Small Business Marketing
Small business marketing is a hard one to get right for many businesses. They have a limited budget and limited time, so any actions they take have to work as they cannot afford to lose precious cashflow. This is why we've created a nice little list of actions that are really simple to deploy and give an instant result:
1) Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
We were not a fan of this a few years back. It became extremely expensive and you had little control over what really mattered...getting niche to a specific target market.
However things have changed and Google's Adwords and Bing's platform are both really friendly to use and offer you great tools to target specific geographic groups of people. You should see these platforms as a sales person within your business that is working hard to sell your products and services.
The trick with PPC is to be very specific. As you are paying for each click you want those clicks to be of value. Be it somebody signing up for your newsletter or even better making direct contact or buying on your website, it's important that as much of your PPC budget gives you a return. You do this in a number of ways:
Long phrases: Make sure you use long phrases that are specific to your products and services. Short phrases will cost you more per click and will also waste a vast amount of your marketing budget really quickly.
Geographic Targets: If you only operate within a certain geographic area then keep your adverts appearing in just those areas. There is no point your advert being focused on the whole of the UK if you can't deliver your product to nationwide. This will reduce your costs and allow you keep your advert online for longer.
Choose days and times: With Google Analytics you can see when your visitors are looking at your website. You need to show your adverts when they are online rather than when you are at work. For example in the Holiday Sector the best times to have your adverts running are between 12.00 and 2pm and 6.30pm to 10.30pm on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You should alter your customer service hours to suit those timings as well as people will want to make contact with you to find out more information.
These 3 simple steps are simple and quick to use. They will keep your PPC budget optimised for best results and give you an instant return.
2) Social Media
This is a powerful marketing tool for any business. You have the ability to directly engage with your visitors in real time which gives you access to them when traditionally the Internet has been a cold place for them to shop/browse.
However social media requires dedication to get right. You'll need to react quickly to questions and and the changing mood of your visitors, friends and followers. The tradeoff is that you'll be most likely ahead and different from your competitors. If you can persevere with social media you will find it an invaluable tool to get feedback, interact and more importantly shorten the sales-cycle.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and the most important to signup for. Additionally we advise a Google+ account as well as either Pinterest or Instagram which will allow you to get pictures online that will hopefully be liked by your followers.
With all social media platforms you need to be cute on who you follow. Don't just follow everyone you find, try and keep the targets close together either geographically or by their interests. This will help you out by others with similar interests interacting closely with others. You'll be seen as popular and maintain your friends and followers rather than being culled when you're no longer of interest.
The level of social media that you must do all depends on how popular you are today. We advise you to start out small and then increase this as your followers start to grow. You can use various tools to see how well your social media campaigns are doing and this will really help you hone your output and make it a success.
3) Blog Posts
You'll have no doubt heard the phrase "content is king", well your website where the content should be great, powerful and interesting.
We want to see an active blog on your website that has a regular flow of new content. The reasons for this are:
1) Search engines like to see new content and it will effect your ranking in a positive way.
2) People like to see fresh content which will make them come back more often to read it.
3) It allows you to create content for email campaigns and then direct people back to your website.
4) You're increasing your page count and the opportunity for links back to your website.
There are some other reasons, but these are the most compelling for you to remember. Keep your blog informative, current and active. This will add serious weight to your online marketing and deliver you strong results over the lifetime of your campaign.
4) Networking Events
At Menai Marketing we do use a lot of digital marketing tactics to promote our clients. The reason for this is that we can easily monitor results and performance metrics and make tweaks safe in the knowledge we know exactly what is going on. However there is nothing wrong with traditional marketing channels with the most important being networking.
Business networking is key to a strong marketing campaign. It puts a face behind the marketing and gives people in your local area a real person to deal with. It also adds great value to your marketing as its a cost effective channel when you use it correctly.