In this day and age, marketing is growing increasingly important to small- and medium-sized businesses. Great marketing can lead to new customers, an engaged and appreciative fanbase, business referrals and partners, and much more. And though investing money into ad campaigns can lead to a steady increase in profits, not all marketing needs to make a dent in your wallet. Here, we’ll discuss a few ideas to help your marketing efforts.
1. Use social media
Whether you enjoy social media or are bothered by it, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Vine, and Pinterest are extremely important for small- to medium-sized businesses. These platforms not only get the word out about a business for free, they are a way for your customers to engage on a virtual level. Use these platforms to ask your customers (and prospective customers) questions about how to improve your brand, engage with other local businesses that may need your services or refer you to others, and post creative missives that will get more shares. Social media is a free way to get your name out there and get people talking.
2. Create ads that target specific needs
If you’re making a campaign on an online platform such as Google Adwords, it’s best to keep your targeted keywords very specific. You will get less views, true, but you’ll gain more traction and clicks if your ad offers something the viewer specifically needs. For example, if you’re a law firm that dabbles in all sorts of law, but you offer a particular service that not many firms have the credentials for, it would be best to advertise that particular service using appropriate keywords. Mention the unique and special things that you offer. The viewer is more likely to click on your ad if they already know that you have the qualified credentials and can offer exactly what they’re looking for.
3. Get creative
How you get creative depends on what kind of business you’re in. Think outside of the box! For example, if you own a hair salon, you might want to create a YouTube channel in which you offer weekly tips on how to style certain hair cuts, trim bangs, or properly do a blowout. If you’re a chef, maybe you can have a tasting party at your restaurant or host a Chamber of Commerce mixer — any sort of event where you can show off your culinary talents to prospective customers who haven’t tasted your cuisines yet. Get playful with collateral materials. For example, you may have seen the nerdy glasses and I Love Nerds buttons that Nerd Crossing passes out at events. They’re hits! And every time someone puts them on, they are reminded of our services.
4. Make your website (and SEO) perfect
A clean website that shows off your brand is extremely important. Your website should convey your personality, how you treat customers, what’s important to your business, and why you’re the best at what you do. Not only should it look good, but you should be using targeted keywords for search engine optimization (SEO) on every page, as well as links to other appropriate sites and pages, and a blog that you update at least once a month. We’ll have another blog post in the coming weeks going into details of how to improve your SEO, so stay tuned. In the meanwhile, if you have any questions about how to improve your website, we offer free web consultations for all Bay Area businesses!
5. Create newsletters
Newsletters are a great way to reach out to existing customers and let them know about how your business is doing, any sales or events you may be having and anything else you want to share with them. Keep your newsletters light and fun, which will get them to continually read them and click on links. Put options on your social media accounts and website that will allow people to sign up for your newsletters if they don’t already have them. Make sure to use an email marketing platform, such as Constant Contact or MailChimp. This will allow you to send out emails without being flagged as spam, and will provide you with analytics so you can see how many opens you are getting, who is unsubscribing and much more.
6. Attend mixers
Sign up for your local Chamber of Commerces and business networking groups. They’ll usually have several mixers per month, during which you can meet with other local business owners and market your services. If you want to get to know a new crowd, check out local events that pertain to your business at Meetup.com. There, you can browse through hundreds of upcoming events in your area. Prepare a business special or sale for people you meet from events — if you have collateral materials advertising these specials, you’ll not only grab the attention of new connections, but will provide them with a reminder that your business is ready and waiting for them.
If you have any questions on marketing or how to improve your marketing plan, please don’t hesitate to contact the Nerds. We offer free marketing consultations for small- to medium- sized businesses in the Bay Area!