I understand that as a small business owner or startup founder you want all of your money to go into making the most perfect amazing product. It makes sense. However, creating something amazing is a waste if no one knows about it. Marketing is key to your success, so plan for it – both time and money.
Small Business Marketing Basics
So you own a small business and you want to tell the masses that you exist. Here are the things you most likely already know to do:
- TELL PEOPLE: Attend networking events and social gatherings around town, armed with business cards. Know a succinct way to explain what your business is and why it’s unique.
- LOOK PROFESSIONAL: Have a website. It should be easy to navigate, simple to read, and mobile-friendly. Avoid getting too fancy, especially in the early stages.
- BE ACCESSIBLE: Have a social media / online presence beyond your website. Depending upon your industry, this may have different levels of importance and live in different places.
It will take some time and effort for you to plan and work on marketing your business. And you may need outside help for building your website or designing business cards. Set aside money and time for these efforts.
Your First Digital Marketing Strategy
Once you are beyond the basics, you will want to start measuring and planning your marketing. This requires a little extra time and some more targeted planning. Hopefully, you have Google Analytics and Webmaster tools already plugged into your website so that you are tracking the activity.
Before You Plan, You Must Measure
Watch a few videos on Google Analytics and how to read your reports. The areas that you should consider focusing on at first are Audience (Overview, Geo and Mobile), Acquisition (All Traffic-Channels), and Behavior (Site Content-All Pages). Make some notes to yourself about what you see in these reports. How long are visitors staying on your website? What pages are they visiting? Where are they coming from?
When you have a general idea of what your website visitors are doing, set out some goals. What do you want website visitors to do? Make a purchase, sign-up for a newsletter, fill out your contact form, call you, etc. If you do not feel totally overwhelmed by Google Analytics, then your next step is to setup a goal.
Google Analytics lets you define 4 different types of goals:
- Destination: the user reaches a specified web page or app screen.
- Duration: the user spends a specified minimum amount of time on your site or app.
- Pages/Screens per session: the user views a specified minimum number of pages or screens.
- Event: the user conducts a specified action, like viewing a video.
Social Media Engagement Matters Too
To draw a complete picture of your digital footprint, you are likely to use social media channels. The most popular of them are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. Do not base your social channel choice on where your friends and family are most active.
Think about your customers.
- Who are they?
- Where would they be talking about your product?
- What are the kinds of things they like that are similar to your product or service?
Then look at how existing followers are interacting with you on social media.
Putting content out into the world for the sake of doing so is a poor use of your time, so look closely at the posts that get the most engagement. Make sure you have at least 1 month of activity before reviewing any reports – 3 months would be better.
- How many people are you reaching with your content?
- Are they interacting with your posts (likes, comments, shares)?
- What times of day and days of the week are you posting content? Is that when your people are online?
Every 2-3 weeks, check your reports, learn from what you’re reading, and apply it to your digital presence. Make notes, look for trends, ask yourself questions.