As a small business owner, you know just how crucial it is to connect with your customers in a meaningful way. Nevertheless, when the budget gets tight, the marketing dollars are often on the chopping block. Big mistake. If you’re missing the mark or not putting yourself out there, you are missing out on business that could be vital to your success and survival. Whether you’re still hustling to get your business off the ground or a seasoned pro, smart marketing can make or break your business. It can be daunting, but these tips will help get you out of the gate and on your way to smarter marketing.
- Get to Know Your Ideal Customer
You can’t get away with saying everyone is your ideal customer. It simply isn’t true. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you cannot effectively market to them. Do some research on what kinds of people are most likely to do business with you and then get to know them. How old are they? What do they do for fun? Where are they spending their time online? What influences them to choose one product over the other? What’s important to them? Imagine how much further your advertising will go when you know right where your customers are going to be. Your advertising bucks should be working smarter, not harder.
- Get Online
The first place your potential customers are going to look you up is online. If they can’t find a trace of you, your legitimacy may be called into question. Are you a real business? Are you still IN business? A website allows you to give your company a voice and a feel that can market to people 24 hours a day and it gives people the peace of mind that you are who you say you are. With platforms like Squarespace and WordPress, creating a professional website is easier than ever.
- Get in Control
Whether you put it out there or not, information about your business is going to be online. In addition to a website, be sure to create a Google My Business listing. If your business already exists, claim your business. Here you can manage how your business information appears across Google and ensure the information is accurate. Make sure your address, business hours and website are up to date. This is a free service, so there’s really no reason not to do it.
- Get Social Online
You’ve got your website; now what? In the U.S. 81 percent of the population has a social networking profile, and Americans are checking their phones almost every 12 minutes. Social media is a great way to interact with your customers on a personal level. You can connect with and learn from your customer base in a more personal way than, say, a billboard. Organic content, meaning unpaid content, is free and gets people familiar with your brand without them feeling like they’re being advertised to. Social media ads allow very specific targeting and retargeting. Why not optimize your advertising budget towards your now-clearly-defined target market?
- Get Social in Your Community
In-person communication isn’t dead. Get to know neighboring businesses, volunteer, and make yourself a presence in your local community. You’ll make valuable connections and the locals will take notice of who shows up and who doesn’t. Word of mouth on its own is not enough, but there’s something to be said for it. Be a business your community wants to support, and support it in return.