There was a time when your name alone could help attract new customers if you have built up that reputation in your town. Where I am from, we call that ‘street credit’. In this day and age ‘street credit’ will only take you so far. People who may be looking for you can Google your business or what problem they are trying to solve faster than they can locate someone who can refer your business. You have seen it with your own eyes. Convenience and speed will win every time. If service-based business owners continue to ignore online marketing they will have challenges sustaining or growing their business. Your competitors will adapt to the times and snag your potential customers.
Adding online marketing to the many things you currently do may sound overwhelming, and it can be, if you don’t have a strategy. However, if brand awareness and sales is your goal, investing time in building a presence online will be beneficial.
Here are 3 things you can do right now to become more present online. Have an updated website: When people are researching online the first thing they are going to do is type in the problem they are having or your company name. If they are typing in their problem and somewhere on your website you also address that problem, you have a good chance of popping up and higher chance of them visiting your website. Blogs are perfect for this reason.
Update your social media platforms: When your content is updated, especially on Facebook, your business page will come up when they are researching your company. This gives them a chance to learn a little more about who you are as a business.
Offer something: Once they get to your website, have something to encourage the visitor to take action. In doing this you increase your opportunity of turning that visitor into a potential customer. For example, enter your email address to receive a free 15 minute consultation. Taking your business online will also help to protect your business.
From what?... the ‘Freemium offers’. As apart of a marketing strategy many companies share free information on topics that bring value to their audience but is not their core business. For example a real estate agent, who sells houses, may also provide free credit repair workshops. They know their clientele needs to have good credit to buy a home, so it is a win-win. But what happens to the guy or gal whose business is based on helping people repair their credit. They have to step up their game and do more marketing to show why it is more beneficial to work with a specialist compared to working with a generalist, per se. You have to do the same. A great way to protect your business against companies that are giving away free information of what you do is to master content marketing. We will delve deeper into this topic shortly.
Let’s take a look at how different elements of online marketing can help improve brand awareness and sales. Social Media is usually one of the first things people think about when they are considering improving their online marketing strategy. When the content is great you will see people engaging with it by commenting, liking, and sharing. This engagement is improving your brand awareness. There are tools on the social media platforms that allows you to see how many people have seen your posts. For example, if Facebook shows your reach for a post is 2000, this means 2000 people have seen your message at least once. If you are going to invest your time, you want to find ways to ensure your efforts are yielding results. Content marketing is all about attracting your ideal client. You do this by sharing what you know with your target audience, giving them enough information about a problem or become aware of a problem, then giving them some tips on how to solve it. Most importantly, your content should encourage your readers to take an action where you can capture their email address or telephone number. This is one way to generate new leads for your service, which can potentially lead to a sale. Social advertising is an inexpensive way to improve your brand awareness for pennies on the dollar. It is a way for your target audience to see your message. Google Advertising is less expensive than traditional advertising. You can see how many times your ad has been seen and how many times people clicked your ad to go to your website. According to Wordstream the average click through rate for Google ads is 3.17%. This means for every 100 people who sees your ad 3 people will visit your website. As mentioned earlier if your website has a way to capture their details this can potentially lead to a sale. Email marketing is a great way to improve your sales. If you have been in business long enough and you have a customer base, my fingers are crossed that you have their email addresses and telephone numbers. Consumers prefer to hear from business they have done business with. When you have a new offering, a promotion, or want to upsell, email marketing is the most cost-friendly and quick way to improve your sales. Sales outreach is not an official online marketing element, however it is a strategy I recommend to each of my clients that have a sales goal. Sales outreach is where you directly contact your target audience. This can be done by phone, email, social media, mail etc. You can share some valuable content or attempt to earn their business. This is one element you have more control over. Yes, it can be time consuming, but sales lead to direct revenue for your business. It is worth investing time and money in this effort.
I recommend starting with your strongest areas of online marketing. Then add 2-3 other elements. When the different elements of online marketing are supporting the same goal it increases your chances of hitting your overall goal.
Sales Outreach is perfect when you want to have a conversation to get a direct answer on your what you are offering.
Email Marketing is a good piece to add if you want to offer something new to your current customers
Google Ads work well when trying to reach new markets.
Social Ads are good to use when wanting to reach your followers and new markets.
Social Media Marketing is wonderful if you want to make sure what you are offering is supported with additional information.
If time and resources are scarce, consider doing a short campaign to get things going. A campaign is having one central goal that you are trying to accomplish and using different avenues to help you support that goal. A good way to determine which elements to include in your campaign is to think a about what goals you have for the month or quarter.
A few things to consider before taking your business online, Set realistic expectations Do a SWOT Analysis Update website and social media profiles Setting realistic expectations is important. Marketing is a marathon and typically takes more time to see results. You may see quicker results with sales because you are in direct contact with the prospective buyer so it is more like a sprint. A solid campaign for a small business with limited resources, incorporates both.
Make sure your website and social media profiles are up to date with current information. If you are offering something new to the public, make it so the information can be found on both platforms. Your website should have a way people can leave their email address or number if they are interested. The goal is to increase the traffic of your site then convert them to leads. Before you make the mental and financial decision to invest in online marketing, consider doing a S.W.O.T analysis of your current marketing and sales efforts. A S.W.O.T. is identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Most businesses use it when they are thinking about adding a new product or getting into a new industry. I believe it can be used it can be used towards anything you think about doing new. Take a moment to see if investing in online marketing would be beneficial. Download the SWOT analysis worksheet by clicking here.
You have been in business for a long time. You have street credit now it’s time to stake your claim online. Adding online marketing will help to extend the longevity of your business. Online marketing will help your company be at the right place at the right time. When your potential customers are online they will be able to find you and understand why doing business with you is the solution to their problems. Make the investment to grow and protect your business. Let’s Grow!