Welcome to our June business eNewsletter focusing on marketing tips for your business.
Quote of the month:
“Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.” – Oprah Winfrey
In this Issue…
- 9 and 1/2 Tips for Marketing Your Small Business
- 12 Small Business Podcasts That Will Help You Sell More
- How To Boost Your Small Business Marketing Right Now
- Social Media Marketing – Trends Summer 2019
9 and 1/2 Tips for Marketing Your Small Business
By Dan Moyle
Small businesses around the country face a constant barrage of information, new tactics, the latest strategies, and a whole slew of garbage when it comes to modern marketing.
Whether it’s the latest snake oil salesman trying to convince a business owner to part with $5,000 of their hard-earned profits for an ad, or a $2,000 monthly contract for managing all the social media, it’s just too much for many entrepreneurs.
While we’re fans of innovation, we’re also well aware that not every business out there needs every new tool available.
News flash: You don’t really need to be on every new social media platform to do build your small business.
So, where should you focus when marketing a small business?
The answer is, of course, it depends. It’s not a simple answer. It depends because the answer should be tailored to your brand, your prospects, and your goals.
One quick note to start before I get into the 9 tips to marketing your small business (and the bonus ½ tip!) is this: Make sure you have a website.
In this modern era where digital rules, if you don’t have a website where your prospects can find you and learn about you, you are missing out. And no, you can’t build a business solely on social media. When a giant like Facebook changes the rules and you lose out on your reach, you’ll pull your hair out trying to keep up. So make sure you have a website.
Now, let’s explore some ways you can “do marketing” for your small business today. Keep in mind that these are all suggestions that you should test, but not necessarily jump into all at once. That’ll kill you. Figuratively, not like literally end your life. Probably.
How do I Market my Small Business Today?
1: Use Local Media– PR Versus Ads
Some of the most powerful sources of information for local audiences remain traditional, local media outlets. Your local TV news station, local newspaper (even if they only print once per week and live mostly online), and local radio still hold a lot of power.
While the days of popping an ad on these local outlets and getting a run on new customers may be gone, partnering with them for brand awareness and PR can help your business.
Maybe your business offers some unique event over the summer where a local crowd can gather. An interview on a morning TV or radio show could drum up interest. Then, when the media outlet puts the interview online, you’ll see the digital benefit of a link to your website and social media exposure.
I’ve personally seen this work well with local nonprofits. I once helped run an Honor Flight program, flying WWII and Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit their memorials. We would promote the flight itself, the community connection with welcoming veterans home, and fundraisers with interviews in all of our local media. This exposure was one tactic of many that helped us bring hundreds of people together (about 2,500 each time) for events and raise more than $1,000,000 over 3 years for our mission.
2: Use Social Media Locally
If your small business relies on local customers or clients, connect on social media with your local audience. Maybe it’s a city-focused hashtag. It could be a local social media group. However it looks in your community, finding local people on social media to connect with will help build your audience.
Picture having a restaurant where you’re closed every Sunday. What would happen if you opened up one Sunday each month for a brunch with a jazz quartet? You could find fans of local music, community members who love jazz, or just people near you who share posts about brunch. Putting paid Facebook ads to work could get you in front of these prospects so they see your event, bringing a new audience to your restaurant.
Also, when local residents share their experiences with your business, make sure you’re thanking them with likes, favorites, reshares, and other social media interactions.
Finally, simply connecting and networking as the business owner can go a long way for your small business. People do business with those they get to know, like, and trust. Taking the old-fashioned networking strategy of making friends with your community online can be powerful.
Pro tip: Don’t connect and then spam people. Be authentic, be social. Share and comment with a genuine interest in your local social media community. If that’s not in your wheelhouse, grow beyond your comfort zone, find help with it, or skip this step. You don’t want to be spammy and constantly talk about your business. And for the love of everything… don’t tag people to get their attention or to gain access to their audience. That’s just tacky.
3: Facebook Groups
We recently shared thoughts on how Facebook’s 2019 changes and focus on Groups could impact how businesses use the social media juggernaut.
The bottom line is that Facebook is placing emphasis on Groups right now. Could you start a Facebook Group for your small business that brings an engaged audience to you?
For instance, at Impulse Creative, we have a brand called Sprocket Talk where we teach people how to use HubSpot. Our Facebook Group for Sprocket Talk is full of active users helping each other, looking to us as a thought leader in the space, and building awareness for our HubSpot tutorials and trainings.
Another way to use Groups connects back to the point above of going local. A lot of local communities have various local Groups in Facebook where community members connect. You, as the business owner, and even team members or staff, could join these Groups to connect and serve the community.
