When was the last time you let your imagination run wild and followed your dreams? Dreams of pursuing a passion, being ambitious or changing your career path? For example, some of us may long to start our own business because it sparked from an idea or a need to solve a greater problem. On the other hand, others might choose to be entrepreneurial to break free from workplace politics, to advance in their professional development, or be their own boss.
Whatever it is, starting a new business, big or small, is no easy feat. Most business owners will argue that it involves a lot of elbow grease, sweat and tears! All this aside, it is also true that growing your business from scratch requires much time, thought and effort. The list isn’t exhaustive, but you will need to perfect your offering, select the proper sales channels and above all, understand who your target market is.
On top of that, you need to know that what sets apart your business from your competition is how you nail your product positioning and successfully market your brand to your specific target audience.
Without a well-thought marketing strategy plan in place, it won’t matter if you’ve got a great product or service or not, because people won’t know about your business! Just as your arm and leg have their own roles to play, so does the marketing team behind a business. Marketing plays a vital role in establishing your brand and generating sales leads for your small business.
Here are our actionable marketing tips for you to grow your small business:
First things first, a website is a must-have if you haven’t already built one for your business. Nowadays, websites are like the windows to your storefront. Visitors can peek in to learn about your business, buy your products or services and find ways to connect with you.
One of the best ways to attract customers and traffic is making sure your website is SEO friendly. An SEO friendly site means that you optimised it for search engines. When people conduct searches relevant to your business, your website will appear organically on the results page. The best part about organic traffic is that it comes from unpaid sources, which means free traffic!
Here are a couple of best practices that you should consider when building an SEO friendly website:
If you’re a small business owner and want to build your own website, a CMS (content management system) is simple to implement.
Content management systems are software applications that allow users to create, edit and produce digital content for web pages, blog posts, etc. Most of them offer customisable templates for your site that you can get for free or an affordable fee. Plus, you can find templates for everyone–from beginners to the advanced users.
If you’re fairly tech savvy or frequently browse online, you’ve probably come across these few CMS around–WordPress, Wix or Squarespace. These are great and affordable website builders which you can get started with if you want to personally build your own website.
Every brand has a story behind their business. Telling your brand story lets people know how your business came to be, what’s unique about you and the things that you stand for. Regardless of how established your company is, sharing your story connects you with your audience and builds yourself a distinct brand image. Plus, it’s an opportunity to show off your personality a little to spark connections and engagement with your followers.
According to research by Headstream, if people love a brand story, 55% are more likely to buy the product in the future, 44% will share the story, and 15% will buy the product immediately.
Besides, the more you reveal the authentic side of how you came to be, the more receptive your audience will be towards your brand.
It’s no secret that customers nowadays expect companies that they buy from to be authentic in how they present themselves and carry out their business. A Stackla report shows that 86% of consumers say authenticity is a key factor in deciding what brands they like and support. If your brand story is something that others can resonate and relate with, you’re more likely to build a meaningful connection with them.
Another reason why you should proudly tell your brand story is this: they’re easier to remember. Just as we’re visually wired, we are also programmed stories. Stories, inherently personal and relatable, make us feel and develop social connections. That’s why they’re easier to remember!
So if you’re looking to leave memorable impressions on new customers, be sure to share your brand story. Don’t be afraid to share it!
Burt’s Bees is one of those brands with a simple background and story. Both founders, Burt and Roxanne left the hustle and bustle of the big cities to settle into a peaceful life in Maine. Along the way, they rescued some bees and started a small honey business which eventually led to Burt’s Bees as it is today-selling beeswax self-care products. Whatever origin story your brand might have, adding the right flair of storytelling can help transform your small business into a successful one.
With millions of readily available users on social media, businesses should leverage social media marketing.
It’s a known fact in marketing that brands can’t go without them. For small business owners, it’s one of the most affordable and effective ways of marketing. Statistics show that 43% of consumers use social media for brand discovery, whilst 36% use social media to shop and purchase products.
Here’s how you can get started:
With the limited options to include more than one link in your bio, we highly recommend using free link-in-bio tools such as Linktree or Linkin.bio by Later. Apart from the fact that it gives you more freedom to insert more websites to showcase, it is also great for redirecting traffic to your website. Whether that’s your blog post, or your online store, you can help smoothen the experience for users in this organised manner.
Here’s an example of how we incorporated it onto our profile on Instagram!
We also have some great examples of social media content and what mistakes you should avoid here.
Continuing from my previous point, drive sales with social shopping. Among the plethora of social media marketing benefits, social shopping is another feature businesses ought to utilise.
Social shopping, or social commerce, refers to selling products directly to consumers on social media. The customer has the entire shopping experience within the social media platform. By the way, it is a bonus for consumers who love and crave convenience nowadays.
