One of the hardest parts of running a small business is balancing all of the needs and skills with a limited employee base. It is a product of a smaller budget, the importance of marketing, and less collective work hours. Thankfully, technology has made marketing more accessible for businesses of all sizes. While it is still recommended you work with marketing professionals on putting together a plan, strategy, and implementation, it is also important that you understand and can contribute to the conversation.
Content and Social Media
While it may be hard to imagine that Facebook is good for anything beyond cat videos and photos of your friends’ kids, it, like other social media platforms, is important to business. Creating good, engaging content is key to ensuring people are seeing your messaging and interested in what you have to say.
Distributing that content can get tricky. If, for example, your company decides to focus on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you may want to schedule posts in advance or manage your accounts from one single place. While your content shouldn’t be duplicated across all of the platforms, it is nice to have a single screen to manage responses, feedback, and more. There are many different options now, and each one is just slightly different. Websites like HootSuite, Feedly, and HubSpot, amongst many others bring different social media, content, and marketing offerings to the table. Work with your marketing professional to decide which is your best fit.
This one is so important. With the increased reliance on web presence and search information, consumers count of businesses to be visible and have strong websites. This can often be one of the hardest parts of the marketing process. People tend to either give too little information or far too much.
A website is your online brochure in an easy-to-navigate and visually pleasing way. Companies like Wix, WordPress, and Shopify have made it easy to get started. While you do need to have some web knowledge to build out a website, working with an experienced website developer or marketing professional will help. He or she will work with you to bring your vision to life, and their experience and education will make them a valued resource. They can help with everything from picking a color scheme to organizing metatags, keywords, and more.
You know those ads that pop up on the top of your inbox in Gmail? This is a form of that. Digital advertising is using targeted ads to grow exposure to potential clients on web-based platforms. You see ads in your email, on Facebook, Twitter, on websites, and more. This is a highly specialized skill that when done wrong can be very expensive. Hiring a pro is the way to go here, because it will be a wasted $500, as an example, when you target the entire state of Oklahoma when your business only serves Tulsa.
Some argue that this isn’t an important method of marketing due to things like web add ons that block all advertisements from people’s web experience; however, research shows it is still worth investing in as a marketing tool. Using a program like Google Ad Words is sure to bring business to your door. It just needs to be done well so that it is business that will generate revenue.
Creating and Design
As we all know, visual design is an important part of the marketing package. While great copy and content are important, people are drawn to strong graphics. This means you have to either be great at taking photos or be willing to hire someone who can take photos and/or use different design tools. This includes Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Canva, and others. Again, this is often a skilled field that requires some education and experience to create quality content. If your marketing budget is tight, splurge on good work here.
So much goes into running a business, and it is all important. It is easy to put marketing off until the very last minute, and then be forced to rush around and get it done quickly (and usually poorly). As you are creating your initial business plan take the time to really think about your marketing goals. Establishing these early, even though they may change, is an important part of guiding the business process. It also gives some clarity to what your goals are as a company.