People give excuses all the time for not maintaining their website, online and offline marketing presence. “It’s too time consuming”, “I don’t know what to say”, “I can’t remember my password”, “The back-end is so different – I think I will blow it up”, “I have no control, my web guy holds me hostage”. Small business owners say it will just “get better”. No it won’t. What will happen is that your competition is going to eat your lunch and you will be sad and blame the economy. It’s not as difficult as you think it might be and with a little effort, all will be good.
Just put a little bit more effort and fine-tuning your marketing efforts.
Be proactive and surround yourself with knowledgeable people that want to see you succeed in your business. Here’s a few tips:
1) Your domain name is what? Pick a keyword rich domain name
Hopefully your domain name is not an abbreviated name of your business or it is some weird assortment of letters and numbers that your brother-in-law suggested a few years ago. “Short is good” – you remember him advising…hmmm, not so much. People see it as nonsensical.
It’s time for a new domain name!
It is simple to get a new domain name. Get a new one with the important keywords that searchers use to search for your goods and services. Ideally if you could get your actual business name, that would be good as well. But if you are just starting out and customers do not know the name of your business just yet, go ahead and get a valuable keyword rich domain name. What will it cost you? $11? $7? Not much, really. This small investment will allow you to be found by online searches and introduce them to you and your brand and allow you to sell to them (or coax them into your store for a special sale). You should always buy your exact business name as a domain as well and point it to the keyword rich name. Some day you might decide to sell off one or the other. They can be treated as separate assets. If the keyword rich name has many links going to it and another business might want to buy it – you might sell it separately for as much as $5,000. Think long term!
2) You have 1500 business cards left over from last year, but your website is not on the card.
Oops! In the interest of saving a few bucks you ordered so many business cards and now they don’t have your website so either you are consistently writing it down for people or you just “tell” them thinking they will remember. No, they won’t. Just go to Office Max and buy a stamp for $20 and stamp it on. Or, better yet – have a nice professional presence and get rid of the old ones and order new cards with your website address, facebook and twitter information on it as well. Might as well, right? We have to “fine-tune” your marketing with good information.
3) Everyone else is doing the latest online coupon. I should do that too, right?
Well, not necessarily. Keep in mind that Living Social and Groupon own that client list of email people. I get bombarded and it is getting pretty silly – the offers. I had no idea my community was so crazy for Eileen’s Collassal Cookies! (over 400 sold or something like that). I was awaiting a gym offer a few weeks after that so I might see the same people buy that offer to work off the pounds from the cookie consumption. I digress. These coupon companies are like the old salesguy who used to knock on your door and say they would “sell your goods and services in a special introductory package” to area businesses. Remember those businesses? The guy pockets the money and you provide the services for free so you can “upsell” them later. Never works. Many disapointed business owners wished they had not been involved in those scams. Don’t do that, put more time and effort into your website, your social media presence and Tweet about your sales to the locals. That will bring you in much more business than the old school guy.
4) Be more “pin-point” in your Marketing. Don’t cast such a wide net. We are in fine-tuning mode.
Gone are the days where you can just market to the masses. Well, unless you have mega dollars to invest in a nationwide campaign. Having a specific budget for each campaign is a good idea. It focuses your efforts in maximizing the reach you can get out of just a few dollars. And you become more focused, looking at your analytics and making good decisions with the information you already have at your disposal. Some of my new clients say “yes, I have Google Analytics” but i can totally tell from their voice that they don’t even remember how to access the information. So just saying you have it doesn’t count. Take a look at your numbers and see what you can learn from your past marketing efforts and duplicate what works and shelve what doesn’t work. This is called fine-tuning your marketing. Analyzing and making good decisions. This stays – this goes….make these decisions and clean house!
Off-line and online marketing examples are equally powerful in getting your message across. The point here is don’t be afraid to regroup and rethink at every stage of your business. If you feel something isn’t working and the numbers and analytics tell you to go a different direction – do it. Just keep fine-tuning your marketing efforts! It will pay off with higher traffic conversions, more sales and a consistently active and growing business.