Frequently Asked Questions About Small Business Marketing

Marketing Basics

How important is marketing for small business?

Without proper marketing and ensuring your business can be found when someone searches, no one will know about you. Implementing simple, online marketing activities puts your business in front of more potential customers. Your marketing can educate them about the products or services you offer.

When does my small business need marketing?

The answer to that question is “all the time”.

Marketing is not something you can turn on and off. Marketing also needs to be viewed as an investment, not an expense. Turning on marketing only when business gets slow puts you in a viscous cycle. Although you could spend money on paid advertising to hasten your visibility, it is better to build visibility organically.

Effective small business marketing is not an activity to be done only when things get quiet, but is a process that should be constantly and consistently happening in your business, making your business more visible to those looking for your products and services.

What are the benefits of continuously marketing my business?

Benefits of continuous marketing:

  • You build awareness and brand differentiation for your business by being visible to your prospects and clients;
  • You establish a solid reputation for your business by marketing your expertise through articles and blogging;
  • You distinguish your business from the “competition” by staying visible and promoting your expertise;
  • You can evaluate your marketing efforts by the results you are seeing in your business. If they work, keep doing them; if they don’t work try something else.
Why is marketing a continuous process?

Marketing takes time to take effect. When you shut something down, it is really hard to kick it back up. Plus stopping and starting marketing doesn’t give you enough data to know whether something is working or not. The key is to put a marketing effort in motion and let it run, evaluating the outcome and tweaking the campaign when need be. Starting and stopping marketing is guaranteed to give you less than stellar results.

Build marketing into your business strategy so that it becomes second nature and ensures your business stays visible to your clients. If you don’t feel you can do it yourself, find a reputable marketing agency to help. An investment in marketing your business can be small but the payoff can be substantial.

Why do I need a marketing plan?

Without a written marketing plan, your business is making decisions on the fly. This results in disjointed marketing efforts, wasting time and resources on activities that may or may not work for your business. When your plan is written down, you become more focused. Committing your goals, strategies and activities to a written document is the only way to avoid losing sight of what we want to achieve – turning our ideas into proven reality.

Is having a marketing system important to the success of my marketing activities?

If you want your marketing to be effective, you need to treat marketing as a process – a series of actions to achieve your particular marketing goal. But unless you create a marketing system, your marketing process could be inefficient and inconsistent, producing results that are less than you had hoped.

The key to implementing an effective marketing system is to ensure it aligns with your marketing plan and defines the steps you will take to implement a success inbound marketing funnel.

For more information on implementing a marketing system, read my blog post on Marketing System or Marketing Plan – Do You Need Both?

Marketing Tools

Why WordPress?

A website’s goal is to provide inbound leads and visibility for your business. To accomplish that goal, your website needs to continually deliver a pleasant user experience to those who are looking for your products and services.

WordPress provides robust functionality and ease of use features, making it the ideal choice for businesses that want to keep their website content up-to-date and relevant to their target market. This dynamic, open source software has evolved into an easy to use content management system, putting you in control of your content.

Why does my website need to be mobile responsive?

As more people are visiting websites from their smartphones than web browsers, it is important that your website be able to support a broad range of devices. Google began to index websites using its Mobile Index in 2018. As of March 2021, websites must support mobile otherwise you risk being removed from the index.

There are several ways to implement mobile device support for your website. For most small businesses, creating your website using responsive design is the easiest and most cost effective means to achieve this mobile-friendly goal. Responsive design means that your website serves the same HTML code to all devices along with different CSS style rules to optimize the site’s interface across the varying devices.

A mobile-friendly website works seamlessly across different devices. It means your website has the ability to adapt to being visited on a mobile device rather than a desktop. If you look at your website from your desktop browser, a tablet or your smartphone, you should have a good experience regardless of which device you are on.

However, being mobile-friendly is not enough.

Mobile first design refers to creating your website for the mobile device before designing for larger screens. Most websites have taken the opposite approach – design for the desktop first then (hopefully!) test and fix the site for mobile. While that may work in many cases, if you can redesign your website using mobile first best practices, that is ideal.

Taking a mobile first approach requires that you prioritize mobile visitors and ensure they have a quality experience. Once you have ensured that mobile experience, you then scale the design up to larger screens.

Why should I have a self-hosted WordPress website?

Not all businesses will be able to support the requirements of having a blog, but businesses who do blog get more traffic to their website than those who don’t. A quality blog helps convert that traffic into leads while establishing your business as an authority in your industry.

Every time you publish a blog post, you increase your web presence by another page which creates one more opportunity for your business to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search.

Why do I need to do SEO on my website?

Optimizing your website is the process of ensuring your web pages can be found when someone is searching using the most relevant keyword phrases for your business. By taking the time to optimize each page and post on your website can have a huge impact on your organic traffic.

Getting your website organically ranking high in search engines is one of the most important aspects to your marketing plan. Traffic that comes from organic search engine results is extremely cost effective, providing a high ROI if that traffic converts into paying clients.

Do I need an email service provider and if so, which one?

If you want to email a large number of recipients, you must use an email service provider. With the amount of spam being sent, many ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will block emails that have too many recipients in the cc or bcc fields. In order to ensure your emails reach your intended audience, you should signup for a reputable email service provider, build your email list on that provider and use it to email to your list.

I recommend either MailChimp or MailerLite for a couple of reasons:

Both MailChimp and MailerLite offer an “RSS-Driven campaign” which sends your blog posts to your subscribers when your RSS feed is updated with new information. This gives you the all-important “subscribe by email” for your blog posts. For their free accounts:

  • MailChimp gives you 500 subscribers and 1000 emails per month
  • MailerLite gives you 1000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month

If you would like to understand the differences between email marketing and marketing automation, check out my blog post Marketing Automation vs Email Marketing.

About Debra

Debra Murphy - Marketing Consultant, Coach & Mentor

Your trusted marketing partner passionate about your success. Read more »

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I have tapped Debra’s expertise and balance several times over the last several years to help assess new opportunities and formalize marketing plans for specific programs and services. She has always been able to synthesize new information quickly and provide a tailored framework that enabled us to get through the planning process quickly and effectively.… “Ken Kahn”

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