An ailing business can be very stressful and unhealthy for its owner. A small business is usually a labor of love and watching it under-perform can be disappointing. Luckily, there are plenty of marketing strategies you can apply to get your small business back on the right track.
Step Up Your Marketing Efforts
Jump-starting your small business begins with optimizing your overall marketing. Broadcasting a clear and concise message to your audience will bring you paying customers.
1. Measure Your Marketing
A great way to find out what you need to improve in your marketing as well as what may be holding your business back is to track metrics. Your marketing needs to have tangible goals that you can measure in dollar amounts and in rates of effectiveness.
If you are running ads, for example, and you don’t know how much it is costing you per sale landed or how many people need to view your ad before you get a click-through to your landing page, you could be wasting valuable advertising money. Stop spending money on ineffective promotional methods and focus on strategies you can test and gain insight from.
2. Perform Competitive Analysis
A Forbes.com article from 2014 quotes the best leadership advice quotes from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” including:
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
Competitive analysis isn’t reserved only for large corporations. A small business owner can acquire important perspective from studying their competition and use it as a weapon for strengthening their own enterprise. You need to understand who your competitors are, what they sell, what their pricing is and what their marketing strategies are. By understanding your competition on the deepest level possible, you will be able to find opportunities to compete more successfully for a larger piece of your niche’s pie.
3. Ask for Referrals
Don’t be too timid to ask your satisfied customers for referrals. Leads generated in this fashion are ready to buy.
4. Build Relationships
Strive to network with entities that will help your business grow. You should strengthen your relationships with customers, suppliers, business associates, the local community and other businesses that offer supplementary products and services.
5. Engage in Brainstorming and Journaling
Sometimes it helps to gain a fresh perspective by allowing your thoughts to run freely. A study referenced in a post on the Guardian proves that other than a source for business-improving ideas, journaling can help alleviate a lot of the stress you may be feeling as a result of a lagging business.
Work on Your Product Marketing
The difference between your product flying off the shelves and watching your inventory collect dust lies in how your goods are perceived by consumers.
6. Conduct Market Research
Market research can be as simple as having consumers of a significant sample size complete a survey. Ask questions that will clarify what it is about your offering that customers like and the aspects they would change about your product. Compile the results and take adequate corrective action.
7. Use Social Sites Like Pinterest and Instagram
Social media platforms that are focused primarily on visual media allow you to showcase your products in a very prominent way. Consider using a video site like YouTube if the benefits of your product or service would be best conveyed in a demonstration or tutorial.
8. Gather Product Testimonials
Social proof is a strong selling tool and having real testimonials can elevate your product in the eyes of your audience and give them the assurance they need to move ahead with a purchase. Your current customers will be more than willing to provide their positive experience for you to use in your marketing efforts.
9. Re-Evaluate Your Marketing Channels
Are your marketing channels adequate for reaching your target audience? Consider your ideal target demographics and see if your marketing channels are the best for reaching your prospective customers. Examine other channels and run low-cost experiments, such as a short-term pay-per-click ad campaign to see if they would be good additions to your current promotional efforts.
10. Encourage Reviews and Ratings
As noted in an article on the Drum, more than 93 percent of consumers are influenced by reviews. A windfall of good reviews can skyrocket your online presence and bring much-needed sales.
Exhibit Better Service Marketing
When offering a tangible product, it can be easy to neglect the service aspect of a business. Service providers can benefit from a succinct service-based marketing message.
11. Fine-Tune Your Marketing Message
Place a greater emphasis on the benefits your product or service offers in order to target your audience’s pain points. Take your customer’s viewpoint in crafting your marketing message and try to use language that is specific and familiar to your target market.
12. Boost Your Local Marketing
Small businesses rely greatly on their local communities. Having a strong local marketing strategy on everything from your SEO to your social media is a sure-fire way to increase revenue.
13. Keep In Touch With Your Clientele
It may take some effort to set up, but having a newsletter, podcast or other way of staying in touch with your customers will pay dividends in the long run. By remaining at the forefront of your clientele’s mind, you will stay relevant to their needs and be the first one they turn to for a solution to their problem.
14. Position Yourself as an Authority in Your Industry
By positioning your business as an authority in your field, you can pre-sell your audience. They will place more stock in your advice and seek out your services when they have needs to fill in your niche.
15. Offer Training
The ultimate way to connect with your audience is to offer them useful information on how they can solve their problems. A webinar or an in-store training session will show people that you are serious about helping them and not fixated on just making a sale.
Get the Most Out of Your Digital Marketing
Nothing can boost a small business like an effective digital marketing strategy. Results are measurable and you can achieve a wide reach with a budget that is friendly to your bottom line.
16. Be On Social Networks
Social Insights reported that 63 percent of customers expect companies to provide customer service through their social media pages. Choose the social media platforms that are best for your brand and build a profile that encourages interaction and feedback.
17. Optimize Your Website
Search engine optimization will ensure that your website is viewed in a positive light by the algorithms that rank your pages. A good place to start is Google’s own search engine optimization starter guide.
18. Write Effective Sales Copy
The two ways to increase your sales is to reach a bigger audience or to sell more effectively to your current one. Writing effective copy is great for boosting your conversion numbers. Learn all about how to manufacture scarcity in your ad copy, how to tell a story about your product, and how to write an irresistible call-to-action that will seal the deal.
19. Conduct Online reputation Management
Sometimes one customer’s bad experience can spread over the internet like wildfire and cause your audience to be more skeptical towards your business. By monitoring your online reputation and guiding the conversation around your brand, you can contain unpleasant situations while building your profile as a quality retailer or service provider.
20. Devise a Remarketing Strategy
Remarketing is when you show ads to people that have already visited your website but on another venue. For example, a user finds their way onto your site, reads about your product and leaves before making a purchase. You have the ability to show them ads for your offering while they are visiting a different website at a later time. Use a consorted remarketing strategy to increase conversions from people that are already interested in your products but may need a small nudge in order to follow through.
Focus on Content
Regular content creation will position your small business as an expert in your niche. By offering helpful information to your audience, you will be putting yourself in a position to be the go-to business for their needs.
21. Post With Consistency
Posting content with consistency makes your audience look forward to your communication. Also, as Demand Metric suggests, brands that are consistently presented are 3 and a half times more likely to gain excellent brand visibility than others with a more inconsistent brand presentation.
22. Take Advantage of Visual Media
Engagement rates for Instagram are reported as being 20 times higher than Twitter and 15 times higher than Facebook. This speaks volumes as to why you should be promoting your brand on Instagram as well as a video platform like YouTube.
23. Be in it for the Long-Term
Content marketing takes time. Don’t expect to make one great article post and have your business explode with sales requests. Put out quality, relevant and helpful content and you will see steady growth.
24. Write for People
A good content marketing strategy is based on writing that appeals to an audience. Don’t write articles that resemble billboard advertisements. Your goal should be to foster a conversation with your audience through your eagerness to serve.
25. Create Original Content
Don’t get in the habit of posting rehashed content. Also, try to write content that won’t become dated or make sure to revisit your content, updating it for current market standards.
Your Work Will Pay Off
Small businesses are subject to many circumstances that can place them under stress but are also flexible due to their smaller size. This flexibility means that by applying effective marketing practices, you can revive your business with a little effort. Take some time to evaluate where your business currently stands and plan out your journey ahead. With the right tools and proper mindset, you can navigate rough waters into calmer and more fruitful territory.