4: Local Networking
Whether it’s a Chamber of Commerce event, your local Rotary, or a BNI group, local networking still holds power. Face-to-face interactions beat digital communications in most cases.
Marketing doesn’t have to be an advertisement or a campaign. It can simply be getting people to know, like, and trust you.
Or maybe you can sponsor or host a local networking event. That leads to the next tip.
5: Sponsor Local Events
Beyond sponsoring networking events, consider sponsoring local festivals, events, shows, and other opportunities to get your small business in front of your community.
Of course, make sure the event aligns with your brand and your intended audience. You may not want to sponsor an art night in your downtown if artists and fans of art have no reason to know who you are.
If your small business has ties to your local community, be there. If your business goes beyond local and reaches regional or beyond, or has a specific niche audience, find those events to sponsor and take part in as a business. I’d suggest looking for an opportunity as a sponsor beyond just giving money in exchange for logo placement. Ask about speaking opportunities, placing information or gifts in bags if they have them, and other ways to reach event attendees.
6: Partner With a Nonprofit (That Makes Sense)
A great way to show your support for community is also to find nonprofits that align with your mission.
Maybe your progressive hotel hosts weddings, and there’s a Pride Month event coming up. You could have a booth there with support for LGBTQ couples getting married.
Perhaps your business hires veterans. You could partner with a VFW or American Legion hosting Bike Night or a horseshoe tournament.
If your brand aligns with pet shelters, can you donate a portion of every sale to a different shelter each month?
I personally love the example of a local ice cream shop that takes tips each month and splits them between the employees and a local nonprofit. It’s a great way to spur conversation, new partnerships, and build community.
7: Keep your Google Business Listing up to date
This one isn’t as shiny as nonprofit partnerships or as cool as a viral social media post. But this “boring” marketing tactic is critical. Your Google Business listing will drive traffic, contact points, and even social sharing for your brand.
The Google listing is that result that pops up on the right side of Google when someone searches for your business. It also comes up for results like “pizza near me” or similar searches. If you want to be found for that local kind of search, this is for you.
Basically, you just need to sign up for a Google account to start telling the world’s largest search engine about your business. After you’ve logged into the platform, it’s easy to add your site to Google by building your online profile.
Make sure you have your hours of operation, your contact information, your website linked, and your address all there.
8: Empower Word of Mouth
Whether you call it your Talk Trigger, your Pink Goldfish, your Purple Cow or simply your unique differentiator, turning that thing that sets your business apart into a word of mouth gem is vital to today’s marketing.
Allowing your happy customers to share your story starts with your website. Can they find you? Having social media accounts helps, too. If you’re able to at least monitor your profiles, have simple, recognizable social media handles so that customers can easily tag you.
Make your differentiator easy to remember and share. Maybe it’s an over-abundance of fries like Five Guys. Maybe it’s a stock-market-like feel to prices and market crashes like the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange. Whatever your unique thing is, it has to be memorable and shareable.
When you empower those happy people to share and tell their friends about you, you’ll have word of mouth marketing that sets you apart in this modern marketing age.
9: Try Something Traditional
Okay, we’ve covered some great new-world marketing tactics and strategies here. Some of them, simply new twists on old ideas.
But here’s the thing: Not everything old is dead. Just because we’ve done something in the past doesn’t mean it’s terrible. (It doesn’t mean it’s great either.) “We’ve always done it this way” should cause you to investigate the tactic. I know, it can seem confusing. I’m just saying that traditional marketing deserves a look.
For instance, I’m personally not a fan of outdoor advertising. But electronic billboards can offer a new way of looking at a traditional tactic. Or using a local billboard that hasn’t changed in years as a short-term test that will probably stick around long after your contract is up could bring you long-term benefits.
For local cafes, maybe placemats still work for advertising other local businesses.
You won’t know unless you test and measure.
Don’t be afraid of using a mix of what’s worked in the past with something new.
BONUS 9 1/2:
Know your audience. Define your personas. Go where they are. It makes no sense to support a local high school lacrosse team if your buyer personas aren’t parents. Start with your audience.
This is where you’ll have to take time to investigate. Ask your current customers questions about where they spend their time, how they research for purchasing decisions, and where they find information and recommendations for businesses. Ask them why they love doing business with you. You may discover new talking points for your brand along with some ambassadors!
Find out more about buyer personas with our ebook below. And as always, let us know your questions in the comments! Oh, and feel free to share your small business marketing tactics in the comments, too!
