You’ve made the most of Small Business Saturday; run sales promotions, jumped on the Twitter Hashtag bandwagon, and networked with a community of SMBs in your area – but what’s next? How do you keep the momentum going?
Over the last two weeks we’ve shared some amazing stories, covering everything from motives for starting a small business, all the way to discovering how digital is helping so many SMBs grow their business too.
But when you’re time poor, and budgets are low, how do you find your next wave of new clients, with limited spend? At Drop Everything we caught up with small business owner and marketing expert, Minal Patel to find out. Here she shares her top tips for being time smart, and tech savvy with your digital marketing strategy.
If your small business is anything like mine, you’re juggling several things at the same time. You’re the boss, the sales person, the IT person and so much more, including the marketing expert! You know you need to market your business, but there never seems to be enough time. What if I told you I had 10 tips to help you fit marketing into your day?
1. Website or no website?
Every small business needs a website. “But I’m on social media,” I hear you cry. This is NOT enough. You’re at the mercy of the social networks and their algorithms. A website gives you a place to send visitors, and talk to them about your products and services. Include things like FAQs to save you answering often-asked questions, and above all else make sure it’s mobile optimised.
2. Email marketing is NOT spam
Every small business needs to do email marketing, it helps you compete with the big wigs! You don’t have to be techy to set up a newsletter, just make sure you pick your email tool wisely, and, I’m going to say it, pay for it. The free ones don’t let you do everything you need to do to grow your business.
3. Get social
Although you need to be on social media to get a bigger audience for your message, don’t set up accounts on every channel. Pick one channel and get good at it before adding more. How do you know where to get started? Ask your customers which one they’re using the most - that’s where other people like them will be too.
This is a BIG timesaver. Use as much automation to help you with your marketing as possible. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to schedule social media messages in advance, whilst email tools like Constant Contact let you automate your emails.
5. Integrated tools
You probably have an invoicing system, an ecommerce store, a customer database, maybe even a customer relationship management system. Make sure your investing in ones that integrate with each other - i.e. they talk to each other - to make your life simpler and free up your time to run your business.
6. Know, don’t guess
Do you know which content drives your audience to action? The best way to find out is to ask your customers via social media or email them with an online survey. Let them tell you what they like to read and use them as a sounding board for future content. Remember, you’re trying to get new customers, so let your existing ones lead you to them.
7. Lights, camera, action!
Video content is sure to get the most likes, comments and shares online. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Your smartphone and you is all you need. You can film yourself, your customers, your products or anything else to do with your business on the go – it’s a great, simple, cost effective method for helping you reach new audiences and grow your community.
8. Get creative
Do you need great images but can’t afford a designer? A small monthly subscription to Canva will let you create great images for all your digital needs. You can use their templates and resizing feature, which makes the image you created work for different social networks.
9. Use the cloud
Services like Dropbox can also help you with your social media. I use my account to help me post on Instagram. I upload my images and text, in a text file, to my account in advance and access the content via the app on my phone. This means I don’t spend ages typing on my phone and can post great images wherever I am.
10. It’s all about measuring
Getting smart about your marketing means you can do fewer things, better. That means measuring everything against your goals and making changes where necessary. If a specific channel isn’t working for your business then don’t waste time, and money, on continuing with it. Use tools like Google Analytics, built-in social media insights and your email marketing reports to identify the channels giving you the best return on investment.