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Growing Small Brands Into Authority Online Businesses

New Zealand has one of the most unique markets in the world. We’ve carved our spot onto the world stage in a range of industries, a feat that is highly admirable considering our relatively small size. Pushing the boundaries is just in our culture, Kiwi’s do-it-yourself attitude has helped us punch above our weight for decades. This has made Aotearoa the perfect breeding ground for small businesses and entrepreneurs. In fact, even that has been noted internationally, with 420,000 people (18.2% of our adult population) being involved in entrepreneurial activity. That puts New Zealand at a higher percentage than your typical powerhouses such as the United States.

Part of what makes the New Zealand market so unique is it’s concentrated diversity. It offers a compact cross section of multiple audiences all in a relatively small location. With such a varied population, small businesses have the perfect opportunity to carve a foothold in their niche, capture their audience, and use that as a springboard to go from being a small business to an authority in their field.

So what does it mean to go from being a small business to an authority in the market? To be an authority in your field is to be the recognised expert. You are recognised as the go-to business for your niche, you’ve built trust through your customer base and are referenced or permanently associated with whatever field your service or product exists in. If you think of soda, you think of Coca Cola. If you talk about electric vehicles you reference Tesla. Smartphones? Apple or Samsung. These are all brands that are now recognised as authorities in their respective fields, and while these are all heavy hitters, it is possible to be the same thing in relation to your niche within New Zealand. Being an authority allows you to dictate where the market goes, sets the trends, and have your competitors being on their toes guessing what you’re going to do next.

But how exactly do you go from a small business to an authority, and is it even possible as a small New Zealand business? The answer is a resounding yes! Through the use of strategic branding, content, digital marketing practises and time you can create a brand that’s a force to be reckoned with. It does take time and sweat equity, but when you partner with an experienced digital marketing agency like Lime Digital, we can guide you through the process of becoming an authority.

The first step is to decide on the niche areas your business wants to focus and become an authority on. Deciding on parts of your market that aren’t currently serviced or are less saturated by competition allows you to essentially cut to the front of the line of your industry. Initially having tight, laser focussed niche’s will allow you to put the maximum amount of effort into this small section and expand it out. Once you’ve filled your small niche(s), you can begin to expand your business laterally to take more and more market share.

The main driver of success and becoming an authority is market presence… you have to be seen in as many places as possible. Before you attempt to put your fingers in as many digital pies as you can think of, it’s important to have all your creative branding locked in and ready to go. Sometimes you only get to make one impression, so leave a memorable one. This is so much more than just a logo, it includes your website, all your brand collateral, creative direction, and for your brand to have a “voice” through copywriting. All these pieces of creative need to be in place to ensure consistency across all your communications because, although you’re going to start pushing your business through multiple digital and physical mediums, ultimately the messaging needs to be unified. Expertise, and therefore authority, is built through confident, consistent, and reliable communications.

Once your niche and branding have been established, the more technical “behind the scenes” part of digital marketing begins to take place. The first step is solidifying your foundational search engine optimisation (SEO). The goal for this is to make sure when people are searching for products and services that your business provides, they find your business on the first page of Google. Doing this boils down to ranking for the right keywords. These keywords are the same words and phrases that people use to search for your products or services. Initially, this is a matter of ensuring that your website content is relevant to, and contains, these keywords. Part of Lime Digital’s expertise is performing keyword research in relation to your niche to formulate a strategy for your website to begin to rank in Google for relevant keywords, both in regards to one's your competitors are also fighting over, but perhaps even more importantly, finding keywords that havent been capitalised on by your competition but are still generating search queries. Using digital marketing to be on the first page of Google increases enquiries as well as acting as social proof that your business is an expert in that area.

Ideally you want to “own” as many keywords in your niche as possible. By doing so, you’ve taken your first step to becoming an authority. This is because as customers search for information in your chosen area of expertise, your brand continually comes up. As time goes on and you rank for more keywords, you’ll take up more and more space in your market.

Once your foundations are all set up, it’s time to expand to align yourself with other authorities and begin to inject your voice into the conversation around your market. In regards to the first point , creating guest blogs/content with trusted, established partners increases your reach and exposes you to an audience that someone else has cultivated. Not only does this increase your reach, but it helps you create backlinks to your website from a source that Google recognises as being a trusted source. These guest posts kill two birds with one stone, helping your website climb up the search ranks through high quality backlinks, but it puts your brand shoulder to shoulder with an established authority, essentially signing off your brand as an equal or one to watch.

In a similar vein, blog posts hosted on your website also play a huge role in establishing your business as an expert in your field. Similar to the keyword research touched on above, creating content that surrounds the commonly asked questions about your industry is an opportunity to further establish your presence on Google, while also demonstrating your expert voice on topics about your niche. They also serve the purpose of refreshing the content of your website, which Google rewards you for having an active site and boosts your ranking up the search ladder as a result.

If you are consistent with this approach to digital marketing, your business will continuously gain momentum. You’ll earn your spot as an authority through relevant content that comes up when any of your customers begin asking questions and queries about topics in relation to your field, and it will be your brand's voice answering them. This can then be transferred into social media efforts and traditional mediums such as billboards and print advertising to increase brand awareness. Building up a library of content and resources over a diverse range of mediums that all drive people into your sales funnel and exponentially grow your brand is an ongoing task. If done right, over the course of 12 months or more your small business will transform from your average small business to an authority on the subject matter.

But how much should you spend on this? As a general rule of thumb, marketing costs should equate to 10-15% of your business’s revenue. However, having capital set aside from the onset of a company to inject into marketing efforts will substantially boost and speed up the process. It will help to hit the ground running and will be the highest relative cost of your marketing, but many of the processes will continue to churn over leads once they have set up. So the longer you’ve been following these steps, the more it will maintain itself.

It can seem overwhelming to attack digital marketing on so many fronts. It’s also a necessity, but is easy to get lost in the weeds trying to figure it out. It can consume all of your valuable time and takes you away from doing what you do best - running your business. Partnering with Lime Digital not only saves you time, but it brings an experienced team of digital marketers to formulate a strategy that is optimised to turn you into an authority in the most efficient timeframe. Save yourself the time and money required to experiment and figure out the process yourself by allowing Lime Digital to do all the heavy lifting, so you can focus on your brand and business. We are a diverse team that covers the entire spectrum of digital marketing services, from creative and branding through to copywriting and search engine optimization. When you work with Lime Digital, you’re working with the best. Get in touch today to find out how Lime Digital can catapult your small business into being a recognised authority in your industry! Visit http://www.limedigital.co.nz

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