Take a look back
Another twelve months have gone by and we can’t do anything about what transpired except learn from our experiences. But, are we learning? Or, did the last year rush by while we, as small business owners, were busy taking care of the normal hundred things per day? I tried to pay attention and learn from the good and the not so good things from the past year. I hope you did too.
Take a moment and think back on the previous twelve months and ask yourself if your marketing worked as well as you’d hoped. Specifically, did your Internet marketing perform up to expectations? Did you even have expectations? Small businesses usually don’t have huge marketing budgets so the performance they get from their website and other Internet marketing is even more important to the health of their businesses.
Take a look forward
What is the plan for 2017? How are you going to use Internet marketing to help your company grow? It can be a tough process to figure out priorities, goals, budgets, and the other details of a plan. Allow Small Biz Media to pitch in with some proven ideas that will help you focus.
The graphic above provides a short, to the point, list of to do items. If you as a small business owner/operator will settle on doing just these four things over the next twelve months, you will likely feel much better about the state of your marketing a year from now. Let’s get to it!
“Small businesses usually don’t have huge marketing budgets so the performance they get from their website and other Internet marketing is even more important to the health of their businesses.”
Get a pro website
You are not going to build anything worthwhile on a faulty foundation. Take an honest, and critical, survey of your website. Talk to others who will give you a truthful review. If you do not have a modern, professional website then none of the rest of list matters.
“I get most of my business through word of mouth.” We hear that at Small Biz Media often. Some owners have it in their minds that means that a website is an unnecessary expense. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is fantastic to get word of mouth advertising for sure. But, did you ever think that one of the reasons you get most of your business that way is that your website is awful? Wouldn’t it be much better if you got lots of business through word of mouth AND your website? Sure it would.
If you do only one thing from this list, GET A PRO WEBSITE.
Claim business listings
The number one request to Small Biz Media from its clients is “I want to rank higher with Google.” That is the wish/goal for everybody. The problem is, not everybody can appear on page one of the search results. Only those that have a plan, know the rules, and execute will make it to the top.
To rank high with Google, you must be relevant. Relevant is Google’s word, not ours. The higher your web page ranks on Google’s relevancy scale, the higher your page will rank on the search results. It’s just that simple. Only, it isn’t simple at all to be relevant to Google.
One of the most important relevancy criteria is citations, or backlinks. Backlinks are references to a page on your website that exist anywhere on the Internet that isn’t your website. More backlinks means a higher relevancy score. Claiming your business listings, and there are dozens of them, is a great way to establish those valuable backlinks.
As an added bonus, standardizing your name, address, and phone number (NAP) information across the Internet by claiming your business listings also raises your relevancy score. Win. Win.
Start using email campaigns
If you have read elsewhere on this site or Googled the information yourself, you know what a boost to revenue a solid email campaign can provide. Too many small business owners think the process is too complicated for them to use. This is not true. After you get setup with the ability to capture email addresses, the rest is constructing a great email, and giving customers good value.
If you have never used email campaigns before, or if you don’t know how to even start the process, you can of course contact Small Biz Media. This is one our bedrock services. If you want the high points now, read on.
You have to start by having a way to capture email addresses both on your website and in person. Most websites have the familiar “Contact Us” page with a form. Most of those forms do not capture the email address by default. You must have a database attached to that form if you want to be able to use email campaigns. Collecting email addresses is important away from your website as well. New customer forms should always ask for email addresses. In-store contests and giveaways should always ask for email addresses. It should be part of your normal operations to consciously collect email addresses at every opportunity. Change your forms. Change your processes. Get this done.
Take my marketing seriously
This may seem like an odd to do item. After all, don’t all small business owners take their marketing seriously? In a word, no.
Much of the time marketing is an afterthought. Marketing for many small businesses only happens if there are no fires to put out, no phone calls to make/take, no paperwork to do, no staff issues to attend to, and so forth. In other words, marketing only happens when there is nothing else to do. And, when is there nothing else to do for small business owners? Exactly.
You must resolve to give the marketing of your business the priority it deserves or you will never have the time to get it done. That includes taking some time to think through what you want, when you want it, and how you are going to get it. This is also known as making a plan.
If you are less than impressed with the last twelve months of your marketing results, give Small Biz Media a call and let’s get started on making the next year a good year.