This is an exciting time to take advantage of the many marketing opportunities available for your business. The quickly evolving digital world presents businesses with the opportunity to reach customers across online channels and do so with unprecedented efficiency.
Unfortunately small businesses do not always have the resources to take advantage of this new wave of marketing opportunities. The small business sector has high expectations for revenue growth in 2016 – 85 percent of small business owners expect increased revenue this year, according to a recent study conducted by Yelp.
Small business owners face many of the same marketing and sales complexities as larger companies – from managing customer information and engaging prospects authentically to efficiently sending automated, yet personalized, communications.
However, Small business’s rarely have a seasoned marketing team on board, and as a result, are missing opportunities to expand their markets, take advantage of the many marketing opportunities, and increase their sales.
The good news is that marketing technologies are making it easier and more efficient for any entrepreneur or small business employee to take advantage of the many marketing opportunities available.
Here’s a few ways you an take advantage of the many marketing opportunities and tools available to succeed:
DO YOUR OFFLINE WORK FIRST
Before you can have an effective digital marketing strategy, a little offline work is necessary to get to know your audience. Take a look at your best existing customers and prospects.
What unique characteristics and needs do they have? What sets them apart from each other – industry, revenue, income, gender, age? Determine groups, or audience segments, based on the categories and criteria that make sense.
You’ll also need to test to determine which marketing messages resonate best with your audience. Are certain products or services more popular than others? Have customers been more excited about certain aspects of a service you offer?
DIVIDE AND CONQUER, INTELLIGENTLY
Be as specific as you can in your targeting. It is better to “own” a specific segment of your market than simply be a contender in a broad market. Once you have an idea of how to segment your customers and leads, go beyond demographics to separate them into groups based on similar behaviors and preferences.
For example, an e-commerce company may have segments of “holiday buyers,” or “diatomaceous earth,” or even a group that “custom shirts,” or “shirts printing.” A small company’s segments may include “carpet cleaning,” “sports bar & grill,” “Natural Stone,” “Warehousing and shipping,” “truckload carriers,” “landscaping design,” and “lawn care.” As you can see, each of these example groups would likely have very different interests, so it’s important to identify these characteristics early on to engage them effectively.
DON’T JUST “SET IT AND FORGET IT”
With all the time you’ve saved with automatic follow ups and emails, you should consistently monitor customer reactions. Which emails, subject lines, and website pages are driving more clicks and sales? Which are not? Pay attention.
The more you know about your customers’ likes and dislikes, the more you can tweak your content to focus on what’s working and what’s driving revenue.
MAKE SMALL CHANGES FOR BIG IMPROVEMENTS
With all of the information you’ve collected and the extra knowledge you have about your customers, take the time to make small changes that can have a huge impact.
Updating an email subject line to mention a popular product feature or tailoring the time of day that an automated email message goes out can have a huge influence on response rates and ultimately, your sales.
Small businesses have a lofty – but winnable – marketing and sales challenge. They must address the same savvy consumers who are accustomed to engaging with marketing messages from larger businesses, such as hyper-customized messaging, cross-sell/up-sell promotions, and product ratings or reviews.
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