Small businesses have a bevy of goals in its early phases. The most important is to continually grow their business and create awareness for the brand. Typically, through marketing efforts.
Marketing for small business is especially crucial since the main goal is to grow. What growth may look like can vary from industry to industry, even business to business. Growth can come in the form of increased revenue, a larger audience on social media or growth of the business itself-expanding to a new region or adding in additional departments or team members. But most small business owners can agree that growth is the goal, and we believe marketing is key to achieving that.
Many small businesses touch on the basics of marketing, but a lot are still facing challenges especially when it comes to digital marketing. Many small business owners feel they can’t afford digital marketing efforts in their business planning when in reality they can’t afford NOT to include it.
Digital marketing is where your time and money, when spent wisely, has the most considerable impact on your company. Owners sometimes make the mistake in assuming they need a considerable budget to reach their consumers through digital marketing, but that’s not always the case. There are strategies that can be implemented to tailor your efforts to get the most bang for your buck and make sure your marketing dollars are being spent wisely.
Small Business, Big Operations
Small business owners lack the luxury of being able to delegate work as larger companies do. As a result, they often have to pick and choose what efforts get their time and money. There are things that must occur on a regular basis just to keep the enterprise running. Operational items such as purchase orders and payroll as well as legal related things like insurance and permits are required to stay in business and keep the day to day running.
While marketing is still a “must-have” it can often take the back seat because it does not apply the same daily pressures other business aspects. If you don’t complete purchase orders then you may not have enough supplies for the upcoming week, so you may skip your social media postings for the week to take inventory and complete your orders. So at a cursory glance, it can appear that you’re making the right decision putting your efforts towards the things that keep your business running on a day to day basis, however, if you take a closer look you may be setting yourself up to plateau.
By skipping crucial digital marketing points, you could be missing those important steps for growth. If your business is struggling to grow your audience or increase your reach, take a look at where your efforts are and see if what you are actually doing is getting you to your growth goals or just keeping you stagnant.
These are choices small business owners face every day, where to put their time and efforts. But you don’t have to choose, all the efforts are important. Find ways to streamline your processes, if purchase orders are time-consuming, consider using software or updating your process.
Perhaps your business is still doing manual payroll, which can take up to a day. Automating your payroll gives you the day back and you can use that time to set up postings for social media or other marketing efforts. Optimize your current process and free time for marketing or find software that helps you optimize your marketing.
Don’t Outgrow Your Website
Websites are one of the first things created by a new small business. It’s a great way to increase exposure and reach your audience. Many small businesses outsource this task to get it completed. Some, however, don’t continue to maintain and update their site as business grow and change.
In an article by Mass Live Media, not putting enough effort into a professional and updated website will decrease the amount of through-traffic and sales conversions you make. How many times have you visited a website for a business or service and decided not to buy or even click through the site further because the site had outdated information or was difficult to navigate? It’s an easy and common mistake to make.
A way to avoid this mistake is to build maintaining and updating your website into your weekly or monthly schedule. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to make changes and updates to your website. Sites like Squarespace and WordPress make website building and maintaining simple.
You can also reach out to a digital expert if you need help. Sites like Upwork allow you to post jobs and search for freelancers within your budget. If you do plan to outsource the work, but sure to budget for updates and maintenance for the future.
Social Media is one of the most cost-effective digital marketing efforts. It’s a great way to boost your brand’s visibility. There are of course things to consider when implementing social media for your business.
Be sure to choose your platforms wisely. As I talked about, time is the most scarce source (and maybe money) for a startup or small business. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, start with a few sites then add in as you grow.
Also, consider the sites that don’t require daily engagement. Platforms like Twitter get the best engagement when postings are happening daily. If you are a two-person team, you may want to explore other sites like Facebook which may not require the daily interactions to get the desired engagement.
There are also scheduling tools available. Hootsuite and Buffer are some of the most popular ones. These scheduling tools will allow you to plan and set your social media posting calendar in advance, so you won’t forget to post about an upcoming special or event. Some scheduling tools have a schedule optimizer available which allow you to post at times that give you the highest traffic and social media engagement.
Keep your content fresh and engaging. Research top trends in your industry and share articles related to your business. Be sure to tag the origin and use of relevant hashtags. Organic content, meaning the copy that you create and write has the best chance for engagement.
Finally, try and identify with key influencers in your industry and try and engage with them. This will require some old fashioned outreach to build a relationship– try offering a favor and/or sharing their content. The goal is to try to get people with a vast social media presence to share your content and drive traffic to your pages.