As the real world changes, the online world does too. More than half the entire world population uses social media and its use increased as people started to get stuck at home.
This poses a dilemma for small business owners.
On the one hand, not 'wasting' money on marketing while businesses are closed, sales can't happen and income is so uncertain seems sensible. On the other hand, others see the value in remaining visible and protecting future sales.
There are also those who have, in a positive way, taken advantage of the crisis to reach out to their target market and ask for their support through this period.
Market forces usually keep the playing field somewhat level and that's been true in the healthy economic climate we have benefited from for years, up to January this year. Now it has now been shaken to pieces.
While saving money is sensible in a down period, being invisible isn't. Companies that best survive in recessions are those that market through it and therefore get sales as soon as recovery starts. It can be fatal for a company to ignore the competition's activities and lose their market share.
If you have been busy surviving and marketing has had to take a back seat (or been left behind), here are some things to think about:
There are various cost-effective areas you can use to reach out to your target market:
If this feels overwhelming or you don't have time to do this yourself, reach out to us. We have two ways that we can help you:
A garden services client of ours also sells Christmas trees. We run a social media marketing campaign for them each November and December, building up awareness and sales of the trees and helping fuel bookings coming in at the end of the winter.
Whatever size and type of business you have, if you need help marketing it and want to grow your sales, get in touch with us.
Wednesday 11th October - 12:30-2:30pm (5 spaces)
Wednesday 22nd November - 12:30-2:30pm (5 spaces)
Wednesday 15th November - 12:30-2:30pm (5 spaces)
All the sessions are two hours long and cost 350kr in advance (preferably by SWISH).
For more information, click here or get in touch with us. If you want to join us but can't make the dates/times listed, let us know and we'll see what we can do.
Having spent the last month running training sessions with you lovely lot, we've planned a whole lot more! You told us that you'd like a few hours working with us on your website, on email marketing, on building great collaborations and on blogging. Someone also asked us for a session on running your own life but that is definitely 'outside our area of expertise' :)
For the topics that we do know about, we've just put together a schedule for the rest of the spring (yes, we decided that spring has actually started). Come and join us at our office in Danderyd if you would like to know lots about the following topics:
All the sessions are two hours long and cost 250kr in advance (preferably by SWISH).
For more information, click here or get in touch with us. If you want to join us but can't make the dates listed, let us know and we'll see what we can do.
I had an amazing opportunity a few weeks ago to work with six small and hobby business owners on getting more clients using social media. Ahead of the next sessions that are tomorrow, I want to share with you some key ideas:
1. How many times does a potential client need to come into contact with your product/business/message before they decide to buy something from you?
What do you think of this answer?
As a huge generalisation because, of course, all businesses are different, general marketing theory goes with the rule of seven – your message should be seen seven times before a potential customer will buy. Google apparently says this is now more like ten times because consumers use the internet to search for corroborating evidence that you and your product are as great as you say they are.
This means that your message needs to reach the SAME PERSON ten times. That every potential customer needs to see your message ten times. At least.
Whichever number you think truly fits your business and your target customers, it takes time and marketing energy to achieve that many contacts with each person.
What can you do about this?
2. Cheat! Wait, what? No. Talk.
The best way to skip a few of those contact steps is to talk to your potential clients – not AT them mind you but TO them. Pick a few and have a chat.
By starting a connection, you build a bridge between your business and your potential customer that hugely increases the likelihood that they make it through the seven, ten or even twenty contacts they need to go through to buy.
Yes, I am away that this takes time and energy. I know that, I do it for our businesses. That is how I know for sure that it works! You are in business for the long-haul, right?
How does this fit in with all the photos you are putting on Instagram, the blog posts that you are sure you are supposed to be writing, the Facebook page you have but isn’t doing a lot by itself? All of that comes under ‘content marketing’ – a very effective way of using social media BUT for it to work, you have to get people to look at your page/profile/posts…
3. Is there anybody out there?
Honestly, no, probably not. At least, not hanging out on your Facebook page waiting for you to post something. You have to go and find them.
We cover everything you need to know about ‘content marketing’ in our sessions starting next week (click here for details) – including what, how and when to post.
In the meantime, get talking. Or if you are stuck, join us at this session tomorrow!
Here is our eBook on the topic too, from our sister company, My Own Marketing Coach:
Did you see what we added to the title of this blog post to make it come up when someone searches online for local businesses? Yes, we wrote the word 'Danderyd'. We do that a lot. It is also in our name (if you hadn't already noticed that).
If you want to be found online as a local business, create local content.
You have two main choices here:
1. Writing about what you do in the context of your location and/or
2. Your opinion of things going on in your local area.
Whichever you choose, be sure to mention the location a couple of times at least, to let the search engines know where you are. Don't overdo it though, more than 5 could be too many and will make your post hard to read by your human readers.
If you look hard enough, you'll find a checklist for everything on the web and there are masses of lists of 'dos and don'ts' when it comes to designing a website. Amongst all the great ideas, there are some basic elements necessary for a really good website:
* like they can trust that the food will be good/safe to eat
* hungry (seriously!).
A final point that one of our team reminded us all of - if the website can relate the product/service to the visitor's own life, they will probably return time and again. That's what most of us want for our website, right?
Traditionally, space mattered. How much advertising space can you afford in a magazine. How many postal addresses you have to post brochures too. How many pages in your brochure. How many sales people can you afford.
The internet is boundless, so space is no longer an issue. Now you have to capture the attention of those potential customers floating around in this endless space. Easy, right? Write great content, promote it and they will come.
The question is: is how much time you have to spend creating content on your website that your prospects are going to be interested in. Remarkable content takes time. Give it time. A year or two that is, not a week or two!
The best way to make your website and social media content work harder and smarter is to answer your potential clients' questions. What questions to people ask you? How can you help your potential customers understand the benefits of your products/service?
Ask them. Or if you are just starting out, ask anyone you know to quiz you about what you do. Then write it down on your website and in your social media, to help those prospective customers understand that they need to become actual customers.
Google updates its way of searching the web so often that it is almost impossible to keep up with it.
One key point we picked up recently is that the search engine needs to see at that at least 60% of the content on your website is unique - you write it yourself and it isn't repeated anywhere else on the web. This is harder to do than you might imagine for businesses that sell products with standard descriptions for example. A word from the wise (wiser?!) - don't be tempted to repost blog content or even page content to your own site without writing about it in your own words and checking you haven't fallen under the 60% boundary.
Sites that are known as 'content farms' - those that collect text and images from all over the web and feature them, uch as news portals, are bad news as far as Google is concerned. If a content farm is pulling your information, Google will penalise you for it.
This applies to all marketing - what it looks like and how it sounds are both irrelevant if whatever the marketing is isn't used. Or used effectively. So, if you want people to use your website, read your emails, talk to you on Twitter, try out your own marketing and see if it works.
(image credit: bokardo.com)