No matter how great your product or service is, if no one knows it exists, what’s the point? The truth is, no matter how uncomfortable you are with marketing it is a necessary evil.
The good news is that there are many ways to market your business. And there is even more good news – marketing doesn’t have to be scary, you don’t have to have a marketing degree to get it right, you don’t have to figure it out all at once, and you don’t have to do it all yourself.
If you are too busy running the day-to-day aspects of your business to figure out the mysteries of marketing, you might be better off hiring someone who specializes in it.
So where do you start? Well, the same place you start when you need to buy a new refrigerator. Ask your friends for recommendations (and who to stay away from) and check on Yelp and Google to see what others have to say about them.
Thanks to virtual meeting technology you don’t even have to settle for a marketing agency in your town. You could try a site like clutch.co, which lists marketing agencies, search engine optimization companies, and even software you can use.
If money is an issue (and even if your company is doing well, isn’t money always an issue?), and if you are reluctant to jump in to work with one company, you could try a freelancer, from sites such as Upwork or Fiverr. It’s a great way to get some help without committing to an agency you don’t know very well, with the possibility of building a relationship with a talented and knowledgeable marketing freelancer.
…Or Give It a Try on Your Own
As an entrepreneur, you are no doubt used to taking on challenges on your own. If this is more your speed, you can always jump into marketing and give it a try yourself.
There is no shortage of online advice when it comes to marketing. Here are some basic ideas to start with:
Use social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – they’re all free to use and are a great way to garner attention for your business. If you do it right, social media is also a great way to interact with both current customers and target customers. And, these sites can give you important marketing reports on what posts are getting attention and which aren’t.
When using social media, don’t forget about the power of hashtags. Hashtags help users to find similar content. The right hashtags can help you to find your target audience while helping you to develop a “voice” for your company.
A website is a must in this day and age. It should be professional (and pleasant) looking, and the information on it should be kept up to date. Posting a well-written blog at least once a week is a good way to keep customers interested. They can be about new products, ways your company is making a difference in the community, or even about the last company picnic (with pictures, of course).
You can also use your website to do some bragging. If a customer left a great review on your social media, post the review on your site. And, don’t forget about adding the power of video to your site and to your social media. People love watching video, and it can be used to make customers feel a connection to your business.
Use the right keywords on your website. The right keywords help search engines (such as Google) send customers to your site.
4. Posting on social media is free, but you can also pay for ads on social media sites.
5. Use email to generate leads and keep your company’s name in front of people.
Don’t underestimate the power of old-fashioned marketing, either. Putting a sign up on a busy street in your town is still very effective for getting attention. Even hiring a sign spinner can have impressive results, even if, at first, it may seem a little silly. Promotional items, such as pens, mugs, or tote bags with your logo, are popular with customers (everyone likes free stuff!) and are fairly cheap. And, there is always direct mail marketing, which is also relatively cheap.
Don’t look at marketing as something that is too scary to even start. For one thing, it is very important for the success of your business. For another, there is plenty of help available, whether you want to hire someone or you want to take on the challenge yourself.