Small Business Marketing 101

Research, social media, print ads, blogs — these are all examples of marketing. With all of these options, it’s hard to know where to start. Not to mention that as a small business owner, you’re probably already juggling a lot of different tasks. So you’re ready to start marketing your small business, but you may not have the resources yet to invest in a marketing agency that can help your business grow.

That’s why we’re here to help. Follow the simple steps below to start marketing your business.

  1. Get organized. Make a plan and transfer action items to a to-do list. Develop your elevator pitch so that you can easily explain your business or products and services to a complete stranger within 30 seconds or less.
  2. Launch a website. Let’s be honest, when you’re looking for a business, the first place you check is the Internet. Your website is key to showing prospective customers that you’re real and credible. It’s also your most important marketing tool — so make sure it speaks to what your business has to offer.
  3. Claim your GMB. Use Google’s free Google My Business (GMB) tool to proactively control what people read when they see your business in the search results.
  4. Gather data. Install Google Analytics and Search Console to gather data about how many users visit your site, your best performing content, and more. This data will be essential to your online marketing strategy, so make sure you are utilizing these tracking tools.
  5. Implement SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic through organic search engine results. Keep in mind that SEO is a long-term strategy that is the best tool for growing your business sustainably.
  6. Utilize email marketing. Email marketing can provide the highest ROI for your investment, as it can be done well for very little cost. Using a program like Constant Contact or MailChimp allows you to customize email templates and upload contact lists.
  7. Start paid campaigns. As we mentioned, SEO is a long-term strategy and seeing results can take some time. To see more immediate results, implement a paid campaign on Google AdWords or Bing.
  8. Get on social media. There is a huge pool of potential customers you’re missing out on if you aren’t currently on social media. Leverage your accounts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and more to reach a larger audience quickly.
  9. Develop videos. YouTube is the 2nd most popular search engine next to Google and video is one of the fastest growing marketing channels today. You can utilize video even if you don’t have a professional videographer on hand, which means there’s no excuse for you to not use this marketing tool!

When is it Time to Bring in an Agency?

Using the marketing initiatives listed above can help you grow your small business as you get started. So how do you know when it’s time to bring in an agency to further your success? When you’re ready to allocate at least 5% of your profit towards marketing. Keep in mind that hiring a marketing agency will allow you to focus more on running your business day-to-day.

When you’re ready to elevate your marketing materials and invest in true digital marketing expertise, contact ADVAN Design.

Read more

Has your business outgrown its DIY website?

When a business is getting started, things happen quickly. Pick a name, register with the state, get business cards, look for a domain name, set up social media accounts, get a website up and running (maybe all in that order, maybe not!)  Either way, there’s lots to do and every new business owner is eager to get it all done right away.

In the initial rush to get up and running, your website can end up as an afterthought.  With the emergence of platforms like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace, many business owners jump on there, throw something together, and within an hour, they have a website.  While that is certainly convenient and cost-effective to start out, there comes a time when a startup website starts to look like just that, and could possibly sell your business short for a multitude of reasons.

  • “My website doesn’t look nice/professional” – Try though they might, most small business owners are not web designers. While one might put together a website that flows nicely and is easy for users to find what they need, in most cases, a cheap website looks bad – and cheap.
  • “My website doesn’t do what I need it to” – Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and other free platforms offer basic functionality – edit photos and content, have a contact form that emails you when someone fills it out, but anything more robust? Not so much.
  • “My website is outdated” – Sometimes, when you “set it and forget it” with your website, it goes out of date because no one does content updates. Design and customization of templates is also a limiting factor, which can make a site look out of date before it has even been launched.
  • “Why can’t anyone find my website?” – Many DIY platforms do not allow for much optimization on the back end, the things like titles, descriptions, and structured markup/snippets. While we know that content is king, we also know that there are a lot of factors that go into the ranking of a website on Google, and those factors will come up short when using a free platform.

The bottom line? Spend a little more now or cost yourself a lot later – poor SEO, slow loading times, limited functionality and bad aesthetics can and will cost you customers.  The poor SEO alone is enough to do that, but when combined with these other factors?  Sorry to say, you’re in big trouble – these things make your site “sticky” and without them, people will move on quickly.

Not to mention, a lot of these “free” platforms are not actually free.  They’ll make you purchase your domain and usually pay for hosting, and if you want more advanced features, you’ll have a monthly fee to pay.  Finally, once you’ve done all of that, they’ve got their hooks in you – they own your site and do not make it easy to export anything you have on the site to another platform.  On the one hand, this is understandable, as they want to keep you as a customer, but on the other, it does not make them easy to work with, and that’s just bad form.

Professional developers use platforms like WordPress, which make it easy to perform content updates without needing to know any coding skills.  You can choose your host and make sure you get the best environment for speed and reliability, and when a firm like Robintek builds your website for you, you get their technical expertise and eye for design, but more importantly, the support when you need it.

Read more