Being a small business owner means wearing all of the hats. You are the accountant, the human resources, the boss, and the marketing director. It can be difficult to figure out where to put your advertising dollars or your marketing concentration in this ever changing tech world. Jocelyn and Chantal are taking a look at a few platforms that can be cost effective for your business and will help you bring your company into the online future.
We sat down the other week and collaborated on what we felt like are the fundamentals of online marketing. Think of a triangle. There are three sides - website, seo, and social media. Now both of us have been lucky to learn from some pretty incredible people in the technology world (George Leith we are looking at you) and with that being said there are people out there that can help you with these sides of your triangle.
Let's start with the fundamentals.
Website - you need one. This is not optional. It is your store front. You also need one that is easy to navigate. To test this ask someone not tech savy. See if they can find different topics on your site with ease. Make notes of what they struggle with and then update. For Joce and myself we have clearly marked categories on our main page, our website can be easily read whether it is on your desktop or on your mobile phone. This is very important - if you made your website 10 years ago....you need to update it. 90% of people are looking up your services on their phones and your website is frustrating the heck out of them - they are going to your competitor that has a clear easy to view website. Other key things to remember about your website is to update it regularly, maybe by adding a blog and make sure to connect it to your social media accounts. If you are a retail company it is a very good idea to look into online sales. Maybe you don't feature your entire collection for purchase online but this is the way of the future. Be on the right side of it.
Seo- what does this even mean? Search engine optimization. Think of it as placing "Saskatoon Trade shows" into google or yahoo search now does Modern Woman Show come up on the first page of the listings? It sure does. One of the only actual trade shows that comes up. This might be the next most important thing in the online world. Search some keywords that your customer is looking up in order to find you. Google has become the phone book now. Consumers are going to 'google it' to find the majority of their services and check out your website before they buy. If you are not on the first page....chances are they don't know you exist. So how does one get to the first page or within the first three listings? Well, it's not one thing. It's a combination of things and these algorithms are always changing. Having multiple platforms of social media in which all connect back to your website is one (Facebook, Instagram, linkedin, Google Plus), having an active google adwords account with paid ad groups is another big one (see below), and having reviews through the search engines (google, yahoo, Facebook etc).
Now about those google ad words - you need to realize that seo changes all the time, but you can as a small business owner do this with a little bit of knowledge. We will use the Modern Woman Show as an example. Create a google adwords account. Now create an ad group, you link your website, then add a descriptions and keywords that could be searched. Ex. Women's trade show, Saskatoon trade show, women's Saskatoon trade show. Then you target the area you want to see your business (where are your customers located?) - the geographical locations. Decide a daily budget...maybe its $2-10 per a day. and waaala! activate the ad and check back weekly to see what words are being searched and how many people are clicking onto your website. Adjust as needed. It is likely that the businesses that are coming up on the first page of google have been doing for awhile. You might have to increase your budget to compete against the competition. Chances are that someone has called you saying they can get you on the first page of google. With a little know how you can also do this!
Reviews- why are these important? People look at them. They actually look for the bad ones before they read the good ones. Ask your clientele to write you a review on Google or Facebook. If they didn't have a satisfactory experience you want them to give you feedback on how you could make their experience with your company better. Now we all will get a disgruntled client or customer at some point. How you respond to that review is what a potential future customer is looking at. Did you respond and correct the situation?
Facebook- the hub. Your base. It's the place where people will have the ability to connect directly with vendors, friends and family. A landing page that can intertwine with your other platforms. Create relevant posts - is this teaching the reader something about my business? Don't post to just post.
A great place to look for reviews and past work. To find your ideal vendors and clients. Potential clients can connect with you via messenger - make sure you respond in a timely manner.
Creating sponsored posts can increase your readership in your target market or demographic. Facebook requires you to spend a bit of money to reach your current friends list and to connect with new faces.
Instagram -(our personal fav) The fastest growing platform with over 800,000 million users. We find this to be one of the more positive social media platforms out there. A great space for growth and support. That being said, it doesn't come easy without some tricks and a little know-how when it comes to growing your business. There is major strategy to bring your Instagram account to its best potential for your target market.
I like to view one's instagram account in 4 areas.
Your bio- is your business card. In 150 characters or less + links with strategy.
your feed is your website. It needs to be top notch with cohesive colors and a well thought layout + professional photography is almost always a must.
your direct messaging- is your new form of communication. Think of it as emails and text messages.
your instagram stories - your way of being personable and showing the "none white picket fence"... the WHO that is behind that business name. Most everyone seems to resonate best with real and authentic moments. this is your space for that.
Jocelyn with deMo Photography is hosting her next Instagram Slam workshop on March 24. If you're needing to amp up your instagram game be sure to
so remember ...
website -clear, updated regularly, mobile friendly
seo - google adwords, reviews
social media - facebook, instagram