Running a small business is a labor of love, but labor nonetheless. So much goes into running your company that it can be a whirlwind of activity: Interacting with vendors and customers, dealing with inventory and taxes and keeping your clients as happy as possible. One aspect that is as important as all those other things, though, is an effective marketing strategy. To stay relevant and to bring in new clientele, you need to know the best ways to advertise and grab the public’s attention.
Know Your Audience
It’s easiest to identify with someone if you know something about them, and that principle applies to the business world in the same manner. Let’s say you run an HVAC servicing company. When attempting to come up with a marketing strategy for HVAC companies, think about your target audience. Before you do anything else, build a profile on your average customer base; who needs your services the most? What are most clients like? A very rough example might be:
- Homeowners or business owners
- Ages 30+
- Both genders in all walks of life: Parents, working professionals, students, etc
Using this small bit of information, what can you do as a small business owner to draw in customers fitting your criteria?
Have a Great Website
A company website is becoming the norm, almost expected nowadays. 90% of consumers check a company’s website before deciding whether or not to do business with them, which is more than the vast majority! Geared with this information, think about your personal online habits. When you’re checking out a new company, what are some things that you look for on its website that score points with you?
Navigation that is clear and easy to follow. Some businesses choose to be a little too creative with their fonts, layouts and menus, which can leave consumers frustrated and cross-eyed from clashing colors. Avoid losing viewers by keeping your website clean and readable, following the industry standards by placing your navigation menu in the top center.
A section that talks about you. Everyone loves an interesting history lesson. Learning about you, your company and where you came from is more important to viewers than you might think. People want to know your values, what you find important and how your company culture was built.
Up-to-date contact information. Have you ever had a question for a company, no matter how simple, and can’t find a soul to contact? It’s infuriating and is enough to make customers see red and vow to never work with a business again. Avoid this scenario by having your phone number, email address and social media handles in a clearly-defined contact section. This is also an ideal place to put your hours of operation and address too.
Update Your Blog Regularly
You might think that blog sections are a waste of time, but in reality they are a hugely valuable marketing tool to help you boost your monthly viewers. Not only are you able to level with your audience by writing interesting and relevant information, but this is an opportunity for you to also make use of search engine optimization (SEO).
Are you unfamiliar with SEO? In a nutshell, it’s exactly what the name implies: Optimizing search engine results. Let’s bring back the HVAC business example. If you were trying to search for it online, what search terms would you type into Google? “HVAC companies near me,” perhaps, or “local HVAC services.” If you’re searching for these terms, you bet your audience is too.
Using Google search terms like these within your blog section will help search engines to find you. It doesn’t have to be hard; it can actually be a very sneaky marketing tactic. Resist the urge, however, to overstuff your blog with keywords just to increase traffic. The audience will notice the same term if it’s used five times in one paragraph, and it will make you sound robotic and look unprofessional. Naturally-flowing SEO keywords are the trick to effective use. If you were writing an article about the best ways to prep your HVAC system for the wintertime, you might slip in something like “Local HVAC services recommend that…” Voila! Before you know it your website will “float” nearer to the top of the Google search page.
A little research needs to be done before you launch a brand new marketing campaign, but it’s worth the time and energy if it grows your company. By keeping up with the best advertising tactics, one day you can look back at your booming business and remember when you still called it a small business.