2018 has been quite a year, especially for online marketing for small businesses.
There have been tons of advancements to technology, and a floodgate of new marketing channels has opened.
The cost of getting your business seen has come down dramatically.
We truly live in an amazing time for small businesses to thrive.
This Year Has Made Us Better As Small Business Marketers
I try to make sure my company is better at its job year after year.
We should never let a year go by without improving our skills and education.
This year has been bigger than ever, though.
Part of that is due to the tremendous resources that we’ve discovered.
They’ve created an opportunity for me to educate myself better than I ever have.
We Want To Share The Knowledge
Because this year has been so educational for us, I wanted to pay that forward.
Below, I have some of the best individual education pieces that I came across this year.
They are incredibly valuable to specific aspects of marketing your small business online.
Throughout the year, I shared them as they related to other content I wrote.
But I wanted to bring them together into one great resource.
Please read them, especially if you’ll be doing your marketing yourself.
Speed Up The Time It Takes To Blog
One of the biggest benefits of any small business’s online marketing strategy is the ability to save time.
Because blogging is such a critical, time-consuming step in the online marketing process, it’s the best activity to find ways to speed-up.
Thankfully, there are some great ways to do that.
One of the most helpful pieces I read this year was written back in 2012, but the strategies within it are still relevant.
QuickSprout founder Neil Patel, who famously writes long-form content daily for several websites, offered up his strategy for writing a blog post in under 2 hours.
The advice he gives is golden, and it’s definitely worth the read.
The Trends You’re Going To Need
Research is everything for small business online marketing.
You’ve got to know what’s coming up, what’s working, and what strategies you need to drop.
That’s why I always keep my eyes out for great research pieces.
Sometimes what I see surprises me.
However, this year’s global content trends research found exactly what I thought it would.
HubSpot’s Global Preferences report is something you’re going to need to study for the next year.
Understand Social Media Like A Boss
Social media is a great way for small businesses to quickly and easily connect with their community.
But it’s only going to work if you understand it correctly.
That’s why it’s important to learn as much as you can about what’s currently working in the industry.
It’s especially helpful to learn what others are doing that’s working.
You can compound the efforts of their research, trial, and error and get yourself ahead much faster.
It’s got all the stats about what marketers are doing with social to make it work for them.
Know-How To Make Sure Your Website Is Ranking It’s Best
Sometimes you need to really dig in and understand search and optimization.
There are tons of articles that do their best to explain.
However, those articles aren’t always up to date, and the authors may have little experience.
In those cases, you may be hurting yourself more than helping.
But if you head straight to the source, your information will be spot-on.
This year, I’ve spent a lot of time digging into Google’s Search Console help for all the tips and tricks Google has to improve your rankings.
The goal is to show Google that you’re the right site to present in the search results.
Let them tell you how to do that.
Understand How Technology Is Shaping Marketing
Whether you realize it or not, marketing is increasingly reliant on technology.
The way tech influences human behavior is not only causing marketing tactics to shift but also marketing messages.
It impacts the way we as small business owners speak to our audiences online.
It’s also dramatically changing the speed at which we’re able to respond to our audience’s changing needs.
You need to know what technology can do for your marketing efforts, especially in the field of automation.
Forbes published a great piece in April about marketing automation.
It outlines why automation matters for your small business.
It’s a world you need to know about.
How Longer Blog Posts Will Impact Your Traffic
I’ve written a few blog posts that mention why you ought to be writing long blogs.
They help boost SEO and traffic, and they add a ton more value for your audience.
Long-form blog posts are great for conversions, too.
You’ll wind up earning more leads because they create more trust.
But maybe my word isn’t good enough.
That’s ok, because Neil Patel wrote a piece on it, and he’s got the data to back up the claim.
You need to learn the reasons that long-form blog posts will earn you more traffic.
Know-How Your Audience Thinks
If you don’t know who your customer is and how they think, you’re hurting your marketing efforts.
If you can’t communicate that knowledge to your marketing team, they’re going to face issues.
That’s why you need to create excellent buyer personas.
However, you may not know what that is.
Don’t worry, this resource has your back.
The Buyer Persona Institute put together a great example of what a buyer persona looks like.
You can use their example to create a template for your ideal customers, then do the work to build those personas.
This is a gold mine for your content.
Tips To Get More Blog Views
A few months ago, I did a piece that outlined a method to find your blog topics.
In it, I shared a blog article as an example of one to improve on.
If you took the time to read my article, you may have noticed the value that the example article had in it.
If not, it’s time to read both.
The article I shared from Blysee had some great advice from the pros to boost your blog traffic.
It’s all reliable, despite being written in 2017.
Know Thy Enemy
Ok, maybe “enemy” is a strong word.
However, you’ve got to be able to identify your competition in the market.
You’ve got to see what they’re doing, who they’re working with, and where they’re leaving gaps in your industry.
All that information is critical for building the strongest marketing strategy possible.
That’s why I want you to know how to see them.
Conductor.com wrote a 6-step process for identifying your competitors.
It’s easy to understand and simple to act on.
The Complete List Of Reads
Ironic that I’d include a list of great resources inside a list of resources, right?
But think about it. This is a list of articles you need to read (mostly).
Therefore, a list of publications you need to follow is a much bigger picture.
You see, you’ve got to know where to find the information on a regular basis.
You’ve got to be able to keep up with changes as they happen.
That’s what makes INC’s list of publications so valuable.
They offer you all that information regularly.
More information about the sub-header. Use as many as needed.
Bringing It All Home
What kind of marketer would I be without offering what is, in my opinion, the most valuable resource I know about?
If you’re going to market your small business online, this is the end-all source of information to keep yourself educated.
It’s constantly updated with the most effective strategies on the web.
Everything there is tested and used before it gets shared.
The knowledge available comes from experience.
The Visceral Concepts blog is, by far, my favorite marketing resource.
You’ve got to subscribe to it so you don’t miss anything.
Looking Forward To 2019
With all the unbelievable things happening to benefit online marketing for small businesses, I’m excited to see what happens in 2019.
I wish you an amazing and safe new year.
I’ll be back next week with something really special to help you market your small business online better.