No matter who you supported in the election, the last year has seen many marketing tactics that you could employ in your small business.
Here are a few.
Let me get to know you
Your customers want to know who you are and what makes you special. (in a recent blog post, buyer asked a prospective supplier “what do you have that is proprietary?”) In workshops, I note that there are two reasons people buy from you. First, you have the expertise to solve the problem, second that they like you. Many businesses do a pretty good job of showcasing expertise, but what are you doing to give people an opportunity to like you?
- Look at the “About Us” page on your website. Is it about you or about your company? Consider adding more about you and linking to your Linkedin profile
- Add a few videos of you and members of your team. Allow the participants to showcase human qualities as well as professional capabilities. It’s easier than you think with video.
- Become visible in commercial and community organizations
You are the best representative of your business. People purchase from people. Use yourself and your staff prominently in your marketing material. I had a customer once suggest that I use a pretty girl in a video that promoted his business. I asked the question, “When you go out to close a big deal, do you send a pretty girl?” When doing videos, avoid scripts and focus more on natural questions and answers. I was asked recently to put together a script for a video. When I saw who was being interviewed, I noted that these folks are professionals at talking about their solutions. Instead of a script, we gave them a few talking points and let them integrate it naturally into their discussion.
Have an opinion
For many of us who grew up in corporate environments, success was based on fitting in. I had a manager once say to me, “I want you to be like a 2 way radio, only talk when I press your button.” As small business owners, we often focus too much on being open to many paths as opposed to focusing on a few. As a buyer, I want to know what you know about a solution, and what you think I ought to do.
Understand and target a specific customer base. As small business folks, we tend to be opportunistic and not want to turn away a prospect. However, as a buyer, I want to know that you feel strongly I should be your customer.
Marketing is a journey not an event. You need to select a few social media outlets and get involved. Post, tweet, retweet, comment, newsletter etc... Make it part of your day to day communication plan. You need to be visible to your prospects and customers when they are ready to buy. Too many small business, do that one video every two or three years. They send a newsletter once a year. Sometimes, you will see a blog run for a couple of months before it gets discontinued. You don’t need to be everywhere, but where you are you need to be continually visible.
Take advantage of free media
In today’s communication environment, there are literally thousands of publishers. Every publisher has an audience. Each publisher is looking for content to build value with their customer base. Identify within your industry, who are the publishers with either the largest following or ones that reach your target audience. However, having those publishers pick you up as a contributor is not always easy. If you want to contribute as a writer, you’ll have to prove yourself. Create a blog on your website, or contribute to an industry where you are a member. Want to do video? You’ll have to create content on your own. Video publishers want to know that you will look and sound good, before they will pick you up. Fine tune your expertise. The more you are out in the media, the more people will want you.
It’s the content stupid
The best driver of engagement is great content. Want to improve your SEO? Great content is the number one influencer. Document the kind of content that you like. Your customers and prospects tend to like what you like. Try out different kinds of content in your social media channels. Look at your numbers and see what people respond to. Work with experts to help create the best content and the best you possible.
Create an engaging vision of the future
Whether you were excited about “Stronger Together” or “Make America Great Again” or not excited at all, clearly there was an attempt to motivate you to become involved. But how about your business? You need to articulate a future vision that both motivates you, your customers, collaborators and suppliers. In my experience in the early days of cell phones, or working the NEXTEL vision, we pressed the limits of what was possible and helped everyone exceed what they thought possible.
As you looked at the various candidates this election season, what kind of messages had an impact on you? What would you have suggested that they do differently? They can’t but luckily you can.