It’s not as complicated as it looks, so why not get started?
Hi small business friend!
I know that getting your digital profiles set up can seem daunting, so I am here to help. Who am I, you ask? I’ve been in small family owned business for the last decade, marketing over 20 small businesses on social media and operating my family’s restaurant and general store.
I’ve made all the mistakes, tried all the things, and now I help other small businesses rock their online marketing so they can get more customers and sales.
So let’s get your marketing off and running! This article is written for location-based businesses, and the insights can also apply to stores that are online-only. This list is by no means exhaustive. Rather, it’s a helpful starting point to put your brand on the digital map. I also recommend reading my article on authentic social media presence for more tips.
If you have a website, make sure its working hard for you
Your website can lift a lot of marketing weight for you. Aside from social media, your website acts as a starting point when people search for you online. It communicates how customers can get in touch with you and buy your products. And it can make or break whether customers decide to shop with you.
Use clear visuals
Whether you’re using your phone or a camera to take pictures, make sure your photos are clear and represent your products / service well. Blurry, low quality photos can detract from sales. Need help? Try a free or low cost phone (or desktop) app to touch up photos. Canva, Layout and Lightroom are free or low cost options.
Take advantage of marketing features
Certain websites like Shopify and Square Space have email marketing features that are free with certain subscriptions. Email marketing is powerful for communicating with customers and garnering repeat purchases. If this is available to you, be sure to leverage the feature.
Start building an email database
Building your email list is an affordable and effective strategy for small businesses. Include an email signup pop-up feature on your website to build up your list.
Optimize your social media
In 2022 it is still easy to stand out on social media as a brand when you post consistent, interesting content. I go into depth on this topic in this post. Over the years I’ve built online community and driven up customer visits just by creating great social media posts.
Build a community that matters to your customers
The real secret, in my opinion, is to build an online community and invite your customers to join. Invite people into your business’s story, give them an authentic behind the scenes look at what you do, and create two-way dialogue. This is what small business is all about, and what we will always do better than big box brands.
Go where your customers (current and future) are online
Do your customers use Pinterest? Better make a profile! Do they search Yelp and Google to make decisions? You better have the best looking profile up there!
Don’t know where to find your prospective customers? A great place to start the search is to go where your competitors are and see how customers are responding (or if they’re responding at all). I’ve done a lot of scrappy market sleuthing over the years to find out where my customer segments were online. Sometimes you can’t trust the demographics of a social platform – you have to go take a look for yourself.
Focus your energy where it counts
On that same note, focus your energy on where your customers are. As business owners, we wear ten different hats at any given time. Efficiency matters. Your brand doesn’t need to be on every single platform if your customers aren’t there.
For example, my family’s restaurant and general store never had a Twitter account. We built our community on Instagram and Facebook because we got a consistent return on investment for our time there.
In summary, make your website work hard for you, optimize your social media, and find where your customers are online!
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