I was asked an interesting question during one of my coaching sessions:
As a small business owner, if you were to focus on only three marketing activities over the next six months, what would they be?
That made me stop and think for a bit. Putting the gears in motion and applying the power of threes, I realized that this question and its answer would help other small business owners focus on what is important for them to be found. My recommendation for three marketing activities include:
#1 Building a first-class Web presence to develop your expert reputation
Today’s small business needs to have a solid presence on the Internet to help build your expert reputation. Building a first-class presence includes:
- Building a website and blog on WordPress
- Creating compelling profiles on Google, Facebook and LinkedIn
- Establishing local business listings on Google, Yahoo, Bing and Best of the Web
- Launching a Facebook Business Page
- Setting up a Twitter account with a custom, branded background
- Syndicating your content out to relevant sites
In order for this to all work, all the gears need to be moving in unison in order for all the pieces to create one unified image.
Without a quality web presence, you run the risk of people finding you and quickly eliminating you from their list of potential suppliers. Fair or not, people do judge a book by its cover. When your business success depends on building your expert reputation and proving to your target market that you are the best person for them to work with, you can’t take a chance on mediocre Website, blog, Facebook Page, social media profiles, content and the brand identity it projects. Make this activity a priority.
#2 Incorporating search engine marketing activities
Now that you have your first-class presence established, you need to be sure people who are searching for what you offer are directed your way. Understanding how your target market searches for your products or services, what keywords they use and how to make your website rank higher in the search engines can be the difference between finding your ideal client or having your ideal client find you! These activities include:
- Researching your best keywords
- Optimizing your website
- Writing content that utilizes your keywords and helps with optimization
- Creating a linking strategy
- Using pay-per-click to boost your visibility for specific keywords
For most businesses, keyword research and organic search engine optimization of your site and content will be the most effective part of this marketing activity. However, some local consumer businesses do very well with a budgeted and managed pay-per-click campaign to get more people who are ready to buy to your website.
#3 Identifying your top referral sources and meet as many as you can, both off-line and on-line
Meeting, nurturing and building solid relationships with people who are your best referral sources is a marketing activity that is always top of the list for small business owners. The best clients usually come as a referral and when they are a qualified referral, the work you need to do to turn them into a client is minimal. If you succeed in creating that quality Website with a blog that demonstrates your expertise, referral sources can introduce you to their connections through your Web presence first. If the connection likes what they see, your referral source can then make the introduction.
These activities include:
- Online networking using LinkedIn and Facebook to establish meaningful connections and develop beneficial relationships.
- Joining groups on social networks that are locally focused and network both online and off-line
- Attending one live networking meeting a month
- Joining a referral organization
Developing a solid network of local connections generates more opportunities for your business by developing new, beneficial relationships with people in your geographic location. Depending on your business, you may also benefit from connecting more broadly, but start with your local networks and get out and get noticed.
What are your three picks?
Spending time implementing these marketing activities will create better visibility, establish your expert reputation and introduce you to people who can benefit from what you have to offer.
What would be your three activities of choice for your business?