All the marketing tips you need to know a small businesses
It goes without saying that 2020 should be the year you focus your efforts on digital marketing. With 60 per cent of Australians using the Internet more than five times a day, there’s a sizable market out there which you can tap into. More importantly, they want to be able to find information about your business easily. But simply having an online presence isn’t enough. To compete, you need to stand out.
Tips to maximise your marketing results
Effective marketing is a key growth driver in your small business. If you think you don’t have to understand marketing – think again. So whether you’re a marketing novice or seasoned expert, these are my top tips for getting your business name out there and customers through your doors.
Work out what you want to achieve
You can’t hit the bullseye if you can’t see it. It will slow you down if you can’t define the target. If you had a clear idea of your aims and goals when you started your business, review them again now. Put a stake in the ground now and define where you want to be in 12 months time. Having a clear business strategy in place from day one with measurable goals means both you and your team remain focused on achievement. Or at least your team can know what success looks like.
Know your market
Finger in the wind decisions isn’t good enough. Make sure you and your team have a thorough understanding of your industry, target audience and competitors. Take time to look at your customer base and segment it (divide it) into groups by size, spend, geography and industry. Researching your target customers and understanding their needs and behaviours (by asking them!) will ensure you have a better chance of fulfilling their needs.
Build a tribe of followers, not merely prospective customers.
If I could shout this, I would. Stop ONLY selling on social media. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be promoting your product or service on your social channels, that would just be silly. What I am saying is that it shouldn’t be the focus of your social media strategy.
Think of your social account like a party. Would you pitch up at a friend’s house and spend the entire evening telling partygoers about how great your product is and why they need it? I didn’t think so. Chances are you won’t be invited back.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are all social settings, so be social. This is your opportunity to build a tribe where you are the president. And as president, your job is to take care of those in your tribe. Everything that you do, say, create, whether it be a free report, newsletter, or social media post, needs to be about helping or offering value. Ask yourself, will it benefit my tribe? If there is no value to what you have to share, don’t share it.
Think overall strategy first. Don’t get caught up with ‘the next big thing’.
Most entrepreneurs won’t have a marketing background. Like running a business, you’re learning on the job, and while word-of-mouth is probably your preferred marketing method, it’s not going to scale your business rapidly. So it’s easy to get caught up with the next big thing in online marketing.
Last year it was Facebook advertising this year it’s Instagram, who knows what it will be next year. What we do know is that you need to have a social presence. The mistake that many companies make is they think they need to be on every platform, and this is just madness.
Simply knowing why you are marketing is not going to solve your financial woes. You need to know who your target audience is, what media they consume, and what compelling message will make them put their hand up and say I need your service or product?
Without knowing these answers, any marketing you do is just going to be wasteful. So before opening another social account, go back to the basics. Figure out what your marketing plan is. Now take a look at your current social pages. Think of them as employees. What are you employing it to do? You’ll quickly see what works and what doesn’t.
The database is my biggest bugbear
If nothing else, work your database – it is sacred. Make sure you keep an up-to-date database of customers, suppliers and prospects. Being organised with your database enables you to keep track of correspondence with current customers, keep in touch with potential prospects and take responsibility for potential leads. Don’t miss out on opportunities to make your business grow further by simply not monitoring and maintaining your database. This is all about you and your brand ‘being seen’. Referrals or third party endorsements are usually spontaneous, objective, honest and importantly free!
Motivate yourself and your staff
Engage with your team regularly, once a week for longer meetings and daily for a few minutes to keep the communication channels open at all times. This means everyone in the team should have a clear view of priorities, and you can track quality, morale, customer service and calm tremors before they become volcanic eruptions. Connecting with your team is important now more than ever with the rise of remote working.
Be recognised as a brand
Ensure your collateral, your logo, brochures, website and any other additional marketing material is conveying the correct message. A strong brand is vital in order for customers to identify and distinguish your business. So if you lay your collateral out on the table, it should look uniform and from the same family. Use the positives in your business to create a strong image that is instantly recognisable, will engage customers and draw people back to you for more.
Make your website a gem
In today’s world, a website is your window to the world. It plays a vital part in any business. Ensure your website immediately gives the visitor a clear overview of the company and the services you offer – tell it how it is – targets the people you want to do business with. Use the website to communicate to visitors and ensure regular updates are made to the website to encourage visitors to stick around.
Focus on the most powerful marketing channels
There are a plethora of organic and paid online channels that you can use to promote your small business; you can find an extensive list here. Using all the channels could be a big waste of time and effort. If you try doing everything, you end up getting nothing.
Try out different channels and types of campaigns if you want. Experimenting is how even the most experienced marketers learn. But the bread and butter are picking the most successful campaign types. Your newfound laser-focus reduces the learning curve and rewards you more consistently.
Your marketing goal is to maximise your outcomes and minimise the effort. Once you know what you’re targeting, it will be easy to hit the bull’s eye.
Create video updates and explainer videos
Visual content is big. With fast-changing social media algorithms, you need to create content that sticks with your audience. Visual and especially video content is a powerful way to get more reach and engagement on your content.
You can use your smartphone or a professional camera to shoot videos and edit them using the (free) apps. Another option to grab the power of video is to bring across your message in animated explainer videos quickly.
