ll pay off for your business over the long-haul.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Mark Jay Scott is the founder of Love Your Edge and BizzBuzzLocal.com. Mark has been a writer and speaker for nearly 20 years, formerly as a radio personality for a major market FM station in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region where he produced and hosted two weekly programs, Real Life Matters and Essential Radio; and excelled in copywriting and voiceover production for a wide variety of commercial advertisers. Mark loves to help people succeed by motivating them and showing them simple and practical ways to love and keep their productive edge in life and business. Connect with @markjayscott on Twitter.
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