An export marketing plan has many different components to it, from social media to website design. Utilizing SEO (search engine optimization) and paid ads are two ways to ensure you’re optimizing the reach of both your social media and website content. We’ll cover how you can build brand awareness through SEO and paid ads – drawing on insights from a previous webinar, “Digital Marketing for Exporters,” hosted by Export Navigator and presented by Tiny Planet Digital.
When you google what your company does, how does your website rank in the search results? For example, if you were a gluten-free snack company and you looked up “gluten-free snacks BC”, would you be on the first page after you hit search? As you can probably guess, it’s not ideal to be on the last page of hundreds upon thousands of search results. This is where SEO comes in to lift your website out of digital obscurity.
One common way to improve your website’s SEO is by making sure you’re using relevant keywords. Using the gluten-free snack example, other keywords or phrases that the company’s website might use include: organic; vegan; plant-based, ways to use + product, where to buy + product, etc.
However, it’s not enough to pick keywords at random – you’ll need to do research to determine the best ones for your company. “Vegan” is a great keyword to have, but it’s also highly competitive. Remember to not overlook keyphrases and use long-tail keywords, which is a more specific search that is usually longer than a simple keyword. For instance, a common search on Google is “where to find [product].” This indicates a search where someone is wanting to make a purchase. So, one of the web pages could include “how to find gluten-free snacks in B.C.” as a keyphrase woven into its copy.
Preliminary keyword research can be done in multiple ways. Here is a step-by-step guide from Hubspot to get you started:
- Make a list of important, relevant topics based on what you know about your business and target audience
When you think of a gluten-free snack company, you may relate it to topics like health, wellness, or a certain diet.
- Fill in those topic buckets with keywords/phrases
These keywords/phrases could be something more specific but still health-related – for example, “organic” or “vegan,” as mentioned earlier.
- Understand how searcher intent affects keyword research and analyze accordingly
Some words or phrases can have multiple meanings. If you’re unsure of what using a specific keyword implies, try typing it into a search engine to see if the results are relevant to your business.
- Research related search terms
Google often shows search terms related to what you just looked up. This is a great indicator of other keywords that people are using to find the same thing.
- Use keyword research tools (Ahrefs, SEMrush, Ubersuggest)
Online tools can help you find keywords as well. Some popular ones are listed above.
Other SEO tips are to publish high quality content that is relevant and authoritative. Ensure it’s regularly updated to maintain relevancy, as search engines favour updated content. Cross-linking to other sites with credible and relevant information is another way to improve your SEO while adding value for readers.
The next component of building brand awareness online is through paid ads. With paid ads, you’ll make contact with shoppers in various stages of the customer journey. You can set different objectives and design ad campaigns so they serve your goals, whether it’s to make sales, increase brand awareness, or to educate.
Popular channels for paid ads differ by region but here in North America, a few common ones are Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Again, choosing your channel(s) boils down to your target market and doing market research to know which networks are most suitable. If you read our last post on building brand awareness, you’ll know that many markets in East Asia have their own local social media and video platforms that are musts for reaching a new target audience.
It’s also helpful to note where your organic social media content is performing best, as you’ll want to advertise there. For an in-depth look at each type of ad that many platforms offer, read this guide from Hootsuite. Ads can take on a variety of forms, such as interactive games, carousels, or story ads.
After finalizing your paid ad campaign, don’t forget to track its performance! Some KPIs (key performance indicators) to watch for include:
- Impressions (the number of times a user comes across your ad)
- CTR (Click through rate)
- Landing page views
- Conversions (such as purchases)
On the fence about pursuing paid social? Here are some reasons why paid social media is worth it for exporters who are trying to establish a customer base in a new market:
- Paid social gives your business guaranteed reach
- It allows you to target your most relevant customers
- It teaches you about your target audience with in-depth insights that are more detailed than organic social analytics
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