Marketing a business is not easy; with the huge number of online avenues combined with traditional methods such as print and radio, there are almost too many options. The key is to get your message across succinctly and smoothly, in front of as many potential customers as possible, and there’s a wealth of information on how to do so. Here are some tips to consider:
Take a critical look at your website and answer a few key questions – if necessary get an expert to glance over it:
- Do people immediately know what you do?
- Does it look good? Is it enticing? Can you find what you need quickly?
- Is the pricing and packaging structure clearly laid out?
- Where are your contact details, including social media?
- Have you included customer reviews of your product and/or service?
Stock on a small business site should be up to date with a clear call to action, particularly if you are linking to the site from another page promoting an offer. Experimentation on the site with measurement of results using Google Analytics should be able to tell you what works and what doesn’t, and help form KPIs. These are crucial aspects of your business, and worth investing time in – bring in an expert if you are unsure.
If you run a blog on your site, make sure the content is fresh and interesting and updated every week or two. If there are any items that can be downloaded (such as a catalogue or ebook) this is a quick way to get potential customers signed up to to your emailing list, to which you can then send information about offers and promotions.
Not all content needs to be written – pictures of stock and staff give a friendly face to what you do, and a personal touch. Video pieces are quick introductions to your work that can be put together on a mobile phone or free editing package.
It takes an hour to set up one, two or even three social media sites, each linking to your website and offering a direct avenue to communication with customers. Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram each have their own strengths and weaknesses, and one of the biggest plus points of each is that they can be free – although you can pay for more promotion if you wish.
Don’t over promote – some marketers espouse the one-in-seven’ rule where only one in every seven posts is a direct advert – but do ask for opinion and reaction. Do not be afraid to ask questions and start conversations, and if approached for expertise answer accordingly. If any complaints arise answer quickly and appropriately.
It might not seem possible, but there are still many people who don’t use the internet and social media. They may have a mobile phone that’s more than a decade old and don’t use it for anything other than calls and the odd text. They still read newspapers and listen to local radio. If this sounds like some of your most valued customers, then make the effort to engage. Community events, vehicle and shop-front branding, and local advertising still have their place.
First impressions also count, so ensure you and your staff look the part when attending jobs. This could mean purchasing smart uniforms to be worn every day or ensuring you have top spec vehicles and vans, consider leasing a van to cut costs when upgrading to brand new business vehicles – this means paying monthly and not having to worry about depreciation later down the line, as well as looking like a reputable business when meeting customers.
If you’re going to market effectively you need a plan, which lays down which content you’ll be creating; which events you’re attending; how often you post on social media and in what form; and any other aspects of your marketing strategy. A coherent and well-thought plan will reap attractive dividends, and gives you some something tangible to work towards.