Read this article at the Business2Community.com
12 Small Business Podcasts That Will Help You Sell More
By Gerri Detweiler, Contributor
Running a business is often about setting goals and putting in the long hours and hard work to achieve them. Regardless of what type of business you run, it’s likely that “selling more” has a frequent, if not long-term, place on your to-do list. It’s a goal that requires staying up-to-date on new techniques, honing strategies, and being in touch with the latest industry news.
The sad part? It’s difficult for small business owners, many of whom have little downtime. Podcasts, however, afford busy professionals with the opportunity to digest powerful and life-changing information while they’re commuting, working out, making dinner, or participating in any number of daily tasks that are well suited for audio media.
You can spend hours – if not days – sifting through all the many podcasts out there, but if your goal is to sell more, then these 12 podcasts can help. Plus, many of them offer valuable information for not only running a business, but living the entrepreneurial life.
Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast
Bowery Capital’s podcast is designed specifically to help businesses improve their sales, and for that reason, it’s an obvious win for this list. With industry experts hosting and joining the podcast, it’s hard not to learn something new – and ultimately valuable – to your sales and overall business strategies.
Audiences can expect a healthy mix of topics, including those focused on everything from SaaS to recruitment. There’s something for everyone, but startup founders are especially likely to find this podcast invaluable.
Does your business sell to other businesses? Hosted by James Carbary, Nikki Ivey, and Logan Lyles, this daily podcast for B2B businesses brings listeners one-on-one interviews with industry leaders who specialize in all areas of marketing strategy including content, technology, and social media.
B2B Growth is known for offering solid business advice in succinct episodes that typically don’t run over 25 minutes. For the small business owner on the run, this is the perfect way to grab some valuable knowledge while commuting, during a lunch break, or at the gym.
Accelerate Your Business Growth
The Accelerate Your Business Growth podcast regularly makes top podcast lists, and perhaps one reason is host Diane Helbig’s diverse yet strategic approach to business success. Avid listeners include small business owners and salespeople alike, all hoping to gain insights from Diane, who has become a well-known business advisor, sales trainer, author, and all-around growth accelerator.
Though Diane covers many aspects of business, for those seeking sales-specific advice, her interview with Stacey Brown Randall, which focuses on gaining referrals without asking for them, is well worth the time.
Donald Kelly’s motto is “when you find something of value you should share it,” and that he does. Donald is utterly passionate about B2B sales, but his podcast is far from preachy.
As with many of the other hosts on this list, Donald brings in a solid number of high-performing guests who share their wisdom with the audience. What’s great about his show is it’s perfect for listeners at various stages of their business journey, from students just entering into sales and business to seasoned entrepreneurs looking to hone their skills.
Listen to Sales Evangelist.
Liz on Biz
Running a business isn’t just about financial decisions and market strategies – it’s a lifestyle. Liz on Biz host Liz Theresa offers a refreshing take on business that takes into account everything from lifestyle choices to online marketing, and seemingly everything in between.
Liz’s show is high energy and fun without sacrificing content, and when engaging with her well-chosen guests, Liz offers listeners a nice pick-me-up with a healthy side of business acumen. Though any entrepreneur can benefit from this podcast, female business owners should make it a point to subscribe and listen ASAP.
The Marketing Book Podcast
Do you find yourself with no time to get to that list of business books you’ve been meaning to read? Douglas Burdett, host of The Marketing Book Podcast, offers interviews with best-selling authors of sales and marketing books. You’ll get actionable advice, but be warned: Your list of books to read may get a little longer!
It’s worth noting that Douglas is a stand-up comedian, making this podcast as entertaining as it is informative. If you want to end your week on an upbeat note, you’ll want to check out the new episodes that air every Friday.
If you’re selling on Amazon – or want to – then Manny Coats and his AM/PM Podcast may be just what you need. Manny, who started selling on Amazon in 2015, has worn many hats in his lifetime, the likes of which range from humor site founder to mobile game developer. His eclectic experience and drive for success make this podcast entertaining and informative.
On AM/PM Podcast, Manny takes a straightforward approach to Amazon FBA advice. What’s great about this podcast is that Manny discusses and guides listeners through a wide range of topics and consistently offers detailed, step-by-step, action-oriented solutions for FBA sellers at various points in their journey. One example: You can’t sell a product you can’t produce. Here Manny shared how he used creative financing from his manufacturer to launch a product without having to pay for production up front.
Does selling make you feel uncomfortable? Does a “no” from a prospect make you feel like a failure? Michelle Weinstein, who goes by the moniker “The Pitch Queen,” wants you to know you’re not alone. Selling doesn’t come naturally to many entrepreneurs, and whether you love it or hate it, Michelle wants to help you embrace this essential aspect of growing a successful business.
