Small business marketing advice seems to be everywhere and it comes at a price of about a dime-a-dozen, which can make it difficult to know and trust the information. But more often than not, a lot of the advice small business owners are getting about improving marketing is the same; this lends to the credibility of the advice, in fact. If everyone is saying the same things, and you are reading the same things, but your marketing is not improving, it might be because you aren’t really taking the advice. If you catch yourself saying, “I’ve done everything and I can’t grow my business”, you might want to think again and consider these four ways to improve your marketing efforts in your small business.
Heed the Advice
A strange thing happens when we get advice from others: we often don’t take it. We think we know better or we can figure things out on our own, but the truth is that there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. When it comes to marketing advice, it’s best to take heed of at least some of it. There are literally millions of other people trying to get the word out about their small business and there are likely social media accounts and companies that you enjoy and follow. Perhaps you have visited those accounts or websites before and thought to yourself that these companies have their act together. But remember, they didn’t invent it either. Everyone is just learning from others and putting their own spin on how they reach the world. But much time is wasted trying to go it alone or trying to make things up as we go. Rather than waste your time and delay growing your business, improve your marketing efforts by taking the advice of those who have come before you. Don’t make the same mistakes they did – listen to the advice that got them where they are today.
Try it Out
Rather than assume you know what won’t work, be willing to try out different ways or promoting and marketing your business. Many small business owners operate on assumptions about their local markets and international markets at large. Without a lot of resources or capital, it can seem impossible to reach far beyond your initial operating area, but the internet has made it virtually impossible NOT to reach others. You can do business anywhere in the world these days so don’t discount the possibilities of how far you can take your business. Don’t start out by limiting your reach. Sure, target your market and specific customers in your area and beyond, but don’t let the unknown scare you from reaching out to different people at different times. What’s more, don’t tell yourself that you can market a certain kind of business or operation using the internet. People sell everything from services to glass bongs to medical devices online. If there’s a market for what you’ve got, you can find it on the internet.
Change it Up
Another interesting phenomenon happens to small business owners when they start working on their marketing efforts: they find that it doesn’t always “work.” But the definition of “works” can change from business to business. It’s important that you set expectations for your social media marketing and advertising efforts. For instance, many small business owners post a few things online and then complain when they aren’t getting leads all over their websites. Before throwing in the towel, though, it’s a good idea to try different things to see if you get different results. The old adage of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results often comes as a surprise to people who really do believe they are doing different things. But if you are being honest with yourself, you’ll see that you aren’t really doing all you can and aren’t really changing things up as much as you can. Try different things and see where it goes. If you only post on social media, try reaching out to local businesses. If you only work locally, try using social media. Try a different platform, try a different day of the week, try a different image to represent your business product and service.
Another way you can improve your marketing efforts to expand your reach by talking to people face-to-face. When we think about marketing, it’s easy to bookend your efforts to the online world, but when you get out and attend networking events, meet other business owners, and talking to customers. When you meet with people in real life, it’s easier to remember you, what you do, where you are, and how you can help them. When you are just trying to constantly bombard people online, you are competing against millions of other businesses online for the attention of your customers. Every opportunity to talk to someone in your shop or over the phone means another opportunity to grow your business. If you are not neglecting this part of your operation, or you are hoping others will do it for you by referring your business on your behalf, then you need to sit down and make a plan for reaching out. Referrals are great, but you can’t rely on other people to sell your wares. Having said that, always asking for referrals after you have worked with a client or sold a customer something should be part of your marketing efforts. We often overlook what face-to-face and hand-to-hand encounters can provide, so make sure you are getting out and letting people know what you do.
When it comes to improving your marketing efforts, there are many things you can be doing, but the most important part is that you are doing something. Marketing is about so much more than just posting on social media or passing out business cards. It requires a lot of dedication and effort, and a change in direction when things aren’t going right. Improving your marketing efforts means keeping your finger on the pulse of your own business, industry, customer base, and opportunities that may arise. Don’t give up, keep trying, and keep looking for more ways to build your business.