If you’re a small business, you know the importance of reaching your customers. You aim to be competitive, and you want to be smart with your resources. Maybe you’ve tried marketing your business on Google or Facebook. Maybe you’re eyeing that little league sponsorship for exposure. But before you focus on marketing your business, there are a few pieces to have in place before it ever gets that far.
Here are the best moves to make before you start marketing your business:
Before you focus on marketing your business, there are a few pieces to have in place before it ever gets that far.
1 | Have your brand in place.
Do you really need your own logo? And if you do, isn’t a logo enough—do you really need to go through the process of building a whole brand? Yes, you do. We’ve shared some detailed insights about why branding your business matters, but the long and short of it is that customers are trying to buy a benefit, not a service. They don’t want a carpet cleaner, they want a clean home that makes them feel good.
So if you hand them a business card with just your name and number, it’s a hard sell—you’re trying to market a person, not a benefit. But if you wrap it all up in a brand that’s all about fast service and sparkling clean results, now you’re selling what they want.
Building a brand doesn’t have to be complicated, but marketing your business will become easier and clearer if you do it through the lens of what your brand brings to the table. Plus having your brand in place now means providing a consistent experience down the road.
2 | Have a website to send people to.
If you’re still questioning whether you need a website for your business in 2019, here are a couple numbers that might change your mind: RetailDive says that 87% of consumers search online first before anywhere else when seeking new products, while Forbes reports that 82% of consumers say they consult their phones WHILE IN A PHYSICAL STORE for the purposes of comparing prices and services.
With so many people turning to Google searches before anything else, you’re likely missing a huge portion of your market by not having an active web presence. It’s one thing to set up a Google my Business listing or have a business account on Facebook, but a website is a fully custom space to be able to tell your story and promote your business in a controlled way.
If you only have a Facebook page, but your competitor has a professional website with image galleries, reviews, auto-quote generators, and an big “Call now!” button, you can bet they’re absorbing a much larger portion of your shared customer base. Regardless of the methods you pursue, marketing your business will be much more successful if you can direct traffic to a clean, effective website.
3 | Set up business accounts online.
Google My Business is arguably the most important account you need to have in place before you try marketing your business, even more so than a website. While a website is necessary to help customers vet your business and generate leads, Google My Business will start including you in local map results almost immediately. This literally puts your business on the map, and clients can rate/review your service whether you have a website in place or not.
Social media accounts can help customers connect with you in a more personal way. They’re more likely to expect responses from messaging you on Facebook than they are from contacting you through your website. But more importantly, it’s another online listing for your business. The more mentions of your business that appear online, the more legitimate you’ll appear to search engines. This will benefit your website because it will start ranking higher over time in search results.
Having these accounts in place will help with marketing your business because people can find you in multiple places while search engines will see you as a legitimate business.
4 | Determine what you want customers to do.
Self-led marketing efforts can often skew only toward reach and awareness. You’re trying to “spread the word” or you’re “putting yourself out there.” While these are certainly valid avenues, and it’s important to have people know about your company, consider how to incorporate a call to action into marketing your business:
- Visit us online
- Call us today
- Get your free quote now
- Follow us on Facebook
These examples urge customers to take a specific action, and can generate better results than simply putting all your information out there and letting them take it or leave it. Consider what you most want people to do when they see your marketing efforts, and let them know!
5 | Have a plan to get reviews.
Testimonials and online reviews make a HUGE difference in convincing customers to give you a shot. Statistics from BrightLocal show that 86% of consumers consult reviews for local businesses, with 91% of consumers aged 18-35 claiming they trust online reviews more than personal recommendations.
Building up some online reviews before you start marketing your business can give you a major boost. We recently shared some tips for how to get reviews for your business, but no matter how you encourage customers to share their positive experiences, it’s a good idea to make reviews a top priority. If your marketing efforts are effective and people start seeking you out, it will help to have those positive endorsements in place to secure their trust.
Once you’ve checked all the boxes and know you’re ready to start marketing your business, it’s crucial to choose the best marketing avenues for your company. Before you start listing your business in a local coupon book or jump at that little league sponsorship (though admittedly it is pretty cool to have your kid rep the company – they’re just so darn cute), consider what online advertising has to offer instead.
Here’s a full pro/con breakdown of traditional advertising methods vs. online advertising. You may find it enlightening as to how cost-effective it really is! And one more resource to check out: regardless of whether you’re marketing online or elsewhere, keep in mind how best to reach your target audience. Targeted marketing is so important for ROI and conversion rates!
That’s it for this week’s Red Arrow Blog. If you found these resources useful, let us know below! And be sure to follow our social media for weekly articles to help you make the most of your business.