Business Building Strategies Part 1: Use Owned Media, Earned Media, and Paid Media to Build a Profitable Online Presence
My goal in this five-part series is to provide you with a high level roadmap to use for your small business. I want to increase your ability to grow your business quickly by using some or all of the methods described in this series.
I’m advocating that you consider pay per click (PPC) advertising (such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads) as a gateway into an amazing world of revenue growth for you and your business. You can actually fund your initial ad campaign for as little as $200, and get some targeted Facebook Ads. Follow me and you’ll get the same great results that others and myself enjoy.
While PPC is your gateway to building your online presence profitably, it is only one part of the three basic marketing pillars—owned media (which are web properties like your website and social media channels), earned media (social engagement), and paid media (such as PPC, display ads, retargeting, and social media ads).
Moreover, you’ll want to create the online infrastructure (i.e. build the roads or digital pathways) needed to carry your content efficiently and credibly to a broader online audience. By creating a proper online infrastructure, you’ll ensure that the search engines will be able to index your content, and gives your human audience the ability to share, backlink, and refer to your content.
Online infrastructure can be created using basic search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. You need to create a hub first (this could be a blog on your mobile-friendly website or a Facebook Page where you can share your content). Then, you must establish your brand online by creating the pathways for your content to be distributed, such as online directories, PR sites, review sites (like Yelp), RSS Feeds, Maps, etc.
You must also make sure that all of your content is original and can be indexed by the search engines. To ensure proper optimization, you need to have the appropriate keywords and phrases included in the text in the appropriate places (see your trusted SEO expert for guidance).
In short, you must make sure that you create and distribute content that both the search engines and your human audiences will appreciate and enjoy. Finally, you’ll want to make sure that you structure your content pieces so that they support your prospect’s buying cycle (AIDA—Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action). You will want to build upsells and add-ons into your offerings, use bundling strategies, and employ repeat selling and automated review collecting technologies, too. Eventually, you will own an online marketing/selling asset that is quite valuable.
Today, according to Google’s ZMOT or Zero Moment Of Truth, HubSpot, SBI, and others) up to 70% of the customer’s buying cycle is done online. It is important to match your business’s selling cycle (both marketing and selling cycles) to your customer’s unique buying cycle. Developing your online presence using your customer’s buying cycle will give you an edge over your competitors (more on this in part two of this series).
Pillar One: Owned Media
This pillar is comprised of high-quality assets that you will want to build over time. They can be inexpensive to build (they could even be free), or be very expensive to build (costing millions of dollars). Their purpose is to tell your story, as well as educate, promote, inform, entertain, engage, challenge, differentiate, propose, teach, and introduce. Direct selling is not the main objective of owned media.
While owned media assets are used to attract attention, generate interest, build authority, develop trust, and trigger engagement, earned media is the vehicle that is used to achieve these ends. Paid media is a great way to promote your content’s reach and can further drive earned media. You could also leverage your results by using automated sales funnels with their associated email drip campaigns to build lists and sell your products 24/7.
While you need to have some of this media in place before you can begin your first PPC campaign, you can start with surprisingly few assets in place. You’ll want to claim authorship of these assets before they are published by using the appropriate SEO techniques. Additionally, you’ll want to verify that everything you publish is identified as being owned by you (authorship), and is considered unique and original.
Here is a basic list of owned media asset types:
- Mobile-optimized websites with a hub (blog) connected to your other online assets through basic SEO techniques
- Blog articles
- Social media channels (such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn)
- White papers
- Case studies
- Public relations output distributed to connected PR sites
- Online directory listings
- News articles
- Customer review sites (such as Yelp)
- Company announcements
- Product promotions and associated online collateral
- Recorded evergreen media (such as webinars, seminars, podcasts, and videos)
- Contact details (name, address, and phone number) on search engine maps
- Landing pages
- Mobile applications
- Email drip campaigns
- Automated marketing funnels
Pillar Two: Earned Media
This pillar is about getting unpaid engagement from your audience by publishing excellent online content. This online content can impart valuable information at minimal or no cost to your audience. If your content is sufficiently compelling, your audience will want to share your expertise and business solutions with others in their niche through their social channels.
