Marketing is important to every business’ survival, whether it’s for the local business up the street or the mega-corporation that spreads across all continents. Unfortunately, for the former, marketing is often put on the back burner, as a small-business owner has so many other things to deal with.
1. Learn from your competitors
As a small business, you should start by looking at what your direct competitors are doing in the area. Find out how they are attracting customers and, more importantly, what is and isn’t working for them. It’s time to start or revisit your competitor research. “If you’re opening a location-based business, like a restaurant, that competitor research might involve visiting other venues in-person to judge quality, service, aesthetics and other factors through which you want to differentiate your own business,” Score says. This is also a great time to introduce yourself to other local business owners. On the other hand, if you have an ecommerce business, you will be conducting a lot of the research online.
Make sure to document your findings; you can create a chart to show your strengths and weaknesses alongside your competitors. For instance, you might find that you are the only restaurant in the area who isn’t offering a loyalty program to attract customers, it is time to jump on that bandwagon.
2. Build a strong online presence
An important part of marketing today is developing an online presence. You might think your local restaurant has no benefit of being online, as customers are usually local. To the contrary, you will be able to attract new customers in the area and beyond by being present online. It’s important to remember that one-third of all mobile searches are related to location and 78 percent of local mobile searches result in offline purchases. You want people to find you online when they are looking for a business in the area, whether that’s on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.
From your competitor research (see point #1), you already have an idea of how other businesses in the area are presenting themselves online. Now dig a little deeper, asking questions like: Which businesses show up in Google’s local pack? Which keywords are often targeted? What social media platforms are they using? What type of online content are they sharing? Take inspiration from your competitors and improve upon their efforts in order to stand out.
3. Collect reviews and testimonials
An important piece of your online presence is online reviews. Reviews are crucial when it comes to ranking in local searches and acquiring new customers. Research shows…