Marketing: just the word can strike fear into a business owner's heart. You love your business, that's why you started it- but you also want to spend your time in your business, not on Twitter! However, an effective marketing strategy is the most important tool in a small business owner's toolbox. You could have the best business in the world- but without marketing, who would even know it? It's easy to get overwhelmed, so start small! Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Here are 10 marketing tips you can take action on today to propel your business forward.
1. Maximize use of your personal social media channels.
You're probably already using social media as your business, but are you making your personal profiles work for you too? Share posts and pictures from your business to your personal profiles to mobilize your existing network of friends and family. Build relationships with people you want to do business with or who could help you promote your company. Like, comment, and share their social media content. Make friends!
2. Know your audience.
It's important to know who your customers are so you know how to market to them. Think about your buyer personas- if you were to create a fictional person based on your customers, what would they be like? Do you have more than one distinct persona? Dig deeper, conduct surveys and interviews, and really get to the heart of why people buy from you- and also understand that not everyone is a potential customer.
3. Invest in your website.
Make sure your website not only looks good, but is easy to use and has all of the information a potential customer may be looking for. Track all of your website links to make sure they’re working and directing where they need to be. If you change a website URL, add a forward to it so the old link still works.
4. Create a workable marketing strategy.
Set goals and know what path you are going to take to achieve those goals. Your strategy should include content creation, audience creation, and outreach goals to build your business. Know that there are different types of content and that each platform is different. You don’t have to do it alone! It's completely fine to hire out for some things, as long as it is still in your voice.
5. Always be learning.
No matter how much of a marketing guru you are right now, in the world of marketing things change often, and quickly! You can learn from others in your profession- join relevant Facebook and LinkedIn groups and always keep networking. Keep up-to-date through websites, podcasts, books, and courses geared towards your industry or marketing goals.
6. Set aside a budget for paid advertising.
If you invest in creating great content but don’t pay to promote it, you’re limiting your potential reach to 2-4 percent of your potential audience. Even $5 a day can go a long way. Don’t be afraid to create coupons and specials for your online customers and pay for them to be seen, too! But, be careful not to only promote through coupons and specials or your customers will come to expect them every time they shop, and it could tarnish the image of your brand.
7. Ask for reviews everywhere.
Reviews are a great way for you to interact with your community and increase your business visibility. Google, Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor are just a few places to gather reviews. Your industry may have specific sites as well- do a search and identify where your potential customers are looking. Claim your business on those sites, encourage reviews, and respond to every one of them (especially the negative ones!). Never be standoffish, rude, or defensive- remember that your public response to a negative review can be a potential customer's first impression of your brand.
8. Practice your video skills.
Yes, recording yourself is weird and you'll hate watching your face and hearing your voice. You’re going to suck at first, and that’s OK! Start honing your camera presence and editing skills early, and your content will increase in quality exponentially over time. Having video content gives people an opportunity to connect you and your personality to the brand and also performs better than static images or text on most social media channels. This also goes for live streaming!
9. Host and attend in-person networking events.
Connecting with people "in real life" connects your online with your offline. Networking in person humanizes your brand and makes personal connections that will be more likely to convert or promote than a faceless ad or email.
10. Create a signature piece of content.
Whether it's an ebook, a podcast, a YouTube series, or something else - make this piece a cornerstone of your brand that explains who you are and why you do what you do while also being entertaining and providing valuable content. This signature piece will be what people use to connect with you, promote you, and discover you.
Don't let marketing strike fear into your heart! It is more work than a lot of people bargain for at first, but once you start producing quality content and develop a solid strategy, it will become a well-oiled machine. Do your research, be smart with your time and budget, and most importantly, have fun!
Business success means growing your small business and improving sales, processes and the customer experience each year. We created the ebook “9 Tips to Grow Your Small Business” to help in your success. You’ll get nine chapters of easy-to-follow growth strategies including the four above and how to maximize your customer base, considering winning government contracts and actively measuring success. Click here to download it now.