People love lists of ideas, especially in January. At the start of the year, you read all the amazing ideas and arrive at your office ready to tackle the to-do list for your business. But then a phone call comes in. Another client sends you an email with an urgent problem.
Next thing you know, it’s March. That’s OK. Spring is a fantastic time to rethink your marketing. Those first two months were just warmup. With 10 months left in the year, here is what you can do to improve your marketing. Focus on one per month and you’ll have made vast strides!
1. Fix/create a company logo. Small business owners tend to skip a lot of steps at the start-up phase to save money. If you’ve been skirting by with the name of your business in Times New Roman — and that’s it — then it’s time to get serious. Create a logo that says something about you and your company, one you can put on everything from business cards and brochures to your website.
2. Brush up your business cards. No offense to those online business card places, but you can do better. Create a card that stands out from the rest and reminds people of what you do.
3. Join a networking group. Many small and medium-sized business owners loathe this part of the work. But while we can help with your online marketing and print materials, we can’t be out there selling you. You or a team member should join a networking group for businesses. Other small business owners want to support local, and this is how they’ll find you. Plus, you can exchange ideas and meet fantastic people in the Triangle.
4. Research your customers and target market. Whether you’ve been in business for one year or seven, it’s always good to take a look at who’s buying. What types of people turn to you? Why did they choose you? Is that the same group to whom you’re advertising or marketing? If not, why is there a disconnect? The more you know about your customer, the more you can focus your effort on finding similar people.
5. Encourage customer engagement. Spend some time at the start of one month thinking about your product or service. What can you do to make it more shareable or likable? This might mean creating something photo-worthy for your customers to post on social media, but it also could be reminding customers to leave an online review. Instead, you might strategically think about why a customer might recommend you to someone — or why not — and then make changes to your service. You might also add a referral bonus or discount for customers. What you do with this month’s marketing step depends a lot on your business, but repeat customers are your best sales team members. How can you engage them?
6. Write a guest blog post. If you don’t blog on your website (though you should), you can improve your SEO and reach a new audience by submitting a guest post to someone else. Speak to business owners with a related product or service. Write a post aimed at their readers that somewhat ties into what you do. Include a one-sentence bio and a link to your website.
7. Get out there. Speak for a class. Get interviewed on a podcast. Or even sponsor a local team or event in which your company name is posted/mentioned. The more you’re out there saying, “Oh hey by the way here’s what I do,” the more people will find you.
8. Thank your customers. A random thank you goes a long way. You can send a special thanks to all at once via email or snail mail, or you can send it on the anniversary of their first interaction with you or their birthday (if you have that data). Maybe you go big with a thank you party at your place of business. Whatever it is, customers will notice.
9. Ask for testimonials. Talk to your best customers. Ask them to write something thoughtful about you and post it on your website and/or social media.
10. Consider your marketing budget for next year. Many businesses don’t set aside a line item for marketing or advertising. Think about the money you’ll spend next year. If you’ve never created this line item, take a look at what you’ve spent in the past on your website, business cards, and other items. What would you like to add next year? Even if it’s a small amount, it’s good to set aside something so that your business continues.
What small steps are you taking to market your business better this year?