Q: Steve, I know you love to talk marketing. Do you have a very favorite way to market a small business? – Jennifer
A: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I had a business the old-fashioned way, the pre-Internet way. It was a worse way that’s for sure, especially with regard to marketing. Marketing used to be so much more difficult, and expensive. And it was a much bigger crapshoot. Place an expensive ad in the newspaper and hope the phone rings. Put an ad on the radio and hope someone hears it.
That’s a lot of hoping.
These days, marketing is better, faster, easier, more efficient and more cost-effective. I wish I had the technology I list below back then, but at least I do now. I don’t have a favorite, but here are my top tech marketing tools:
1. Content marketing: People love online content. Look, you are reading some right now! There are lots of ways to do content marketing, but here are three steps that make it easy and simple:
► Create compelling content that you think people will like regarding your product or service. If you own a pool and spa store, then an article on something like, “5 Spa Myths Exposed!” might do the trick.
► Second, in your article (or blog, or video, etc.) place a link to the page on your site, or to your social media, where people can find one of the items being mentioned in the piece.
► Get the content out there: Put it in your e-newsletter, in your blog, on your social media and get people to share it.
The good news is that these days, content need not be perfect to be effective. You don’t have to be John Irving or Steven Spielberg. Be clever, have fun with it, and link it to your site. That’s the key.
2. Pay-per-click (PPC): When people do a search using Google or Bing, what do they see? Sure they see the “organic” search results to their query. But they also see those little classified ads. The beauty of PPC is that, while your site may not rank high organically, you can still get a Page 1 ranking by buying one of those ads. Even better: You don’t pay for the ad until someone sees it, likes it, clicks on it, and goes to your site. Hence, pay-per-click.
Like I said, things are so much better now.
3. Video marketing: Did you watch a video online today? If you are like most of us, you did. Video is hot, and as a small business marketeer, it is your job to put your business where the eyeballs are; if they are watching video, then that is where you need to be too. Creating a clever video about your product and posting it on your homepage, or sharing it via your social, is sure to get you traffic.
4. Retargeting: According to Retargeter.com, “For most websites, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit. Retargeting is a tool designed to help companies reach the 98% of users who don’t convert right away.” How does it do this?
Let’s use an example: Say you go to a website and see a pair of cool sunglasses you like, but you don’t buy them. Ever notice that ads for those sunglasses seem to show up for a while wherever you seem to surf? That’s retargeting.
5. E-newsletters: Boring, basic ‘ol e-newsletters are great in two ways:
► First, they are permission-based marketing. People opt-in – they give you permission to market to them. Amazing. Use that force wisely, Luke.
► Second, consider advertising in someone else’s e-newsletter. It is sure to be affordable, and also sure to put you in front of a very specific audience.
6. Mobile: Did you know that half of all searches are now done on mobile devices, and beyond that, that most of those searches have a local intent? There are people right now in your neighborhood using their phones to search for what you sell. By mobile optimizing your site, and checking out mobile marketing options, you will be putting your business in the sweet spot of search.
Today’s tip: I get a lot of books sent to me from publishers and PR agents. Most are very good, but very few really jump out. But one just did.
I highly recommend Pivot: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Life by Adam Markel. Markel is an attorney who transformed his own life and now runs a training company called Peak Potentials. The classes Peak offers can help you with everything from your career, to business issues, to money challenges, to health breakthroughs. I know from personal experience as I took one of these classes recently and found it to be very powerful.
Using real-life stories, prompts, proven techniques, and step-by-step exercises, Markel’s book is a great guide to personal and career transformation.