Tips and Tricks for Improving Your Small Business Marketing
Tips and Tricks for Improving Your Small Business Marketing
Internet advertising and marketing platforms offer small businesses the same tools, techniques and resources that were once only available to big ol’ businesses. For only a few dollars (and I mean literally a couple bucks) you can deliver your message to a very specific audience, at a very specific time, with very specific reporting. The possibilities are endless.
Platforms like Google Adwords or Facebook Advertising make this process much more accessible for small business owners, but that doesn’t mean everyone should do it. So, is online marketing right for your small business?
To understand if online marketing is right for you, you need to understand what it is. Today, online marketing strategies are some of the most effective ways to get attention from your prospective customers. After all, everybody uses the internet. Here are some of the commonly used online marketing techniques:
The right marketer would effectively implement a mix of these techniques to attract traffic to your website and business. However, some business owners are still reluctant to implement these strategies.
Because there are so many ways to approach each of these techniques, there is no “best way” or “proven method” for success. And while some of these techniques may result in instant traffic to your site, many require ongoing perseverance to truly pay off. But the benefits can be huge. Think of it like a flywheel: tough to get going at first, but easy to maintain once it’s up to speed.
Many small business owners have had success running an established brick and mortar business. Some of them are content with where their business is and they don’t look for new marketing strategies.
Unfortunately, their status quo is causing them to miss out on some awesome opportunities. Here are some things to consider before you decide whether online marketing is right for your business:
Even if you believe your regular customers will always be loyal to you, they might not always do business with you. Perhaps an online retailer would offer them discounts or access to greater inventory than you do. That alone can lure your customers away. Everyone is loyal until another retailer has the shirt they want in a color you don’t offer. They might not go out of their way to look at what your competitors offer but an attractive paid advertisement at the right time in the right place might sway them.
Very few customers today purchase a product or hire a service blindly. They will research online and look for businesses with great reputations and the best prices. If your business doesn’t have an online presence, you’re not even being considered. Most customers would rather take a risk with businesses that have some bad reviews than take a risk with a company that has no online reputation at all.
Even if you hire a professional, online marketing techniques are quite affordable. You have a surprising amount of control over the expense. For example, you can place a limit for the maximum daily spend on paid ads. If you set a cap of say $10 per day, the ads would stop appearing after that cap is reached. But don’t skimp on hiring some help if needed. A professional might be able to achieve better results for less money.
Online marketing offers accountability like none other. The analytics included with many platforms are top notch and offer specific details on how effective your campaigns are. For instance, many are pay-per-click, which means you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ads. This gives you the opportunity to see which ads perform well. Couple this with your website analytics and you can see which messages resonate with your audience, where they land when they visit your site, and if they stick around to explore your offerings. Try and do that with a billboard.
The internet is still growing and new technologies are introduced every day. People don’t go anywhere without their smart phones, and smart watches are becoming increasingly popular. This trend is going to endure. If you don’t keep up, you won’t be able to sustain your business for long. You need marketing techniques that cater to a modern audience.
Online marketing isn’t always sunshine and daises however. There are times when online marketing doesn’t make sense. For instance:
Paid ads, content marketing, even social media are all hotbeds of information. Using them effectively requires constant testing, tweaking, and updating in an effort to minimize costs and maximize return. If you don’t have the time or desire to do this, hire someone who does. The amount of time and money you waste trying to figure it out could end up costing you more!
Online marketing is still marketing, which means it’s equal parts art and science. This means you’re not likely to see overnight results. I encourage clients to try any online marketing effort for a minimum of 6 months before throwing in the towel. Test, tweak, repeat. Give the process a chance to work before writing it off.
There are a few essential items to have in place before you start advertising online, the most important of which is a website. If you don’t have a site, or your site could use some improvements, start there. Getting people to your site is only the beginning. The experience they have once there will have a far greater impact on your success.
Traditional marketing techniques like printing ads in magazines, distributing leaflets, showing ads on televisions, just isn’t enough anymore. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, want to attract new customers, don’t want to spend excessively on marketing and want your business to endure, then online marketing is ideal for your small business.
If you’d like to see how online marketing can work for your small business, check out our extended services page or request a complimentary ideas session. We’d be happy to chat about your business and discuss some opportunities.