If you were to look up the definition of “marketing” or ask a marketing professional to define what they believe “marketing” is, you would end up with many different responses. What is marketing? How can marketing be done effectively and correctly? How does one “get good” at marketing? These might questions that new small business owners may have when they realize that in order to generate publicity they must make some effective marketing efforts.
So what is marketing? In a general sense marketing is a skill that is constantly evolving and changing with the times and technology. Those who have studied and mastered marketing still have to teach themselves every day new strategies of how to reach the public in the most effective way possible. Your audience’s preference is constantly changing and so are many platforms you use to reach them.
When you start a small business you should be conscious of how important marketing is for your company. Marketing is essentially what leads business to your business! How are you going to continue to make money and grow if people aren’t aware of your existence? Marketing can ultimately be the one factor of your businesses success or failure.
#1 Put Your Business Online
In 2017, you would think this goes without saying, but your business needs to be online. There are many business owners that have so much going on that they don’t have time to sit down and figure out where and how to list their business. There are thousands of directories and so many options for social media and it can be hard to dedicate the time to research what works best for you personally; you just have to start slow. Think, who are your customers and where are they likely to look? Are they searching for you on social media, Google, MapQuest, review sites? Try to understand your audience so that you can pick a few sites and learn what kind of upkeep is required for each. You don’t want to sign up on Twitter without knowing that your message has an average lifespan of 24 minutes and you need to dedicate time to schedule enough tweets and cultivate a following. You want your business to be easy to find, but it also needs to be active where ever it is.
#2 Check Your Website
Your website needs to look good, tell your story, and be easy to navigate. You need to answer who, what, where, when, why for your customers that are looking you up online. You want to make sure your site is mobile friendly; according to marketingland, 56% of web traffic in 2015 came from mobile phones. If you want to see how your website ranks for being mobile friendly, check out this free tool by Google https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly . Having an optimized website that helps inform your prospects and encourages sales is an integral part of a business. The easier it is for a customer to find the research they’re looking for, the better your chances of making a sale.
#3 Don’t Forget About Traditional Media Options
Traditional marketing options like print can go a long way if you’re serving a local community. Do something noteworthy and write a press release about it to send out to local media, both on and offline. Some things to try would be special events, partial proceeds or even sponsoring another local organization. Local guides, magazine, coupon mailers and more can also help generate local buzz that can boost your business to the next level. Events, sales, seasonal items, or collaborations are all things that might be worth mentioning in print, fliers, mailers, or radio ads. While digital marketing is taking over, you want to have a diversified marketing mix to reach different types of people.
#4 Keep Learning
There are so many blogs, videos, books and other resources where you can find new ideas to try for your business. Learn as much as you have time for because like I said earlier, marketing is constantly changing, shifting, updating and you want to be as up to date as you can afford to be. One strategy may have helped you or another business in the past, but the feature may no longer be available or rules may have changed. Often times, when platforms change rules or policy, if you don’t know about it and keep on the way you were you can get banned, blocked, or shadow banned where you won’t even know about it. There will always be new strategies to try, a website that’s taking over the internet, and new things to keep up with. You’re probably not going to know everything about marketing, but you want to try to keep up with relevant topics.
Constantly scheduling posts, updating your directory listings, tweaking your website, and monitoring ad performance all can be more daunting tasks that sounds like it can take up all of your time. If you’re not able to dedicate time to researching growth hacks, search engine optimization, proper blog etiquette, how to write a press release, or even just do’s and don’t’s, then you might want to consider reaching out to a professional. Marketing can be as big or as small of a business tools as you choose to make it, and any good professional knows how to work with your wants as well as your budget. The marketing team at BizCentral USA helps give you peace of mind with a personal marketing plan with recommended strategies, and with your approval, they’ll take care of the parts of marketing that you want.
-Kristin Orr, Marketin Coordinator at BizCentral USA