There are a plethora of digital marketing avenues out there that are suitable for companies of all kinds. Though that’s great for marketers like us, we understand that it can be a confusing prospect for small to medium businesses who don’t have in-house marketing talent or an agency on hand to advise them where to turn.
Being spoilt for choice without an accurate appraisal of each marketing avenue’s strengths and benefits is a difficult situation to find yourself in. You want to do what’s right for your business, but many companies struggle to see the wood for the trees.
It’s with this quandary in mind that we’ve put together this list of 11 engaging marketing avenues that we feel more small businesses should leverage to achieve their full marketing potential. Many of the below suggestions fall under the umbrella of “content marketing”. It’s a practice that – when done well – can help most businesses achieve positive, enduring attention online. In a world of pushy, faceless, hard-sell marketing, content marketing provides helpful, human approach which understandably can resound much more favourably with your audience in the long term – regardless of industry.
So without further ado, let’s look at the list!
Sidenote: If you’re looking for particularly interactive content marketing ideas, head over to our previous blog post 7 Highly Engaging Types of Interactive Website Content.
1. Blog Posts
Blogging provides a number of unique benefits. By sharing professional advice and opinions through your blog, you open a personal dialogue with your audience. Blog posts are also highly shareable – if someone is impressed enough with what you have to say, they’re likely to share it with their own contacts or social media followers. Blog posts don’t have to be 100% text either, they can easily be intermingled with video, data, infographics, and more.
However, blogging provides huge SEO potential, which is where it really shines as a marketing medium. Regularly publishing well-written, unique textual content on your website gives your site the best chance of ranking well in search – especially when your content talks about in demand topics and keywords. Therefore it’s advisable to publish your blogs on your company’s own website rather than external platforms like LinkedIn or Medium.
2. Email Marketing
When done right and done consistently (and in line with GDPR), sending out bulk email through platforms like MailChimp or MailerLite can be an incredibly powerful practice. Viewing it in comparison with social media posting, there’s no need to worry about battling social media algorithms or character counts (though an awareness of email deliverability and spam filters will likely serve you well). Most email marketing platforms enable you to collect as much or as little information about your subscribers as you like, enabling you to personalise and target the emails you send out to the nth degree.
3. Email Automation Campaigns
Most email marketing platforms nowadays allow you to automate the sending of single or multi-part email campaigns (sometimes called “drip campaigns”). To give a couple of examples, you can set up an automated message to instantly greet new subscribers, or send a tailored stream of messages to subscribers who complete a certain action. Once you’ve set up all of the automated messages and the logic behind them, it’s pretty much a case of “set it and forget it! Depending on the complexity of your campaign, it can be a lot of work up front, but it frees you up from manually sending out email campaigns later down the line and helps you achieve a reliable publishing consistency.
4. Social Media
Though social media is arguably a marketing method in its own right, social media and content marketing make excellent bedfellows. Creating content is only part of the content marketing equation – how you get it in front of the right people is what really matters. By sharing insightful posts and links to content through appropriate social platforms, groups, and hashtags, you raise your brand’s profile to those within those audiences.
Social media is also a great place to carry out market research too. Which audiences seem to gravitate towards which social platforms? What topics seem to get a lot of social media attention in your niche? Which type of content seems to fare best over social?
Incorporating video into your marketing mix can be hugely beneficial. Data from Animoto states that video is consumers’ favourite type of branded content to view on social media, and WyzOwl found that two-thirds of people (66%) would rather watch a short video to learn about a product or service. Additionally, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine behind Google!
Video marketing is a great way to show a creative, personable side to your business whilst also building credibility and trust, and it’s easier than ever to get involved. You can achieve everything from live social media Q&A sessions to simple talking head YouTube videos with little more than a decent smartphone camera and some readily available hardware and software.
As the name suggests, infographics are visual representations of facts and data, though they often go much further than your average graph or pie chart. They can help a reader to visualise most kinds of information, including how-tos, statistics, advice, processes, and more. A well-thought out, vibrant infographic can breathe life into even the driest of topics!
A good infographic is eye-catching, engaging, and shareable; usually faring especially well on visual social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Creating an infographic is also a great excuse to start working with a graphic designer!
At the time of writing, podcasting is quite popular – both as a content marketing avenue and as a lucrative entertainment medium in its own right. To the uninitiated, podcasts are much like online talk radio shows, but delivered on demand. Podcasting provides many similar benefits to video: you get the opportunity to show a personable, chatty side to your business and you don’t need prohibitively expensive hardware and software to achieve a great result.
However, it can be difficult for a podcast to gain traction on its own. Though people may search for answers through Google or YouTube looking for blogs or videos, it’s unlikely that people will search in quite the same way over podcast platforms like Spotify or Stitcher. Therefore, you’ll probably see much quicker success in podcasting if you cross-promote it to a pre-existing audience from your other content efforts.
8. Presentations and Slide Decks
Slide decks may not be the first thing that springs to mind when talking about engaging, shareable content. Yet thanks to platforms like Slideshare and Prezi, you can share presentations with ease. Presentation decks are particularly useful for conveying in-depth concepts and statistics, and their visual nature makes them a great alternative to (or stepping stone towards) infographics.
9. Lead Magnets & Gated Content
If you have a specific online action you’d like the reader to perform, say signing up to your email mailing list, incentivising that action with access to a free, exclusive resource is a common way to encourage people to “jump through the hoop”. It’s likely that you’ve seen organisations offer incentives like a free checklist or ebook in return for an email subscription or social media follow.
In fact, a lot of different actions can be incentivised with the right tools, including app downloads, podcast follows, or video channel subscriptions. In terms of the media you can offer in return, as long as you can limit access only to those who sign up, the sky’s the limit. You can stick with the more traditional ebook, send a private video series delivered through an automated email flow, share a slide presentation that contains exclusive advice, or even provide access to a closed Facebook or LinkedIn Group, just to name a few examples.
10. Free Apps
If your business carries out certain online transactional functions, it might be a good idea to offer that functionality through a free to download, branded app. Apps are great for brand “buy in” – once it’s installed on a user’s device, engaging with your company is as simple as a couple of taps. And of course, your brand’s icon will appear every time they open their app list! Some potential ideas for apps include restaurant reservation functions, food ordering, appointment booking, e-commerce, augmented reality, and location-specific services.
11. Surveys, Research, and Data
Orchestrating your own survey or research (like WyzOwl’s above, for example) can be a lot of work, but from a content marketing perspective, it can be well worth it. By collecting, collating, and presenting your own data about a unique topic, you become the primary source for that information. When you’re a primary source, it’s likely that when other content creators want to mention your statistics in their content, they will mention you and even backlink to your study in the process.
Collecting and analysing data can be quite labour intensive, so you may not want to give this data away readily. Fortunately, datasheets make great lead magnets!
Unsure how to go about turning heads online? Get intouch with OLCO Design! We’re a full-service creative agency who provide a wide range of digital marketing services, including SEO, graphic design, PPC advertising, social strategy, and more. Drop us a line for a no-commitment chat – either talk with our team on 0330 223 1193 or email [email protected].