How to Grow Your Business: Practical Easy-to-do Marketing for Small Businesses
You’ve gone through all the rigmarole: you’ve created your business plan, financed your endeavor, dealt with all the financial and legal hurdles, and hired employees.
You’ve officially started your business.
But what now? How do you actually get customers?
We’re going to give you some easy-to-understand (and easy-to-implement) steps to marketing a small business.
Why is Marketing Important?
You might be gaining clientele by the day, but if you’re depending on family, friends, and referrals for business, your growth will eventually stagnate.
This is why marketing is so important.
It gives you the potential for growth – otherwise, you’re just keeping your business afloat.
Marketing includes traditional platforms like print, radio or television advertising, promotions, public relations, product placement, event marketing, and trade shows, as well as digital aspects like content (blogs, articles, etc.), social media, email marketing, paid online ads, and search engine optimization.
While your choice of platforms to use are important, what’s more important is that you understand who your audience is and what they need.
Marketing doesn’t work if you don’t know specifically who you want to appeal to – and why.
Best Practices for Marketing Your Business
Know Your Audience
Who is your audience? That is, who are you selling your product or service to?
The answer can not be ‘everyone.’
Marketing your product or service won’t work if you try to target everyone.
You must have a specific group of people in mind, and a specific person is better.
This ‘persona’ is what you imagine your ideal customer to be.
If you sell nutritional supplements, your persona might be a bodybuilder who wants to compete professionally or a ‘health nut’ who wants to achieve optimal nutrition.
If you run a nail salon, your persona might be a young professional woman who enjoys shopping, doesn’t have time to do her own manicures, and is interested in self-care.
Once you’ve gotten to know your audience a little better, you need to know exactly what you’re offering them.
Why should they buy from you?
What specific and unique thing can your product or service do for them?
Once you understand these two things – your audience and the unique value you’re offering them – you can begin to market your business.
Make a Plan
Next, create a marketing plan designed to create growth.
You can start by outlining broad marketing goals.
Setting Marketing Goals
Some examples of broad marketing goals include:
- Generating leads/customers
- Increasing your brand awareness
- Building an online presence
- Connecting and engaging with your audience
You can choose goals that are important to you, and then break them down into more specific and measurable goals.
An example of this would be “Increase visits to the website by 5% in six months.”
By creating marketing goals, keeping them top of mind, and regularly checking in on how you’re progressing, you can achieve them, along with your business and sales goals.
Next, decide on the marketing tactics you will use.
Marketing tactics are things you do to accomplish your marketing goals – like interacting with customers and potential customers in-person or online via social media or your website, sending marketing emails, writing a blog or social media post, or placing an advertisement on TV, radio, in print media, or online.
What you use should be directly influenced by your audience (where would they like to see an ad or information related to your product or service? Where are they likely to look?), but also may depend on what’s best for your budget or your business needs.
Put Together Your Action Plan
Your action plan will consist of the actual steps you need to take to enact your marketing plan.
You’ll need to write down what you need to do (whether it’s advertisements, blogs, social media, emails, or whatever else you’ve decided on), when it needs to be done (once, once or twice a week, twice a month, or whatever you think your business needs), and who in the company will do it.
You will create an overall timeline on what you’ll be doing and when, and what results you should see from this work.
Build a Website
Having a website is one of the best things you can do for your business.
It gives your business credibility and showcases your brand – and your customers will be grateful to have the information they’re looking for (business hours, menu, what’s in stock, etc.) right at their fingertips.
A website will also help you to generate leads.
If people find you online and become interested in your product or service, they will now have a way to contact you, visit your store, or find out more information.
However, if you don’t have a high-quality website that people enjoy using (i.e. nice to look at, quick loading times, easy-to-use), then they won’t want to stay on your site for very long.
If you don’t know how to create a website, it’s best to hire a professional to create one for you – because your website is often one of the most important keys to success.
Give People a Reason to Come Back to Your Site
If you’re using SEO properly, people will be landing on your site by searching for terms based on what they’re looking for on Google or other search engines.
But how can you keep them coming back?
By creating valuable content.
This typically takes the form of a blog that’s updated regularly with new posts.
The blog topics you choose should be related to your product or service, but more importantly, they should be valuable to your audience.
If you’re hoping to sell to ‘soccer moms,’ you might want to write about local sports, parenting, or keeping your family healthy and active.
Manage Your Business’ Reputation
Once something’s on the internet, it tends to stay there.
So if you’ve got an out-of-date listing that has an old business name, address or phone number floating around out there, someone will find it.
And they will be irritated when they can’t find your website or reach you on the phone, or when they show up to your address to find out it’s now an antique shop.
The first step to managing your online reputation is to do a search for your business name and your own name, and make sure everything is up-to-date.
Next, you’ll want to claim your business online on Google My Business and any other directories you may be listed in.
Once you’ve set up your online reputation, you can use your website, blog, Google My Business account, and social media to keep your online presence up-to-date.
And don’t forget to respond to reviews on Google, Yelp, and other review sites – especially the negative ones!
If you’re struggling with growing your business, you may want to consider reaching out for professional marketing help, but these simple steps can get you thinking about how you want your business to be seen, what customers you want to attract, and what you can achieve.
Together, We Go Farther
Building a business is not for the faint of heart – juggling the many details of marketing, accounting, systems, HR, hiring, and more can be overwhelming.
But we’re here to help!
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