In part 1 of this article, I discussed the algorithm changes at Facebook and the emergence of Facebook as a valid paid advertising platform for local businesses. I also clued you in to the burgeoning popularity of micro-video sites, a trend that you may want to capitalize upon in 2014.
In today’s second installment of this article series, I’m going to discuss Google+ and why you might want to pay more attention to it this year. I’ll also examine the importance of creating useful and unique content on your sites, why you need a mobile-responsive website, the hidden goldmine in image-based social media sites, and why your email list is more important than ever.
(By the way, the purpose of this article series is not to provide in-depth information on these marketing trends, but instead it’s only intended to make you aware of them. If you want to go deeper, click on the links in the article.)
Hey, they’re Google. Unlike Microsoft, they can make anything catch on and stick (remember the Zune? Yeah, neither does anyone else.) And right now Google+ is second behind Facebook for the total number of active users with over 300 million, if you can believe it.
Half of them still don’t know why they’re there or what they’re supposed to do with the service, but hey – who am I to tell them that they’re wrong? So, get familiar with Google+ this year, because it can and will help your content show up in the search results if it gets traction on Google+. Speaking of which…
It’s Now All About The Content
Did you spend big bucks in 2012 on a marketing seminar where someone of questionable morals explained how to use spammy SEO tactics to market your school? Uh-huh. And, pray tell, what does your search engine ranking look like now?
Kind of fell off the search engine map in 2013, didn’t you? That’s because Google hates link spam and spammy sites, and they finally did something about it in 2013 with some major search algorithm changes and updates (they basically replaced the search algorithm they’d been using for the last ten years or so).
Look, I’ve been telling you for years to focus on writing content and blogging. The stuff works, I have clients out the wazoo to prove it, and the clients who really listen to me are currently killing it online. Sure, it’s work – but it beats the heck out of paying $2k for a useless Yellow Pages ad or sending $800 a month to Yelp and praying they don’t tank your ratings when you cancel.
Start writing content and blogging regularly (that means short posts 2-3 times a week, or longer posts weekly) this year. It will pay off; maybe not tomorrow or in a month or two, but six months or a year down the road you’ll be thanking me (you’re welcome).
If this seems overwhelming to you, I’m going to suggest two low-cost resources. The first is a great little book from a favorite copywriter of mine, Popcorn Content: The craft of writing short-form content for social media, by Nick Usborne. And if you want to go a bit deeper, read Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less by Joe Pullizi.
Mobile Goes Mainstream
Have you noticed that almost everyone uses the web via a mobile device now? It sort of makes it easy for the NSA to spy on us, but who doesn’t love playing Candy Crush at the DMV? Anyway, what this means to you is that your online marketing needs to be geared for mobile (and I’ve been telling you this for a while now).
That means your website and email newsletters need to be responsive (meaning they look good on a full-sized screen and on a mobile device). And, you need to be thinking hard about engaging mobile users via video and social media, because that’s the most likely way you’re going to reach them.
Image-Based Social Media Sites
Have you been on Pinterest? That place is a gold-mine if you sell anything that is geared toward women. So, if you’re marketing a women’s self-defense program or fitness classes, or if you teach kids, you need to develop your Pinterest chops.
And for the younger market, Instagram is still a hot channel. I suggest you learn how to use both sites, as it may benefit your business in 2014 to develop a presence… that is if you can create content that is specifically focused those two markets.
Your Email List Is More Valuable Than Ever
Guess what? You can only control the marketing channels you own. As we’re seeing now with Facebook, free online marketing channels will come and go. And, they’re constantly morphing into newer versions that may or may not have the same utility as before.
But there’s one marketing channel that can’t be taken away from you, and that’s the one you own. Specifically, your email list. That’s why you need to focus on growing that bad boy in 2014, and guard it with your life.
I’ve been using email marketing for over a decade now, both to market my schools and to get the word out on the MA business resources I offer. Email marketing is cheap (nearly free, really), it never takes a day off, and regardless of what Google or Facebook are doing, it’ll still be there for you when all is said and done. So build your email list, pronto, and keep building it from now until you retire or sell your dojo.
That’s it for the second installment of this 3-part series. Keep your eyes peeled for next week’s installment, because I’m going to drop a real doozy of a martial arts marketing idea on you that you won’t want to miss. (Click here to read part III.)