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5 Small Business Marketing Strategy Tips in 2019

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Posted on : 07/10/2019

Small businesses, whether you’re at zero revenue and just starting, or you’ve hit that seven figures, million dollar mark, your marketing tactics to grow in scale are going to be slightly different than bigger companies. In this article, we’re going to give you the 2019 guide on how to squeeze every rand out of your marketing spend. The main reasons why businesses fail is typically because of sales.

The reason for that is because if you’re an owner/operator, you can’t run the business and do all the sales, and do the work, and hire the team, and do all that stuff. And then once you bring people in, you’re still going to have to run the business, make sure that the customers are happy, whether it’s a product or a service that you’re offering, and still do revenue, and sales, and marketing, and all that stuff.

So there’s just too much to handle. That’s why a lot of companies that have two partners, one person is the operations guy, the other person is the sales and marketing person. So, if you look at the reason why companies fail to be sales, you have to try and develop a strategy of how you’re going to scale and how you’re going to be consistent early on. So that way you don’t reach a point where you hit that plateau, and then you’re kind of scrambling to try and develop this strategy and walk through these different steps that we’re going to go through while you’re trying to run the business.

Because what’s going to end up happening is you’re going to reach a point where you don’t have enough revenue, and you’re not growing fast enough, you’re too busy focusing on the client side, and then you’re going to have to take a step back and focus on the sales side, which then the clients won’t get the service. So it’s just a hot mess. So it’s a different strategy when you’re looking at a larger business, a larger corporation that has a bigger budget versus you small businesses. You have to be extremely nimble and frugal with your spend. You have to know exactly what steps you want to go through. You want to know what’s important, what’s not. You’re hearing all this stuff out there about, “You should try this. You should try that.” We’re going to walk through the five tips to make sure that you don’t get to that point where you’re one year, two year, three years down the road, and then your business has to close because you don’t have revenue.

So we want to build a foundation strong on those pillars, and then that way you can continue to scale it, and it’s just a machine that you keep having fed so that way you don’t have to worry about it as much. So starting with the first thing is going to be your website. Your website is, whether it’s an e-commerce website and you’re doing a product and you’re doing direct to consumer, or whether it’s a service-based business that you offer business to consumer, business to business. Your website is the foundation and the forefront of your company.

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This is what people are going to do and the experience that they get once they go to your website is going to then determine whether or not they want to learn more and potentially reach out to you and fill out a call to action or pick up the phone and call you. You have to invest the time and the money into the website to get it right first. The main two aspects that you need to focus on being a small business is, number one, nobody knows about you, so you have to focus on SEO. For help with SEO, click here.

This is not something if you’re willing to do the work yourself, you can do tons of research and figure out and read, and watch videos, and listen to stuff about SEO to become somewhat of an expert, just for your own small business. Or if that doesn’t interest you, you need to bring somebody in from the outside that knows this, because from the beginning, once you have that URL, that domain, you have a trust score of zero. Whereas, you look at large media companies and large publications, and people like Forbes, stuff like that, they have a higher domain authority. Which means that when something gets posted to it, Google recognizes it and respects it faster.

You start at zero. You have nothing. Even if you’re three years old, you’re very low on the domain authority. You have to make sure that your SEO is tight to begin with, so bringing in somebody to set that up, and bringing in somebody to preferably build a website is going to be a smart move. It’s going to be money that you only really have to invest once, once you get it set up, and then a couple years later you might want to update it if styles or trends change, or if you change your services, or your products.

That’s perfectly normal in the small business world. But investing the money, don’t get sticker shock when somebody says, especially an agency says, it’s going to be three, four, five, seven, R10,000 for your site. Don’t be shocked by that. I would say that you would be less likely to find a very good freelancer that can do everything, you may be able to find somebody that can do a site for you for R1500, or two grand, but is it going to be with all the customization, bells and whistles, how much experience do they have working with bigger companies and taking those tactics down, and using them on a smaller business? And how much experience do they have on SEO? Because usually most web development freelancers, when you ask ’em, “What do you know about SEO?” They’re going to say, “I know the basics of what should happen.” You want somebody that can do both of those, so most likely, your first website, I know you don’t want to spend the money. You maybe throw something up yourself for right now, but you need to get an agency to do it.

