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Small Business Marketing 101

February 28, 2018

Marketing is vital to the success of small businesses, but an alarming amount of business owners don’t keep up with it like they should. We’ve heard every excuse in the book for why small businesses aren’t marketing: budget, time, staff, straight up not believing in the success. Small business marketing will be a priority if you make it one. There are numerous tips and tricks to follow when it comes to marketing for a small business, as well as ways to make it work within your scale and budget.

Don’t Make This Small Business Marketing Mistake…

Perhaps the biggest mistake that business owners make is simply not taking action at all. They know they should be doing something, but instead, they’re overwhelmed and do nothing.

“If you don’t tell your story, somebody else will.”

Eric Jackson has a few choice words about telling your brand’s story.

Your Website is Your Hub

We find that many clients have random pieces of the marketing puzzle but their website is either a.) nonexistent or b.) a hot mess. This is why your marketing is failing.  Social media, random emails, direct mail, any other promotions and advertisements, must all work together and point the consumer somewhere. Otherwise, best case scenario, you won’t be able to measure your marketing efforts. Worst case scenario, your marketing fails.

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Web Design

If you have a website, it should always be a work in progress. The worst thing that business owners can do is to have a website built and then leave it stagnant for years. Consider these aspects of your site:

  • Content/Photos- If you host a blog (you should), the content should be updated regularly. There’s nothing worse than visiting a site and seeing the latest post that’s dated 5 years back. This is also the case with clearly dated photos and graphics. You’re likely not doing business the exact same way as 5 years ago, so don’t let your website speak otherwise.
  • SEO– It’s no secret that Google rules over most everything when it comes to the internet. This means that websites should be optimized for easy finding. Relevant keywords come and go, so make sure to crawl your website frequently with an SEO tool and make updates.
  • CTAs- If your website’s CTAs should be prominently displayed on every page, sometimes multiple times a page. Ultimately, there is a goal that you want website users to reach. This CTA should speak to that.

You may know that you need a new and improved website, or maybe your current one just needs a few tweaks. Either way, we’ll let you know.

Social Media Marketing

One of the simplest things to do for a small business is post frequently on social media outlets. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google My Business… They’re all important for different types of businesses. And they’re all free to post.

Make sure you have a clear message and strategy with each post.

This issue is, like we said above, too many people are floating posts out into the interwebs with no real direction. Each post should link back to your website, a blog post, or some piece of curated content. There should be a clear message and strategy with each post.

I know I should post, but what..?

Start your social strategy by considering your consumers. What types of things do they like? There is a fine balance between using your social media outlets for sales and ONLY using your social media outlets for sales. Being pitched to with every post is exhausting for even the most loyal consumers.

Consider some of these ideas:

  • Office life- Everyone has a smartphone these days with a decent camera. Use it to document office shenanigans, lunch outings, and business development.
  • Client spotlights- With clients’ permission, snap a photo of them or your work for them. Show off what you can do with real-life examples!
  • “National” Holidays- Everyone has July 4th and Thanksgiving covered. But what about National Margarita Day or National Pet Day??? Sign up for the National Day Calendar emails and post about the wacky days of the week.
  • Join the List- If you send out a newsletter, specials email, or other client communication, push consumers to sign up for the list. Once you capture their contact information, the possibilities are endless.

There are ideas for every business when it comes to posting on social, so not having content is no excuse! Get creative and have fun.

Where should I get images?

The most popular images will never be stock photography. Generally, on social consumers like to see real-time events with real-life people. However, sometimes a graphic or a stock photo is necessary. Use some of our favorite curated (and totally free!) photo banks.

Or create a graphic with:

Do some research and find out what tools work best for your needs and play around with them.

Email Marketing

At Element 47, we’ve seen major success with email marketing in the past year or so. Capturing those who are already interested in your brand or what you have to offer is the best way to convert shoppers into consumers.

Consider a Monthly Newsletter

If you don’t have products or services that change frequently, a monthly newsletter to your clients and prospects is a great way to stay connected. Link the email to your blog, new pages on your site, or other relevant news. Remember: It all works back to your website. (see above)

Use an Online Form

Make it easy for website visitors to sign up to receive information about your brand. Add a simple online form to your site so that you can capture contact information.

Another idea is to use gated content with a system such as OptinMonster. Create a white paper, ebook, or another piece of valuable information and us the system to capture an email address from readers before they can proceed to the content.

Optimize Your Sends

Figure out the best time and day of the week to send your content. Once you have that determined, you can begin planning out resends to consumers based on their response history. The typical rule of thumb is 1-4 sends a month for a small business.

Your Small Business Marketing Toolbox

Small business marketing often hits the back burner because owners are overwhelmed with all they think there is to do. The reality is, it’s a simple task if you use the correct tools. We’ve already mentioned your website as a hub, but all of the smaller pieces can be accomplished using some handy dandy applications.

Social Scheduling

The biggest time-saver you could invest in is a social scheduling app. For a single business, there are many free options and they’re generally easy to use! Check out:

  • Coschedule
  • HootSuite
  • Buffer

All have mobile app and web app versions.

Images and Video

We’ve already mentioned where to curate stock photography for graphics, but what should you use to piece them together? If you don’t have the time or expertise for Adobe Illustrator (the best), one of these quick apps can make it in a breeze.

  • Photomarkr- Allows you to add a watermark to your images/posts
  • PicPlayPost- Combines your graphics and videos with music for a fun post.
  • Slidergram- Great for posting video!
  • Iconosquare- While not an editing tool, this app provides metrics for your Instagram posts.

There are so many tools, ideas, and information out today that leave no excuse for lack of marketing for small business. However, we know that it truly can all be overwhelming at times. At Element 47, combine our design, content, SEO, and technical expertise to bring a marketing strategy to life. Give us a call if you need some marketing assistance!