Small business marketing strategy is discussed here by Peter Hanley with the right ways to take your business to the new age of Internet marketing.
Where to start your marketing strategy?
- Fixed business, local business
- Online business, business, affiliate, or shop
- free activity
- Paid activity
- Media, Video, SMS
All business marketing activity
Common to all businesses are certain strategies that need to be undertaken.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about an important subject
YOUR WEBSITE AND SEO
This is the hub of your sales, a place where you are found and it will detail specific information about you, your company and what you sell
It could be a funnel or a sales page but the purpose is to sell your products to those that enter.
Search engine optimisation is necessary with your webpage so that Google, Bing and YouTube can find you
when people come knocking.
This is your starting place and most of you will need this to market your business.
If you need more on this I will send you to the training at Wealthy Affiliate for free but I am assuming that most readers will be this far at the least and want to move on to things that push business.
Social media is a part of any business package
You will find lots of advice on Social media and in fact, lots of social media tools but the one fundamental that has stood the test of time is that your social programme is to deliver customers to you or your website. They are not there to sell a product. There is now one exception to this. (Instagram Beta trial below)
The other piece of advice is not to send people from your website to social media. Why? is the general question.
Social media is a playground where you can get tempted off in all sorts of directions. This could be to other sites, competitors or new ideas completely. It is not designed to keep you tied down.
Your Social media is a feeder channel to your selling situation, web page or business and nothing more. However, its purpose is really important in filling the dam of potential lookers so we can not overlook it.
Now we break down Social media into useful sources of information.
You should consider in all cases employing both LinkedIn and Facebook as primary tools of the trade.
This is the business persons international phone book where anyone can search for you by name or business.
It does require a picture and a BIO plus industry information and any other information you may want to pass on.
It is searched by all sorts of people wanting information about you or to understand you and your business.
You can not be shy, you are in business to promote yourself when you can.
Just last week I witnessed a potentially large contract initiated with Instagram. A major travel organisation needed contact details on a local business. They searched on Instagram, found the appropriate contact and offered a package that would save the company many thousands of dollars.
They knew the owner’s name but not the new business operation and being in a different state they had initial difficulties in contact.
LinkedIn can be much more than a name list and you can take it as far as you want in marketing and advertising.
However, you must appear in the list in a current and professional format.
And so to FaceBook
This was the first of the new media with Facebook business being initially introduced in 2007. So, really only about 10 years old which is relatively young.
Then came advertising, remarketing, sharing and all sorts of cost centres to get you to spend money.
Again I see FaceBook as a delivery device and information centre.
I market to businesses I do not know anything about in my initial client build.
Facebook is one of my first places to go because I can see things of interest, what they target, who follows them etc to build up a profile.
Social media must be current
What I do not like is Pages that are not updated and just have a few old posts from last year when they got a bit industrious and completed a post.
It is so easy to schedule posts way ahead of time and show consistency and care about your business.
You are there to entertain and get them to KNOW you.
( this is the first of the Know, like and trust principal in client respect)
I often struggle to find email addresses on a lot of company literature but an interesting aside is that most Facebook owners have it under details.
I will cover re-marketing and advertising in full at another time because they are a subject on their own.
Re-targeting or sometimes called re-marketing is when your small advertisement appears on another site when looking at anything on the net. The one concern most people have is privacy but it is simply a transfer of pixels and is no cause for concern. It is paid marketing and I try and stay with as much free stuff as I can.
It does work but it carries a cost with it.
Set up your business page from your personal one and set a time to log your exciting posts and get players to your selling point. Keep it up to date and log your results.
Adwords must be a consideration in many businesses
I have thrown this in before we cover the remaining social programmes
When you search google you will see the posts on the first page with a little word ad next to them.
They will be the first and probably last on the front page.
Remembering that the first three ads get about 80% of all traffic so not much is shared with the following 100 or so pages.
When someone clicks on your paid ad you get charged an agreed amount.
The amount may be a few dollars or over a thousand depending on the value placed by Google.
The value is usually reflected in the cost of the sale.
I have friends that spend 10s of thousands of dollars monthly selling finance. The contracts to them are worth thousands so the payback is easy.
If you wish to guarantee traffic to your business and are prepared to pay for a successful click there is no better way than AdWords.
Back to social media for business
I am going to talk about just three more that you can explore without going through them all.
