Marketing is the action of promoting and selling your products or services. Social media, advertising, promotions, blogs, branding and content are all pieces that make up your marketing. The goal of your marketing is to push your brand out across platforms and mediums to reach your customers. With so many marketing options and platforms, it’s hard for small business owners to know what to do. To help get you started, here is a guide to marketing your small business:
Make a plan
With anything in your business, you need to start with a plan. This is no different when it comes to your marketing. Set some time aside to sit down and brainstorm. Make a list of what your business goals are and start to create some themes. Start making a to-do list from any actionable items that come up. Don’t think you have to shoot for the moon right away. You should start off small and scale from there.
Create an elevator pitch
Can you explain your business in 30 seconds or less? If not, get working! A good elevator pitch should explain what you do, what your products and services are and keep your listener interested, in 30 seconds. Nailing this down early will not only help you in face-to-face situations. It’ll also help you stay on message when creating your marketing.
Make a website
It’s 2018, any business that doesn’t have a website isn’t going very far. One of the first things you need to do with your marketing is create a website. There are plenty of DIY web services like Wix or Square Space. These can be great options if you have a tight budget. However, these tools can only go so far. If you want to make sure your site is truly mobile friendly and SEO optimized it’s sometimes better to hire an expert. This is especially true if your product requires unique features. Make sure you or whomever you hire sets up Google Analytics to track your traffic.
Claim Your Business Online
To make sure you hold control of what is said about your business online (as much as you can), make sure you are claiming your listing online. Sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Bing Places and more all have business listings. It may take a little time, but go through one-by-on and claim your business. This will give you control of what information these sites post about your business.
Use Social Media
If your business isn’t on social media, you’re missing a huge opportunity. No matter what your industry your in, it’s likely that most of your customers are going to be on at least one social media site or another. Do some research into where your customers are most active and where your competitors are putting their social media resources. It’s best to set up a page across all of the major platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Choose how to place your content across each based on the audience, how they engage with you and what their behavior is on each particular platform. Eventually you’ll start to see what is working on each and you’ll be able to better target your content and resources toward what works.
Create a Network
Getting out in your local community or within industry groups can be invaluable to growing awareness of your business and building your network. Look into local chambers of commerce that you can join in your community. Or you can find networking groups and meet-ups that are niche to your business or to your customer base and start attending. Give discounts and offers to people in your area or send out swag and promotional items to get your name out.
Even if your budget is low, investing in a little advertising is always good to widen your reach. Google Ads can be fairly inexpensive and can be highly targeted to your core audience. You can also utilize social media to target your existing followers or website visitors and remind them of your business. If you have a local business, look into sponsoring a local sports team, advertising in local papers or local TV. If you have an idea of what your comfortable spending you can get creative with where to spend your dollars in the most effective way.
Don’t get overwhelmed with marketing your small business. Whatever areas you choose to focus on, stay consistent. Customers generally need to see your message multiple times before they make a purchase. Be patient, stay at it and you’ll start to reap the benefits of marketing!