Small Business Marketing: 6 Tips to Win Clients Over
A critical mistake many new small businesses make is not putting enough time, effort, and money into marketing. They think that if they build it, people will come.
However, people will not, if they don’t know about it.
Marketing is more than putting up Facebook ads - and those are getting pretty expensive anyway. Not that they aren’t useful — they are a respectable and reliable marketing tool. They’re just not the only tactic a business should use.
What are some others, and which ones should you use?
Many people go to college for years to glean this information. Then, as they are moving their tassel from one side of the mortarboard to the other, all the marketing rules change. (Well, maybe not all of them, but a lot of them.)
What Are the Secrets of Great Marketing?
When you earn a degree in marketing, you may not be able to sit back and rest on your laurels the way you can with an English degree, but you still learn some important information that has staying power, such as how to do market research, predict consumer behavior, develop a strategy, plan campaigns, and more.
The details are complicated, and marketing is a moving target. You have to get comfortable with 10 failures — or more — for every success, and with realizing that the idea that’s successful today won’t necessarily work next year.
This is why so many business owners — small and large — throw up their hands and turn their marketing over to professionals. The problem is that many new and small companies can’t afford a full-service marketing firm. They can only afford certain services or a firm that is not yet established and just kind of guessing. So why not handle some of the groundwork yourself?
To that end, we have some tips for you to get your feet wet with marketing your business.
1. Do your research and identify your target market. You may think you make the most delicious chocolate chip cookies ever and you want to sell them to share your joy with the world, and that’s reasonable. However, if you want your business to be successful, you need to know who buys your cookies and why, and market to them.
Are they adults? Then skip the animation in the design. Use a grownup font and don’t put a glass of milk in the picture. You can literally scare potential customers away with the wrong imagery. They might think the cookie is not for them, and avoid it.
Also, check out your competition. See what they’re doing. Learn from their good ideas and notice what kinds of mistakes they’re making.
2. Register on Google My Business. It’s free. This is so helpful, if for no other reason than that your business appears on maps.
For instance, imagine you are looking at a map because you want to visit a friend. You zoom in on their house so you will recognize it when you get there, and you see that next door is Sally’s Beauty Shop. You pop in after your visit for a look, and you decide to give it a try.
If Sally wasn’t on Google My Business, you may never have known about her.
One important thing to keep in mind is to make sure your business information is the same across all platforms, including your website, Google My Business, and all directories. Always put your area code in parentheses — never write it 555-555-5555, or add a dreaded 20th-century “1” at the beginning. Always write your company’s name the same way — if you use an ampersand, use it every time; don’t let an “and” slip in. Consistency is important; it helps your customers find you.
3. Start a blog.A blog injects fresh information into your website on a regular basis. Each time you post one, Google notices and brings you up higher in the search rankings. Letting your website stagnate allows you to drop to page 132 in the search engine results.
If you’re not a talented writer, hire one. If your budget is limited, start with a blog once or twice a month and find other ways to refresh your site.
Try to come up with topics that your potential clients will find useful. While blogs serve the purpose of keeping your website fresh, they can do more. You can use them to engage with your customers and you may even get comments that ramp up interest in your site.
4. Build up your customer reviews. Sure, it takes time to hound people to leave a review. However, if you have a system, it will be easier. You may want to automatically send customers an email asking for a review after a purchase.
If you want to take this tactic a step further, make a note when a customer seems particularly happy. Maybe you are just wrapping up a transaction in person or maybe they have written you an email about how happy they are with your product or service. This is the time to ask for a review.
If you feel you know them well enough, ask if you could help them by writing it up yourself and sending it to them for approval. Many people want to give you good reviews, but it’s too time-consuming.
Post snippets of good reviews on your website. Sure, you can have a review page, but consider having reviews pop up in unexpected places. For instance, say you’re a lawyer and one service you perform is preparing wills. On the wills page, you could have a mini-review praising your skill at this vital service. Can’t hurt, right?
5. Send emails. Some small-business owners abandoned email marketing in favor of its perceived-as-sexier cousin, social media. You can pick one or the other, but why would you? Is it really so hard to press the “send” button to reach hundreds — or even thousands — of potential customers?
The hard part is crafting the email so people will open it. You can get advice online about the best way to do this, but it’s an art. Even the best of the best email marketers know most recipients won’t open the email, and most of those who do don’t buy anything.
Many small-business owners have seen the statistic that email marketing is 40 percent more effective than social media marketing. So crafting those irresistible emails may be worth it.
Don’t send them all to everyone. That’s like your Dad sending those conspiracy theory emails to the whole family, his golfing buddies, and all his old co-workers.
Send them at the right time. Sending to teens? Avoid 7:30 a.m. Sending to their moms? After 11 p.m. is too late.
6. Move into a professional office.You may have started your business in your parents’ garage, but your clients today will not be impressed. Meeting at a coffee shop next to a baby in a highchair throwing Cheerios is also not a professional atmosphere.
We get it — commercial office space is expensive. That’s why we do what we do — provide small-business owners with short-term rentals for affordable private workspaces. You get everything you need — beautiful surroundings and furnishings, a receptionist, meeting space, and the use of sophisticated electronic equipment.
You want to make an impact on your clients with your business address and impressive surroundings. They will trust you more and feel comfortable with your professionalism.
If you’re in the market for a private workspace, come see what Premier Workspaces has to offer. We have executive offices, small office space, shared office space, virtual offices, conference rooms, and more. Schedule a tour of a Premier Workspace today.