Many marketing agencies know the feeling - a new client wants to know how you can help them grow, in a hurry. They want to reach new customers, build a real presence on social, and make their business seem as cool as they think it is.
Mostly, they want their brand to be recognizable, to have people everywhere know what they offer. They want to build their marketing reach.
It's no small request. To give you a hand, we've chosen five key strategies that help businesses build presence. Each of these strategies will give your client a larger presence online, and hopefully have new clients beating down their doors.
So let's take a look.
1. Build their social media presence
If your clients want to reach new audiences and get their brand out there, social media is the place to start. Consumers spend an enormous amount of time on social, which makes it a great place to meet them.
So how can you take your client's social profiles from forgettable to fabulous?
Choose the right voice
Social media managers looking for advice should pay attention to Buffer's Kevan Lee. For him, the right voice is a must:
"We don't want brands talking at us as if we are dollar signs. We want authentic communication."
Kevan cites Stephanie Schwab, who says that social media voice has four key aspects:
- Character/persona - Who does your client's brand sound like?
- Tone - The underlying vibe. Are they humble, flashy, insightful, or something else entirely?
- Language - How does your client speak to customers? Jargon and insider terminology, or simple, clear communication?
- Purpose - What are they trying to achieve, and what can their followers expect from them?
Work with your clients to clearly define their voice, then ensure that they tweet, post, or 'gram in line with this. A clear brand voice leads to better social content, which means higher engagement, and hopefully shares.
And speaking of quality content...
Share great content
If your clients are going to get noticed on social media, they need content. And to really make an impact, that content needs to be great.
Producing a lot of good social content can be a challenge, and unless they've hired someone specifically to do it, they probably feel that they've got better things to do. You can't give people daily targets - 10 tweets, 3 Facebook posts, and something for LinkedIn - and expect it all to just happen. Things will quickly slip.
Instead, help the client find good content elsewhere. This can be done easily with tools like Mention or Buzzsumo, which find top content based on certain keywords. Instead of having to produce 10 tweets per day, the client only needs to write 4 original posts, share 3 from other sources, and find 3 interesting quotes or images (for example).
Using content from elsewhere makes the social media manager's job simpler, and earns kudos from the people whose content you share. They, in turn, may share some of yours, and you've begun the virtuous cycle of social kindness.
Listen and react in real time
The single best way to increase social engagement is to be present and responsive on social media. When a customer asks for help, your client needs to respond. When an interesting conversation takes place, they should be part of it.
The simplest way to do this is to use a social media monitoring tool. These enable you to 'listen' for your chosen keywords, and receive alerts whenever they're used. These could include your client's name, their competitors, or some choice keywords specific to their industry.
The most important thing is to choose a tool that lets you track all the major social networks from one place. It's frustrating trying to keep an eye on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and all the rest manually.
So don't. Let robots do it for you.
Don't forget about video
We're going to talk more about video marketing shortly, but this is especially relevant on social media. Because videos look great on social. Users love them, and they help you tell your story quickly.
Plus, Facebook in particular has altered its feed to make prioritize video. They're big, they take up valuable real estate, and people love to share them. In short, video is an excellent tool to increase reach on social media.
2. Work with influencers
Influencer marketing is the perfect way to quickly gain more attention on social media. One post from an influencer can reach further than 10 of your own. This works brilliantly on social media, but also blogs and forums. In short, it's an ideal strategy for all kinds of digital promotion.
Why? Influencers let you:
- Lean on an existing, interested audience
- Make your clients look good
- Spread the word cheaply
Let's take a quick look at each point.
Lean on their audience
On one hand, it's important to build your own network of followers - the more you can rely on an engaged and interested audience, the easier your client's marketing will be in the future.
But influencers come with their own audience, ready-built. If they don't have a committed, consistent following, they're simply not influencers. This means that, when you work with an influencer, you get access to this same audience.
This lets you bypass some of the effort in building your own network, and rely on theirs instead. Plus, you're not just reaching the same followers as always. Suddenly, you're fishing in a much bigger pond.
They make your clients look good
People follow influencers because there's something special about them - they may be a thought leader in their industry, have a unique style, or just look great on camera.
