Okay, let’s be honest, you’re a small business owner, you probably could do it alone. That’s what being a small business owner is built on. Drive, determination and A LOT of time building something from nothing on your own. But you’ve been doing this for a little while now and you realize just how valuable community and connections are, as well as having people there to help manage some of the chaos.
When it comes to small business marketing, it can be a very special challenge. Small businesses are expected to keep up with the big boys and play the digital marketing game to stay in front of their audience and their clients. It seems easy enough. Work on your website a little each month, write a couple of blogs, throw out a few Facebook posts, take some photos on your smartphone and maybe, just maybe even a little video! Easy peasy.
I know some of you are laughing right now. You have attempted this and know how ludicrous it is for a small business owner to put time and energy into not only running their business, selling their services, keeping employees employed, as well as bills and contractors paid and then still be able to fit in blogging, posting, advertising and emails without completely driving themselves (even more) into the ground. Here, we lay out one formula for what it takes to make an impact in digital marketing for a small business. You’ll quickly see why it’s worth your time to have a team on hand to help tackle the ever-changing world of online marketing.
Small Business Social Media Marketing
Social media, especially if you do not already have a following or you’re just getting started actively maintaining your pages has made it very, very hard for a business to reach it’s followers organically. Viral content is not easy to come by, especially when you are a lizard sculptor who has around 80 followers on the Facebook page you post to once a week. Niching down is great. It also narrows your audience considerably.
This kind of marketing takes research, frequency and a keen sense of analytics, not to mention an advertising budget. To get in front of the people you want to reach, you have to advertise and once you capture them through advertising you have to find a way to keep their attention. That means relevant posts on topics they are interested in throughout the week for the long haul. They may not need another lizard sculpture right away, but you want them thinking about you when the holidays and birthdays come around.
Finding fresh content and writing posts to accommodate, as well as posts to promote your business and ads to bring in a new audience is a very big time and brain power commitment. It seems deceptively easy when you are on your social feeds all the time and find stuff to retweet left and right, but that is because you are being served the content you already love. Finding the content that someone else will love and pay attention to enough to actually take action on it is a much, much different story.
Small Business Blogging and Email Marketing
If you are someone who really loves writing and can do it at the drop of a hat, then you are a rare, awesome human who deserves some sort of medal. Even those of us who truly LOVE writing usually can’t just sit down at the keyboard and let it fly whenever we want. Small businesses have a unique challenge when it comes to blog writing. How do you stand out when so many others are jockeying for position?
You get creative, or you let your team get creative for you. A ‘just the facts ma’am” attitude and talking about your business alone will not get you the attention, readership or audience that you want. Keep your content original and engaging. Your website talks about your business, and probably the facts surrounding it. Ask readers to take action and interact with content. Use gifs, images and exciting messaging to keep them coming back for more. How can you help your reader? That is the question at hand.
To go back to our lizard statue example, maybe best lizard care tips or different types of lizards found in [insert locale here] or even the best way to decorate with unique animal art. Getting out of your head and coming up with ideas like this can be exceptionally difficult with you eat, sleep and breathe your business. Which is why having a team of creatives on your side can help take you and your business to a whole new level. All it takes is getting the attention of the right social media junky at the right time to take grow your readership from your mom and best friend from high school to a dedicated group of fans who look forward to your next post.
How do people then find your content? Search is one way, but the most difficult way to stand out among the noise. You don’t just rely on someone stumbling across your article, but bring it to them. Email and social media are excellent ways to share your content to people who have already shown an interest in your business and who are more likely to be champions for your success. Share with your fan base and encourage them to do the same. You are building a community of fans and they want to see you succeed, so let them help!
The bigger picture part of this is that it is a long-term commitment. All of it. It works hand-in-hand to create a presence online that cannot be ignored, but if it isn’t done consistently you will feel the loss. Even if you can keep it going for a month or two or even six, at some point burnout will set upon you. It is very, very difficult to be effective at digital marketing when you have so many other responsibilities pulling you in different directions. The way we see it, you’re already working on marketing in other arenas, with phone calls and meetings, networking and events. No one (excluding you) expects you to be more of a superhero than you already are.
Find the sidekicks you need with a team dedicated to finding the best customers for your small business where they already are…online! Unfortunately, we don’t have a Hot Dog Symbol for you to light up the sky with (yet), but you can use our contact form to tell us what you need!
My philosophy is more than just words or data, it is finding a way to marry content and SEO strategy with dynamic advertising to build online equity in our clients’ businesses. Writing is my passion, using it to help others is my pleasure and part of my mission at Hot Dog Marketing.