Modern marketing is complicated enough to give the average business owner a serious headache. It’s no wonder. Corporate marketing departments now hire SEO specialists, analytics specialists, web conversion specialists, community managers, content marketers, and a host of other experts to make sure their company stays at the forefront of the marketing field.
Small business owners rarely have access to the same resources. Even worse—trying to stay on top of the latest developments in each of these marketing fields can be overwhelming and result in choice paralysis, leading business owners to do nothing rather than to risk doing the wrong thing.
Naturally, every business owner wants to come up with a simple marketing system that just works, without having to first get an MBA in marketing. To help you do just that, let’s turn back to the familiar four types of marketing media: owned, shared, earned, and paid. We’ve compiled the 3 most important things to keep in mind for each. Following these simple best practices for each media type will help you build a foundation for marketing success, and hopefully let you spend less time buried in the details and more time looking at the marketing “big picture”.
Owned media consists of the channels you actually own, such as your website, blog, and other content you create online. Remember that:
- Your website is your digital storefront to the world. The quality of your website should match or exceed that of your closest competitors to give your company legitimacy in the industry.
- Content marketing is not about the hard sell. Instead, it should provide the customer with value in and of itself (usually educational or entertaining), regardless of whether he or she ends up purchasing your product.
- All of your owned media channels should be designed with consideration for what paths potential customers actually take to get there, and what these customers are looking for.
Shared media typically involves the social networks through which you can disseminate your message, and through which customers can reach out to you. Some things to consider are that:
- As of 2015, Facebook has 1.44 billion active users. What that means is that no matter what your customer demographic, you can find it on Facebook. Because of that sheer size, even if you think you’re taking full advantage of Facebook, you may be underutilizing it.
- Don’t post on social media just to be able to say you’re marketing on social media. We’ve all seen those companies that make social media feel like a chore. Instead, take a few extra minutes to make your posts engaging for your audience so you can make a real impact.
- Don’t forget to cross-promote each piece of content across different social media channels to get the most mileage out of your posts.
Earned media is comprised of instances when other users become your marketing channel, helping to spread your message (such as when your message gets spread through word-of-mouth, online reviews, or viral content). For this media type, keep in mind that:
- Earned media is an absolute best-case scenario, because the customer is literally doing the marketing work for you. Do whatever you can to encourage it.
- No business likes to receive negative reviews, but it is especially important to respond to negative feedback in the right way.
- It’s possible that your company is developing an online reputation you don’t even know about. Don’t forget to do a monthly web search for your company name and product names, to find any stray references on social media, web forums, and other online venues.
Paid media is made up of the messages you actually pay to display, whether online or offline. Don’t forget that:
- Because you’re committing not only time but also your financial resources to paid media, your advertising strategy should be very well thought out ahead of time.
- Using calls-to-action and landing pages will help you turn paid media into customer conversions.
- Sometimes, offline channels can be a great way to supplement your online marketing strategy.
Following these 12 best practices should help you set a solid, stress-free marketing foundation that you can build on as you develop your marketing skill set. And don’t forget to follow the Big Marketing Insider to get weekly marketing tips and trends in under 5 minutes!