Another year has begun and we are almost at the end of its first month already – where do the days go! Have you taken the time to plan what you are going to do in the marketing realm to help your business attract new customers so that you can grow this year and next? It might seem like you don’t have time to work out a marketing plan, but trying to forge ahead without one could be a big mistake.
Marketing helps introduce your business to prospects, educates them about your offerings, builds relationships with current customers, and creates a brand image that sticks in the minds of consumers. It is not a one-shot thing where you place an ad, write a blog or two, look at your website, or update your Facebook page. It is a total approach which builds from one medium to the next, and creates a coordinated message across them all. Here are five marketing ideas that will help get you started on making your small business sales sizzle in 2019:
1. Social Media is a Must: Even though we barely knew about the internet twenty years ago, everything internet-related is now part of the social consciousness. This means you must use social media to engage, educate and interact with prospects and customers. Some businesses are so adept at social media, they can create a viral sensation, but others mishandle the opportunity and experience a viral backlash. If you don’t have a social media presence, start with Facebook, Instagram (younger consumers) and Twitter. Work back and forth between the two, and drive visits to your website. Don’t get personal, defensive or confrontational online – stay cool, calm and professional so prospects will create a great mental picture of what your business represents.
2. Voice Gets Louder: The past few years have focused on the importance of being mobile-friendly to help prospects find your business or learn about your products. The latest big necessity is to be voice ready as well. Research company comScore predicts that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Not only are people using their smartphones to look up information, more are turning to home digital assistants like Alexa and Cortana to get answers to their everyday needs. Voice searches are different than those typed into a search engine, and require a more refined and intuitive response on the marketer’s part. Consumers may have an immediate need, and use stream-of-consciousness questions to ask their phone or digital assistant for an answer.
3. Let’s Get Video: Many entrepreneurs shy away from video marketing, but they are missing out on a powerhouse opportunity to connect with customers. Use video on your website, Facebook and YouTube to introduce yourself, your company, demonstrate your product, and educate your consumer base. It does not have to be a slick, masterpiece creation – just be honest and straightforward and speak to your audience like you would speak to someone right in front of you. Make video content part of your marketing plan in 2019, and you will start attracting more views for your business.
4. Crave the Review Wave: With the anonymity of the internet, consumers are relying more on reviews to help frame their purchasing choices. Make sure your business information is correct on all review sites and then ask your satisfied customers to give you reviews. It can be on your website, a site like Yelp or Angie’s, or even on their Facebook page. Ask them to tell a story about their experience with you and your business, so their friends will know what to expect.
5. Be Proud of Who You Are: Small businesses are the foundation of most communities, so be sure to highlight your advantages in all your marketing efforts. Support local media opportunities, demonstrate community involvement, and always point out how you can respond to local concerns better than outsiders who simply don’t know your market.
Marketing your small business does not have to be an overwhelming task, but it does have to be something you commit to doing well.