Jeff Bullas once said of marketing that “Less is more. Keeping it simple takes time and effort.” Entrepreneurs spend most of their time putting out fires and don’t have a lot of time to focus on the message they are sending to clients. The ‘less is more’ part of marketing sounds great, but ironically the time it takes to keep it simple is something many people are short on.
Keep it simple, see success.
In a startup’s early years, a marketing company or hired team most likely isn’t going to be on the cards. In this post, we will cover some tips and tricks on how to market your business in your spare time -if you can find any!
#1. Be social.
By being social, we of course include social media, but it also covers day-to-day routines. Get a box of branded cards and pens and keep them close at hand. While it may seem old-fashioned, people hold onto pens and are a conversation starter. Talk with those you meet and tell them about your project. From waiters to gas station attendants, by being personable you can create a lot of interest. The Balance Small Business writes that one of the top mistakes that small businesses make is “underestimating the power of word of mouth marketing.” It doesn’t matter that it’s your mouth doing the talking.
As far as social media goes, don’t make the mistake of posting just for the sake of posting. While something is better than nothing, be sure to actually engage with others. Simply posting status updates can be self-defeating in the long run. The beautiful thing about social media is that it only takes a few minutes to start an engaging conversation, and can be accomplished while waiting for a dinner order or getting a haircut. Just remember to focus on the engagement, not the posting.
#2. Tell your story.
Well, maybe not everything about your day, but enough to build a personality on your website. Talk about the plans your business has, where you want to go, what you want to do. Let the blog become a journey about a small business and the trials it faces. Readers want to help those who help themselves, and by putting a name and a face to a brand people will be more inclined to choose your company over competitors. As Andrew Davis, once called the second most influential content marketer, said, “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”
Always maintain professionalism, but create a narrative for your business and help customers see that there are real people behind the brand. Create a page titled “Meet Our Team” and include quotes and images for employees. Paint a portrait of a fun place to work, and then it logically follows that your business is also a fun place to shop.
#3. Get involved.
It’s interesting how much money we will spend on search engine optimization before helping local charities and fundraisers. By chipping in for local events, a business not only benefits from the fuzzy feel goods and local exposure, but it also gets something to talk about online that will interest readers.
Rather than searching for the right topic or image to rally interest, local events have already captured your audience. Those involved will share the photos and excitement online, and poof, before you know it, you have widely shared content for the time it took to play a round of golf or walk in a marathon.
#4. Give it away.
People love free stuff. And we like to brag about the free stuff we get. It really is as simple as that. Contests, giveaways, promotions – they run themselves. All you need to do is supply the prize. Also consider teaming up with other companies to create package giveaways. A collaboration can create an entire marketing campaign for the cost of the prize.The businesses you team up with will run the promotion on their own social channels, tagging your company all the way.
#5. Check Pingdom.
Pingdom is an amazing and incredibly simple way to test a website. Beyond the analytics and statistics of it all, fast websites perform better in sales and search engines. It’s just a fact.
Simply enter a URL and press “Start Test”. In a few moments, you will have a full report of how the website is loading, as well as tips on how to make the website faster. Often, website owners will get caught up in the miniscule tasks of perfecting a site, forgetting the big picture. Pingdom can help keep your true goals in sight.
The average website is now 3MB, up from 2MB three years ago. Page bloat should be a real concern as your business grows, because all of that bloat takes time to load. See a helpful, visual blog post about the issue from Speed Curve.
While we have only covered a few of the simple ways to help market a business, the most important thing to remember is to become your business’s biggest promoter. Those who feel like they spend all of their time behind a screen are missing out on working with others – a major part of being a successful entrepreneur. Get out of your comfort zone and talk to people. Your bottom line will thank you.