Michelle’s podcast shares stories from entrepreneurs who have experienced both success and setbacks in an effort to inspire and educate. Her own sales experience includes selling real estate and food products, as well as raising $1 million for her most recent company. Tune in and you may just find yourself learning to love selling.
Listen to Success Unfiltered.
In the Arena
Advice that’s practical, valuable, and executable – doesn’t that sound nice? That’s what you can expect from Anthony Iannarino’s podcast, In the Arena. Anthony, who is the author of several well-received books, including The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, brings over 25 years of experience to his audience to help them increase sales and take their business to the next level.
Though Anthony brings plenty to the table on his own, listeners also get to hear from authors and industry experts, like Seth Godin, Jeffrey Gitomer, and Tiffani Bova. This healthy mix of top-notch interviews and personal experience have made In the Arena a popular podcast for both B2B and B2C professionals.
Growth Everywhere is another podcast that recognizes the importance of maintaining personal and business growth in an effort to maximize sales and create a successful business. Eric Siu, CEO of the digital marketing agency Single Grain, uses his platform to impart a wealth of knowledge on everything from sales to productivity.
Growth Everywhere is an accurate title as listeners can expect to listen to everything from interviews with top industry moguls – like Tim Schmoyer, Master of YouTube – to podcasts centered on industry basics, as is the case in an episode titled “The 5 Rules for Ads that Convert.”
At one point in his career, Dustin Mathews traveled the country selling from the stage. His experience as a successful public speaker comes through in these fast-paced, no-fluff interviews with successful business owners and advisors.
Many Get WealthFit! episodes focus directly on sales, such as Dustin’s interviews with Susan McVea on selling to women, Kevin Harrington from the original Shark Tank cast on how to pitch to a “shark,” and his conversation with $250 million marketer Geoff Chadwick. As the name implies, some interviews focus on health and wellness for the entrepreneur, which can also have an impact on sales and income.
Sales Babble Podcast
“Great selling is about helping,” says Pat Helmers, host of the Sales Babble Podcast. Pat doesn’t believe you have to be sleazy or pushy to be successful in sales, and he speaks from experience: He built an inside and outside sales team for a SaaS startup that generated eight figures in revenue.
Pat interviews sales experts from a range of industries; the main focus is B2B sales, but business owners whose primary customers are consumers won’t be left out. Pat posted his top episodes for 2018, and not surprisingly the number one overall topic was cold-calling.
Read this article at the Forbes.com
How To Boost Your Small Business Marketing Right Now
By Serenity Gibbons, Contributor
Although the economy is doing well, it’s not time for small business leaders to slacken their marketing efforts. Nearly half of small business owners in Capital One’s Small Business Growth Index expressed concerns about a possible recession ahead, and 35 percent thought tariffs and trade difficulties would pose an additional hurdle. At the same time, 44 percent expected to see improvement in their financial position over the next six months.
Given these mixed sentiments, it’s hard to know what to expect. As a small business owner, you can’t control the markets or the economy, so it’s important to focus on what you can control. The stock market and the new tax law may be out of your hands, but the way you reach customers is a strategy you own.
While changes in marketing trends may temporarily subvert your plans, you always have the power to try novel strategies and learn more about your market. Online innovators keep creating new means of reaching customers and promoting brands. For example, Instagram has become an important marketing tool for small businesses, enabling brand awareness, advertising, and e-commerce in ways that have changed rapidly since the platform’s launch in 2010.
Savvy entrepreneurs know they have to be ready to pivot in their approach as the marketing landscape quickly shifts around them. How have you adapted your marketing strategy this year? To stand the best chance of success, consider these three approaches to getting the word out about your small business.
1. Identify as “local.”
The term “small business,” while accurate, doesn’t capture customer attention online. It’s dry – more like a term from a college business course than something that will excite potential brand advocates. What’s more, the term can be confining as you look to scale your business up.
Instead, marketing your business as “local” can improve public perception. To fully embrace the local tag, make sure you’re taking advantage of options to broadcast your location. That includes managing a Google My Business listing, running a local SEO campaign, and remaining involved in your community. Be sure to advertise with local media outlets and run promotions in your area.
You can also consider organizing niche events to network with nearby business leaders and funnel in qualified leads. I’m From The Future, a Philadelphia-based digital marketing consultancy, has found success using Meetup.com to organize technical SEO events in its area. Not only does this engage interested community members, but it could also lead to sponsorships and other business partnerships in the future.
2. Own your marketing data.
While platforms like Facebook are powerful ways to reach potentially billions of customers, there’s a disadvantage to how your marketing data is used and owned on some social networking sites. These services collect and feed customer data into their ad placement algorithms, but in many cases, they own that data — not you. Consequently, you can’t use that customer data to benefit your brand beyond the platform. Even worse, if the site diminishes in popularity (hello, Myspace), some contact information could be lost.
