online marketing tips and takeaways for small businesses
First and foremost, thank you to everyone who attended the Mid-Hudson Valley Digital Marketers Small-Biz Online Marketing Seminar on December 3rd at SUNY New Paltz!
With the help of SUNY New Paltz student organizations, AMA and Enactus, we were able to present to Hudson Valley marketers, students, and local businesses a wealth of helpful and insightful information on social media marketing, search engine optimization, and digital branding. A variety of topics were touched upon, including the importance of realizing your digital marketing goals and the creation of an SEO, branding, and social media marketing plan.
Speakers Raleigh Green, Aaron Mandelbaum, and Jason White talked in-depth on guidelines for addressing your digital marketing. If you missed the event, here’s a recap of the main takeaways from each presenter, as well as the slides from their presentations!
Raleigh Green’s digital branding tips
Raleigh Green began his presentation by making the point that people have become overwhelmed with ads, commercials, and logos. Because of this, he says, “Businesses have about 50 milliseconds to capture the interest of potential customers.” That’s not a whole lot of time to make an impression, which is why it’s so important for brands to be consistent, clear, and strategic with their brand message.
After going over the many benefits and challenges of digital branding, Raleigh leaves us with some insightful tips that small (and large) businesses can use as a guideline in developing and maximizing their digital branding efforts:
- Strategy: analyze how your brand translates online. Will you be offering your customers information or a platform of e-commerce, etc.?
- Clarity: define your brand message and be consistent with it!
- Usability: be certain that your customers can engage with your brand easily. As an example, Raleigh notes businesses that do not have mobile-friendly websites but have a high percentage of mobile traffic. “That is a bad brand experience,” he explains.
- Collaboration: make sure the team you hire can collaborate and work effectively together. A team that doesn’t work well together will not get the job done.
- Discipline: be consistent in managing your brand online. Raleigh urges businesses to not “start and stop” their digital marketing campaign.
- Coordination: make every digit count. Do you have a signature on your email with links to your website? If you don’t – that’s a missed opportunity.
- Share Your Brand: let users customize your brand to what they connect to. Don’t be rigid.
- Announce Your Brand: be sure to utilize all facets of online marketing, including email marketing, newsletters, search engine registrations, social media, blogging, and more.
- Reputation Management: regularly check online mentions from users and the accuracy of the information on your brand.
- Associate Online Wisely: “You are the company you keep,” says Raleigh. Be strategic in what other websites, users, and brands you associate yourself with.
- Defend Your Brand: Raleigh urges business owners to claim all URL’s and online “real estate” that could be associated with their brand.
social media marketing tips from Aaron Mandelbaum
Aaron Mandelbaum’s presentation was filled with interesting statistics such as:
- 72% of people trust online reviews as much as personal ones
- 90% of people aged 18-24 trust medical info from social networks
- 85% of people expect businesses to be active on social
From these statistics, you can see that most people trust what they see online and have the expectation, that if they want to engage with a brand online, they will be able to. Aaron makes his point pretty clear: If you have a business, you should be on social media.
The next part is the hard part! Where should you be online? There are so many platforms to choose from, all of which have unique audiences, different strategies, and accomplish specific tasks. The question Aaron suggests you answer before you start is “What is your goal?” Once you’ve decided on your goal, it’s all about finding your audience and listening to them, talking to them, and providing them with value.
Jason White discusses search engine optimization
If you are going to take one major point away from Jason’s White’s presentation, it would be that: search engines aren’t magic. They are rational, logical, and “the people who don’t take shortcuts and instead, do superb work, win in the long run,” says Jason. If you are genuine and credible in your online efforts, search engines and your customers will both reward you by coming back to your website and promoting it to new potential customers. In order for search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing to be doing their jobs well (their jobs being to provide the best answer to a user’s query), then they will be serving users’ websites that are doing their job well. It is as simple as that.
Jason urged the MHVDM audience to “focus on what you can control.” Don’t obsess over keywords and Google rankings. Instead focus on earning customer reviews, press exposure, and be consistent with your business information, especially your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number). Overall, Jason explains that “Digital Marketing is a long term game.” Things don’t just happen overnight. Business owners should take their efforts slow, be consistent, and most importantly: be passionate about what you do.
building the mid-hudson valley digital marketers community
The great success of the MHVDM’s 2nd event is that we are already seeing this community grow. We had more RSVPs, more attendees, and the feedback from the community members was very positive and refreshing. We are very appreciative of the support of Hudson Valley Good Stuff’s Vanessa Ahern who sat in on the seminar and wrote up 11 of her takeaways.
In addition to the positive feedback, we had many people step up and offer to volunteer with our future events. If you missed the event, or missed the sign-up sheet, and want to volunteer to plan the next MHVDM event- don’t be shy! Send us an email expressing your interest and we will incorporate you in the planning. We feel very strongly that a community group such as this should not be held by one company or person, but that it should be run by the people within the community. That’s right- we mean you!
Please also join the MHVDM community online by following us on Twitter, and joining our Google+ and Facebook groups! Utilize these online platforms to hold discussions, ask questions and share tips and knowledge with one another in between events. This will also be the place we will be sharing out information on upcoming events and meetups!
Thank you again, MHVDM-ers. Looking forward to seeing you again soon at our next marketing event!