Small Business Advice
Running a small business is a lot of work. When you are spending time tending to your valued customers, how do you find time to market your own business? I’m here to help you with that. This Small Business Advice list is a checklist for you to see what else you could be doing to affordably grow your small business.
How to reach the right customers
One question that gets asked often in business is “How do I reach the people I want to reach?” and it is a very broad question, but there are plenty of ways to answer it. Reaching the right customers is the purpose of marketing. Some businesses can get by without putting many dollars into their marketing plans, while others can’t survive without marketing. Chances are, you lie somewhere in that spectrum, and if you are asking yourself how to reach the right customers, you are in need of some marketing plans.
To reach the right customers, you need to make a conscious effort to think like your market and discover the appropriate ways of communicating with them. Depending on your business and your market, there are any number of ways to reach your ideal customers.
Regarding Sales can help you reach the right customers by helping you determine your ideal clients, identifying the best ways to communicate with them, and then making sure that all of your plans are implemented efficiently and effectively.
What kind of marketing should I do?
Once you determine who you want to be your customers, you have to determine the best (most cost effective) way of communicating with them and catching their interest. Some of the most effective ways to market your business across many industries include the following:
- Build an effective, informational website that allows customers to learn about your business and what you do.
- Build an effective, easy-to-use web store that allows customers to buy products directly from your site.
- Create content that is useful to customers that build trust between the customer and your business.
- Produce printed advertisements to remind potential customers of current deals, specials, new products or services, or to provide discounts.
Of course, the way you market your business ultimately depends on your industry, your business goals, and many other factors. Regarding Sales will help you determine what those goals are, both in the long and short term, so that you can get the largest return on investment with your marketing dollars.
How to create and implement business goals
When you own a small business, chances are you don’t have all the hands you really need, and you spend just as much time on the customer forefront as do your employees. This is wonderful, but it means that you don’t get to spend as much time as you might need to create strong business goals and strategies for moving forward.
If you can spare the time, make an appointment with yourself, monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly if necessary to sit down and really determine what long-term items need attention so you are not caught empty-handed or unprepared down the road.
If goal making or business organization is not your strong point, that’s okay! You probably went into business for yourself to do something other than run a business, and the running of the business is just a necessary evil. If that sounds like you, give us a call and we will help you set up some strong goals, actions, and deadlines to make sure nothing comes up unexpectedly.
Why can’t my customers find me online?
I already have a Website, you might say. So why is your website not showing up on Google when you search for it? How is anyone supposed to find your website? If this sounds like you, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:
- How old is my website? If it’s more than a couple of years old, chances are that the technology of the internet and the algorithms that are used by search engines have surpassed the technology behind your website. It may be time for an update.
- How much content does my website have? If your website is fairly empty, or if your content does not have enough critical keywords in it, then search engines will not be able to pull up your site as often as one with plenty of content.
- How linked is my website? It is important to have linking within your site as well as externally. You need links from your site to your social media pages, and from places on the web back to your site. If your site is not linked to anything, it is also harder to find.
These are only some of the common problems that cause websites to be hard to find. Some can be very easy to fix, while some problems will require further investigation and perhaps big changes to your website (for the better!).
How to have better web presence
It continues to be increasingly important that businesses of all kinds are easily found online. If your business deals directly with the public, you also know that it is not only important to be found and have a good online reputation, but that you also have to be found before your competitors. Even if being found above your competitors is not highly important, you still ought to look current, professional, and present across the Internet.
Having a good web presence can mean a variety of things, but we focus on the following:
- Current, complete, and optimized website
- Actively engaged in at least one social media platform
- Correctly listed in online directories such as Google, Yelp, and Yahoo
- Can be found using desired keyword searches (see SEO)
What is SEO and how do I improve it?
If you don’t already know what SEO is you have probably heard about its importance for improving your website’s presence online. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it is a qualitative (not quantitative) ranking of how easily search engines can find, index, and present your site.
With so many people Googling every day, it is very important that your website comes up in results as often as it should. In my website, for example, I don’t only want to be found when people search for “Regarding Sales,” but also when people who don’t already know about my business are searching things like “how to get more customers.”
Proper SEO techniques make this possible. The practices implemented for improving SEO change as quickly as everything else on the web, but currently some favorite practices include social media use, acquiring quality visitors, content creation, proper linking, and strong website organization and keywords. Of course, a combination of all of the above makes for the best optimization.