10 Easy Ways to Get Started on Marketing TODAY
70–80% of people research a company online before contacting a business, so why haven’t you made marketing a priority yet? As a small business owner, there’s a lot you have to do in order to keep your business running. But marketing is important to get more customers through the door, so you literally can’t afford to neglect it.
I recognize that marketing might seem overwhelming when you have so much other stuff going on. Here are 10 things you can do TODAY to get started with marketing for your small business, startup, or side-hustle.
Before you make a Facebook page or spend money on paid ads, make sure to do some research. Who is purchasing your product/service? Who is your ideal audience? Do you have competitors? Is your pricing competitive? Questions like this will help inform what marketing tactics will be the most effective for your business. That way, your efforts are not a waste of time or money.
Whether you’re just getting started or have been around for a long time, a website is a critical tool for your business. Think of your website as the 30 second elevator pitch you give at networking events; it gives people an idea of what your business is and what it offers. And just like an elevator pitch, your website shouldn’t be large and lengthy. To start out, at least have an about us/team page, a product/services page, and a contact us page. People want to get to know you, know what you offer, and how to contact you if they want it.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. There’s a lot you can do to get more organic traffic to your website but the minimum you need to start out is to make sure you’re adding meta titles and descriptions, adding alt text to images, adding internal links, and using keywords that your potential customers are going to use to search for a business like yours. This is merely touching the surface of on-site SEO, for more information, check out Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
4. Google My Business (GMB)
Google My Business is used for local, off-site SEO. GMB is a business profile that will show up on the search engine results page (SERP) when a user searches for a type of business using location parameters. For example, if you look for “plumber near me”, GMB plumber profiles will be one of the first results to show up. It’s important that you have a GMB profile and that you keep it updated with the most accurate business information including announcements, offers, and holiday hours. This will most likely be a potential customer’s first impression of your business, so make it count! If you’re a virtual business without a physical location, you can’t use GMB, unfortunately.
5. Social Media
There are a lot of social media sites and it would not be practical, nor useful, to have an account on all of them. Figure out where your potential customers are and go there. If you’re B2B, LinkedIn will probably be your best bet. If your target demographic is young adults, Instagram might be the way to go. Not only should you take your audience into consideration, but think about the type of content you’ll be able to offer. If you’re a florist or baker, you’ll have a lot of images you can share but you’ll probably have more text content to share as a marketing agency. The most popular sites are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Make sure to also research any industry specific sites as well. If you can put at least one hour into social media every day, you will see the connections you can make to prospective and current customers.
6. Email Marketing
Sending emails to past customers increases the chance of them returning as customers again. Think about sending special offers or company updates. These don’t need to be frequent but should be consistent. One of the most popular email marketing services is Mailchimp, which has free plan for up to 2000 contacts. I wrote a Getting Started With Email Marketing guide back in May that walks you through the steps to sending your first email to your mailing list. Make sure to check it out!
7. Review Generation
93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions, so it’s important to build up your reputation. Solicit feedback as reviews on Google, Facebook, etc. from past and current customers. Make sure to respond to any negative reviews as well. You’re not going to please everyone, but this shows that you care about the customer experience and are welcome to criticism. Reviews also help your local SEO as Google favors GMB and websites linked to good reviews.
Okay, I’m done talking about what you can do in the digital world. Now go out there and meet people! Not only can you meet other like minded individuals that can refer you to a colleague or friend that might need your product/service, you can also directly interact with the customers you’re looking for! A good way to start finding networking events is searching on Eventbrite, Facebook, or even in your local newspaper! There’s always something going around town, whether it’s business related or just fun get-togethers, where you can mingle with other people.
Find another business you can partner up with. EID Visions recently partnered up with a coworking space in Southern Maine, SoPoCoWorks. Having a presence in a space with other entrepreneurs while bringing in new businesses into the space for marketing workshops is beneficial for both of us. If you’re interested in partnering, it will definitely increase the exposure to both businesses and you’re able to share marketing efforts. Networking is a great way of finding a potential partner with a compatible business.
10. Word of Mouth/Referral
Last but not least, talk about your business any chance you get. Incentivize customers to refer your business to their friends and families. Plug your business in everyday conversation. Reply to a relevant tweet. Write a comment on a blog. Ask a colleague to refer you to anyone that is looking for your products/services. Any mention of your business will bring attention to what you offer to an audience that you may have never been able to reach through other tactics.
It’s That Easy
All of these marketing tactics take little time and little or no money. If you’re looking to dip your toe in marketing for your business, using any of what’s mentioned above will be a great way to start. Remember, make sure to keep track of what’s working and what’s not. A marketing strategy is not a static thing, it should constantly change, because your business and audience are constantly changing as well. As your business grows, make sure to always keep marketing as a priority.