Interview with New Orleans SEO Expert Brian Hong on Growing Your Business in the Digital Age

Business Psychologist, James Cummings speaks with SEO expert Brian Hong on how small businesses can be competitive in today’s digital marketplace.

Times have changed, and nowhere is this fact more emphasized than in the world of business and technology. In my regular interactions with owners of businesses, large and small, I see that they understand that there are now additional rules that need to be applied to get the most out of their business, especially if it’s budding. The advent of the internet, coupled with several breakthroughs in ICT, have redefined the world of business. 

There has never been a better time to do business than right now. The advantages are limitless and one can even start a business through the effective use of a Wi-Fi enabled Smartphone.

Today, there is a surge of small businesses spreading across the digital space, with everyone hoping to take advantage of the unlimited opportunities now available. While some of us seem to have effectively grasped how things are done, many are still grappling with understanding how best to grow a business in this fast-paced age.

I caught up with SEO expert and CEO of New Orleans-based Agency, Infintech Designs, Brian Hong at the recently concluded Marketing Nation Summit, held in San Francisco and asked him what new and effective strategies small businesses can adopt to stand out in the digital age. 

He shared some interesting insights with me (below), drawing from his own successful experience helping small businesses in New Orleans and all around the USA identify opportunities currently available and how to actively put them to use. Here’s what we discussed: 

Hello, Mr Hong. Thanks for sharing some time with me.

Hong: The pleasure is mine. Thanks for having me.

You’ve worked with a number of startups and local businesses. What would you say are the vital steps for new enterprises to become and stay relevant in today’s competitive  marketplace? 

The obvious thing would be to first start a website, which needs to be well-designed, so as to be attractive to those that visit - just as having a well-designed physical store works. Your website provides you the opportunity of being contacted by people you may not have reached if you were situated on a street corner or even a busy commercial street. To keep your visitors, you have to impress them; the biggest online secret is creating a good experience, so you need to incorporate all the tools that will give your website visitors what they want. 

SEO is also very important for your business; the search engine has never played a bigger role than it does at present. People search on Google for even the most mundane things. Your desire (as a small business) is for your business or website to easily pop-up when searched. Work with an SEO expert who will help strategize how you can better reach your audience. 

What is the best market strategy for keeping  one’s business in the public eye?

Hong: You can no longer rely solely on traditional media to meet your target audience. Besides, they are far more expensive than the digital marketing solutions that are available these days.

Marketing is a continuous phenomenon in any business, but it doesn’t have to be so cost-intensive. There are a number of web design and marketing strategies that a business can employ and each one is important on its own.

As a startup, you can take advantage of the different social media platforms. We have a number of them now, with the biggest being Facebook. However, the audiences are not the same across all channels. A local business may be more interested in having a Facebook page or just being visible on Google, while a Vlogger  may want to utilise platforms like Youtube. 

Whatever your business, a good understanding of the different platforms is crucial and will help you use them more effectively. You can interact directly with your customers (and potential customers), so you need to make sure that your posts are engaging enough.  Use analytic tools on your social media pages - such as Facebook insights - that will help you understand your audience behaviour and allow you see if you’re on the right path with the contents you provide.

You should also interact with other businesses by collaborating and exchanging services, so as to get access to their followers and further grow your popularity. 

Give out some freebies from time to time, as everyone loves a discount. Reward your clients and let them get the word out about your business for you. There is no greater marketing win like a satisfied customer or client.

Install Google Analytics, conversion tracking and set up goal completions, as well as remarketing pixels.  The beauty of digital marketing is that it helps your business to attribute, segment and track every visitor that lands on your website.  

It’s also a good idea to update your site  with fresh content from time to time, to establish yourself as an authority in your space, as well as give the search engines what they love.  

Those are really valuable ideas on doing business in the new age.  Any closing comments? 

Hong: Success stories are not written in a day. Your startup has the potential of becoming the next big thing. Don’t give up.