Four Marketing Tips and Ideas for Small Business Owners

    1807_Blog_4MarketingTipsAs a small business owner, you are wearing a dozen different hats.  Marketing is just one of them and is complicated enough that it alone could be a full-time job.  Who has the time to read up on new PPC strategies, inbound marketing ideas or email best practices?  If you feel as though your marketing efforts have stalled or are just not giving you the return on investment that you want, then here are four marketing ideas to help you reevaluate and refocus your current strategies.  You might already be implementing some of them, while others might give you a fresh perspective and point you in a profitable new direction.

     

    Social Media

    It seems as though the entire planet is using social media.  Actually, 81% of the U.S. population has a social media profile, which means that your business should have one, too.  You have to put your company where potential new customers will see it.  These days, that means Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.  Because, according to Mike Volpe, former CMO of HubSpot, "Social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing or direct mail." 

    With so many social media platforms, though, it is difficult to know where to invest your marketing budget. The first thing you have to do is figure out where your target demographic hangs out and then start spending time on that platform. 

    For example, if your target demographic is mostly millennial suburban women, then Pinterest might be a good choice.  If your target market is male professionals, then Twitter might be best. Once you know where your people are, then you have to encourage engagement, creating content that they will find useful, valuable, informative and shareable. On Facebook, this might mean posting behind-the-scenes videos about your company. On Pinterest, it could mean uploading colorful infographics with lists or tips having to do with your service, product or industry.

    You also have to interact with the people who consume your content. This means responding to comments, answering questions and joining discussions.  It can be time-consuming, but the rewards are worth it because as Mike Volpe points out, social media can generate a lot of leads.  And best of all, social media posts, tweets and pins cost nothing. 

     

    Email Marketing

    Compared to the brave new world of social media, email marketing might seem antiquated. Not so.  In fact, email still produces an eye-popping return on investment.  Nothing quite beats the ability to send a targeted message to a captive audience.

    There are, though, some tricks to make your email marketing more effective.  It probably goes without saying that emails should be personalized.  Doing so makes each recipient feel as though he is the only one receiving your message.  More people will engage with an email that uses their first name than one that has no salutation.

    Subject lines should be short and sweet.  Asking a question, provoking curiosity, including numbers or using the recipient's name increases open rates.  Inside the email, the call to action (CTA), what you want the reader to do, should be at the top. This is because most people scan their emails on their smart device and only see the top part of each message.  If your CTA is buried at the bottom of your email, your readers will probably never see it.

    Your email list should also be segmented, meaning that recipients only receive emails of interest to them.  For example, if you are a furnace repair company that services both large buildings and private homes, then you do not want an email about your $299 apartment building furnace inspection special going out to both apartment building managers and homeowners.  Segmenting your list guarantees higher open rates and better click-through rates.

     

    Facebook Ads and Google AdWords

    While social media marketing and email have no or little cost associated with them, Facebook ads and Google ads will take a bite out of your marketing budget.  Yet their reach and power to convert visitors into customers are undeniable.  The great thing about both of these platforms is that you can get started for very little money and then scale up as your campaigns prove profitable. 

    AdWords lets you create both text and display ads. Text ads show in Google's search results and in its search partner's search results. Display ads, which can be image ads or rich media ads, show on the individual websites in Google's extensive display network.  On the search network, you can target your ads by keyword, language, device and more. On the display network, you can target ads by topic, keyword, location, language and device.  You can even choose specific websites where you want your ads to show and choose what times of the day that you want your ads to run.

    Facebook ads run on the Facebook platform and on Instagram.  In the last quarter of 2017, Facebook alone had a staggering 2.2 billion active users.  You probably do not want to show your ads to all those people so you can use the platform's targeting tools to get your ad directly in front of the people most likely to buy your product or service.  Want to target just men or just women?  No problem.  Just men age 25 to 35?  Done.  Men age 25 to 35 who live within a 10-mile radius of your pet store and are dog lovers?  You got it.  You can also target ads based on education, relationship status, device and more.

     

    Blogging

    You have heard it over and over. Blogging brings in new website visitors because blog posts get picked up by Google and other search engines.  The more you blog, the more traffic the search engines will send to your site.

    Just throwing up a blog post here and there, though, will not work.  The keys to blogging are, one, to post information that people find useful.  It could be a list of helpful tips, a solution to a common problem or answers to frequently asked questions.  Anything that users will perceive as having value.

    The second key is to blog consistently.  It does not have to be every day - even a couple of posts a week is better than no posting at all - but it needs to happen on a regular schedule. This ensures that your blog stays up to date and it keeps you in the blogging groove. 

    The third key is to optimize your blog posts for the search engines.  This means including long-tail keywords that match your ideal reader's intent, creating an URL that matches the post's content, making sure that every post is mobile-friendly and more.   You also want to include a link back to your website in every post so that search engine visitors can easily reach your site. 

    If your marketing strategy has hit a wall, then it is time to take a second look at what you are doing.  If you have not already done so, venture into the social media landscape, up your email game, try out Facebook and Google ads and start blogging on a regular basis. The competition is stiff.  You have to up your game to stay even and up it even further to get ahead. 

     

    To learn more about how to improve your marketing strategies, give us a call at 661-702-1310!

     

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