No matter what business you are in, there are many more ways to market your small business today than you are using. Read on or you may miss an easy way to increase your income.
1) Customer Loyalty from Current Customers
The easiest sales you will ever make are to existing customers. Your highest priority is to strengthen your relationships with anyone who has already bought from you. While this can mean autoresponders and emailed newsletters, anything with a more personal touch will work better.
When is the last time you gave your customers a call to see how they are doing? Have you asked them how they feel about your products or services? Do you tuck thank you notes into your deliveries?
The #1 reason people give for changing companies is that they don’t think their current provider cares. Make sure they know you do and you will get more business. Customer loyalty grows from personal relationships built over time.
2) Business Website and Blog
You need to have an online presence somewhere. Domain names are inexpensive (about $12 per year for .com) and hosting doesn’t have to cost much, either. You can even put your content on pages on an existing site and point your domain name to it for free. But the best option is to put your site on WordPress and have a blog you update regularly.
A business blog does NOT need to publish daily. Once a week is sufficient. If you find it challenging to keep your business blog updated, you can even hire a service such as WriteCollective to provide content or even manage the publishing for you. When you provide your customers with solutions to their challenges in your blog, they are likely to make a purchase. 61% of consumers say they have bought because of a blog post.
Businesses that blog have 434% more indexed pages, 97% more indexed links, and 97% more inbound links. B2B marketers using blogs generate 67% more leads. 90% of consumers find customer content useful. (More stats below.)
3) Local Listings
If your business has a physical presence, you must get it listed in all the major local directories. Quality directories are still important. Google just changed the name AGAIN. The new name is “Google My Business”. (Old names were Google Places, Google Plus Local, Google Local.) Google has the lion’s share of searches so this is your priority.
Make sure you use exactly the same name, address, and phone number on every local listing. Upgrade your listings with images, videos, mentions of cities and counties you serve, categories that apply, coupons and deals.
Beyond Google there are many more local listing opportunities. These are valuable links you can easily get that will help your business site or blog rank better. Even if you are an online only business, if you have a physical location to use do not pass up these listings. There is more information about where to get listed in Local Search Directories.
4) Social Media
While social media may seem overwhelming, there are now many experienced people who can get your accounts set up quickly for very little money. At a minimum, you should decide on a username that you can use consistently across all social networks. Check to ensure the username you are considering is available on all the major sites before you get started. You can check them all at once for free using Knowem.com.
You do not have to be active on every social network, but you do want to claim your username, upload an image, enter a short bio and link it to your site. These are valuable links easily obtained, so do not neglect them. If you aren’t going to be active on a site now, include where you can be found in your bios.
There is a lot to doing social media well. Consider paying someone else to set up your accounts and teach you to use them. It doesn’t have to be costly and it will save you a ton of time and frustration. The main thing to remember is not to always be selling or broadcasting about yourself on social media. What you want to do is identify where your target audience is already active and then socialize with them. As you create relationships they will lead to business.
5) Protect Your Online Reputation
Claiming your social accounts and submitting local listings provides protection for your business by having your business name indexed many times. If someone writes something negative about you online, it is unlikely to rank above these authority sites so it won’t automatically land on the first page of search results.
Set up alerts to notify you when your business is being talked about. If you ever see negative comments online, do not automatically respond to them. Stop and think first. If it is a valid complaint you may want to respond. If it isn’t, and the person complaining does not have authority do not lend them yours. You may want to get advice from someone familiar with reputation management before deciding what best to do.
6) Don’t Forget About Offline Marketing
Even if you do business entirely online, that is no reason to ignore valuable offline marketing methods. Order signs or bumper stickers and put them on your vehicles. Consider advertising in free and inexpensive classifieds such as Craigslist, Thrifty Nickle, Pennysaver and others.
Use business cards, fliers, promotional materials, thank you notes and other printed items. Consider going to meetups or live events. If you do, give people you meet something interesting to remember you by. Promotional products that have a useful purpose can keep your business name in front of your clients a long time.
- 85% say they do business with the advertiser
- 88% remember the name on their products
- 91% have promotional products in their kitchen
- 74% keep products in their work areas
- 83% say they want to receive promotional products
- 53% use their promotional products weekly
- 47% keep them for more than a year
7) People Buy From People They Like – Be Likeable
The most important part of business is people. Focus on figuring out what your customers need and give it to them in a cheerful, helpful manner. Think about why you do business where you do. Do you eat at a particular restaurant because the hostess remembers you or you have a favorite waitress? Do you shop at a mom and pop store even though you suspect they’re more expensive? People buy from people they know and like.
Marketing Your Small Business Summary
Grow your business by being consistently good at what is most important (what they buy from you) and being someone your customers truly like.