Small business can be big work for the entrepreneurs who take on the task of turning their dreams into reality. One of the first struggles small businesses face, even before opening up shop, is figuring out how to properly market their new restaurant or shop. The options are nearly endless, which has its benefits but can also be overwhelming. On top of the dozens of other variables new business owners face every day, this litany of marketing choices can be paralyzing. For that reason, we have compiled a list of advertising tips that may just help small businesses, both new and old, figure out if they’re being smart with their marketing methodology.
Small Business Advertising Tips
- Social Media: Brands that skip social media are missing out on one of the most cost-efficient forms of marketing available today. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others are still wildly popular with people across the world, and your brand should take full advantage. However, before jumping in and creating a brand page for every single social media channel, first take a moment to think about whom your brand is trying to reach. Then make decisions based on that. Go to where your audience spends the most time and focus your attention there. Also, remember that social media is best used for starting conversations with your customers and not strictly for advertising. Sure, you can throw in information on sales or specials, but many experts suggest staying away from only posting digital fliers and advertisements. Instead, use your social media to get feedback from fans, share some brand personality and allow your audience to directly interact with you. Though most social media channels have paid options for boosting specific posts or creating advertisements within the given platform, most are also completely free to set up and manage. So go ahead - get social!
- Blogging: Though many still think of blogs as a sort of online personal journal, many brands see great success through the use and sharing of blogs. Writing on industry news, answering common customer questions, or simply showing off your team’s personality are all excellent ways to utilize your brand’s blog. One way you might not realize blogging can benefit your brand is through search engine optimization (SEO). If you write blogs with keywords and key terms that your audience often searches for, these posts can help your brand rank higher in search engines than it would otherwise. For example, if I were selling pizza in Orlando, Florida, I could write a blog titled “What’s the Most Popular Type of Pizza in Orlando?” This, in turn, might appear for people searching for “Pizza in Orlando”. SEO is definitely a difficult skill to master, so investigate some online tools like Google Analytics to keep up with how your site and blog posts are performing. Besides picking an effective keyword or two, you must also make sure the blog post is valuable to your chosen audience. Always keep in mind whom you’re writing for. Do they care? Is this information valuable to them? If not, chances are the post isn’t worth writing.
- Local Listings: An easy to miss, yet incredibly important step also involves visiting Google. Via the wildly popular search engine, people can quickly check your business’ hours, location, phone number and more. Don’t you want to ensure this info is correct? Simply visit Google’s business page for information on how to verify your business, allowing you to edit information above, as well as add photographs to showcase for online searchers.
- Interaction: As we mentioned above, social media interaction is a big plus for businesses. But what if customers aren’t satisfied? Ignoring bad reviews (or good, for that matter) is a huge mistake, as it appears that your business is either ignorant to your customers’ needs or simply uncaring. Do your best to respond to customers as quickly as possible and as kindly as possible. Doing so costs nothing but a minute or two from your day and is well worth it to assure your audience that you are listening.
- Signs: Though some may brush off signs, banners and car toppers as “old-school”, the fact of the matter is they work incredibly well at getting brand exposure in the wild. These methods are often reasonably priced, low-tech and can be implemented in a variety of different locations. Adding advertising to a car via magnets, window stickers or an illuminated topper sign takes your message literally anywhere you go.