Only a third of small businesses will survive for more than ten years, while half will only reach five.
That sounds scary!
But, that doesn’t mean your business is doomed.
As a small business owner, you’ve already got your hands full. You play the role of a manager, a regular employee, and you may be in charge of HR as well.
The last thing you want to worry about is figuring out how to make the marketing work for you, right?
But, here’s the thing: Marketing is a crucial element for your business’s success.
In other words, if done right, marketing is what will make your business go past that 10-year mark. But, how can you do that?
Let’s take a look.
1. Create a Website
For starters, you’ll need to have a website.
At first, creating a website for your business might seem unnecessary. After all, you’re not running an online store. So why would you need it, right?
First off, your website will be the hub of all of your other marketing strategies. If you’re running ads, you’ll need a landing page.
When posting on social media, linking to your website is a good idea to get potential customers to learn more about you.
In other words, regardless of where they find you, users will look for your website to find out more about you.
Secondly, a good website will help you stand out from the competition, as it reflects on your brand and tells your story.
Although there are plenty of quick and easy ways to set up a website, if you want to be serious about your marketing, you’ll need to be serious about your website.
Consider hiring an agency for the task, and local agencies yield the best results because they know your local market best.
Start with a Google search; if you live in Chicago, type “web design Chicago” in the search box and choose the best partner for your needs.
2. Set Up a Google My Business Profile
Google My Business is a tool you’ve got to have in your arsenal.
This allows you to create a business profile and listings that will appear in Google Maps and the local section of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Consequently, Google My Business will increase the online visibility of your business. And given that 46% of all Google searches have local intent, this tool might bring you significant profits.
What’s more, setting up a Google My Business account is free.
3. Optimize Local Directories
You shouldn’t rely entirely on Google My Business, though. There are plenty of directories that consumers visit to look for businesses that might solve their problems.
That said, you should focus on them as well.
Start by creating listings on major websites like Yelp, Glassdoor, or Yellow Pages, for example. That’s because smaller directories will pull data from bigger websites.
In other words, you’ll get to feed two birds with one seed.
In the next step, you should optimize those listings. Make sure to fill in every form field in your directory profiles, collect reviews and add photos. This will make your business appear more trustworthy in front of your audience.
Also, make sure that all your information is consistent across all of your listings and on your website.
For example, if a user sees one phone number in one of your listings and another on your website, your business might come off as illegitimate. It’s bad for SEO as well.
Finally, ask for reviews. 78% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as the recommendations they get from their friends or family.
That said, getting positive reviews will bring you profits.
But, requiring users to post them or giving them something in return will likely make your reviews appear fake. Other users will be able to tell if that’s the case.
Instead, you should wait for the reviews to come naturally or ask your previous customers to review their experience via a follow-up email.
4. Focus on Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the process of getting your company’s website to rank high in the SERP.
The higher your website is on the SERP; the more people will click on it.
Common SEO tactics involve optimizing your website’s loading speed, going mobile-friendly, optimizing meta descriptions, meta titles, inserting targeted keywords in specific parts of your web pages, etc.
Experts at Digital Silk, a design agency in Miami, say that SEO can be especially beneficial for local businesses. That’s because your website will benefit from double exposure by ranking high in the SERPs while also appearing in the local section. Consequently, you’ll generate more traffic.
5. Start Blogging
Blogging is a great way to connect with your audience and earn their trust.
That’s because, by writing content in the form of how-to guides on how to maintain your products, for example, you’ll bring more value to your visitors besides the products you offer.
Thus, you’ll influence the consumers’ decision-making process.
What’s more, Google loves content. So, by posting informative, high-quality articles, your website will likely rank higher in the SERPs.
But don’t forget to insert your keywords correctly. Rather than stuffing them into your content, you should try to insert them naturally by providing some context around them.
6. Be Active on Social Media
Social media is a great way to promote your brand to local customers.
That’s because social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc., allow you to stay in touch with your audience, maintain existing customers engaged, draw new potential customers to your business and drive more traffic to your website.
So make sure to post consistently on your social media accounts.
For example, you could share snippets of your blogs. This way, you’ll be able to give your users more value while also drawing them to your website
You could also post behind-the-scenes content where you’d show how your business works. This humanizes your brand, earning your audience’s trust as a result.
7. Collaborate With Local Influencers
Speaking of social media, that’s where influencers are.
Why are they such a big deal?
They are social media personalities that have a large and highly engaged following. They are usually viewed as experts within their niche.
So by working with them, you might attract a part of their following to your business.
But, that doesn’t mean you should work with any influencer you can find. Take some time and shortlist a few influencers that work within the same niche as you.
Then familiarize yourself with their accounts on all social media platforms and see which one fits with your brand the best.
8. Implement a Referral Program
Referral programs will do the job of trying to acquire new customers much easier. That’s because you won’t have to do any work. You’ll hand over the task to your customers instead.
But, creating a successful referral program isn’t just a matter of asking your customers to bring their friends in. It’s a little more than that.
You’ll need to offer an incentive for both your existing customers and the new ones.
For example, you could integrate a point system, where customers would earn points for each referral. After gaining a specific number of points, you could offer your customers something for free.
This also works great with a loyalty program.
Whereas for new customers, giving them a discount for their first purchase might be a good idea.
All in all, marketing your small business is not rocket science. Although you probably have your hands full, doing at least some of the things we mentioned above will be well worth it in the long run.
About the Author
Ellie is a long-time marketer, currently working as a freelancer in Miami, Florida. She is also a passionate writer and loves to explore new, innovative and digital news.
In her spare time she is an eco-activist. Editor at Digital Strategy One.