Ideally, some of that will rub off on your client. Partnering with an "it" person makes them seem like an "it" company by extension. And that's never a bad thing.
Not only that, but they can also add authenticity to your campaign. Digital users know how to ignore traditional advertising, but influencer marketing can help you break through. Remember, people actually want to hear what these VIPs have to say. And when they say nice things about your clients, you reach people when their guard is down.
They spread the word cheaply
Influencer marketing is renowned for being incredibly cost-effective. The market still hasn't figured out how valuable these people can be, and new influencers are appearing every day.
Even better, price isn't always an issue. Influencer marketing is often completely free. Your client may be able to offer something else of value which more than makes up for a lack of payment. This could be free product, increased exposure, or something else entirely.
A further option is some form of co-marketing, where they share something of yours, and you share something of theirs. This is called "share 4 share," and is a great way for each of you to reach a whole new audience, without much extra money or work.
Choose them wisely
Finding influencers for your client isn't about looking at a user's follower count. You need to know that they suit your client's brand, and will mobilize social users to buy. So what do you look for?
First, pay special attention to their audience. It's not only important that they have a large following - are they a good fit for your client?
Look for influencers already active in your client's industry, not just big names on social media. Their followers need to be the kinds of people that would buy your clients' products.
You want to build your clients' reach, but that also means reaching the right people.
3. Start (or improve) their blog
Blogging is nothing new, but too many businesses ignore it. If your client wants to be found online, a blog is the best way.
And they should want to be found online. Most customers - as in, 82% of them - do online research before making a purchase. If they can't find your client in the process, they're not going to buy from them.
So how can you help your client get started with their new business blog?
Find a range of content topics
Don't let your client stick themselves in a box. Even if their business has a narrow use, they need to cast the net wide to find buyers. The best blogs go beyond just the business itself, and provide extra information to the reader.
For starters, nobody wants to read a blog that's "me, me, me." Yes, the business goals of the blog may be to generate sales, but your client won't get there if that's all they talk about.
You want to build a thriving, interesting blog that fulfills different needs for the reader.
Some topics might include:
- Marketing and business strategy
- Interviews with other smart businesses
- Product updates and new features
- Your culture and company events
As they cover different topics, they attract readers from different backgrounds. Most importantly, they show what an interesting, diverse company they have.
Become a thought leader
This is the best strategy to build a community of readers. An average business blog might entertain or show the inner workings of the company, but a 'thought leader' actually helps the reader solve their own problems.
Think about the last conference you went to. Most of the time, speakers don't just get up and tell you all about themselves, they give you useful information to help you improve your own business. And when you can see that they have real insight and experience, you might think about working with them.
It's no different for buyers. When they see that your client knows what they're talking about, they can trust that the product is made by smart people. And then not only do they buy, but they recommend the blog to everyone they know.
Think (a little) about SEO
We won't do a full deep dive into SEO in this post, but if you're going to help your client set up their blog, they need to know how to make their content searchable online.
For starters, they definitely need to understand the importance of keywords. New bloggers often believe that if their work is funny or interesting, people will find it. Maybe they will, but this is a business.
Help them choose good keywords to target, and teach them how to find more in the future. Not only will this help them think of better blog ideas, they drastically improve the chances of increasing their marketing reach, which is the main aim of all this.
Find new voices
Perhaps the scariest part about starting a blog is the fact that someone is actually going to have to write the thing.
Your client doesn't need to write 100% of this content from scratch, or themselves. Help them identify other ways to generate content without sweating out in-depth posts every other day. This could mean re-using content they've produced elsewhere - speeches or interviews, for example - or finding guest writers.
At Mention, we've even had customers eager to blog about their time with us. They wanted to share their story, and we were happy to let someone else contribute. Guest bloggers provide fresh content, often for free, and these may even turn out to be some of the most popular posts on the blog.
And speaking of guest bloggers...
4. Try guest blogging
Guest blogging is a favorite strategy for marketers looking to increase their reach. The strategy is especially valuable when their own blog is new and developing, and they can't rely on lots of traffic and shares just yet.