Video content is born out of emotions, and that’s what the audience wants to consume. You need to jump in, take the first-mover advantage and get ahead of your game.
Keep your message consistent
Make it easy for people to understand what you do – so test it on customers, prospects and your family! Then check it’s easy to buy from you! It is vital you implement a tried and tested way to keep evaluating your brand. Measuring the effectiveness and financial return of what you do in terms of marketing enables you to assess what methods are effective for your business as well as which areas could be improved.
Stop stressing about selling. Show that you care and the sales will come
As owners, we want to get to the sale, and this can often be a turnoff for customers. We become so focused on sealing the deal that we lose sight of the person we’re supposed to be helping.
Sales are vital to any business, but all the steps leading up to a transaction are far more critical. You need to think through the customer journey. What are your prospects looking for? So often I see advertisements with generic or incorrect messages, for example, as a nutritionist your goal is to help people to eat better so that they are healthier, they have more energy and possibly feel better about themselves. The problem is that everybody out there talks to “Lose weight fast” or “A slimmer, trimmer you in no time” or “Get the perfect beach body for this summer.”
Nobody thinks about what’s going on in your prospect’s head, and this is a great way to differentiate yourself and your messaging. If they have IBS eating the wrong food can make them really sick. They might feel embarrassed about bloating or accidentally breaking wind in public, and this can seriously affect their confidence. So that’s what you want to focus on.
Your message could be, “Say goodbye to bloating and flatulence, and hello to feeling good.” Now you’re standing out, and you’re showing that you get it, you know what’s bothering them, and you’ve got the solution.
So in closing, to sell more, we need to focus on solving problems and to do that we need to first and foremost show that we care. Start with being helpful and creating goodwill amongst your following. Take a closer look at how your service or product improves their lives for the better and then show them without selling. The sales will come if you create quality content, deliver value and build trusting relationships.
Build customer relationships through email marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective strategies to stay in touch with expected customers. As it turns out, email marketing is much more popular than you thought. Read more about the power of email marketing here.
It’s essential to turn your website visitors into known contacts before you can convert them into paying customers. The first step is to choose the right tools. There is enough choice of cost-effective or even free email marketing tools to compare and integrate the email software with your website. This will automate lead collection from your website to the software.
To collect email addresses of your potential customers, you can use website popups and contact forms. You can offer giveaways and free trials to get your audience to share their contact details. You can also add to your prospects by providing them with a tripwire offer.
(A tripwire offer is a relatively low-cost high-quality product offer designed to get prospects into your sales funnel. It’s usually priced at $5 – $50 with the majority being less than $20. You can choose a price according to your offering. At times companies ship the product for free of charge only for the shipping).
Once you have a set of potential customers on your email marketing list, you can build a relationship with them through purposeful campaigns. This way, your business stays on top of mind and in their list of possible suppliers.
There are a variety of email campaigns you can run:
- Welcome emailers (for new subscribers)
- Educational content
- Emailers offering discounts
- New product or service introductions
- Re-engagement campaigns
Email campaigns can help you to improve brand recall and trigger purchase decisions. To save time and effort, it is a good idea to automate your email campaigns. Using drip marketing campaigns, for example. Most good email marketing tools allow you to segment your email lists and run triggered campaigns based on specific events.
The calculation of email marketing is pretty simple. It is the conversions versus the costs. So we keep the costs down and then work on increasing the conversions.
Stand out from the crowd!
Walk the talk, make it bold, honest, genuine and stand out from your competition. As a small business owner, you should continually be looking at ways to update and improve your small business’ offering and the skills in your business. Don’t be afraid to be daring and try something different for a continually fresh outlook. Continually look at adding value.
Regular positive media presence
Find out what your customers and prospects read and make it your job to speak to the editor with interesting market news. Give back to the industry and educate! Whether you are a sole owner, or you have a small or medium-sized business, you should have the knowledge to enable you to be a spokesperson in the press. The first step is getting to know your local rag; there are many business opportunities to be had from appearing in your local paper.
Always deliver quality content, not quantity.
If you’ve ever searched for something in Google, you’ll know how much content is online. Figuring out what is good advice and what isn’t can be difficult. Everybody is fighting to be heard. It’s a crowded space, and standing out requires creating and sharing fresh and engaging ideas.
You could, for example, put together a fun, and interactive series of videos showing prospects how to use your product or you could briefly answer their questions if you’re able to make people laugh, even better. Prospects want to be entertained, but more importantly, they want to feel like they’ve got some value out of what they’ve just read or watched. And let’s be honest, there’s nothing more frustrating or infuriating than wading through content trying to find the information that was promised.
So in the past, writing a plethora of blog posts each month was a guaranteed way to boost traffic to your site. But times have changed. SEO bloated articles are no longer perceived favourably by Google and merely having a website won’t give you business credibility.
It’s not about how much you’re creating, but rather the message your delivering. If you don’t have anything of value to offer, don’t put it up on your blog or social pages.
Put a local marketing strategy that maximises results for every marketing dollar spent can be every Australian business’s secret weapon. It can make sure that they keep sales as strong as possible within their immediate area, which is typically where they earn the majority of their revenue. For that reason, no small business operating today should ignore the value of local marketing. And now that the most important steps to get started have been made so clear – they shouldn’t have to.