What have you got planned for 2019? Do you know how you’ll be promoting your business in January? How about for December? If you think that planning ahead is only for huge corporations with large marketing departments, then chances are very high that marketing your small business is either not happening at all, or you’re wasting your time with outdated strategies.
Let’s make 2019 your year to really come to terms with your marketing and get it on track. With the right systems in place, you will spend less time (and less money) marketing your business, and more time focused on your customers (and making money).
1. Clean up your presence!
Has someone set up different social media platforms for you over the years? I bet they have. How many unused social media accounts and outdated blogs do you have? Are they even in your current name? Are you using your current branding?
Do a Google search for your business or your business URL and see where you turn up. Get out a pen-and-paper (or spreadsheet) and write down which social media platforms you are currently on. Then go through and make sure they are updated with your current logo and contact information. If you’re not going to update them, then lock them and set them to private.
Look at your website as a potential customer. What browser are they using? What device? Does your site look the same on an iPhone as it does on a laptop? It’s always surprising at how many businesses have wonderful cover or header images with exciting information, that gets cut off if viewing on the phone. If you don’t want to download many browsers, you can use a free service like http://browsershots.org to see what your site looks like.
2. Get Branded
After step one, you may have noticed that you have a myriad of fonts, logos, and colors out there. Then there is the multitude of different bio’s floating around, many of which may not even be relevant anymore.
Look at creating a one-page document that has a general style guide for your business. Include your logo, your font, your standard font size, the CMYK, RGB and HEX color of your logo, and any other colors that are standard for your business (background colors, heading colors, etc.) Every document you print, every tweet you make, every post that goes out… everything should look visually similar.
3. Get Scheduled
One of the easiest ways to work out a small business marketing plan in place is to get a wall calendar out and look at public holidays and significant events coming up in 2019. Which ones will affect your business? Which events could be tied in with your marketing? Do you need to put out a post in support of Superbowl? How about Wimbledon? Labor Day, Queen’s Birthday, Halloween, or Christmas, maybe?
Plan out which events you can be involved with and how you will promote your business. It might be something as simple as a newsletter or meme-based Facebook post, or you might have a bigger campaign strategy and include sales. Have a look online for both local niche events (like “National Pizza Day”) or International Days (like International Children’s Day).
Look to how you can integrate chatbots, AI and live video. This can all seem completely overwhelming for a small business owner – but it needn’t be. Much of this is easily integrated into your current systems with already developed out-of-the-box solutions, like the Facebook messenger bot system here. Look at what your customer needs.
4. Focus on your Customer not your Product
This may seem counter-intuitive, but if you understand the needs of your customers, you’ll understand how to reach them, and you’ll understand how to make a genuine connection with them. You don’t like receiving generic, irrelevant information in your inbox or timeline – neither do your clients.
Make sure you understand what makes your clients tick and what they need, then readjust your strategy to suit. You may need to look at automated responses via Facebook messenger or customized discount codes in mailouts, but whatever it is, it should be targeted for each customer or customer group. New customers are always welcome but don’t neglect your old customers.
Ensure that your email database is up to date and includes whether the person you’re mailing is already a customer. Look at regularly reaching out to your previous customers welcoming them back to your business. Make sure that they are the first to know when you have new products, deals, or information that they would appreciate.
You might think you can’t afford to outsource your marketing, but you need to look at how much potential income you are losing before you don’t really know what you’re doing. You probably hire professionals to help with other aspects of your business, from accounting to web development, from product manufacture to business card printing. No one expects you to do it all, and you shouldn’t expect to do it all yourself either.
Whether you’re looking at hiring someone to manage all of your marketing or just someone to monitor your social media, weight up the cost of getting an experienced professional versus lost revenue before people were put off by your online presence.
So, there you go – five tips to get you started with your marketing campaigns on the right foot. If you have anything to add, please do so in the comment section.
Good luck with your marketing endeavor in 2019!