There are several ways small businesses can get an edge these days. Marketing strategy is key to getting things done in a productive manner. You want to make sure that what you invest in marketing shows a return in new prospects and the ability to turn those prospects into clients and customers.
Social Media – First, let’s talk about social media. At this point there is no way to deny that social media is now the fastest growing connection to clients and customers. More and more businesses are realizing that we are living in an age where you have to be connected to your clients/customers via social media. More than 50% of the population will have a profile on a social network. More and more of our customers and clients are coming to us through digital means. Using social media is a great way to promote your business by engaging with customers and prospective customers to deliver information on your business, provide assistance with problems and questions concerning your products or services, and of course a quick and easy way to make your current sales and promotions known to everyone at once. This gives you a direct line to your clients and customers. Be clear, it is all about engaging your prospects and customers these days as opposed to “selling”. Posting on a regular basis to social media sites and updating your blog holds great value to business and even greater value to small business. It also gives a cool new way for the best marketing tool there is to bolster your business (Word of Mouth Marketing). Customers can easily share your information with friends and followers giving you a direct line to new prospects.
Content – What is it that you are trying to engage them with…? Content. Content marketing is what everyone is looking to do. Content marketing is the creating and distributing of relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage your target audience. Consumers are becoming more and more intelligent. They want to be educated on the products and services they receive. If you are a vitamin store, buyers want to be educated on the products you sell and how and why they should use them. If you are a real estate agent, buyers want to know about the neighborhood, the current mortgage rate, and if it is a buyers’ market — while sellers want to know how to calculate the worth of their home and what other homes in the area are going for. If you are a day care, parents want to know the best way to potty train their child, what foods help promote growth and nutrition in young children, and why Johnny keeps sticking things up his nose. My point is, this is information that your business should have and consumers want to know and want to know that you know. It goes to credibility. If you are a reputable and credible business then you should be engaging your customers and prospects with content that is meaningful, educational, and interesting.
Website (SEO) – Search engine optimization is necessary for every website. This allows search engines to “organically” rank your website and helps tremendously in getting your site closer to that top spot. This means that any paid search (SEM) will not make a difference when it comes to SEO. Making sure that your site’s keywords are actively present throughout your site is very important for organic search. It is important that you are using the proper “tags” and your rules must be simple to understand so that the search engines and users can find you quickly and easily. Be wary of SEO companies that offer big results with underhanded practices that manipulate search results. This could cause your site to be removed completely from search engines like Google.
Search Engines (SEM) – Search engine marketing is becoming more and more effective for small business. With over a billion searches every day you can target locally so that more of your target audience will see your ads. The risk is small as you set your budget and only pay when someone clicks on your ad and is directed to your business. Creating an effective campaign strategy to promote the success of your PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign can mean you going from page 23 on a Google search to page 1. SEM runs from a well-developed keyword list for your products or services that is optimized with your with your website landing pages. This will result in a higher quality score and enables you to have a great Click-Through-Rate (CTR). Monitoring the performance of your ads can achieve the optimal ROI (Return on Investment).
E-mail – Reinforce your customer relationships with e-mail marketing. E-mail marketing,social media marketing,event marketing,and online survey tools help small organizations grow their businesses by building stronger customer relationships. Many small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and member associations worldwide rely on e-mail marketing to send personalized, professional communications that engage casual customers, members, prospects, and passionate customers wherever they congregate online – from their email inboxes to their social networks. Send newsletters, current promotions, surveys, etc. on a small budget.
Video – Video marketing is not a new wave thing but it is becoming more and more important to business marketing. Having a unique video on You-Tube or in an advertisement will visually get your product or service across to current and prospective customers as it is a more engaging content format that often results in your audience responding with much greater force. Posting a short commercial spot on your website can decrease website bounce rate. How well the video is made and how long it is could help you hold a website visitor on your website and can really make a difference in converting prospects to actual sales.
Videos on your website and video sharing websites really help optimize your rankings with search engines. Sites like YouTube are only growing in power and strength and many businesses are already leveraging the amazing technology for opportunities that exist in helping to grow their business.
Mobile – The emergence of mobile marketing has been astounding. Now everyone wants to be able to do and see whatever it is they were able to do on the home computer or laptop on a cell phone or tablet. Society in general is on the go and very mobile. You have to change how you are marketing your products and services to be able to deliver your message to more consumers. Everyone you see is on some sort of mobile device whether it is a cell phone or tablet. Most smart phones have the ability to access the internet. Mobile marketing is the advertising of any product or service on a mobile device like a cell phone or tablet. Making sure your website, email marketing, and other web advertising are mobile friendly is of utmost importance since we are such a mobile society.
Community – I stress community involvement to my clients. Don’t just be a part of a community and expect support from that community without giving something back. Being involved in your community as a member of some community association, by offering your space to a community association for meetings or other events, by offering certain free services or special discounts to consumers in your area, or by having charitable events to benefit your community (i.e. clothing and/or food drives) can make all the difference of whether the people around you know you are actually there and what you do. For some businesses it is easier than for others. But, community involvement can help you to stand out against your competition (possibly right down the street from you) and you will find that if you support your community they will support you.