As a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats—from revenue to operations to staffing—which can be overwhelming at times. But the marketing piece of the puzzle doesn’t have to be a challenge if you have a basic understanding of the resources available to promote your business, from something simple like consistent branding to more complicated things like evolving technology. With a little research and knowledge, you can master these concepts and more to create a marketing strategy that naturally connects and communicates with your ideal customers.
Provide basic online information and establish your brand
Your website is the entry way for customers into your brand experience. It should provide a wealth of information, starting with accurate business information, such as operating hours, your phone number, and pricing, all the way through to your history and why you chose this line of business. New customers love information about how you got started and why they should choose your business.
A brand is more than just your website with a logo and the products you sell. It’s the feeling you give your customers when they interact with you and your business, whether in person, online, or through email marketing. Your brand is the story you tell about your business—both to your team and your community. Once you have an established brand message that is ready to be shared, reinforce that message far and wide, from your website to your social media pages.
Social media is a valuable resource if you engage strategically and frequently with your followers to build brand awareness. You’ll want to write a business description that is both informative and meaningful. Having a consistent message of who you are creates connection with consumers looking for the goods or services you provide. Visuals are also important on social media, so include images with engaging and descriptive captions to highlight your business.
As you continue to build your social media marketing strategy, you should create and share authentic and unique content on a regular basis. People love to get the inside scoop and see behind the scenes of a small business. This is also an easy way to show them how they can engage with your business. Building and maintaining a consistent social media strategy can be valuable in growing your community and drawing in new customers.
All your social media messaging should have the same voice, one that aligns well with your brand and best represents your business. This consistent voice should be reflected on your Yelp Page, as well as your website and other online directory and review platforms.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization, or SEO, can sound like a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be. Armed with knowledge of a few basic tools and strategies, you can increase and enhance the virtual presence of your business. This guide to small business SEO is a great place to start. A few key points: Ensure your business is listed and accurate in as many places as applicable, make that messaging consistent, and invest your time in keyword research. Once you’ve gotten the hang of SEO basics, you can watch your website and other platforms rise in the search engine ranks.
As a small business owner, being involved in your community is essential to building a lasting customer base. Word-of-mouth marketing is alive and well today, and by being an active member of your community, your business will be more top of mind to your neighbors and potential new customers.
Community involvement can mean a variety of things. During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we saw many businesses helping their communities in uplifting ways, from pay-what-you-can meals to free educational tools and services. These same types of outreach can be applied in non-pandemic times too. Many businesses donate their volunteer time or a portion of their proceeds to local charities or organizations. Some offer discounts or promotions to certain populations or customers, like first responders, teachers, or healthcare workers. If you are promoting a special offer, be sure to let your community know via your online channels. Sharing those initiatives will spread the word and spur even more engagement with your business.
If there are local events, information boards, or groups serving your prospective customers, get involved. Join a local chamber of commerce or attend networking or local community events.
Partnerships and promotions
Collaboration is a great way to expand your network of customers. Through mediums like social media, you can virtually connect with other brands and influencers, one direct message at a time. Take the time to develop your social media accounts and follow brands or businesses in the same industry or with a similar audience. By commenting on posts and inserting your business into conversations that make sense, you can expand your virtual footprint and begin the conversation with more potential customers.
In-person partnerships are also beneficial. If there is an adjacent industry to which you frequently refer clients, or a local business you like, take the time to reach out and propose a partnership. Savor Seattle is a walking tour company that visited Pike Place Market vendors on food tours pre-COVID, but they pivoted and are collaborating with those same vendors to sell Pike Place Market Boxes. This collaboration allows the businesses to promote one bundled product, which reaches a wider audience and helps everyone succeed.
Promotions, such as flash sales or product giveaways, provide another opportunity for you to expand your customer base. You can also expand the reach of a promotion through your email marketing list and social media accounts. Be sure to check the rules and regulations for promotions in your area, which vary from state to state.
When creating your promotion, keep it simple, make it easy to access, and don’t forget to collect customer information for later marketing initiatives.
There are many ways to promote your business, from digital marketing outreach and social media to partnerships and promotions. Each has its place in your overall business plan, and when used effectively, they will work together to increase sales, revenue, and brand reputation.