5 Ways Small Businesses can Master Marketing
It isn't easy being an entrepreneur or small business owner these days. In the fast pace world of digital marketing, I often speak to people who are completely daunted by the idea of creating and sticking to a marketing plan. However, cultivating a smart marketing strategy is the #1 thing small businesses with limited budgets can do in order to increase their visibility and sales.
I have compiled a simple list of non-intimidating marketing actions you can take today that will make your business look savvy and have clients knocking down your door.
(1) Know your audience.
Yes, you must MUST understand who you are trying to reach and where they "hang out" online. Put yourself in a potential customer's shoes - how would they find you? What is their motivation for finding your business or service? This may seem like an obvious task but it is one often overlooked. In my own business, I have been guilty of this. Maybe you're excited, as I was, to push your message into the world in every way possible. This strategy rarely works. You need to pinpoint your ideal target and figure out what their habits are. For example, if you are a brick and mortar business, I bet customers are finding you via Google Search or even Yelp. It would make a lot of sense to pour your time, energy and effort into making sure you rank well on these platforms.
(2) Do not be everywhere.
When you are a small business with limited resources, I suggest NOT doing a lot of things. Many business owners think they need everything: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, you name it! But what results is a lot of garbage being disseminated into the world in a half-ass way. It is impossible to be great at everything. Even creative agencies have their strength and weaknesses. It is better to do one thing really well then try to catch everyone. A hotel might consider only focusing on Instagram, since it is an important resource for people when they travel, or a company providing businesses services (B2B) may try mastering LinkedIn only.
(3) Scheduling Tools.
It often comes as a surprise that virtually no business posts to social media in real time. It is nearly impossible for a busy and small team to worry about posting to social media manually. This is because posts need to be released at certain points in the day in order to reach more people. Planning your life around a Facebook post is a little crazy and unless you have a diligent team dedicated to this task only, I would suggest a scheduling tool. I recommend checking out Meet Edgar, HootSuite, Later, and Tailwind. For email marketing, I am a big fan of MailChimp. Each of these tools has different specialties and features - so it's a good idea to do a little research before committing to any paid plan. For most services, there is a free trial period or free membership tier.
(4) Be Consistent.
In life, business, and digital marketing consistency is extremely important. The internet exists to help us connect and be more social. In order to develop genuine relationships with your audience, it is important to "show up" and keep your promises. If you commit to sending a newsletter to your database once a week or posting to your blog-- just do it! It is easy to make excuses, telling yourself that no one will notice - and maybe they won't - however; the important thing is that you are approaching your marketing with integrity.
(5) Review the Stats.
I am a HUGE believer of checking the reports. This is the "boring" task that so many people don't do; however, it may be the most important! Marketing is incredibly fluid and there are no right answers for exactly how to execute your creative ideas. You must constantly be testing, trying, experimenting and reviewing all the actions you take. Now more than ever it is so easy to give people exactly what they want. Any tool you use for digital marketing will have some kind of reporting feature. Invest some time in understanding this information. It will certainly help you to save money and help to amplify your business with the least amount of effort.
Lastly, it's important to have a sense of humor about it all. We aren't curing cancer, we're sending each other messages. Let's have some fun! As long as you commit to learning and trying your best, you will begin to find what works for you.