|Who is this for?||SME’s looking to ‘step it up’.|
|What is it About?||Marketing|
|Reading Time||1-2 minutes|
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with options for planning the year ahead, swamped by conflicting information and lost in a sea of voices telling you how to take your business ‘to the next level’; this one is for you. It’s by no means comprehensive, nor do you need to follow every single one if it’s just too much to manage. But if you take one or two of these and really execute them well, the change to your business and your relationship with your prospective and current customers will become more effective and positive for sure.
You Have E-mail
A lot of people believe that e-mail is dead and it’s true that if you don’t put a reasonable amount of effort into it then it can easily fall flat on its face – that’s true for anything in business.
But can you honestly say that receiving an email because you left something in your basket has never made you go back to buy it? Or receiving an email about relevant blogs on a site, because you popped your email in to get a free template or article hasn’t tempted you to read some more? The whole argument comes down to one vital point for me – if it didn’t work, the big boys like Amazon wouldn’t invest so much time and money into it, they’ve done the research and ignoring it is just shooting yourself in the foot for no good reason.
There are loads of different free and paid packages you can try out depending on what you need from your e-mails. If you want to test the water, we recommend trying MailChimp, it’s free (for up to 2,000 contacts) and its interface is simple and user-friendly. It also has built-in analytics that will tell you useful information to help you work out how effective your emails are, so you can change and learn from the content you put out.
‘Businesses near me’
SEO is not something I’m going to lecture you about or expect you to spend hours wrapping your head around, don’t panic. Even for some people in marketing, it is a never-ending rabbit hole of learning, research and algorithm changes…and learning again– how else do people make entire careers from it?
Local SEO is very simple, when you look for anything on Google and you put ‘near me’ (eg design agency near me) no doubt you will have seen a map a little something like the below, before your usual listings.
If you want to make it on this list, you need to set up a free Google My Business Page. It’s basically a mini profile, so make sure you add your location, opening hours and any really good photos you might have or lists of services. People can leave reviews of your business too which should also help attract more people to your services, bonus!
TIP Although Google is probably the most important to make sure you are visible on, while you’re at it you can add profiles on Yelp, Yell.com and plenty of other sites for specific industries if you like. If they’re free, why pass up an opportunity to be seen?
Let’s get visual (visual)
Sorry for the cheese Madonna reference there (I’m really not).
We’re pretty simple creatures no matter how much time passes; we still like a pretty picture. Updating your profile pictures and headers will be beneficial to engaging your regular customers again. If you see something one too many times, you’ll eventually learn to gloss over it subconsciously and you don’t want to be ‘glossed’ out!
I’d also recommend investing some time in taking some really good shots of your products, staff, premises…anything you can really just to keep your channels fresh and avoid running around on a Friday evening before you leave the office looking for something to take a photo of in poor lighting just so you have something to post that week. Your phone is more than good enough to take the photos if you dedicate a little time to getting the right shots so if you don’t have the money for a flash photographer- don’t panic.
You’ve probably heard of “content marketing” but if you haven’t, you’ll almost certainly have seen some…that’s what most articles are! Content marketing is creating original videos, blogs and images to market your business as opposed to sharing viral videos and maybe putting out the odd post with your phone number on there. It’s low cost which is a great bonus, but you need to invest a lot of time and thought into what you choose to create and really think about what your customer wants to know.
The more you write, the more you will understand what your customers need from you but you have to be dedicated. I should know since it’s my job! (:
Video Killed the Radio Star
Video has been a good option for online marketing for quite a while now- YouTube is big business after all. But I’m not suggesting you rush out and set up a YouTube channel (cue the sighs of relief that you won’t have to monitor YET ANOTHER social network) all I am suggesting is you use some videos to mix things up.
As I’ve mentioned before, we are in an era where most of us own a smartphone with a decent camera, you don’t need anything more than that to get you started. Social media has taken a huge hit in the last year or so – one too many scandals have left customers weary and distrusting. The one silver lining to this is, your customers are now looking for relatable content. This means they want behind the scenes videos, real people they can relate to and most of all – they are not interested in flashy, high quality edited videos. So what are you waiting for?
You don’t need to be making a video a day, or even a week in my opinion. If you can mix things up once every two weeks with even a little snippet of office life, it can help keep your regulars engaged and happy. Post them straight to your Facebook or Instagram and if you’re quite familiar with the platforms, try using Facebook or Instagram stories with stickers, polls and tags to engage with. Stories will keep your videos visible to customers for 24hrs at the very top of their page and once you get comfortable, you can even try going LIVE. This will alert your customers, start a live video feed from your phone and open up a chat log that all your customers viewing the video so they can ask you real-time questions about what they are seeing as well as talk to each other!
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