Small businesses worldwide are feeling the crunch right now. Tightening budgets, shifting consumer habits, an uncertain future…it’s a lot of stress for even seasoned entrepreneurs. The key is to change your mindset – and your marketing. Adapt your tactics to maintain your momentum, lean into the constantly evolving technology, and focus on building a loyal clientele.
Reassess Your Plan
Take a look at what you’ve been doing for your business. Have you adapted for current trends, technology, and tactics? Most likely, you’ve stuck with what was working – and now you’re wondering why it’s stopped. In the past few years, buying power has shifted from the Boomer generation to millennials and you need to make sure your marketing strategy reflects that.
Additionally, when households find that money is tight, the best thing you can do as a business owner is focus on your ROI (return on investment) when planning your marketing strategy. Make sure you’re tracking your past marketing strategies, both print and digital, and prepare a system to easily track those numbers in the future.
One of the best things about being an entrepreneur now is marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. Gone are the days of pricy television commercials and massive billboards. Instead, social media can be free or very inexpensive – with greater results. Build a comprehensive plan between email marketing, social media, and web content, and use that to promote your business.
Lean In To The Digital Age
If your business doesn’t have an active, well-structured digital presence, you are actively losing money. The internet allows you to build loyalty and connect with clients better than ever before, target your marketing towards your ideal client personas, and build momentum so that other people do most of your advertising for you.
This starts with your website. A gorgeous, modern, optimized website sets the tone for how potential clients view your business. Make sure your site is professional, clean, and fresh, and designate time regularly to update your on-page optimization to fit new search engine standards.
Enhance your SEO and your website with content. Regular blog posts that contain valuable information give search engines a reason to keep crawling your site, and give customers a reason to keep checking back in. Using keywords in those blog posts is also an excellent way to attract people who will actually want what you’re selling. Just make sure the blog posts are actually useful, not generic and exceedingly vague. People know what’s genuine and what’s a weak attempt to play the system.
Social media can help you get new customers, but it’s even better for keeping your old customers. Bite-sized information, peeks behind the scenes of your business, and bits of entertainment keep people looking for your posts – and that means they’ll also see when you mention a new (or old!) product or service. Social media and email marketing is where you’ll really build that relationship – but you have to make it engaging, or your clients will hit ‘unsubscribe’!
Drawing People Back In
If your marketing strategy is up to snuff, it’s time to take the next step in engaging people. Create a loyalty program to encourage clients to keep buying from you regularly. Start hosting a regular virtual event – I just saw a scuba community hosting a virtual trivia night every month. It’s a great way to draw people in, even when they don’t need anything or don’t have money, and when they do have some spare cash, you’ll have stayed at the forefront of their mind.
If you aren’t already, give people a look behind the scenes, even the embarrassing part. It helps remind your clients that an actual person runs the business. Additionally, authenticity is prized nowadays, and your clients might just love seeing a baker with flour in their hair from an errant mixer, or a carpenter frustrated when that carefully-measured table leg still doesn’t fit correctly.
Adapt And Grow
The internet changes faster than we can keep up. In less than two years, decent AI has gone from nearly non-existent to ubiquitous, for instance. And this means your marketing strategy has to keep up, which can seem impossible. But you need to embrace it.
I’m not saying you should use every new technology. That isn’t the answer. Instead, consider them. Can they be used in a way that actually makes a statement, or do you just feel obligated to use the hottest new tool?
You can also experiment. Use A/B testing to see which tactics work the best for you and then build on that knowledge. Maybe a chatbot on your site is useful – for me, it would be a disaster. Maybe videos gain significantly more traction on your social media than graphics. The key is to keep testing – your results may change in a year. This is why having one person designated to focus on your marketing, or hiring a social media manager can be useful – doing the deep dive into marketing strategy can eat up some serious time.