Recently I’ve had some people come to me for help with social media. They made up their mind and they were ready to get started with social media! But wait, I had one major question for them: what are you doing now to grow your business?
It’s amazing how many people want to jump into social media marketing without having done any branding, traditional marketing, sales, PR, advertising or SEO. If you haven’t built a foundation for your business, social media may not be the answer for you (yet). I can’t stress this enough: social media is a marketing tool of communications. It can enhance your business and make it better, but it is not a sales mechanism (although it can bring in sales). You need to focus on developing the following FIRST in order to be successful with your business:
Come up with a unique branding strategy. Do your research – what do people want in a brand? When people think of your brand, what do you want them to think and feel? Focus your brand around that. Your brand should resonate throughout every aspect of your business: visual, products, customer service, marketing and sales.
A website can make or break your business. Consumers are very quick to judge based on the quality and ease of your online storefront. Please, whatever you do, do NOT skimp on your website. Do your research, ask for referrals and ask to see the designers previous work. Talk to at least 5 different web designers before you chose to work with someone. Find someone who is sales savvy and will create you a good lead generation page. You do want those visitors to turn into customers, don’t you?
One more tip: find a web designer who will teach you how to upload content yourself. You don’t want to be going to them every time you need to make a change to your website. That will cost you extra.
I feel like I always mention this – but when you’re first starting out, it’s important to have people who will spread the word about your business. Hook in some brand advocates by giving away some free products or services initially, and be sure to WOW them. If you do, they will surely tell everyone about you. Think of it as your intro to word of mouth marketing – you have to get people talking about you somehow!
People seem to forget that traditional marketing is still around because the internet is stealing all its thunder. And while yes, I believe that traditional marketing can be expensive and sometimes ineffective, it’s important to look into the options and find out if it makes sense for your business. If you’re on a very low budget, consider getting fun refrigerator magnets made (everyone still has a fridge, right?) or a mailer that actually provides value to your potential customers. Just be sure to have a good sense of distribution – you don’t want your direct mail piece to go to someone who won’t use your product/service. Some other inexpensive traditional marketing tactics include the Yellow Pages, putting flyers around town and ads in your local publications.
Online Advertising & SEO
Online advertising has come a long way since the 1990’s, when flashy banner ads would drive you crazy! Now you can target your ads so the right people see them. Set a small budget to put towards Google ads and ads on local blogs/publications. It will help drive traffic to your beautiful, lead-converting website.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Basically, these are tactics that will help your website come up in search engines such as Google, when people search for certain keywords. If you are selling an item online, it’s crucial you spend time developing SEO. SEO can be achieved in many different ways (coding within your website, content posting, links to and from your website, local listings, etc.) I can’t go into it now – this blog post is already too long as it is. But do yourself a favor and do a search for keywords that relate to your business and find out where your website ranks.
There are so many other things I could list, but I feel like these are the most important. You’ll notice there are only 6 things listed here: that’s because the 7th is social media. Social media marketing is still something most businesses should look into if they want to be successful. If you have already started with most of these aspects, THEN you are ready to embrace the powers of social media. If you are feeling lost, you can always contact me for help. Just because social media/online marketing is my specialty, doesn’t mean I can’t assist you with your branding/marketing!