A lot of small business owners I have talked to, admit they are not marketing their business effectively as they should be because they are bewildered by the industry. They are not sure where to start, or what they should be doing and when and how.
They have also said that they don’t have time to spend on marketing and that hiring somebody to do it for them is an expense they can not afford.
It’s true, it can be expensive. If you hire somebody to do it for you, particularly if you go through an agency it can cost hundreds of pounds a month. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
If you break marketing down to its simplest form, it is you telling a story. It’s a story about your brand or business, detailing what it does, how it does it and how it can help us as customers.
But, it seems that the industry is turning away from marketing in its simplest form and using an increasing number of ‘nonsense’ buzzwords: inbound, outbound, social networking, social sharing, big data etc.
If I didn’t work in the industry and know what they meant, I would be asking myself “ What do they mean”? “How do I use them”?
My advice is to ignore most of them and focus on the following:
You may have heard the phrase ‘Content is King’ , and it is. Having great content on your website is what will help you stand head and shoulders above everybody else.
However, it is not good enough to produce one great piece of content, add it to your website and then walk away and leave it to languish in www. forever. To say on top, you have to keep producing interesting and informative content. The easiest and quickest way to do this is through having a blog on your site.
First, carry out some research and find out what customers are interested in learning about or what questions they need answering. Once, you know this you can sit down and put the answer into a blog post.
Maintaining a blog does take some time, maybe 30 minutes a week to write an article (if you want to do it weekly) and then another 10 minutes adding to your site and sharing it on your social media.
An important thing to remember is, a blog is not ‘War and Peace’, nobody wants to read a novel online. 400 words is an ideal length.
Social media and social sharing
You probably know what the term social media means? If you don’t, they are websites (other than your own) and applications that allow you to share your content on them. The most famous and used are: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
As a business, you do not have to have an account on all of them. Find out which one(s) your customers use and focus on that. It is better to have one well designed and up to date social media account, then 4 or 5 that you struggle to keep updated.
Social sharing is the process of sharing your content on these websites or applications. Each website or application has their own way of doing this. Before you start, take a look at how your competitors are doing, and go away and think on how you can do it better.
If your competitors are adding images of their products, you can produce a short video (using your smartphone) showcasing your new product range.
In summary, yes, marketing your business effectively will require some effort and time and maybe a little money. But, don’t be put off by all the buzzwords flying around. Keeping it simple is the best way forward.
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