What a strange year it has been. As we face a multitude of changes this year with the pandemic and resulting effects, brands and marketers are having to shift their focus to a new strategy.
Travel and trade shows for the moment are gone. Traditional type marketing channels like print advertising are being cut back.
Marketers have shifted to digital in so many ways. From working from home and Zoom meetings to online marketing initiatives and website updates.
When trying times occur, try not to cut back on all of your marketing. You want to communicate to your audience that you are still in business and that you are still there to solve their problems.
Look at your messaging and make sure it reflects the current state with humanity. Empathy and compassion go a long way in having a conversation with your audience. Now is not the time for the hard sell.
If you scale back, be sure to focus on what has worked for you. Your customer email list, your website and blog and social channels are ways you can continue to communicate. Be sure to remain in the landscape of your industry.
Talk to your customers. Find out what has changed for them this year. Be a resource and engage with them.
After all, we are all in this together.
Twitter has emerged as a social network that immediately connects businesses and people across the globe.
It’s a neat way to engage instantly with customers, media and other folks in short conversational messages.
One way to connect with people on Twitter is to find and participate in Twitter chats.
Social Media Examiner shares “8 Ways Twitter Chats Can Benefit Your Business.”
The purpose of Twitter is to build community and exchange ideas. Once you get going, you will find that it’s a wonderful network and a great way to meet people from all around the world.
Small businesses may not have the resources for a full-on public relations program, but there are always things you can be doing to build your brand. Here are PR tips that you can do for free that will help continue your business building efforts in any economy.
1) Get local with search. – Make sure your company is listed in Google and Yahoo local directories. They are free and you can even link to your web site.
2) Get local in business/service directories – with directories like Angie’s List and CitySearch popping up, be sure your company is listed in the relevant local directories. Be sure to ask customers to write a recommendation for your company as well.
3) Build a local media list at smaller newspapers and start a relationship. Offer advice, take a reporter to lunch. Local media is easier to reach and if you are doing neat things with the community, be sure they know about it. Having an event for charity? Send a media advisory.
4) Remember your employees. PR isn’t all about outside relations – make sure your employees are motivated and happy. You can reward them with small things like praise (employee of the month/quarter), pizza in the office for a job well done, etc.
5) Discover social media. Start a blog on WordPress and talk about your industry, not just the company. Give tips, advice, general observations. Sign up for Twitter, a microblogging site, and follow people that interest you and join the conversation. Create an account in LinkedIn and Facebook and reconnect with old friends and colleagues. You can even ask business questions in LinkedIn and answer others’ questions and be seen as an expert in your field.
6) Okay, I said five but here’s a bonus tip. Sign up for Help A Reporter.com‘s newsletter and get PR queries from journalists looking for sources. But be sure if you answer, that your pitch is on target, short and sweet and do not send attachments. Include contact info in your email and links if needed.
When you find things slipping through the cracks such as marketing tasks while you run your small business, it might be time to outsource a freelance marketing consultant. As your business grows, you need to focus on keeping your business operationally afloat. Outsource the things that you cannot handle yourself and watch the process help grow your business.
Many small business owners take on too much for too long and when the business begins to grow, they cannot scale. Be sure to delegate and let go of the things that you can trust other professionals with. Your business vision and operation needs you to steer the ship.
I can help you communicate with your current customers and prospect and find new ones. You have a story to tell with your business - let me share the word through public relations. And social media is a powerful tool to talk with the media, customers, peers and more. You just need time and resources to make this happen.
There are many things you can do to market your small business on a budget.
First, make sure your website is responsive for mobile devices. A responsive site resizes to the device that is viewing the website so it is easy to read on any screen. Also make sure your website is up to date with the latest news, products/services and events.
Do you have an email list of your customers? Start sending a monthly email newsletter using a free email service provider like Mailchimp. Add the monthly article to a blog on your website.
Ask your customers for testimonials and case studies. Write up a case study and put it on your website. Send a pitch to relevant media or trade publications about the case study and how you solved a business' problem.
Set up profiles on social media sites where your customers visit and engage with the community. Search for keywords in your industry and listen for people searching for your type of product/solution. Be helpful, not salesy.
If you don't have time to do these things, hire a marketing contractor. A contractor can help you define a strategy and then set out to make it happen. Contact me today to help you get started.
Social media is a wonderful resource for small businesses looking to connect with present and future customers. Many networks and tools are free.
The key is to find the time and resources to make your social networks effective.
Social media can connect you with customers in many ways - you can provide customer service, get market research, position yourself as an expert source and much more.
Here are a few networks that small businesses can use:
Twitter is a conversation with people around the world and hashtags connect people by topics. Twitter chats are a great way to network on specific topics/industries.
Facebook pages help businesses share information to fans. Although it has become more pay to play, you can highly target customers based on many demographics and reach them for a $5.00 boosted post. It is still one of the best targeted ways to reach new prospects.
LinkedIn is a business network - be sure your business has a page and that your profile is fully complete. Join a few industry groups and be sure to add value when you share information.
Instagram is a photo-based network - if you have anything visual to share about your business that helps tell your story, this is the ideal network.
The problem with small businesses is that they don't typically have a marketing department to focus on messaging and social media. A marketing contractor can help you create messaging to tell your business story and share it through proper channels including social media. Although networks may be free, it takes time, money and resources to create a steady social media strategy.
If you are on a budget, then setting up a schedule where you are emailing customers and prospects with an informative article in a newsletter each month and communicating this on social networks is a great starting point.
Adding content to your website in the form of a blog improves how your website ranks on search engines. You also set up a steady stream of content in which you can share to the media as well as on social channels.
Learn how I can help you build your business through marketing and social media today. Contact me for a consultation.
What are your marketing goals for 2016? We are halfway through the year - have you stepped back and looked at your marketing strategy lately? Is your business achieving what you set out to accomplish this year?
Take a look at what has been working and what hasn't in your business. How are sales? Do you need a jump start with your marketing? Has it fallen through the cracks even though you have good intentions?
There are lots of things you can do to step up your marketing game during the slower days of summer. You can organize and clean up your database and marketing list. Refresh and renew your newsletter and update your website to make sure your news is current. Have you reached out to your local media lately? Sharing news and becoming an expert source is a valuable relationship that can last a long time.
Whatever help you may need in marketing, public relations or social media for your small business, contact me to get going and start building your business and meeting your goals today.
There are many things you can be doing to market your business locally, regionally and nationally depending on your target audience. If you are too busy to take these tasks on, don't be afraid to outsource to someone for marketing help.
Even if it is a small step like outsourcing your email newsletter marketing and social media strategy. Making sure your website is up to date with news and even a blog.
Hiring a marketing consultant can ensure that someone is focused on getting the word out on your business while you make sure the company keeps going.
Many small businesses don't have a marketing department or personnel and the owner typically takes on the marketing responsibilities. Then it gets lost in the shuffle and things start to fall through the cracks. Contact me for help to build your small business brand today!
Spring is a good time to do some cleaning in your marketing and PR for your small business. Here are a few tips to make sure your small business marketing engine is running smoothly.
The holidays will be here in a few short weeks. Shoppers have begun some form of holiday shopping since Halloween. Is your small business ready?
Here are a few things to check for your holiday marketing plan.