The thing about small business marketing is that a big chunk of it is usually DIY. And that’s okay.
As marketers, we’re big on the whole ~you gotta spend money to make money~ thing. But we also know that you gotta earn money to spend it.
So, alas, there’ll be a few things you might want to do yourself to save yourself some dosh.
Here are some small business marketing tips that won’t cost you your limbs or your nose. Make it rain, etc.
Who is your dream customer?
Sorry, you’re right, this isn’t a tip. But it’ll help us moving forward, just stay with us.
Plenty of small business owners reckon they don’t have a dream customer. Let us tell you, you do.
It might be around the work they ask you for: maybe one of your services is your favourite when it comes to actually completing it.
It might be around the ease of the project. Let’s use a builder as an example. They might find that they prefer to complete high end renovations because they don’t need as many “helping hands” like building designers and drafties*. Plus, the client has more cash to splash.
Or, it might simply be that one kind of client offers better profitability. The cost of the project is less, the chargeable amount is higher, and those little extras rarely pop up, making it cost effective AF.
*I cannot stress enough that I don’t know how building works, please don’t quote Sonder on construction processes.
Why are you their dream business?
You’ve worked out who your dream client is, nice work. This one’s a bit trickier. Why are you your dream client’s dream business? What do you offer to them that other businesses don’t? IWhat makes you so special?
Sit down and get into the headspace of your clients. What is so good about your business? It’s usually not how well you complete your services — top notch workmanship is nice but it’s an expectation.
How do you exceed expectations? Maybe your process is easier, maybe you have an online portal that seriously helps your customers, maybe you actively take steps to make their lives less stressful.
Let’s go back to my builder analogy that I probably shouldn’t have picked. We can reasonably expect that the builder will complete all the tasks that I engaged them for in my high end renovation. I should be able to expect they’ll arrive on-site, on time and that they’ll work to keep things on budget.
But partnering with an interior designer for me? That’s a huge plus. I don’t have to go and find one for myself now. Partnering with a building certifier? Yes, amazing! Offering me a process checklist so I know what to expect at every step? So good.
Are you guys speaking the same language? Hint: we’re not talking about English
You’ve got your dream client lined up, you’ve worked out what it is about you that caters very specifically to them. Perfect.
Now, you need to work out how you communicate to those people, effectively. At Sonder, we believe our point of difference is our approach. Not just the process we take to get you results — that is good though.
Our approach is different to our competitors in that, we’re a bit casual, we’re laid back, and we make working with us pretty easy. We get business owners and we know that while you do care about your marketing and the materials we make, having a monthly meeting with us to look at graphs that don’t mean anything to you feels like a bit of a duck around.
How we communicate in our marketing materials reflects that. We write our marketing materials how we speak — it’s pretty chill, it’s a bit of fun, and it shows you that we’re not going to drop words like net neutrality or actionable analytics in a convo anytime soon.
If we go back again to our builder friend and their high end renovations. We can reasonably expect that someone engaging a builder for a high end renovation is at least 30, but probably around that 50 mark. We can presume they’ve led a quality professional career. And, we can assume this person has high expectations for the professionalism of the builder they engage.
So, to speak their language? You should be clear and professional, you should avoid jargon or building slang, and you should be selling the idea of that luxurious lifestyle they’ve been dreaming of.
Related: Brand Messaging & Tone of Voice
Make buying from you literally as easy as possible
When it comes to selling your products or services, the best thing you can do is make it literally the most easy thing to do. This is essential. Four-stage checkouts on online stores? God no. Call the store to place your order? It’s not 1980. Email us to make a booking? NO.
The thing about consumers is that they are lazy. No matter how badly they want something. They’re impatient too.
How do you combat this? Automation, integrations, and simpler processes.
If you’re trying to sell your products online, make it easy. Your checkout should be one page and you should collect the bare minimum.
If you’re selling services online, make quoting, getting a consultation, and purchasing easy.
Use a form to collect everything you need to provide a free quote — but make it as few fields as you can.
Use Calendly to take bookings for your free consultations and to organise actual appointments.
Start a blog, but make it valuable
In case you’re unfamiliar with the art of the blog, they’re pretty good. You just have to get the execution right. No offence, but no one cares that you hired a new team member or that your business was named #1 for businessing. Yeah, they don’t care that you won an award or even that an MP came to visit your office.
The thing about humans is that we’re constantly, actively seeking things that interest us, that benefit us, that serve US. So while you may think that your new award makes a sick blog post because you’re getting content up AND your customers will be impressed — it doesn’t quite work that way.
No one will be unimpressed by your award, but usually, people who don’t do your job don’t know what that award even means. And your content? It’s not doing heaps hey.
“Then what CAN I write about,” we hear you ask. Loads. What questions do your clients or customers ask you all the time? What are their biggest concerns? Can you write how-to guides? Can you collate your best tips like this blog here?
Maybe you can offer real insights into your industry. Break down the difference between the materials you use or why one approach is better than another.
If you have access to search marketing software like Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMrush do some keyword research. What questions are people Googling around your industry? Answer them in a blog post.
Quick Blog Tips
- Make it at least 300 words
- If you’re targeting a keyword, that keyword should take up 2% of your word count. For a 300 word blog post, that’s six (6) mentions of your keyword.
- Try and link to two of your website pages or blog posts within the content
- Link to at least one highly authoritative resource in your post
- Give it an image and use other images throughout if it’s relevant
- Embed a relevant Youtube video
- Don’t flood it with technical terms or big words
Take advantage of Google’s free listings
Some small business owners kind of hate Google, so do SEOs sometimes. But Google slings small businesses a bunch of the good stuff. Google My Business, Google Shopping, and Google Maps are free ways to get more local customers. So, take advantage of them.
Remember, these listings are still on Google so all those SEO rules do apply. Scatter your key search terms through the product descriptions, business descriptions, services, whatever you’re uploading.
While we’re at it, get Google Reviews!!
Google Reviews work for you in two different ways that are very similar. So, when you get a review it’s an endorsement… well… usually it’s an endorsement. Anyway, collecting good Google Reviews firstly tells your customers that you’re good, you’re trustworthy, you’ve done this before and you’ve had success. It tells people spotting your business for the first time that this is indeed, not your first rodeo.
It tells Google this too. See, the higher your Google Review rating and the more reviews you have, the better Google thinks you are. It means in those Google Maps listings, in local search listings, and even Google Shopping — you’ll be ranked higher. How good’s that.
How do you get Google Reviews? Ask your happy customers if they could palease leave you a review. You can offer deal sweeteners too. Offer a free or discounted add-on when people review your service. Voila.