Moreover, isn’t shopping all about the social experience too? We all have different reasons why we love to shop. And when we do, we find ourselves gravitating towards brands and products that we can identify or relate with. We also like to check out new trends, brands or recommendations from those in our social circles and openly vocalise about our experiences with certain brands–whether good or bad. Businesses using social media to sell also poses an opportunity for others to share their products and the easy accessibility to your brand.
This marketing tip works particularly well if you’re a budding B2C business with attractive products you can sell via your social media platforms.
Following my previous two points about leveraging social media marketing and owning your brand story, it brings me to this–share your business updates and processes on social media. Apart from the people, the processes behind your product or service are also valuable assets that businesses should use to their advantage. Remember, you are what makes your business unique.
Thanks to the growth of social media and its shifting landscape, we’ve started to see businesses become more transparent with their online audiences. Consumers can witness the workings of their beloved brands, and in turn, brands can encourage a sense of community amongst their followers.
With the growing need for businesses to be authentic these days, companies that capitalise on their online presence can connect with their followers on a personal level. For example, documenting behind the scenes shows customers that your business is unique and invites them to come on a journey with you. Below are some sneak peeks from small businesses running their brands and social media content.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Papel & Co. (@papelnco)
A post shared by Papel & Co. (@papelnco)
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Ineta|Inspiring Illustrations (@femaleinspiring)
A post shared by Ineta|Inspiring Illustrations (@femaleinspiring)
Another benefit of why you should share behind the scenes content on social media is this–people buy from people. There’s this quote by Zig Ziglar that says, “If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you”. Isn’t it true? When you start to share nuggets of knowledge about your business and engage them while you’re at it, you’re bound to establish trust with your audience.
Plus, you can add your flair to highlight your unique brand voice and proposition. Polly Vadasz, the founder of Sighh Studio, a stationery and accessories brand, says that social media is a platform to teach your potential customer base about the business, get them invested in your vision and connect with your personality and company culture.
Whether you’re an expert or new at creating content, there’s no denying that each piece of quality content can be time-consuming to churn out. So, it would be a wasted opportunity not fully to maximise its reach. If you already have high-performing content, why not leverage it across channels? With a bit of creative formatting and thoughtful placement, you can reduce the workload of content generation.
Besides the obvious appeal of doing less work and saving more time, there are other strategic benefits to repurposing content for social media. A few of them are that it helps boost your content’s SEO and allows you to reach audiences who missed your content in the first round.
Plus, when you’re a small business, you’d want to make the most out of your content and resources to generate exponential returns.
Sproutsocial did just that. Written content that have been well-received by the community gave their creators the opportunity to maximise their reach by repurposing the content. Here’s the simple redesign they did to create content for a visual platform like Instagram.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sprout Social (@sproutsocial)
A post shared by Sprout Social (@sproutsocial)
Another example of how you can repurpose content for your business is by using testimonials for social media content or your product pages! If you’ve ever received any testimonials about your product or service, use that to ramp up your brand recognition, credibility and trust with your audience.
Adding these testimonials in visible places like your social media feed will help attract customers who didn’t consider purchasing without first reading reviews from other buyers. Besides, consumers naturally trust each other more, so testimonials will impact the decision they’re trying to make.
Regarding buying decisions, who are you more likely to trust–the people selling to you or previous customers with experience with that brand?
More often than not, customers want proof that you’re the real deal. As a customer myself, I can attest to that. Studies have shown that 9 out of 10 people trust what a customer says about a business more than what it says about itself. Testimonials act as the rubber stamp of approval that helps many modern customers make decisions.
Nowadays, with so much mistrust in false news and information, consumers have grown weary of sensationalised sales claims. This is why testimonials are essential–for building relationships and trust with customers.
Reputation always matters in business, and positive testimonials can help you with that. The numbers say it all! According to BigCommerce, 72% of consumers say positive reviews and testimonials make them trust a business more, and 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That’s much credibility that you can leverage! As social beings, seeing social proof from peers, friends, and family does influence our purchasing decisions.
When we see social proof from the people we follow or rely on, they’re bound to influence our buying decisions, one way or another.
If that’s not enough to convince you, maybe this will; 95% of people say that reviews–whether positive or negative–influence their purchasing decisions.
Once you’ve gathered meaningful testimonials, don’t be afraid to share them! Whether that’s sharing it on your website or social media channels, it will aid prospective customers in trusting your brand.
Growing your small business in a competitive market can be challenging most times because it may take a while to see the fruits of your labour. Start by taking any of these small steps that will benefit your business.
This is part of our Marketing Tips series catered to equip and empower different businesses to nail their marketing tactics right. Check out our other blog on the 10 vital marketing tips for solopreneurs. What else would you like us to feature? Let us know your thoughts at email@example.com!
If you’re looking to up your digital marketing, please feel free to get in touch with us! We’d love to work together to grow your small business today.
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