Most small businesses find marketing and advertising to be a challenge. How can you go about creating interest in your services and products without gambling your money?
We’d all love to have a checkbook with an unending supply of money. Then we could spend on anything and it wouldn’t matter if it got results or not. The reality, though, is that a marketing and advertising campaign has to produce results. Therefore, you must be able to measure results.
There are some tools you must have in your arsenal that will be effective and measurable. They are not free, but they are effective.
1. Have an up-to-date, good website
If you’re expecting results then you should have this done professionally. It doesn’t have to break the bank, but a good website is an investment and you should expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 for a good, functioning website. It should be “content managed” meaning that you have the ability to log into the “back end” and add pages once the site is up and running.
Your website is your “face to the world”. It’s where prospective customers can go to read about you and your services. It is also the platform you will use to combine the rest of your marketing tools.
2. Use email marketing
Email marketing has become one of the most effective promotional tools available for small businesses. It averages in the range of $40 in revenue for every dollar spent. This is higher than any other form of marketing media. Ranking very low is direct mail, so if you’re using direct mail it may be time to rethink your strategy.
This does not mean sending out an eblast from Gmail, or Yahoo mail. There are federal laws that govern how small businesses can use email to contact customers and prospects. Therefore,
Use an email marketing service. One of the most-used is Constant Contact. It includes a wide array of templates so you don’t have to design anything. Just point, click, type, and mail. Your database is managed for you and reports are generated to show you who and how many opened your email. You will also find out which addresses “bounce”, usually because the person changed their email address. These tools provide you with an excellent starting point for follow-up contact with your customers.
3. Use Social Media
Love it or hate it, Facebook is here to stay. You may not relish spending time looking at stupid cat videos, or pictures of people’s dogs, but billions of people use Facebook. In marketing, you go where the potential customers are….so you should have a company Facebook page. Once you start it, you MUST maintain it. How do you do that?
Facebook uses a system of algorithms that determine who sees your postings and whether or not they even get delivered to your fans. There are certain features that cause Facebook postings to receive higher rankings, and therefore more deliverability. You must also post consistently and regularly—most businesses find 3 postings a week can be very effective.
Remember, if you have 250 followers on Facebook, and each of them have 250 “friends”, that’s a potential “reach” of over 60,000 people. Engaging with your followers, getting them to “share” what you post, and building more followers will increase that reach.
What is the goal? The goal is to create the “buzz” around your company. You begin to develop a “community” of followers who read your emails, interact with you on Facebook, and go to your website for information about your products and services.
Basically, people buy from those they know and trust. Utilizing these three tools will help you build a rapport with customers and potential customers. There are certain tips and tricks you MUST use that will make these things have the greatest impact. We’ll discuss them in future articles.