By Mark A. Leon
Small business owners take on many hats when they conceptualize, design, finance, launch and manage their small business.? Whether it is a brick and mortar space, mobile business or online, marketing and branding is a critical part of a business growth and success.? Often, small business owners are not versed in marketing side of the business.? They know their product/ service and their customers, but the connecting the dots on how to reach and engage them is a challenge.
We have developed five key tips to help small business owners maneuver through the challenges of developing and maintaining a strong marketing presence.
- Don’t get on social media if you do not have a plan – We have all heard it said, you must be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Pinterest if you want to be successful. Before you jump on the bandwagon, remember these few points:
- Simplify – Select one or two platforms to focus your content
- Have 2 – 4 weeks of prepared content before you launch (Images, testimonials, blog posts, product images)
- Learn how to build your audience (Tagging, Content Development, Imagery, Partnership)
- Diversity your content (Video, Imagery, Stories)
- Ensure your communication strategy is intelligent, visually stimulating, engaging and relevant to your target customer base.
- Learn how to measure results of your communication campaigns – Many social platforms have built in analytics and they are very user friendly. Also, ensure you have Google Analytics built into your company website.
- Don’t get caught up in the numbers game. The number of followers is not as critical as the engagement level (% of your followers that react to your content).? Never lose sight of that.
- Everyone is a potential customer, but don’t structure your marketing that way – A common mistake in small business marketing is the “throw it and see what sticks approach”. If there is a holiday, we must do a holiday post; if there is a major festival, we must piggyback on that; if there is a major weather event, we need to link that to our business.? Stay focused on the content that is important to the customers that are loyal to your business and those that will embrace your products and services.
- Over Marketing Will Kill You – Respect your audience. Too much content can kill your brand.? Try to put out one or two pieces of content daily.? There are always exceptions.? If you are running a special or have an event, keeping your audience aware is critical to its success and justifies an exception to the rule.
- Quality over Quantity – Your target audience would rather see a great post with relevant and engaging content once every two days than five irrelevant posts in one day. Quality and relevancy will always be valued.
- EX: GOOD:? For all first-time customers, use the code FIRSTSALE for 25% off vs. BAD:? It is a hot one today, so come to our store and see what we have in stock.
- Customer Service and Engagement is Key – Don’t ever make your marketing plan a one-sided affair. Your customers and audience have a voice.? Listen, respond, and engage.? An online presence must be a partnership between business and customer.? The customer is your number reason you open your doors (physically or metaphorically) every day.? Don’t be afraid to solicit their feedback.
BONUS:? Share your success stories.? Every business has great stories of customer loyalty, great product experience, relationships, community partnership and more.? Share your stories.? Whether that is a short video, blog or a testimonial, stories paint a visual of your business and bring awareness to others previously unaware.
Good Luck and please share your brand in the comments section