When sole entrepreneurs hear the word marketing, they think of large companies with big budgets.
They believe they can’t afford the same marketing efforts of their larger competitors. But armed with insider knowledge of the web performance and the perfect partner, small businesses can utilize the same powerful marketing strategies used by large businesses and effectively change their entire online presence.
Marketing may be dominated by large businesses with endless budgets, but all companies start their journeys in the same place. Using effective marketing, those very same businesses built their online presence with individual social followers and website visitors until they became big. So why don’t small businesses utilize marketing, too?
There are quite a few reasons small businesses avoid marketing. Some may not understand the importance of marketing. Others have limited resources and believe they can’t afford it. Some may be lost by the amount of services out there with grand but confusing promises, overwhelming for a beginner. A few have tried marketing but were burnt by the experience – the cost, the lack of ROI, the complicated plans that weren’t communicated properly from a freelancer or agency to the hiring business – so that they believe marketing is useless and have lost trust in marketing partners, not wanting to repeat past mistakes.
Businesses needs marketing – from the smallest just starting out to the biggest corporations selling worldwide. Whether small, mid-sized, or large, most successful businesses utilize the same marketing steps to get their name out to potential customers.
SEO is King
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the reason sites show up in the rankings of search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Because most searchers only scan the first page of results, SEO is an absolute necessity in today’s digital world.
The best marketers avoid cheap companies that utilize black hat marketing strategies, which can actually lead to a drop in search engine rankings. They use a combination of organic methods as well as paid ads on Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and more. They check the SEO portfolios of the marketing companies they wish to hire and ensure that they not only understand search engine algorithms but also know how to utilize white hat marketing strategies to increase site discoverability.
They also invest money in long term strategies, knowing that any fruit-bearing tree requires careful cultivation. They continually analyze their competition in order to see how they can improve themselves by both competing and filling in the gaps their competitors leave behind.
Many businesses don’t want to invest money in SEO and ASO because they believe it is difficult and expensive, but this isn’t so if they partner with a company that knows what to do and uses the best practices for high-performing results. Then the project moves smoothly without being too time-consuming or costly.
Form a Community on Social Media
Some businesses avoid social media, believing it takes up too much time, but when creating a marketing plan, consider whether your target audience uses social media and could be reached through those channels.
Experienced social media marketing managers know that people are primarily on the internet for enjoyment, so they provide fun and useful content. Not only do they post about their services, they also offer motivational images, videos, and a community in which those who contact them are answered promptly and efficiently. They tag their posts with relevant hashtags without overdoing it and spamming their followers, and they schedule their posts in advance during the times their target consumers will be online. They also know it can be difficult staying up-to-date with the preferences of their audience, so they take their time analyzing their clients in order to provide the best message.
PR or influencer outreach, also comes into play here. Putting the company in front of brand influencers and creating partnerships can bolster marketing efforts by having a spokesperson. After all, many people trust their peers over direct company ads when it comes to recommendations.
Become the Teacher to Customers – Not Just the Salesman
Some small businesses believe in the Field of Dreams method: “If you build it, they will come.” Unfortunately, unless you’re Kevin Costner, that’s not going to work.
After coming up with a great idea and developing the software, some entrepreneurs don’t know how to proceed or believe that their job is done and it’s time to wait for thousands of customers. But it’s not just about having a product and website in place; it’s about teaching potential clients how to use the service.
The best marketers ensure that their website or service is intuitive enough to teach clients how to use it. They support their clients, advise, and guide them through their short and long term goals. It’s not enough just to sell something; the success of a client is a success of the service, and good businesses know that.
Go with the Flow
The Agile mode of thinking reminds us to, like water, be prepared to change. After all, the market is like a torrential river; it’s changing from one day to the next, and those who fight it instead of going with the flow are sure to sink. The best businesses are prepped with a multichannel marketing plan – that way, if one of their boats doesn’t float as well as the others, the entire company doesn’t go down with it.
Interested in Marketing Like a Big Business?
If this sounds overwhelming, that’s because it can be. Marketing is a puzzle, and each of the steps are small puzzle pieces – only the pieces need to be re-organized as the market and your audience changes. But that’s no excuse to ignore marketing altogether.
If you can’t do it yourself, choose the right partner to help you succeed in a difficult digital world.