If you have an interesting range of ideas this is useful in getting your name in light. I always quote Donald Trump in this and even though he does not have the biggest following the press repeats more than makeup for it.
I am increasingly following more tweets in the political, literature and sporting section. Areas of interest to me.
You quickly get to love or loathe the writers but are drawn along with them and I believe this will be a much bigger target in the future.
Just start following a few people and slowly introduce yourself into this market if you have the material.
In fact, I found myself seeing more and more feeds coming to my email. It may be political but writers and general information lead the way.
This started as the domain for 18-30 year old young and trendy displaying all sorts of pictures and stories. Then their mothers followed and the Grandees widened the audience.
I see businesses now only using Instagram for marketing. Daily pictures of clothes, shoes, haircuts or cars create a loyal following.
Instagram is wholly owned by the Facebook group which sees a huge potential in the product in fact.
Try Instagram in your marketing
Instagram direct selling a new idea
Currently, in the USA they are trialling buy now buttons in a post or picture with a fulfilment program.
A post, for example, new Nike shoes will have a Buy now button that takes you to a sales platform and completes the deal. This is exciting stuff and a lead to the future so watch this space. It is not currently available to all of us only to selected US corporations.
Watch this space and get in early.
Youtube is gaining popularity very quickly and in fact, it is used as a search tool nearly as often as Google and more than Bing.
Many businesses avoid this because of a perceived difficulty in doing a video but that is living in the past. Anyone can produce a video with an Ipad or mobile phone or any of the new technical opportunities.
- how to do things
- Setting up
The list is endless but like any media, it must be consistent and professional in your approach to the market.
I recently did a review on Content Samurai and you can have a look at it
Building a list
This is really important that you know who your customers are, their phone numbers, email addresses, and contact names.
You get this from your invoices, asking the question, having a survey, raffle, special club or any way you can.
You can have this in an excel spreadsheet or a proprietary CMR paid for the program, even on your carrier page, it matters not it is the list that is important.
No list and no business from your existing customers see also Ways to promote my business
Online business directories
I recently wrote about Online business directories
Many people completely miss this opportunity and it is a big one and mostly free. Never pay them unless they prove the performance to you.
To find the online directories just google your company or Keyword and you will see them all on page one or two. People do click them and traffic will come to you.
This is a do-it-once and do-it-well opportunity.
Newsletters and email
This is one of the most important parts of this whole message.
Every business should do a newsletter, at least once a month. Nothing to sell but a gentle touch that keeps you in contact with your base. Yes, it costs you an email generating service like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp and a half hour of time however the rewards will come back 10 fold.
Like all media, it must be planned and consistent across the year and you will be amazed at the return.
Emails are far from dead
I send and receive emails every day. I send bulk emails most days to a range of old and new customers customers
The use of an Auto Responder makes this an easy process. You compose a dozen messages starting with an introduction and gently leading them into a place where they are ready to buy your product.
There is a way to do this and I looked at it more in a recent post I did on Mass marketing with Email
You can pull customers daily without a lot of effort.
Local Marketing works even better as you send out offers and specials to your selected area and watch them walk in the door.
Just today I had one from my Tyre service that had a great article on a new car release, from my computer repairer reminding me about the end of the year plus a deal on Fish and chips, might do that one.
They are people I shall turn to when I need their services.
Training on the Internet
Things are changing very quickly with Internet marketing so you need to be on the latest trends at all times. The small business marketing review has tried to get you there.
I use Wealthy Affiliate ( There is a free version) which keeps me up to date, particularly with the members’ blog posts. I post regularly on their web with new ideas and resources as do many others.
In addition do not waste money taking fancy courses that promise the world, what they mostly achieve is taking your money and providing very little return. That is not to say that there are no good ones only to say there are a lot of bad ones.
You may however get lots of free training on any subject you want.
Don’t extend yourself to widely
Like life, a lot of half-done projects do not equal one fully positioned product. Get your play into place and working before you move on.
I concentrate on Emails because I have found it works, my friend is an Instagram-only user and other ad words work for him with a high-value product.
Most of these take but a few minutes a day although that few minutes is often hard to find in a busy schedule. If this is the case give it to someone else as a daily job function and know it will be done.
You can’t do everything but what you do then do it well
Why do businesses fail?
There are many reasons for failure and mostly your own.
I recently did a blog on failing businesses that might be worth a read.
It is a long subject so don’t you be one of them.