Plenty of sites need fresh content and would love a pitch from your client. This might include:
- Expert interviews
- Thought leadership pieces
- Lessons learned from building a business
- Key marketing and entrepreneurial strategies
Just as your client's site needs fresh content, so do all the rest.
But why should they want to guest blog in the first place?
Tap into an existing audience
Just like influencer marketing, blogging for others lets your clients reach new audiences. Introduce your client to blogs that achieve consistent traffic, and you put their business in front of people who'd otherwise never know about them.
But just as influencer marketing is not all about follower numbers, choosing the right blogs to write for isn't just about traffic. Sure, a spot on Inc or Entrepreneur would be nice, but there are plenty of great opportunities to write for niche sites, with more targeted audiences.
Look for blogs whose audience look like your client's. If your client has an app that targets agencies, use your contacts to have them write for an agency blog, or one that you know agencies read. If they are an eCommerce business, look for sites like Shopify or Etsy.
It's not complicated - you want to reach the right audience, not just the biggest.
Use their brand image to improve your client's
When you write for an industry publication or another company's blog, it makes you look more legitimate. When readers see that you've worked with another business they recognize and trust, they're more likely to trust you too.
So while not every guest post will bring in new sales or a mountain of leads, writing for interesting blogs helps to cement your client in their industry. This is one reason why leading marketers like Sujan Patel appear in Forbes or other business publications. The exposure is great, but it also helps to prove that Sujan knows what he's talking about.
Build new relationships
Guest blogs are often just the start of a lasting co-marketing partnership. You make a connection, prove that your client's work is good, and open the door to working together in the future.
For example, we published this blog post by Nadya Khoja, Director of Marketing at Venngage, in March 2016. Since then we've done two webinars, an eBook, more guest posts, promoted their work, and they've promoted ours. In the process, both companies have generated a lot of leads.
Especially when the business is young, your client needs all the connections they can find. This is an easy way to give something of value to another business (free content), and hopefully build a long-lasting relationship.
5. Start video marketing
Video marketing is becoming more and more important. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops let people watch video from anywhere. Video is predicted to account for 74% of all web traffic in 2017. That's a lot.
Talk to your clients about diving into video. Whether you have the tools in-house, or you help them create their own strategy, they need to make video a priority.
Video is great for mobile
We already talked about how well video suits social media. Part of the reason is that so many users access social on their phones, and reading long posts just isn't much fun. You want content they can digest easily as they scroll through their feed, and video fits the bill.
But we shouldn't limit ourselves only to social media. 28% of smartphone users watch at least one video per day on their device. And it's for the same reason: mobile users are on the go, and video is an easy, shareable medium.
Marketing is getting more mobile, and mobile users want video. Your client needs to embrace video marketing.
People are actively looking for them
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. When people look for advice, inspiration, and entertainment, YouTube is a key destination. Creating video lets you unlock a whole new source of potential buyers for your client. In this way, you increase their reach simply by being present in more places.
And while we talked about the value of a business blog, many of your client's target buyers may not be blog readers. Some people prefer to watch. To reach these people, you need to have content for them.
And one more fun fact: simply mentioning the word "video" in an email subject line can increase the open rate by 13%. People want videos, and the brands that can't provide them will get left behind.
Video is a branding tool
As your client develops their brand, video can help to make them more memorable and recognizable. The tone, style, and people in the video all paint a picture of a company.
Help the client define what they want their brand to look like, and the feeling they want to create. Are they a fun, carefree business? Do they want to feel more corporate and professional? The way the video feels can last far longer in the viewer's mind than content itself.
Think of video as a way to expand your client's reach, increase their visibility, and also leave a lasting impression on users who've just discovered their brand for the first time. Put together, that's a very valuable package.
So start boosting your client's marketing reach
There you have it. Five strategies you can start using with your clients today. Increasing reach is all about creating content that people want to share, and finding new conversations to be a part of.
That could mean exploring new social media platforms, building a world-class blog, or getting your clients started with video marketing.
What are your favorite strategies to build marketing reach for your clients? Let us know in the comments.