TOP 2017 Marketing Tips for Small Business
We have outstanding marketing professionals in North Texas and 8 different Fort Worth-based marketing firms, each with a unique perspective based on their core competencies and proven track record, give you take-it-to-the-bank top to-dos for marketing in 2017.
Each of the owners or executives of their respective firms provided: 1) their top 3 to 5 marketing tips for Fort Worth small business owners, 2) how best to leverage their tips and 3) why they selected each tip.
In great appreciation to the following (Allen Wallach CEO, Pavlov Agency — Chris Botvidson, President, Ascend Concepts – Lee Rogers, Founder, The Rogers Group – Eve Richey, Chief Digital Officer, Haggar Clothing – Jennifer Henderson, President JODesign – Stuart Balcolm, President, The Balcolm Agency – David Valentine, Chief of Dreams, Rethink Creative – Kenn Scott, Senior Consultant, Kenn Scott Consulting), here are things for small business owners to consider in their current marketing plans.
- Mobile device searches drive 56% of internet traffic to the top sites in the U.S., and the percentage is growing. Your website must have a good user experience on a mobile device, i.e., an optimized internet presence for desktop, iPhones, Android phones and tablets. A good test is to spend an entire week not using a desktop in your daily life.
- Set up a blog or blog section on your website to make regular posts on interesting topics related to your expertise, product or service. Be inspirational, not informational or you risk message fatigue.
- Understand that you may have multiple target audiences who make buying decisions for your product or service based on how they see the world. Craft your message for them and be inspirational, not just informational.
- Be sure each target audience you want to reach has their marketing messaging carefully integrated in each medium: digital, PR, social media, presentations, elevator pitches and website headers. Every interaction that people have with your brand sends a message.
- Make sure that you and your employees have public profiles that represent the organization in the best light.
- Validate that all your executives or leadership team members know your “brand’s promise” so that they communicate that one voice in the public arena.
- In every medium, focus on rational AND emotional benefits of your company, product or service. Too much marketing focuses on listing what the product or service does but people purchase based on what the product or service does for them, how it solves their problem or makes them feel—the emotional benefit.
- To send the right message to your audience, make quality design a priority. If funds are tight for this, contact the design program at some of the local universities to see if there are design students ready to leap at the opportunity for experience.
- A no-brainer possibly, but every business must have its own website. If funds are tight, a simple one-page site that is clean and looks professional and has well-crafted content can be extremely effective.
- Every business must have only emails specific to the organization’s name and brand. No Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, etc., should be used by a business. An email like GreatEngineeringFortWorth@hotmail.com, says, “I’m not a professional business.” or, “I am an old business and have not kept up.” You need to keep some other business from taking your business name and confusing the market.
- Doing business in Fort Worth boils down to involvement and relationships. Give back and get involved. Match the demographics of targeted attendees at a nonprofit event to your target audiences and see if sponsoring that event makes sense. Get involved, make a difference and the movers and shakers will see you and your business as allies.
- Add video to your marketing strategy. Video content increases your chance to appear in Search Engine Results Pages. Each video should not be more than 60 seconds and include subtitles for viewers not using sound on their device.
- Facebook Live is free. Experiment with livestreaming video / visual storytelling. Anyone to create personalized content. Re-purpose some of your livestreaming on your website.
- Pick one or two social platforms and do it well. Multiple platforms, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat not updated regularly, with few followers, is worse than no social media page at all.
- Find a message that highlights you or your business as different to stand-out among the masses of competitors. How many businesses say they are different but continue to use the same language as their competitors?
- Track your customer’s interests and adapt. Look at the analytics, e.g., Google and Facebook. What trends show in your data? Test by modify your message, reviewing the new data, hold steady or choose to test again.
- Find ways to automate some of your marketing efforts. Assess software platforms that put repetitive marketing tasks on autopilot. A tool for automating social media postings is “Buffer.” “Buffer” allows you to schedule posts weeks in advance so you don’t have to be worried about posting daily, and you can add to your queue from anywhere you are reading. Their “Awesome Plan” is a great value at $10 monthly.
- If your target customer is on Facebook, use that for advertising rather than Google Adwords, the most expensive platform. With Facebook, you can target with unprecedented precision and it is “monumentally cheaper advertising.”
- Check out Instagram and Snapchat. For some businesses, Snapchat location marketing (geotargeting) cuts costs and advertising waste by reaching potential customers near you. For the youth market, there is no better motivator than the sense of urgency that comes when the message is time sensitive.
- Create a Marketing Calendar. It allows you to “see” everything you are doing in context and provides the opportunity to align and solidify your budget.
It is clear from this excellent checklist that a critical success factor for marketing is target, test, evaluate and modify. Almost all owners need an external, experienced marketing professional or firm to put a roadmap for marketing together. Professionals like these know digital marketing strategies and tactics and stay current with the ever-growing marketing tools and channels. They can advise which innovations to consider introducing into your marketing plan and calendar and are in the best position to help businesses optimize their return on marketing expenditure.
Marketing is an investment in potential profit and business owners must invest in marketing their company, for health, growth and success.