small business marketing
The playing fields have been leveled in business thanks to social media. Never before has it been easier for small businesses to compete with the big guys. Leveraging a social networking platform as a means of marketing a company, no matter what the size, is the smartest move one can make in today’s economy. Where to begin and how to do so, are usually the biggest obstacles when implementing a social media marketing campaign. There is much advice to be given in terms of virtual marketing, but there are ten main tips that truly stand out.
1. Build a Brand
A brand is the foundation for small business marketing. Establishing a recognizable brand image is critical to the growth of a company. A brand people recognize encourages them to purchase from that particular organization. It creates a sense of trust and stability for the consumer, as well as an identity for the small business. The first step in building a brand, is plastering the logo over every social platform available in order to raise awareness, and use the image in all sales and marketing materials.
2. Make a Plan
As a small company, people are generally more intimate with their customer base. Knowing the specific audience for any marketing campaign, is crucial to its success. The type of content posted, where it can be found, and the frequency of posting, all heavily depend on the group of people that form the majority of the customer base. Small companies are usually looking to do one of two things: increase sales or bring awareness to their brand. Sales requires a repository of positive comments about the product to get the ball rolling. Drawing attention to a company requires a higher quality of content, that people are more likely to share. This results in an organic flow of traffic.
3. Measure Progress
The only way to be sure that a business plan is working, is to measure its success. A good program like Google Analytics or Yahoo Web Analytics, are services that generate detailed reports about visitors to a specific site. It allows a small company to identify what pages they may need to improve on to drive the overall online experience of their customers and prospects. It can measure statistics like: traffic, page views, clicks, and much more. It is a highly useful tool for small business marketing and should not be overlooked.
4. Find The Audience
A company is only as good as it’s last viewed page online. Sometimes, understanding the general area that the customer base is attracted to on the internet, is the key to reaching them. It is best practice for a small business to research it’s competitors and product sites to get a better idea of exactly where to market. If the customers are posting on Facebook often, then a strong presence should be made there. The same can be said for any platform. Guest blogging on industry related sites is another genius way to market a brand.
5. Smart Budget Moves
Most small businesses have only put aside a small amount for marketing purposes. In order to compete with larger corporations, the budget money must be spent wisely. Instead of paying for search campaigns that yield specific keywords, a small business should try and grow organically by spending their budget on content marketing and SEO improvements. Unlike print advertising, in the modern world companies can directly communicate with their customers via a social network. For small business marketing, it saves a tremendous amount of money and time, while adding a personal touch to the campaign.
6. Search Engine Updates
Search engines will constantly update the way they return search results, which in turn, changes the key words dramatically. This can cause a business to experience either massive losses or gains, depending on the shift in traffic. In order to avoid losing traffic when Google decides to change things up, a small business must update their content often on all social media platforms, with new and interesting material. Blogs are important because in addition to information about the company, a customer seeks to educate themselves, and enhance their online experience. Providing relevant and useful information fosters a trusting relationship with the consumer and a fondness for the brand, ensuring that your small business marketing blog will pay off in dividends when you put the necessary time and energy into it.
7. Stay Involved
With the age of social networking, small business marketing has taken it to a personal level. Companies are now able to interact individually with their customers, in real time. Customers can take issues public now, but a company can always use this to their advantage in how they manage to solve the issue, while everyone watches. Twitter and Facebook offer options where organizations can reach out to their consumers for feedback on their products right on their page. New products can also be announced in the news feed of many social marketing platforms, which can drive revenue, as people retweet or share the post.
8. Combine Strategies
Diversity is a key small business marketing strategy. Several social media platforms should be used in a single web marketing campaign. Since everything is interconnected, all roads lead to one source. A great company web page is useless without a blog promoting it. When something is posted on Twitter, it can be fleshed out and shared on Facebook. A small business should combine social, content, and search strategies, to reach their customers in every possible fashion.
A testimonial is a very powerful tool in marketing, and one that can now come alive with video and social media. Visitors to a site that have read glowing testimonials by happy customers, are much more likely to be interested in the product. Review sites like Yelp, allow small businesses to link anything positive back to their own websites. Asking a satisfied customer permission to publish their verbal review online is also a great method of collecting anecdotal data. Staying abreast of any negative reviews, and addressing the situation immediately, is also highly recommended.
10. Test it Out
There is nothing worse than building a glorious site, only to hear that customers are discovering bugs in the framework. Although deadlines are steadfast with web development, testing the site of a small business is imperative to reaching customers professionally. If the site is being updated or changed, there is usually a slight dip in sales as people figure out the new format. Rolling out the features one by one, minimizes the impact of changes to the business.
Marketing has changed for the better. Small businesses now have the chance to operate on a macro level. With some good advice, and a few key small business marketing tips, any company can efficiently market their brand online.
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