With so many people telling you what and what not to do we decided to cut to the chase for some sure-fire, no-nonsense Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind for all of you over-achievers out there handling everything yourself.
Do grow lasting relationships; don’t focus on simply making a sale.
A company that stands the test of time is one built on a foundation of good quality goods or services, and lasting trust between them, and their customers. Build lasting relationships by seeking out the best ways to fulfill the needs of your customers. Making one sale may generate a little bit of income but meeting needs will create repeat customers that will spread the word, and bring you even more business.
Think about door to door salesmen. They don’t know you and you dont know them. What are the chances that you are going to hear out their entire speech, and end up buying from them? Actually, one study shows that people are approximately 98% likely to turn down a door to door sales pitch!
Do create a marketing strategy, don’t go over budget.
Creating a marketing campaign has never been easier. With apps like Google Analytics, AdobeExpress, Hubspot, Hootsuite, and MailChimp you can create, schedule, and post content to all of your social media accounts. With MailChimp, you can send email newsletters to your subscribers, customers, and partners. After a period of providing regularly scheduled content you can look at the data collected through your suite app, and learn when your target audience interacts the most with your content. Therefore this time is the ideal time that you should post your most important and/or newest information that you want people to know. You can also use apps like Google Analytics to see what pages on your website, and what promotional campaigns are performing the best.
Most of these are offered at very affordable rates. Even with a PayPerClick ad campaign, a scheduling app, creator apps, and an analytics program, you should only be looking at a few hundred dollars spent each month for the basics. However, 82% of small businesses fail because of handling cash flow poorly. One of the biggest aspects of maintaining a healthy business is knowing exactly how much money you have coming in and going out. Budgeting and bookkeeping are the 2 fail proof procedures that can keep you from becoming a part of the 82%. With multiple ad campaigns and other types of advertising you can easily spend more than you budgeted for. To make sure you keep yourself within your spending limits, a good guideline is to budget to spend about 7-8% of your gross income to get started. As you grow you can always add more room to the budget, but spending money you don’t have is sure to end in disaster for small businesses.
Do create content that will resonate with your target audience; don’t bombard them.
If you haven’t yet, check out our article “Social Media MGMT for Small Businesses.” Here is a snippet of what we discussed that is relevant to this topic. “Content is the information that you provide about your business through online media. Great content comes from providing a great product or service, and providing information about that product or service in a way that will stand out in the multitude of ads that bombard potential clients or customers 24/7. Content must be creative, captivating, and inspiring”
Focus on staying in the forefront of the mind of your audience by putting out content that offers value to them. Don’t post just for the sake of posting. If you are constantly pumping out meaningless content then your audience will be conditioned to scroll right past you- regardless of how many times they see you come up on their feed. Another easy way to lose the attention of your followers is to post 4+ times a day. 1 to 2 posts daily, with quality content is plenty to hold the spotlight on your post long enough to get your message across.
Do collect and observe data (Google Analytics); don’t simply copy what the top dogs are doing
While taking notes from those who have come up before you is valuable, it is not a quick track to ultimate success. Simply copying what the elite companies are doing will only get you so far. Separating yourself, and finding a niche is the best way for a small business to find success. To do this you must have a deep understanding of your target audience.
Data collection is important for obvious reasons. Learning what efforts have the greatest ROI, and cutting away the excess is a foolproof way to maximize your efficiency.
By simply copying and pasting a code from Google analytics into your website header you will have access to more data than you can wrap your head around. At first figuring out what pages, and content work the best will be a lot of trial and error. Once you have collected data for long enough though, you will be able to examine the numbers to see trends in what your customers react the best to.
Do utilize SEO; don’t forget about local advertising and word of mouth.
According to Hubspot, “46% of all google searches are looking for local information.” This statistic shows the need for local SEO. The more you show up in search engines, the more customers you will gain. However, while SEO, social media management, and digital marketing strategies have become increasingly important, they still don’t match up to the power of referrals. A survey by Small Business Trends shows that word of mouth referrals are still the number one way that small businesses gain new customers. 85% of small businesses gained customers from referrals, and only 59% gained customers through search engines! For many locally operated and owned businesses being involved in the community can be one of the best ways to attract local customers. Attending school sports games, setting up a booth at community events and fairs, and donating to local charities and school fund raisers are all great ways to get involved.
So while SEO is important to a local marketing strategy, there is no substitute for creating lasting connections through being involved with your local community, and the referrals you gain through them.