Knowing where to even start with your marketing plan can feel like an incredibly overwhelming task for a small business owner. Long (long, long) gone are the days where you could open a business and then count solely on drive-by traffic and word of mouth to get your brick and mortar business off and running… and then continually drive sales. There are many facets needed to develop a strong, integrated marketing plan for your small business. This blog post will take a broad look at the 6 types of actions you can take to promote your business.
6 Ways to Market your Small Business
When you discuss the ways to market your small business, you can break down the actions you can take into 2 categories: passively marketing your business or actively marketing your business.
How to Passively Market your Small Business
- SEO Organic search traffic to your website, blog, online store, and Google My Business listing require active work on the front end by you or your online marketing strategist, but then you can sit back and reap the rewards of that work. There isn’t a business that exists that doesn’t have customers or potential customers searching the internet for the products or services that it provides. And if you are showing up well in search (and have a strong web presence), you’ll receive inbound leads – and sales – without having to lift a finger. And even with active ways to market your business, all businesses really should invest in optimizing their sites for search.
- Creating Content You have your choice between blogging, podcasts or videos, but it’s vital that you create (and then optimize!) content related to your niche. Your blog posts, podcasts and videos all demonstrate your expertise, introduce you to potential customers, and grow trust between your small business and your customers. While this isn’t direct selling, publishing this content and having it available for those who search your site or the interwebs will lead to higher revenues for you, and more quickly than if you didn’t have it.
- Contact Information Another super easy and passive way to market your business is to make sure your contact info is correct and complete, and placed everywhere it could possibly be. A good rule of thumb: If you put your phone number and address on it, include your website and social media usernames, too. Yes! All your online marketing “addresses” should become part of your standard contact information. Some examples include: your business cards, your store window signage, and your email signature.
How to Actively Market your Small Business
- Advertising Putting your small business in front of eyeballs that didn’t go looking for it, is a very active way to market your small business. Before the internet, advertising included newspaper ads, TV and radio commercials, billboards, and postcards. Now in the online world, you can add in online advertising like Google ads, website banner ads, and ads from any of the social media platforms to your list. These ads could be about your business, about a service or product you sell, a promotion you are running, or an event you are having.
- Networking There are many opportunities both offline and online for networking with either other professionals who could recommend you to their clients, or with prospective customers directly. But before you engage with others in this way, be sure you have your elevator speech written (in your head)!
- Email Marketing This example sort of falls under both passive and active categories. First, because you can both actively and passively promote sign-ups to your email list. Second, because your email campaigns should be a mix of both helpful/informational as well as sales-focused. To execute your email marketing well, you need to find a good balance between the two, be consistent in your send-outs, and have strong writing skills.
One part of a great marketing strategy is the selection of activities that you will commit to consistently execute. That means you don’t need to incorporate all 6 ways mentioned above in order to successfully market your small business. You are better off choosing fewer but doing those few things very well.