Starting a business is hard work! After you uncover the perfect business name, finally launch that website and set up your social media accounts you just wait for the money to pour in… right? If this is your plan, you might be hearing crickets. Most small businesses and entrepreneurs forget, or have a difficult time, marketing themselves, their product or service. We are here to tell you that small business marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. With our very first blog post (cue the champagne pop), we are ready to share some insider tips on what we recommend to our clients and what we are doing ourselves!
So let’s dive in… here are your top 10 small business marketing tips that we share with every client:
1. Finding your crowd
I am sure you’ve heard it a million different ways – finding your niche, client avatar, audience, customer, the list goes on. Amy Porterfield has a great podcast episode on doing just that. The truth is, no matter what you call it, this is an extremely important step prior to doing any type of marketing for your small business.
Grab a piece of paper or open your notes app on your phone and imagine a real person who would buy your product or service. Jot down a few notes about who this person is. Are they male or female? What do they do for a living? What are their goals, hopes and dreams? What can you do to make their lives better?
Understanding your customer is the very first step in determining how and where to reach them. For example, say you are a photographer and your ideal clientele are newly engaged couples. When answering the question, “what can I do to make their lives better?”, you uncovered that you can help provide them with a wedding preparation checklist including details on when to book a photographer. Through this process you can not only understand what types of content you can provide to attract this audience, but also what platforms to reach them on.
2. Set up your Google Analytics account
If you follow us on social media you’ve already heard us preach this again and again. Run, don’t walk, and sign up for a Google Analytics account right now! Every day you delay this step you are losing valuable data on who your customers are. Even if you don’t understand how to read your results, get the account set up to track the data while you learn the ropes in understanding your dashboard. After you sign up, don’t forget to read this hot tip to make sure you’ve pushed all those enable buttons.
3. Use social media – it’s free!
The best part about putting together a small business marketing plan is all the free resources at your disposal. There is Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and the list goes on. It can feel overwhelming thinking you have to sign up for everything right away. Take our advice and don’t do that! Make things easy to start. Choose the platforms you are most comfortable with, coupled with the platforms that your customers are also hanging out on. Choose one or two platforms, master them and then consider adding another.
4. Schedule time to engage
Don’t just join these social platforms but truly take the time to engage. Building relationships on social media is no different than building relationships in real life. Two-way communication is so important. Post your own content, but then engage with your audience including other fellow small business owners.
Did you know that we grew our following on Instagram by more than 30% in 30 days? And we did this by spending only 12 minutes a day engaging. Don’t believe us? Take the 30 day challenge yourself and let us know how it works for you!
5. Update your SEO
Did we lose you? Hang on! SEO stands for search engine optimization. In simpler terms, it’s making sure your customers can find you on the vast world wide web. You don’t need to hire an SEO strategist quite yet, as a matter of fact, there are a few simple things you can do right now. Download our free guide to learn more about SEO keywords and how to get started today.
6. Start an email list
Did you know that on average consumers spend 2.5 hours a weekday checking email? (Adobe) And, did you know that Email marketing is 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Twitter and Facebook combined? (McKinsey)
If that didn’t inspire you to add ‘start an email list’ to your small business marketing plan, then we aren’t sure what to do! Maybe you’ve been putting this off because you don’t have the time to email a list or maybe you don’t know what you would say. All of those are valid concerns, heck we’ve even said them ourselves! But that doesn’t mean you have to delay starting. Here are three things you can do right now to get started:
- First, sign up for an email provider. We highly recommend Flodesk! They make things extremely easy to start, grow and email your list with beautiful templates and how-to-guides. Plus you can join now for only $19 a month.
- Second, add an opt-in form to your website. Again, Flodesk makes this process extremely easy with pre-designed templates you can pick up and embed into your website.
- Finally, offer an incentive to sign up for your email list and share it with everyone! There are so many different offerings depending on your business including free shipping, discount codes, a resource or guide, a free consultation or a giveaway.
Start here and we can dive into that perfect email funnel strategy later.
7. Experiment with paid social media
Maybe you’ve already dominated points 1-6 above and you are ready to allocate some funding to your small business marketing budget. Whether it’s $10 or $100, social ads can be a great way to start experimenting with paid advertising.
On Instagram and Facebook you can launch a paid ad for as little as $1 a day. Our recommendation would be to start with a minimum of $5 a day over a 2-3 day period. We also recommend leveraging multiple targeting strategies to see which performs best for you. Take some of your ideal customer nuggets we identified above to start building your own audience. Then test another ad letting Facebook do its magic and compare the performance. The results might surprise you.
This will be the most cost-effective way to dip your toes in paid marketing while still gaining some valuable insights into who your audience is.
8. Leverage eye-catching imagery
The way your brand looks can be a huge reflection in how you operate as a small business owner. If the colors, graphics and content are all over the place your audience might think you are unorganized. This is why we are so passionate about helping our clients uncover their brand vision and how to apply that vision across every facet of their business.
If you don’t have the time or money to invest in building your brand strategy, that is okay! There are plenty of free resources out there to get started. Not a designer? First, you can leverage Pinterest to create a brand vision board. Pin colors, images & graphics that speak to your brand. When you are done, take a step back and make sure all the images and colors flow together and delete the ones that feel out of place.
Next, you can leverage free sites like Unsplash or Burst to find stock photography to use on your website, social media accounts and more. Setting strict brand guidelines is so important when you are starting a small business and is one of the best ways to attract new customers.
9. Build a marketing partnership
Starting a business alone can be lonely and overwhelming. So why not find your business bestie!? Trust us, we are better together! Find another entrepreneur whose business or service compliments yours and host a giveaway or partner together to create some irresistible content. This can be a great way to drive awareness of your brand to a new audience. Plus, nothing is better than creating a strong community of support.
10. Content is king
Finally, we’ve made it to the last small business marketing tip. Creating content is peppered into most of the tips already mentioned above, but it’s still worthy of having its own section. Creating content is not only how you build credibility amongst your audience, but it’s also a great marketing tool. A great piece of content can be shared again and again on social media, it’s recognized by Google and therefore improves your search rankings, it generates word of mouth, it grows your email list and social followings… its effects are endless.
So what is content exactly? It’s a blog post, a well thought out caption to a social post, a free resource, a video or how-to-guide to explain your most frequently asked questions. There are so many types of content, long and short, and it is so important to set aside time to merely create.
Small Business Marketing Tips
There you have it, our top 10 small business marketing tips. Whether you are just starting out or looking to pivot your marketing strategies, we are confident that following these tips will help you get started on the right path to success.
Are you craving more or is there a specific topic you want to dive in deep on? We’d love to chat about it. Fill out our contact form and tell us more. We look forward to hearing from you!