At the end of the day, the point of marketing is build brand awareness and, ultimately, increase sales.
But what does a successful marketing strategy look like?
Too many small businesses owners don't have a marketing strategy, let alone do they know whether it's working or not. It's difficult to know where to start, whether you want to spend ("waste") time and money when you don't know what the return will be.
ShopPros is happy to provide a few ideas on some straightforward places to start today, using tools you already have, that will not cost you a lot of time or money.
1. Website & Web Presence
One of the first things to look at is your website. The possibilities with websites are endless, and most businesses (should) have a website anyway - so revamping your website to use it as a marketing tool can take a small amount of time, some creativity and a bit of polishing.
It's not enough to just have a website, which is where many businesses fall short. Too often, websites become stagnant. A website needs to stand out - and that means your website needs to be different than the majority of the other 644 million active websites.
One way to do this is to make sure your website is dynamic. Your website needs to be constantly updated - this is a signal to search engines like Google and Bing that there is relevant and valuable content on your site that is consistently updated and maintained. Search engines favour this, and staying on top of your website can help bring it to the top of search results. These changes can be small- a new employee, office expansion, monthly deals - the important thing is avoiding your website getting lost in growing number of stagnant websites.
Additionally, this day and age, there are dozens of programs that make it easy to upload content onto your own site no matter your level of experience, so you don't have to hire a designer for frequent minor changes.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You've heard of SEO, you know it's powerful - but what does it really mean for your business?
Search Engine Optimization is maximizing the number of visitors to a website by making sure the website shows up near or at the top of the list in a search engine. You want your shop to be on the first page of Google, not hiding on the 2nd page, or anywhere after it.
Boosting SEO may seem confusing or even downright scary. But it's fairly simple - at ShopPros we think of SEO as visiting a library, with 3 important things to keep in mind when aiming to boost your ranking:
- Discovery: This is finding the book in the library. Is your website set up with meta tags, descriptions, informative text?
- Relevance: Categorizing the books in the library. Does your website provide what it says it does?
- Authority: This is where the library decides which books to feature, based on the author's reputation- how many times they've been 'cited' by the author. Has your company been cited?
If you can gain control over these three things, you have a competitive edge; you're bound to increase your search engine ranking.
3. Staying Relevant
Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) are free marketing tools at the hands of all business owners.
But we've seen the same situation time and time again. Somebody created your business' Instagram or Twitter or LinkedIn account years ago. It hasn't been updated since 2016.
Social Media Marketing doesn't work unless you work it. Much like your website, you can't let your social media pages go dormant.
The second problem we see with Social Media Marketing is that, though pages are created with the best of intentions, there was never a plan in place on the reasoning behind the pages or the end goal.
Do you have a social media business account just... because? Would you like to attract more customers? Lose less customers? Increase the loyalty of your best customers?
The answers to these questions will determine which direction you take with your Social Media Marketing, what type of posts you make, and will give you a benchmark so you know whether your efforts are accomplishing your business goals.
No matter your goals, though, there are a few things to always remember:
Digital Marketing Tips
- People are most likely to engage if they don't have to turn their sound on to get the message. This may mean adding closed captioning to your videos if you need to, but having to turn the sound on is enough for somebody to scroll past your post.
- Keep videos short. In this fast-paced age of high-speed everything, people won't stay engaged for more than a few minutes, no matter the material. Keep videos short and get your message out quickly and succinctly.
- Keep your content relevant. People will not engage unless they have a reason to, and they need to feel they are getting something in return for their time.
The final most important piece of advice is to always, always track your results. There is no silver bullet formula when it comes to marketing of any kind. What works for one shop or business may not work the same way in another.
You should be on top of social media reporting, website analytics, and engagement at all times so that you can continue to do what works and cease what doesn't.
This is the only way you can tailor a marketing plan for your industry, your customers and your business.
Visit www.shoppros.com for more information, tips and tricks, and regular blog posts.