March 6, 2019 / Venture Out Business Center
So you need to let people know about your unique small business. Chances are you’ve already thought of marketing tools like a website or social media pages. Now you’re ready to really build out a plan and expand your customer base, but what steps should you take?
Here’s five tips to consider as you develop your strategy.
1.) Make a Plan and Stick to It
Every small business is different. The marketing plan and tactics for a daycare will be entirely different than that of a new restaurant. However, the process of building a plan, executing it and applying the time and resources it needs is the secret to success in marketing. A typical plan would include:
• An overview of your business’s marketing and advertising goals
• A description of your business’s current marketing position
• A timeline of when tasks within your strategy will be completed
• Key performance indicators you will be tracking
• A description of your business’s target market and customer needs
Especially in a small business where staff is limited and time is scarce, marketing strategies tend to be
put on the back burner. Often, these businesses will try different marketing tactics with only minor to moderate success. They might even score a huge profit by chance but then find themselves unable to properly scale their tactics, goals and strategies to replicate that success. There are plenty of online marketing tools, books, podcasts and more that can help you hone your skills. Never skip ahead of a
well thought out marketing plan.
2.) Community and Networking
Think locally. What’s going on in your community? Sponsor a Little League team or a 5k charity walk/run or anything that’s a good cause. Get to know your ideal customer and think about how and where they spend their time. Print bookmarks and leave them at the local library. T-shirts are a great example of free walking advertisements for your business. Anytime you can put your company name out there, do it! Networking is key. Find out when the next networking event is in your area. Join chambers, business associations, community groups, etc. Introduce yourself to other business owners. Shake their hand, offer them your card and some information about your business… it’s that simple. Networking definitely requires a time commitment and it doesn’t always provide instant gratification, but a strong network is one of the greatest assets any business person can have. Building sound relationships with a group of synergistic,
non-competitive businesses can lead to, customer leads, brand awareness, cross-promotions and whole
lot more. Using coupons, fliers, reciprocal website links, bundled promotions or social media platforms are all great ways to collaborate with your new found network.
3.) Content Marketing
Offer blogs, videos, webinars, or social media posts that answer specific questions and provide your audience with something they can’t get somewhere else. It’s the best way to turn your product, no
matter how common, into something that is not like everyone else’s. By becoming a credible, authoritative resource on topics that matter to potential customers, your business is more likely to get discovered by
the right audience and earn their loyalty and trust, which enables your brand to strengthen its customer relationships, grow an active subscriber base, and even increase its profits. Unlike paid advertising, content marketing focuses more on long-term results. Long-term goals are your friend. Sustainable growth in visitors, leads, and customers can single-handedly carry your business for years to come.
4.) Google AdWords.
Try Google AdWords to specifically target the types of products or services you offer. When using Google AdWords you can target users across two main networks – the search network, and the Display network. The search network refers to pay-per-click advertising, also referred to as paid search. Essentially, as the advertiser, you bid on keywords that are relevant to your business and have a chance to display your advertisements to customers who enter those keywords into Google as part of a search query.
The Display network offers the option of placing a visual banner-style advertisement on websites
that are part of the Display network, potentially reaching a global audience of 90% of internet users.
Focus on a few keywords… quality over quantity. AdWords are great for targeting specific geographic locations and will give you the ability to control your budget with flexible pricing.
5.) Web Analytics
Large corporations spend a lot of money collecting data and paying analysts to sift through it. Unfortunately, for many small and home-based businesses, strapped for cash and time, data collection and analysis can seem overwhelming and get pushed aside. However, collecting and interpreting data related to your business can make the difference between having a struggling company or a highly profitable one. By strategically analyzing a few bits of information about your business, you can make decisions that keep you in the black. So what can you analyze? You can collect website data like number of visitors, keywords, average time on the page, etc. You can data on your email list or social media pages. There are many free and low-cost tools to help you gather data about your business. Google and Adobe Analytics are both popular tools you can utilize. Strategically analyzing a few bits of information about your business, you
can make decisions that keep you in the black and optimize your potential.