By Jordan Platten, marketing thought leader and owner of Affluent.co, a winning marketing agency that specializes in digital advertising.
As a small business owner, it can sometimes feel like you’re constantly spinning plates, from accounting tasks to the physical daily operations of your business. It’s no wonder that when you add marketing into the mix, you have no idea where to turn. Marketing as a concept is something that, unless they’re in the field, most don’t have a clue what it is, let alone understand how to develop an effective marketing strategy for their business.
Marketing is an ever-evolving function that props up every business that we know today. That’s why it’s crucial that all business owners stay on top of trends, understand the importance and invest their money into them correctly. But where to begin in the plethora of social media channels and abbreviated terms? Well, let me tell you.
In its simplest form, the function of marketing is to generate sales, but the ways in which you can do that through marketing are infinite. As I said before, marketing is ever-changing making it somewhat of a minefield to get through.
Here’s a list of absolute nonnegotiable marketing functions for small businesses:
• Social media accounts (the ones that work for your business model)
• Website or at least a landing page
• Contact details (e.g., email and telephone number)
• Customer reviews
Before developing a marketing plan or strategy, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what your customers need. Once you know this, your marketing efforts should emphasize how your business meets those needs and fixes whatever problem your consumer has.
There’s a common misconception that to make your brand heard and put yourself in front of your audience you need to be spending the big bucks, but thankfully because of technology and the masses of free sites we all have available to us, it’s never been easier to market your business. So, how can you communicate your message to your customers without chipping away at your profit margins too much?
Utilizing Social Media
According to one study, over 3 billion people worldwide use social media, with an average daily usage of 145 minutes! So, it’s safe to say that there’s a very high chance that your target audience is on one of these sites. A free and cost-effective way to use social media to market your business is through “organic posting.” Start by choosing the platform that best suits your customers. For example, if you’re targeting young adults aged 18 to 21 then LinkedIn isn’t going to be the network for you. Next, optimize your pages and begin consistently posting quality content.
You may think that the rise of SMS and social media communication might mean that more people are tuning out what they receive in their inbox, but you’d be wrong! With an estimated 319.6 emails being sent and received per day this year alone it’s safe to say that emails are here to stay — sorry, Mr. Zuckerberg. Make it a priority to grow your email list and start developing an email marketing strategy.
Content Content Content
I’ve seen businesses time and time again that have a fantastic product or service but absolutely no digital evidence of it. Over the past few years, image and video content have become clear favorites for consumer communication. This isn’t surprising considering the fact that research has shown that we’re more likely to remember information when it’s paired with images.
If you’re stuck, here are some examples of content:
• Social media posts
• Verbal product descriptions
• Visual tours
• Blog posts
For small businesses, marketing can be transformational, and my best advice for getting started is to just start. Keep it simple, don’t jump to spending your hard-earned revenue and don’t be afraid to use outsourcing sites to help in the areas that aren’t within your skill set.