Last week, a good friend of mine asked me to help one of his acquaintances with his business. Seems like my friend’s friend has been complaining about how slow business is going for him at the moment and how difficult it has been to make a living wage for the last six months.
Since my friend knows I own an online business, he asked me (as a favor) to give this person some pointers on how to improve website authority and online presence.
After gathering information and analyzing different aspects, I came to one conclusion. I mean, I can discuss for hours the different problematic factors I discovered. However, the main issue came to this: this business does not have a customer acquisition strategy. No marketing. No promotion. Nothing.
I do not pretend to be an expert but I have learned it is delusive to think that a business will be successful without an actionable marketing strategy.
These are the different points I tried to pass on during my talk with my friend’s friend.
You have to own your marketing strategy
If you are starting your business, you may not have a lot of dollars to invest in marketing. Nevertheless, you need to come up with ideas to promote your products or services using free or low-cost channels.
Depending on the industry, you may need to research the proper channels and study how to dominate one or two. This is non-negotiable.
For example, for my business, I concentrate on SEO and Pinterest for marketing purposes.
Once your business grows, you may be able to outsource some areas of your marketing strategy. But, let me tell you, it is not a good idea to disconnect from what people are doing for your business. Remember you own the strategy.
When hiring somebody’s marketing services understand what they are doing for you (or give them the specifics), demand implementation proof and evaluate results.
If I ask you what an individual or agency is doing for you in terms of marketing and you cannot answer concisely, things may not be going well.
Concentrate on what you can control
Remember my friend asked me to check his acquaintance’s website? Well, the website is low authority, not optimized for the appropriate keywords and not providing any leads.
On top of that, my friend’s friend is not computer savvy.
I asked him to stop focusing on the website and what he wishes it can do for him. We made a list of the things he can start working right now given his abilities and resources.
My point is that a promotion medium that seems to be working for others may not be a fit for you. Or, worse, you can be paying top dollar for something that is not bringing any results (but its the latest and greatest).
There are many things you can be doing at this moment to promote your business. I believe it is a mistake to not take action while the thing you cannot control “works.”
Ask your clients for help
If you provide top-notch goods and services, why not ask your clients for help with promotion? Nowadays, reviews, testimonials, letters of recommendation, referrals, and word of mouth are very important for businesses and can lead to increased revenue.
If you want a piece of this pie, do not be passive about it. Ask your clients for reviews in platforms such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and Facebook. Offer a referral discount. Send them a satisfaction survey with a link to a review site.
Remember to make things easy for your clients and emphasize it will mean the world to you if they can help you with that aspect.
Marketing a business is not something you do for a day, week or month. You need to be consistent over time and keep a certain level of momentum. If you drop the ball, things are not going to move in the direction you want.
I understand you may have a thousand priorities fighting for attention but you have to take the time to promote your business. As an example, I spent more than half the weekend on specific marketing efforts. I created and scheduled pins for a Los Angeles to San Diego Road Trip article. I added content to my Santa Barbara category in order to increase authority on a Los Angeles to Santa Barbara Itinerary I am working to rank.
I did this while washing dishes, doing laundry and cleaning the bathroom. I had to juggle like a madwoman but I got it accomplished.
Networking with other business owners in your industry is an excellent way to learn how to market your business.
You can learn tactics from more seasoned entrepreneurs, discover effective tools and find opportunities to sell your products or offer your services.
If you own a brick and mortar business, try to connect with local business organizations, chambers of commerce or groups frequented by your target clients.
How important do you think marketing is for you a business? What marketing advice do you have for business owners?
Agree! If you have a strong brand or depend on referrals/word of mouth, then it may be lower on your priority list.