They would want to be associated with you voluntarily because you are telling the right story, and your association with them is mutually beneficial. Such activities build trust, credibility, authority, and engagement throughout the web, and are essential attributes of a successful presence both online and offline.
Here are different types of earned media:
- Articles published by unpaid influencers (such as bloggers)
- Reviews (mostly positive hopefully!)
Pillar Three: Paid Media
You would want to consider this pillar very carefully because you are paying for results. Listed here are the different types of earned media:
- Pay per click (PPC) and display ads on Google, Bing, and Yahoo
- Remarketing campaigns
- Paid influencers (such as bloggers, talk radio hosts, etc.)
- Paid content promotions on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, etc.
- Text to keyword ad campaigns
You could establish your brand by leveraging SEO and paid promotions with these critical set ups:
- Set up your YouTube channel and optimize it with SEO, branded images, etc.
- Set up your off-site Blogger account and optimize it with SEO
- Set up your Twitter account and optimize it with SEO, branded images, etc.
- Set up your Google+ profile and optimize it with SEO, branded images, etc.
- Set up your Facebook profile and optimize it with SEO, branded images, etc.
- Set up at least 5 more social media accounts (hi5, scoopIt, etc.)
- Set up at least 10 more social sharing accounts (Delicious, Slashdot, bitly, etc.)
- Set up at least the top 5 off-site blog accounts
- Set up at least 5 Press Release accounts (PRWeb, PRLog, etc.)
- Set up Google Places business directory
- Set up Bing Local business directory
- Set up Facebook Places business directory
- Set up Facebook Business Page and optimize it with SEO, branded images, etc.
- Set up Foursquare social location page and optimize it with SEO, branded images, etc.
- Set up top 10 business directory pages (MojoPages, Kudzu, Citysearch, etc.) and optimize them
- Set up top 10 business niche or geo related directories and optimize them
- Set up at least quarterly reporting utility to manage and update all of the above on an ongoing basis
Many business owners neglect these critical set ups, and as a result, the content they post on their site has no mechanism that ensures effective broadcasting across the Internet. In short, they have no online presence and will have a very difficult time establishing their brand online.
Scaling with Automated Marketing/ Sales Funnels & Converting Traffic with Landing Pages, Offers, and Upsells
The PPC process is really quite simple, conceptually. Let’s say you’ve placed an ad on Facebook. When a prospect clicks on it they’re redirected to a landing page with a CTA (call to action). They might input their first and last name and email address in exchange for the report that you promoted in your ad.
They get your report free of charge, and you receive permission to send them additional emails. That’s it! This is the basic process that can kick start your marketing powerhouse. It’s what you do from thereon that will make all the difference for your business.
As time goes by, you will want to send your new prospect additional emails educating them about you and your company. You’ll want to engage with them to find out more about their wants and needs through simple surveys and social engagement. You could offer them additional content and CTAs to purchase your products and services.
This will be the start of your first automated marketing funnel through which you can engage, offer, upsell, segment, and re-engage your prospects when desired.
In 2011 I decided to learn more about Marketing. At that time, my sales were slipping, and my traditionally productive sales process was not producing like it used to and was getting worse each quarter. So I decided to do something about it. I decided to learn the marketing strategies I could use to make my sales efforts more productive for me without having to take time convincing my employer that they needed to foot the bill for additional marketing.
I started googling search queries like online marketing and search engine marketing. Little did I know that I was about to careen down a path that would change and enrich my life forever. I explored business oriented social networks, started reading books written by marketing gurus, and started learning from online companies that were pioneering new ways to use the Internet to develop and grow businesses online.
I believe my efforts to learn about Inbound and Outbound Marketing have proven fruitful. Plus, I’ve applied what I’ve learned to two businesses I co-own—5StarBrand.com and 1000to3X.com. I now focus on helping businesses meld their marketing efforts with their selling efforts. These combined disciplines can be harnessed to generate top line revenue and growth for businesses.