So with that website, once you get that up and running, and it’s been optimized, and it looks good, the other aspect of it … ’cause I said there was two, one being SEO … the other side of it’s going to be user experience. How does somebody flow through it? Are you capturing their information? Is it easy for them to go from one point to another? If you’re in e-commerce, is it easy for them to add your products to the cart? What’s the checkout process? How painful is it? If you’re a service-based business that deals with consumers, how quick, how easy is it for them to book an appointment with you, to come in to whatever it is that you do? Your retail shop, to get directions, to come into your dentist shop, or your …

Whatever it is that you’re servicing, how easy is it for them to book an appointment? That’s going to be number one most important. You need to have hot links, and this availability all over the place, because you do not want somebody to be fumbling around through their phone or scrolling through on their desktop, trying to figure out, well how do I even see these guys? The other aspect of it’s going to be that most likely, and I know that you probably heard this statistic before, that most search traffic is through mobile these days, it’s more than 50%.

In your space, if you’re doing services to consumers, or if you’re doing products to consumers, it is most likely more than 50%. Some of the B2B stuff, it is not, so don’t always believe that. At our agency, the clients that we serve, whether they’re small or large, if it’s B2B, it’s usually still about 70%, 60 to 70% of their traffic comes through desktop. So you don’t have to worry as much about the mobile experience. It still should be good, but you don’t have to necessarily dump tons of cash into it to optimize it. Just keep things clean and simple. But if you’re on the consumer services side, if you have a business where people are going to be coming into the door, and you’re going to be servicing them, or if you have products, then yes, it is probably 60, 70, 80% of your traffic is on mobile. Think about that when you’re developing it, hopefully the agency’s done research, and they understand that, that you’re using.

So that way they can develop it with a mobile list, mobile friendly in mind from the beginning. Put less content, don’t worry as much about desktop, less clutter space, and keep everything smooth and easy, so it’s going to be developed mobile first. So if the SEO is done right, then that’s kind of the second point. So the second aspect that a lot of people are going to fail at, or is going to hinder you, is the on-page SEO, what’s on your site and how it’s done is the utmost importance to start getting Google to rank you, but then continuing to follow up with that when you create content, and any updates continuing to track and measure your SEO, and see how it’s performing. Otherwise, you’re just going to be saying, I’m on page five of Google, I’m on page 10 of Google, and I’m not moving up. A lot of times people are going to forget to go back and look at that. You need somebody that’s paying attention to that. We use systems here to automate part of that tracking, and then we look through the data to track and monitor on a daily and weekly basis, to make sure that you’re moving into the right direction.

But somebody has to be monitoring that. You may not think SEO’s as important, or people aren’t going to Google search for me, or my product, service, whatever is different, there’s no competition. I had clients say that to me this week, potential customers that I had said, “What I do, and what I offer, there is no competition.” Well there is, because the competition is going to be whatever the market is used to doing. If you’ve got something new and exciting and fancy, that’s great, but if people aren’t Google searching that, then your competition is what they are searching for, which is the older technology. Older methodology, or way of doing what it is that you’re doing. So think that you may not have any direct competitors that are doing exactly what you’re doing, but you do have competitors that are thinking of the old school mindset, or older school mindset, that are searching for the older way of doing it.

So that is your competition. So setting up your SEO to go after that is going to be way more beneficial to you to draw that traffic in, and bring them into your awareness, and into your pipeline, then it is just to say, “I don’t have competition, if you search this phrase, then I show up first, and that’s it.” That’s fine, but if nobody’s searching that phrase, then yes, you will show up first very quickly.

The next area you’re going to want to get into is the social side. So, whether you’re B2C, B2B, there is going to be a different play here, whether it’s LinkedIn Facebook, or Instagram kind of as the pillars. Forget about Twitter. In all of my videos, whenever we talk about social, I always say forget about Twitter ’cause it’s just not going to be effective. So if you’re B2B services, facility services, or any sort of B2B services, you want to focus a ton of your time on LinkedIn, and less on Instagram or Facebook, unless you have content that is applicable to there. Most likely, the first thing you have to do is look at, where is the time spent for my target demographic? Are they more likely on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram? And Facebook and Instagram you can kind of play together, into the same world, but if you have products, or videos, or things like that imagery, you’re going to want to push harder on Instagram than you would on Facebook. So once you figure out, where is their attention, now it gets time to actually doing the work.

