Its been over a year and the struggle is still real. If your small to mid-size business has made it this far – congratulations! If you have “pivoted” and are doing things a little or a lot different, congratulations to you as well. These times are tough and there are so many avenues to choose from (print, radio, TV, digital, social the list goes on), and knowing where to spend your marketing dollars is even tougher.
So, where do you start?
First and foremost, in our opinion, is your current customer base; make sure they are ok and do whatever you can to make them happy. Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to grow your business, a recommendation from someone who has already used or is using your service goes a long way. People buy from people. Relationship building is still incredibly important and so much more relevant in a world where we are not getting a lot of the human interaction and socialization we’re used to. Cold calls, yes, they are still a thing. Do your research – is there someone that knows this potential customer that you can get an introduction from, is there something you can genuinely help them with? Being genuine and letting that come through to your audience is key to success.
Having a well written relevant website is more important than ever. Poor spelling and grammar can easily leave a negative impression of you to the reader – and we don’t want that. Next, make sure your site is properly laid out and easy to navigate, and don’t forget visually appealing. This is your chance to make a good first impression to a potential client, so make it count. Spend the money on a good website. Having a website, even if it’s a small one makes sure potential customers have your current information, know what your offer and helps improve your SEO so people can find you online. All we have right now is the internet so your presence needs to be strong.
We are inundated with so many visuals that our brains have adapted to picking up only what we need when we need it. It has been said that we have something like 3-5 seconds to catch a customer’s eye and if you think about yourself scrolling through any type of search it’s true (yes, even us too!).
Here is the thing, you need a presence. You need to have the appropriate social media accounts set up so you can reach your audience and be where they are. Like Google, social media is one of the first places people go when they are researching a product or service – if you are not online, you will be overlooked.
Setting up your accounts as Business (instead of personal) profiles gives you access to additional features like having extra information in your profile and insights. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to get information about your business.
Having a social media presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn also helps you move up the ranks in all search engines. This is what helps push you to the first page on Google!
Even the clients that don’t want a presence on social media are beginning to understand the importance of having a presence online and getting their brand out in the digital world. If you are not going to post on an ongoing basis it’s still important to have a page with your name and contact information, although we would argue it’s equally important to engage with your audience.
An alternative to posting yourself is to hire a company that can accomplish this for you or helps you develop a strategy so that it isn’t so daunting for you to complete. There are a lot of tools out there (yes, some are FREE) that are meant to make your life easier, take advantage of them. This ranges from scheduling tools to content creation.
Social media is about building relationships with your audience, finding out what your customer and potential customer base like, what problems they have, and figuring out how you can solve them. It’s relationship building in the 21st century.
At Graymatter we love print material. Creating beautiful brochures for print and of course (repurposing the content) for digital is one of the things we do best. Being part of a local magazine or newspaper is an additional marketing avenue to ensure you don’t miss any demographic. Not everyone uses the internet so it’s good to have touchpoints where it isn’t required. When creating any print material always push people to your website or ask your reader to follow you on social. Including a CTA (call to action) increases engagement.
As small to mid-size business owners we never really get a break, we eat sleep, and breath our business. If this pandemic has taught us anything it’s to savor the quiet moments, enjoy being with family (immediate household only) and friends (virtually) and that recharging your battery has never been more important. So, you have our permission – sleep a little more, squash those 3 am panic wake-ups about your business, and be kinder to yourself. We can control a lot more than we think. It’s more important to appreciate those we work with and make sure they are okay. They are the face of your business and care about the direction of the company. This past year and a half has been tough there is no doubt but hopefully its also been a time of reflection and figuring out what is important to you your family and your team.