Are You Marketing in a Small Pond or the Wide Open Sea in 2019?

Are You Marketing in a Small Pond or the Wide Open Sea in 2019?

What size pond are you fishing in?

The old expression about being a “big fish in a small pond” really carries over into business. If you run a small or medium-sized business, it’s likely that you’ve been swimming in a small pond when it comes to your marketing reach, and therefore your client base. But with today’s digital marketing, you can start playing a much larger game in a bigger, more global pond.

By fully integrating your digital marketing in 2019, you can get out of the small pond mindset and instead create a new strategy that will allow you to reach out to more customers than ever. The best part is that you can do this while still maintaining the personal touch that has built your loyal customer base.

Each individual part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy serves a particular purpose.

Blogging, for example, allows you to create content that you can offer to your customers for free, which establishes your expertise and builds brand trust.

Social media is the perfect tool to extend your visibility and reach out to your existing and potential customers to deepen relationships.

And effective SEO will ensure that people all over the world who are looking for your services or products will actually be able to find you. Strong SEO, in particular, can take you from small local business to global brand reach.

Isolated, each piece of the digital puzzle is valuable, but when you integrate everything, that’s when your pond really expands into much more of a lake… or even an ocean!

Let’s Talk Content

ProTip: The “big pond players” understand the importance of content marketing.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t have patience for fluff. It’s not just about bland, uninspired marketing copy. You have to be sure that your content is actually saying something useful, not just beating around the bush. Your content needs to offer real, concrete value, with solid information and also entertainment value when appropriate.

Readers are so instinctively media-savvy nowadays that people’s brains will simply filter out salesy advertising as white noise. The goal of content marketing is to genuinely engage potential customers, and one of the best ways to do that is with free and valuable content that people actually care about.

There’s a popular misconception about blogs that we’d like to clear up: a blog post is not meant to be an ad. If you see a “blog post” that is nothing but empty sales copy, we guarantee that no one is engaging with it. Blogs need to be well-written, interesting, and most of all, useful to your core audience. You need to think of them as a product, just like any of the ones you sell for money. Quality control is vital. Just like you wouldn’t sell a worthless product to your customers, you don’t want to give them a worthless blog either.

By giving your audience high-quality content, you’ll build trust with them, laying the groundwork for a deeper customer relationship. If they can trust the quality of your free content, then they’ll feel instinctively that your products or services are also top shelf. And that will elevate you in their minds from small fish to big fish, expanding your pond.

Living the Social (Media) Life

Consideration: Playing in the big pond means spending money *strategically* on Facebook and Instagram ads.

How many hours a day do you spend on your personal social media channels? It might surprise you. Even if you think, “Oh, I’ll just check it now and then to make sure that there isn’t a message for me,” that time can add up fast.

It’s not just you spending (maybe wasting) all of that time floating around Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Your current and potential clients are too—in droves! You should be using your business’ social media accounts to reach out to them and build your relationship. But the way to go about doing this has drastically changed in the last two years.

While social media is still vitally important, the algorithms can be real killers for businesses if you don’t know how to navigate the tricks of the trade. Facebook and Instagram are always refining their algorithms. These are what determine what gets seen in people’s newsfeeds. Even if you post content to your Facebook business page three times a day, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your followers are going to see it. In fact, with the algorithms, the vast majority of your followers most certainly won’t see your updates unless you pay to boost your content.

One way to extend your reach is to “pay to play” by boosting your posts. But this is not a particularly strategic or effective use of your budget. Yes, you’ll get your content in front of a few more eyeballs, but you can do so much more with detailed targeting and retargeting of Facebook ads.

Facebook ads are not something to undertake lightly. You need a game plan for the way you want to present yourselves to your audience initially and then a follow-up, with clear calls to action, pixel tracking, and funnel considerations for once they interact with your ad.

On the other hand, while you’re running those fancy Facebook ads, you still need to actively engage users on your regular posts as much as possible. With the way the algorithms work, the more likes and especially comments that a post receives, the more Facebook and Instagram will continue to bring visibility to that post.

We aren’t going to lie; this can all be time-consuming and not every brand is naturally “social” to be able to pull this off easily. There isn’t a “one size fits all” strategy when it comes to social media marketing. Bringing on a virtual team to handle both the strategy, content creation, and execution can be a remarkably valuable investment and bolster a crucial part of your integrated digital marketing strategy, helping you swim upstream to play in a bigger pond.

SEO Pulls it All Together

Fact: The big fish all invest in search engine optimization.

Your SEO absolutely determines how big a pond your business is actually playing in. Your business potential is only as broad as the reach of your internet presence; the more people who can actually find your website, the bigger your pond.

If you’re not coming up on the first page of Google, then you’re playing in a very small pond indeed. Most people (33%) usually click the very first link that comes up in a Google search. That may be as far as they get. After that, your pool of potential customers decreases dramatically. By page 10 on Google, only 2.4% of people may visit you, and that number drops into the decimal places from there.

If you want to be within the first few results, you’re going to need to make sure every page of your website (including blog posts) utilizes effective SEO techniques. By doing so, you’ll decrease your bounce rate, increase conversions, and bring much more organic traffic to your site.

More than any other component of digital marketing, SEO is an art. And to play in a bigger pond, you absolutely need an SEO expert, which is why we work with international SEO specialist John Spiro.

The challenge with SEO is that it’s such a behind-the-scenes undertaking that it can be hard to understand what’s really going on. But that in no way diminishes its importance. That’s why it’s imperative that you engage a trustworthy expert like John to make sure that all of your online content is doing what it needs to compete for top rankings to ensure you’re swimming in the biggest possible pond, where people who are looking for your services or products can actually find you. If you’d like an introduction to John (we can’t recommend him highly enough) get in touch.

Ready to Swim with the Sharks?

In 2019, will you be a guppy in a small pond, or are you ready to expand to a more open pool?

Here’s the thing to keep in mind about the “wide open sea” that is the Internet: It’s complicated. And it gets more complicated every year. As new platforms emerge, new marketing opportunities are becoming available to businesses of all sizes. Many of the most popular digital advertising methods today didn’t exist five years ago. We can only imagine what techniques will be used in another five years!

That’s why it’s important to think strategically and to ensure that the various components of your digital marketing are all integrated and operating in cooperation with one another as part of the big picture. If you’re ready to swim and fish for new clients in a bigger pond, drop us a line for a free marketing consultation. We’d be happy to discuss your business and to see if we might be the right fit to partner with you to take your client base from the small pond to the wide open sea.

About Mandi Gould

Mandi is a social media marketer, copywriter, and project manager for Barker Social™. She's a results-driven planner with an unstoppable ability to churn out quality marketing content. Her creative spirit, project management skills, and copywriting ability make her a marketing dynamo. She is also a bird lover, health foodie, jazz enthusiast, and swing dancer.

Entries by Mandi Gould

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