At the end of the day, all these points have the same thing in mind, either you have time to do it yourself, or you have money to pay somebody else to do it. So it’s time, or money. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, then get ready to spend some money to have somebody do it for you, but don’t nitpick over the fact that you’re paying somebody to do it, and that you could do it better. If you’re going down that path, which a lot of small business owners will do, is they’re going to say, “I could do it better,” then do it. Don’t bitch about it, just do it and see if you could do it better than whoever you’re using. But if you don’t have the money to spend, you’re doing it yourself, think of it like this: you need to do multiple posts a week on social.

This doesn’t have to be anything crazy fancy to start off with, but if you are an established business, you need to have custom branded graphics, which are an image with words on it, and things are blurred out, and there’s colors, and there’s a logo. And you’re trying to get that brand awareness out there. That needs to be done on a weekly basis, and you need to be posting multiple times a week to get that brand awareness and consistency out there, because you’re not going to be drawing new people in if you don’t have, already you have content up there.

Posting once a week isn’t going to work. Posting cheesy videos, or cheesy memes, or images of a movie with text on it, that is not going to be as effective. It may seem cute and funny, most likely you’re going to get that not much engagement. If you’re starting off and you don’t have many followers, and you have to hustle to get followers, on LinkedIn you use your personal LinkedIn to push your company page to get followers for the B2B guys out there. For B2C, you’re going to want to run a light Facebook ad campaign. If you have 3000 friends on Facebook, you can certainly invite them to like the page, but if they’re not people that you’re going to sell to, it’s not really going to do you any good. So you need to budget for some money spending on some Facebook brand awareness campaigns to get new traffic and new eyes and new attention onto your Facebook company page. So that way, you can get people liking it, and you have some sort of feed. Same thing on Instagram, you start with zero followers, push out to your friends, ask for family, when people come into the office if you’re servicing them from a B2C standpoint, ask them to follow you on Instagram, follow you on social, do some giveaway to get them to do that, so that way you now have their attention in their feed when you want to execute on content later.

But at the end of the day you have to focus on social, this is the only way that you can quickly get out to a lot of people at once with little cost, because you can do all the work yourself, and you can do it organically. You don’t necessarily have to pay money to have somebody do that, or pay money for advertising if you’re willing to put in the work, or if you have the skills to do it. If you don’t have the skills, it’s not worth the time.

If you think that you suck at writing things, and you think that you suck at doing creative graphics, and you don’t know how to do that as well, then don’t do it, ’cause it’s just going to delay the inevitable, which is that you’re going to have to pay somebody to do it. The next tip number four is going to be, you have to make content. Content, content, content. You have to make a ton of it. Written word with articles, blog posts on your website, long form posts on social, whether it’s Instagram or Facebook.

Writing 1200 characters or whatever the limit is, writing 400 words in there, filling it up, using hashtags appropriately. You have to put in the work and push that content out there, after you create it. So it’s whether it’s an article that can be use as a blog post, or it’s a video, you have to create content. The most effective ways going to be doing it, is going to be video. And we were just talking with somebody the other day, and I said, basically, the space that you’re in is open for the taking to where you can, if you produce a lot of content, make enough noise and be known as the expert in this person’s space, because nobody else is doing it.

Same thing with a lot of these B2C service industries, and markets, there’s not people that are noisy enough. They’re just posting static image content out there, whereas video is going to get more engagement, and it’s going to get more attention on the social platforms. From a video standpoint, you don’t have to get fancy, you don’t have to have somebody that does it for you. You can literally just keep it simple and get a tripod for your phone, shoot it on your phone. Make sure that the camera is steady, and make sure it’s in landscape mode. For some platforms, vertical mode, portrait mode for other platforms. Just, it’s all about the content and the relevancy. Don’t worry about it being lengthy, you can get there.

