When you’re starting a business there’s a whole host of things you need to do.
Business name? Check.
Phone number? Check.
Email address? Check.
At that point, it’s easy to think you’re ready to rock and roll. But you’d be wrong.
First, Consider Your User
A decade or two ago, a website was the only “virtual” place for business. And to some extent, that hasn’t changed.
Your website still acts as your 24/7 customer service agent. You need to make sure you’ve invested enough in it so people can easily find answers to their questions there.
And you need to make sure it represents your business well in all environments, especially on mobile devices.
But your users are the ones who’ve changed the most. They’re no longer limited to websites for their answers. They use social media to find information the way they want to consume it, whether that be through audio, video, images or words.
And they often use social media search engines on platforms like TikTok or YouTube instead of standard search engines like Google.
40% of Gen Z uses TikTok for search.—Google
Top Small Business Marketing Needs
To ensure you’re meeting your clients where they are, consider these other key elements.
Your business’s online reputation is an asset just like your business’s equipment. It should be protected the same way you’d protect merchandise.
But it’s tough given the seemingly infinite online places that need daily — and sometimes hourly — monitoring.
So you’ll want to consider using online reputation management services or tools. The good ones make it easy to not only monitor what people say about your business, but where they say it.
They make sure you don’t miss reviews or opportunities to engage with your customers.
Social media is the preferred method for many consumers to connect with local businesses. In fact, it’s been estimated that 200 million social media users visit at least one business profile every day.
Using it properly can help your small business stand out in more ways than one; just make sure to set clear goals before building out your strategy.
And don’t feel like you need to hop on every platform to get noticed. Make sure the platforms you choose aligns with your business goals. Pick one or two to start.
The most important part of managing your business’s social media is ensuring your social strategy is up to par and working for you.
Email marketing is a reliable way to get your content in front of those already interested in what you have to say.
Marketing automation is the process of sending those emails automatically using technology; of particular help is the ability to schedule the sends in advance.
Most often, businesses use marketing automation to send discounts or promotional offers.
A best practice is to send content your audience might be interested in. You could send a list of interesting content from the last week or a summary of quality content pieces on a specific topic.
You can even include work from your small business network. You’ll establish yourself as a reputable industry resource and continue to grow your audience.
Customers are the heart of your business, so it’s important to keep them at the core of everything you do. An action as simple as creating a good flow of communication can turn drop-in customers into regular clients.
Build a relationship by communicating with your clients in the methods that work best for them. Allow them to opt for emails, text messages or both.
A good communications system will consolidate all those messages into one place and in real time.
Not only does that simplifying communication, it helps you meet your customers where they prefer to communicate.
Most online experiences begin with search engines such as Google or Bing. It’s how consumers find you. That means your business has to play nice with search engines in order to get found.
Search engine marketing (SEM) is the process of making your site friendly to search engines. It can incorporate both paid search, as well as search engine optimization (SEO) efforts on your website.
SEO focuses primarily on the content on your website; a true differentiator is sharing helpful content.
Yes, you have a website, but it’s not the same thing as a landing page. Landing pages mainly are connected to your SEM efforts or any ads you’ve run, whether banner ads or pay-per-click (PPC). (Read up on the variety of ad types you can use here.)
If your ad is compelling enough that people click on it, where they land is critical. You only have a few seconds to impress and get them to stay on the page and take the action you want them to take.
Whatever that action is, it should be immediately clear to your visitor.
So try different wording, different colors, different images, different layout. Test your changes one at a time so you can see exactly what the effect is, and whether the action you want will occur.
One in four small businesses have no website.—Top Design Firms
Outsource Your Small Business Marketing Needs
No one is saying you don’t need a website. Of course you do. Your website answers questions for customers and potential customers even when you’re closed or not able to answer the phone.
But now, far more small business marketing needs exist that you have to take into account. If it all seems too much to handle, then find a partner that can do the heavy lifting for you.