Three Easy Ways Small Businesses Can Boost Their Marketing Efforts

Small Business

Small Business Saturday has come and gone. Maybe you’re feeling the rush from all the extra customers, or maybe you’re wondering why they didn’t show up. Either way, you might be considering what you can do to increase your online presence and continue to drive sales to your small business after the shopping holidays are over.

Here are three easy digital marketing tips you can follow to set your business up for success for years to come!

1. Get your business on local listings.

If you have a brick and mortar storefront, you want people to be able to find you! Make it easy for them by getting your business published on local business listings. Most of us already know about sites like Google+, Yelp, Yahoo Local and Yellow Pages. Don’t underestimate the power of getting your listing on all available sites (check out Hubspot’s comprehensive list of review sites). While it may seem tedious, it can be worth it in the end: Some of these sites share data, and the more consistent your listings are across them, the more chances you have of ranking in a local search query on a search engine.

Still think a small business can’t make an impact on the big search engines? Consider this: More than 50% of all searches are mobile, and nearly half of mobile searches have local intent. That means that someone is actively searching for a product or service near them. If you offer what they’re looking for, that means you may have someone close by who wants something you have right now. But the search engine needs to know where you have, and what you have to offer.

2. Get social!

Those of us on Flying Cork’s content team will be the first to admit that a full social strategy isn’t exactly easy, but for a small business owner, it’s an accessible, affordable place to start. Most social platforms are free to join, and some of them offer inexpensive advertising options. On Facebook, for instance, a $100 monthly marketing budget can go a long way, whether that’s through fan growth, deal promotions or eye-catching product ads.

Because social media can be a time-consuming effort, I recommend that you start small. Pick one platform you can stick with, and plan to post consistently. When choosing your platform, think about both your product and your message. Do you want to post specials and deals, blog posts or product photos? Do you want to explain a service, start a conversation or show off product functions?

More importantly, picture your ideal customer – who are they? Are they young or old? How do you think they would want to engage with or learn about your offerings? The answers to these questions will help you find your ideal social platform.

3. Create an online review strategy.

Online reviews can have a huge impact on your business. Sure, this can lead to some negative feedback, but that gives you, the business owner, a direct opportunity to join in the conversation, learn more about your customers and immediately remedy problems you may not have been aware of otherwise.

But how do you get reviews? Help your customers help you. Make sure they’re aware of various review sites where they can find your business. Consider creating separate printouts, follow-up emails or extra information printed on receipts that point customers in the direction of review sites without outright asking for a review. Talk to your staff about a review strategy; make sure they know to direct their happy customers toward an online review.

Just make sure you’re up-to-date on guidelines for various review sites. Yelp, for instance, can be pretty unforgiving with their standards in order to keep fake reviews out of the mix. They also discourage business owners from asking for reviews.

So just remember: never pay for reviews, and never leave fake reviews for your own business. Doing so could backfire and cause potential customers to lose trust. Also, know that this can take time – you won’t get a ton of reviews overnight, and that’s fine. You’d rather have a slow, steady stream of reviews than a bunch all at once and then silence. And remember, the best way to ensure positive reviews is to consistently delivery stellar customer service.

Marketing in any form can be time-consuming and often even frustrating, especially for small business owners who have so many other things to think about. By doing a little bit at a time, you can set yourself up for a future full of success!