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March 12, 2014

#SMX Liveblog: How Small Company Can Achieve Big Results (#22D)

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This SMX West 2014 session is framed kind of like a small biz to small biz one on one strategy sesh. The presenters have all worked with (or own) small businesses; they’ve all tried things that work, and they’ve all tried things that don’t work. In these three presentations they share with us their success stories and tips you can apply to your own small business efforts.

SMX-Small-Biz-Panel

First up is Andrew Melchior – VP and founder of Avalaunch Media (@Atraine)

Andrew starts with wise words: You need to think of your small business as a smaller business that can 100% compete with bigger companies. Being small doesn’t mean you are unable to succeed with big business competition.

An example that tickles the crowd…. Fat Baby Friday. He’s telling us about a client he talked with once. He asked them “Whats been your most successful campaign?” and they said… Fat Baby Fridays. (Seriously.) Then he asked about ROI and they said there wasn’t much. (Hrm.) Here’s the point:

Don’t fall into the Viral Trap! You need to do much more with content than just focus on virility.

Start thinking strategically. Lead with content that’s centered around your message.

A Case Study he offers as a learning tool:
Company Profile: Ski Utah. They’re a non-profit; marketing efforts are aimed at promoting Utah’s snow season and the above-par quality of their snow.

What they did:
1) Created an infographic (or “Strategraphic” as Andrew calls it) to visualize their articulated advantage.

2) Followed the graphic up with viral content that is supportive. (For example: The Evolution of Skis.)

Ski-Utah-Case-Study-SMX

Market Your Small Business Better: 6 Tips (Click to tweet)

1) Get Your Internal Communication Tight
Talk to the people you work with in-house to get a collective big-picture idea of what they each need; what each of your in-house people need to accomplish. What assets they have to bring to the table. What assets they need you to bring to the table.  Try leading focus groups, give them surveys, hold off-site events to get everyone speaking up.

2) Identify your Best Content
Perform content audits. Understand what is working and what is not. Don’t just blindly create content and then leave it floating around the Internet without any sense of it’s performance or resonance.

3) News Jacking is the shizdizzle (it’s good.)
Find something that happened in the media space and leverage that buzz to create buzzing content for your own brand. For instance, The Oscar selfie picture was a recent news buzz. Avalaunch news jacked this opportunity by taking a Avalaunch team selfie that got picked up and called out as one of the week’s “best news jacks.” Think about what you can do to attach yourself to what’s already happening in the media.

4) Monitor social media now and historically.
What are your consumers telling you about their preferences and needs? What feedback about your product are you hearing? What are people looking for? How can social media help you better fulfill your consumer’s needs?

5) Learn more about your competition.
Sign up for their newsletters. Read their content. Learn from the things they are doing well, and from those they are doing really, really badly.

6) Repurpose Content!
Squeeze every last drop of goodness out of your content. Transform content you already have — content that is already winning — into new content by simply reworking the content without reinventing the wheel. For instance, consider turning your blog content into a:
– slide deck/presentation
– video
– podcast
– white paper
– image (or slideshow)
– infographic

Find what the hits are and then go out with it again and again.

______________________________________

The next presenters are Don Willis (Founder of Storage West; launched first website in 1999; @Sunergon) and his business partner Fionn Downhill (@Fionnd).

Don and Fionn’s presentation takes us through a small business website restructuring.  He starts by setting us up with a house metaphor; the point being, it’s important to have a strong foundation if you want to have a stable house that will last over the years through thick and thin.

For Don, a key part of building this solid foundation is attending conferences and consistently making efforts to ensure you are pushing your business in a forward motion.

“When I would attend conferences I would always think: Whats one thing I can learn here, and implement right when I get back?”

To start the story he tells us about the metaphorical jalopy house that was his first website. With his original site build he had a lot of ideas that were piece-milled together to make a hodge-podge website that ranked well, but was… kind of a mess. To get things in order Don decided to focus on team building, or, as he put it, “bringing in an expert from afar.” (His business partner Fionn who is Irish.) With an investment made in his team, he shifted his focus to re-working his approach.

Some notable changes they were sure to implement as a part of their site restructuring:
– Improved navigation
– Added testimonials and videos
– Tried to really personalize the website presentations – put a video with a real person by the call CTA
– Changed from hard-coded HTML to an easy to use (and update) WordPress website
– Made website mobile-friendly

Fionn emphasizes the importance of 301 remapping when you are going through a website redesign.

The results? Conversion within the first two months doubled. Total they implemented 703 301-redirects and, as a result, they saw no SERP ranking loss.

With their new, functioning, optimized website in place their next steps:
– Content projects
– Local SEO in place
– Social media launched
– Blog current and updates

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The third presentation is all about small business PPC case studies. These are really hard to relay via liveblog. If you are interested in hearing about the small business PPC case studies that Angela Needham (Senior search specialist at Nina Hale) presented today, please comment on this post below or reach out to Angela directly via Twitter (@ARaeNeedham).

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4 responses to “#SMX Liveblog: How Small Company Can Achieve Big Results (#22D)”

  1. Mark Peditto writes:

    Great points you make here. I just built a new website using the word press platform. I like the suggestion of taking existing blogs and turning them into slide share presentations. I find myself stuck searching for new content but turning my existing content into different pieces of work is a great idea. Cant wait to learn a bunch more from the guru’s at Bruce clay inc. You guys rock!

  2. Paula Allen writes:

    Mark: Thanks, it’s great to hear you are reading and learning from our blog. That’s our mission!

    Repurposing content works well because it’s your original material and doesn’t have to be created from scratch. You can try curating content, too — finding relevant content others have produced and summarizing/combining/adding value with your own words. You may want to check out Bruce’s new book “Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals”; it has many more ideas (http://bit.ly/cmstrat). Thanks for commenting & being a fan. :)

  3. Tony writes:

    Great post, so many people think small businesses can’t compete but if you have the right tools and right attitude it can work.

  4. Chelsea Adams writes:

    100% agree, Tony! That was my favorite part of this presentation: Think of your self as smaller, and then get to work! Don’t write off your own potential because you don’t have Walmart’s budget. There’s a lot that great marketers can do that requires little or no budget. Do you have any small business marketing strategies that have been working for you?



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