You should strive to own more of your marketing data so you can continue to leverage it off-site, promoting your brand no matter what happens in the social networking sphere. Closely examine agreements with social networking providers, and pull back your marketing efforts with those that don’t let you control your own data. Social media is still a great avenue for engagement, but not as much for lead generation. Be sure to include a call to action (such as an email newsletter signup) on social media posts so you can gather data yourself.
Work on building your own data set of leads, including phone numbers and email addresses, to convert followers through email marketing campaigns. As Tyler King, CEO and founder of Less Annoying CRM, advises, “You can’t take followers, views and likes to the bank, but you can take phone numbers and email addresses with you no matter what system you’re using.”
3. Broaden your scope with a partner.
Partner marketing is an effective and low-risk technique for getting your brand in front of a fresh crop of potential customers. There are significant ROI opportunities associated with referral programs, and partnerships benefit your brand by leveraging your partner’s brand recognition and network of customers.
For a recent example of this approach, consider the collaboration between Harry’s, a company specializing in men’s shaving gear, and skincare shop Heyday. Based on their overlapping target audiences, these brands were a good fit for effective partner marketing. The collaboration resulted in a co-branded facial mask for men, which the companies hope will engage more men in skincare and further their marketing message of skincare accessibility to a broader audience.
Michael Pollak, co-founder and chief brand officer of Heyday, describes the partnership enthusiastically: “To be able to have a conversation with Harry’s audience around [skincare] is incredibly exciting for us. We admire what they’ve done in terms of helping men open the door to grooming and self-care.” Together, the brands aim to snag their share of a men’s grooming market that’s expected to grow to $78.6 billion over the next four years.
Read this article Forbes.com
Social Media Changes Fast – Stay On Top of Your Game
Of you own a small business and don’t yet have a presence on social media, now is the time to start. According to Statista, in 2019, it is predicted that there will be 2.77 billion social media users around the world, up from 2.46 billion only two years earlier. And social media provides an easy way to build brand awareness at a cost much lower than more traditional modes of advertising. Social media strategies and practices are evolving every day, presenting fresh and exciting ways to engage consumers and drive conversion.
What are the top trends in social media marketing this summer?
1. It’s all about the video. Really, this should come as no surprise as video use has been on the rise via social media marketing for the last several years. At the end of 2018, it was estimated that 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube each and every day, and 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook in any given day. Further and quite critical for driving that word of mouth, there are 1200% more shares generated by social videos than there are with text and static imagery combined.
2. Stay authentic. With access to information so abundant in our everyday lives, people can spot a lie a mile away. Because of that, today’s consumers want to hear from someone that is real and transparent. Even more so, people love to take a sneak peal behind the scenes. To be truly authentic with your customers, provide glimpses into your business operations. Show your people doing their best work, or doing amazing things out in the communities that they serve. If you are in the production or manufacturing business, take your customers to the production floor and show them how a product is made. And use your employees or real customers as your subjects, vs. hiring a paid representative who doesn’t have a vested interest in your business other than the paycheck to speak on your behalf.
3. Don’t forget amazing images. While we said that video is more important now than ever, that does not negate the need for great, professional quality imagery in your social media marketing. As we shared back in January 2019, Instagram has become a popular choice for social interaction through pictures, videos, messages, and comments. While Instagram definitely differentiates itself through the use of beautiful imagery, these great images are equally important on all social media platforms that you leverage for your business marketing. So, while we already suggested the need to be authentic in your marketing, the summer provides a great opportunity to get outdoors with your people and take photos of them doing great things, and then sharing those images as part of your social strategy. Even capturing great candids of your employees out walking around the business site, or sitting at a picnic table chatting with others over their lunch, helps to capture the essence of your business and the people that are serving your customers.
4. Skip the clickbait. If you’re not familiar with what clickbait is, it is simply content whose main purpose is to get noticed and then encourage users to click on a link that takes them to a certain web page. At first glance, that might not seem like a bad idea because part of your goal in your marketing is to attract those customers, but remember, they want you to be authentic. Your customers want you to educate them; to make them smarter than they were before they read your article. If you are simply trying to get them to click on something, you are serving your own interests, but you have lost sight of the fact that you want engaged customers who will at some point, hopefully, sooner than later, make a transaction with your organization.
Have question about an effective Social Media Marketing strategy? We LOVE to Help! Please feel welcome to contact us.
Read this article at the MysticMedia.com
The views and opinions presented in this newsletter do not necessarily represent those of SpiritBank.