Start with something that’s a minute long, 30 seconds long, two minutes long, and just work your way up. It’s going to be weird at first, being on camera, but once you get over that, and you realize that that is really what you look like, and that is really what you sound like, and those weird things you do with your hands and your face, is part of you, and stop critiquing yourself, focus on the quantity of content you can make, not the quality. It does not have to be perfect, because you want to push out as much as possible. If you’re a new business, you’re starting from zero.

Even if you’re an established business, and you have no brand awareness on these platforms, you’re essentially starting from zero. You have to make a lot of content. Once you make that content, the fifth point is going to be the distribution of the content. So, once you make it, you need to share this out there. The cheapest way for you to do it is going to be posting it organically on social, that’s going to cost you time. If you can bring in an agency, even an agency like ours that can do this for you, we post it out on social, it needs to go on your website, you need to be doing some sort of email marketing capture so that you can push it out through email marketing. But you have to have some distribution plan in place.

If you don’t, then you’re going to write a piece of content, shoot a piece of content, distribute it and then stop. And then three days later maybe you do something else, or you say, “Oh, it didn’t work,’ or, “I put it out there and nobody really responded or engaged.” You’re not going to get these home run hits off the bat. You’re going to be focusing on chipping away and continuing to produce content, and you’re going to get shit for views, and you’re not going to get a lot of engagement in the beginning. But as you become more and more consistent and keep pushing that out there, then you will start to see some of the engagement come back.

It’s a game of patience. You don’t want to make decisions today that are just looking at effecting next week. You want to think about the long-term, months down the road, years down the road, and start building up this brand, and building up this consistency and this muscle memory, because that is what’s going to get you there. If you’re always making decisions on tomorrow, then you’re not going to be able to see the trees for the forest, and you’re only going to be focused on what you have to do right now, which is like, firefighting mode. So planning out this strategy to say, “All right, I’m going to make content. I’m going to do video because I’m comfortable on video,” or if you’re not comfortable on video, and you hate it, then go with articles. They still work, they’re still effective, people still read. But just make a ton of ’em. At a minimum level, a couple a week, when you’re just getting started. At a maximum, I mean, do them every day if you can.

If you have the time, or if you’re paying somebody to do it for you, do it every single day, at least five days a week. That’s the way you’re going to get that noise out there but then distributing it, you have to distribute it. Social/organic, or through email marketing, but putting it on your site. That way when traffic goes to your site, they can see that you’re making content. When it shows up in their organic feed, they can see you’re making content. Once you get past that point and you want to get into advertising, the most effective spend’s going to most likely be Facebook or Instagram ad spend, because it’s a cheap cost per click, cost per impression. LinkedIn, we do a ton of it for some of our bigger clients, it’s very expensive. So for small businesses, that may not be the path to go down if you’re less than let’s say, seven figures, or less than a half a million in revenue, LinkedIn’s expensive. So, when you create this content, now you have something that you can then advertise with. If you don’t have the content, then you have nothing to advertise, you have no post to do, it’s just going to be an image or words, if you’re shooting video that’s going to be much more effective for the advertising aspect, but that’s down the road.

We don’t want to focus on advertising now, but at least you’re creating content that you can use in the future, or you can send to your agency, and say, “Hey, chop up this video content, and create me a 60 second loop video that looks better, and put some subtitles on it,” and then run an ad to your target demographic on Facebook or Instagram. That’s gonna be effective, but you gotta shoot the content first. And if you don’t have the money to do all that, you gotta do it all yourself. So, those are the five tips of where you can get started from.

We’ll dive deeper into it, into specific niches, and specific size of businesses, because you’re going to want different tactics for different things. Whether it’s a proprietary service that you’re doing, whether it’s social focus or website and email, there’s a lot of different ways to skin this cat, but this is just to get you started looking at, all right, in 2019, what do I need to change? Or if you just started your business, what path should I go down? Hopefully these five tips brought you some sort of value, so if it did, hit that like button. If you guys have questions or want me to dive deeper into a subject, leave it in the comments below, and we will see you on the next one.

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