Where do I begin?
It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to marketing your business. Marketing encompasses so many different things that it is easy to get bogged down by it all. Here we go through the main elements that make up a solid marketing strategy for your business. These are all things you can do yourself that will save you money and get you more visibility online leading to more business in the long run - sounds good right?
1. Marketing Audit
First things first. Give your business a 'marketing audit'. This isn't as scary as it sounds. It's really a case of looking at all the platforms that you have currently and what use you are getting from them. We usually suggest an Excel list of all of these that you can easily add to. Then it's time to think about the platforms that you are not using but that you would like to (maybe there are none, maybe there are lots). Look at where your marketing can improve. Do you have content that you regularly share? Are you active on social media? Do you have a website? If so is it SEO optimised? And finally look at why you're not currently doing these things. It could be a time issue (the number one reason we hear from business owners when it comes to not marketing their business effectively). Or maybe it's a resources issue. The good news is that there really is an answer to all of those and we're here to give you some tips on what you can do yourself to get started.
2. Use online tools to your advantage
There have never been so many free and subscription tools on the market for business owners looking to boost their marketing. These tools can save you time and money. From scheduling tools, to image creation tools, analytics tools and everything in between. Many of these can be so useful. We especially love tools that automate things for us. This is where scheduling tools come in so handy. You just post your content for the next day/week or month and Voila it's posted for you automatically. We use Buffer but there are many out there. Another tool that we use is Canva which is great for creating images for your marketing without needing to be a graphic designer. It's really easy to use and has a free version.
We used it to create the image below...it took 3 minutes and 17 seconds....but for 2 minutes and 17 seconds we were daydreaming about cocktails on the beach.
3. Get on social media but....
We love social media - it's a great way to reach people that would otherwise never have heard of your brand but there is a but here...Get on social media but make sure you are sharing valuable content. People want to see interesting things on their social media channels. Too many businesses are on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use it only as a means of sending out advertising. This isn't going to work. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and think of things that you would like to see. For example have a live video of 'behind the scenes at a trade show' or give 'sneak peaks' of new products that are going to be coming in store.
The next tips are for businesses that already have a website or they could be useful if you are planning on setting up a website soon.
4. Do some SEO research
SEO stands for 'Search Engine Optimisation', which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. It is really important that your business appears in the first few listings when customers search for specific search terms. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. If you were sitting in a cafe with your laptop and a coffee looking for your business what would you be likely to search for? Customers often won't use technical terms when searching for things. For example when people search for our business they often use the terms 'social media company' or 'marketing advice' rather than 'marketing consultancy'. Do a quick Google search and see what businesses appear and what terms they appear for. Make a note of these terms or use Googles keyword planner to help you.
5. Use Google Analytics
You can track almost everything a potential customer does on your website and this is such useful information but many businesses don't know what they should be tracking or how to even go about it. The best thing to do is familiarise yourself with Google Anaytics. This is a free tool from Google that allows you to see exactly what people are doing on your site. It will show you how many visitors you have, where those visitors come from and where they end up going on your site. A word of warning here - Google Analytics can seem a little overwhelming at first, there is a lot of information but once you identify what is most important for you to see eg. how many visits your product pages are getting you can focus in on those metrics. We will also be posting a step by step guide to Google Analytics in this series.
6. Start a Blog
This is so important and can also be really easy to do. No-one knows your business like you do and from that you most definitely have interesting insights to share on a blog. Not only will you be sharing your words of wisdom with the world, it will also benefit SEO if you use terms that your customers are searching for in your blog meaning more people will find your business - so what's not to love. Generally the advice is that blog posts should be between 500-1500 words. This allows you to get your point across while also mentioning your keywords and giving customers an interesting piece to read.