Monthly Archives: February 2016

Did your small business grow last year? What are you planning to do in 2016 to extend that growth? Every business should take time to evaluate their marketing strategy, determine whatworks and identifywhat can be improved.

There are many general small business marketing tips you can follow. You can also be more specific and cater yourmarketing based on your industry.

  1. Fitness

Fitness is always a popular new year’s resolution. Your plan for fitness marketing in the beginning of 2016 should be focused on reaching out to and engaging with your current and potential clients, both online and in person, to help them achieve their goals and maintain their fitness, beyond their resolutions.

  • Freebies: Keep your clients motivated to achieve their New year’s resolutions with free resources, tips and other bonuses. Try to support their fitness plan or New year’s resolution by offering a special promotion or giveaway to give them incentive to reach their goals. You can also offer the freebie to new clients.
  • Engaging content: Everyone needs encouragement, especially in the fitness industry. Exercising regularly and avoiding junk food can be tough. Use your blog and social media pages to share words of encouragement, stories to motivate or entertain, and those before-and-after pictures that inspire. This fosters an engaged and supportive community.
  • Brand management: There are so many different types of fitness practices. Not only do you need to stand out among those in your industry, you must also compete against other niches due to the market of potential clients who are researching fitness methods they have not yet tried. Get your Yelp page and other review profiles in check, respond to reviewers and practice good customer service to increase good reviews. With a good online reputation, you can stand out among your competitors in your industry.
  1. Food and beverage

Everyone eats. There are some quick things you can do to keep your establishment on your customers’ minds in 2016 while increasing your traffic online.

  • Email marketing: The main benefit of email marketing for restaurants, coffee shops and bars is the reminder it sends to potential customers. Do not spam your contact list with daily or weekly emails. Instead, use a monthly or email with a promotion, coupon or special. This is a good way to keep your establishment on their mind when they’re hungry and scouring the food industry.
  • Re-targeting ads: This is a type of pay per click advertising with Google that can really pack a powerful punch, even if you are limited to a small budget of even $75 to $150 per month. The way these ads work is to re-target your potential clients by showing them your ads on sites they visit, after they have looked at your website. This keeps your restaurant, bar or coffee shop front-of-mind and makes you stand out from competitors in the industry.
  • Social media advertising: The top social media platforms for restaurants are Instagram and Facebook. Use Instagram to share delicious visuals, and incorporate Facebook’s advertising tools to increase the reach of your posts, photos and videos to customers. Even a $50 a month budget for Facebook ads can go a long way!

coffee shop

  1. Personal services

Loyalty is an important part of the customer base for a small business that offers personal services. This includes the niche markets of spas or salons and natural medicine practitioners like massage therapists or acupuncturists.

  • Loyalty programs: Encourage clients to come back to your salon for every haircut or return to your spa for every nail service with a loyalty program. Offer a discount after a set number of services, exclusive specials for your loyal customer base, free services for referrals, and so on.
  • Social media engagement: Facebook is perfect for expanding your reach to a wider audience, Instagram is ideal for showcasing your services, Pinterest is the go to for visual how to’s and inspiration, and Twitter is the place for customer service.
  • Reputation and brand management: Since loyalty is so crucial in this industry, it is important that your online reputation reflects your brand. Follow up with all reviewers, whether their comments are good or bad. Encourage brand ambassadors from your loyal customer base who will talk about you to their friends and improve your word-of-mouth reputation.

massage

There are many ways you can promote your business website, but let’s start with the three key ones.

STEP 1: SEO

Make your business website search-friendly for Google by making it easy for the search engine to understand your page. Strive to gain exposure by getting your business mentioned by other websites and ask them to link back to your page. With some simple SEO tips, your small business can rank higher in search engines, helping generate more traffic to your business website.

Basic Tips To Make Your Website Search-Friendly:

  • Set a preferred domain URL– nowadays, people don’t always use a leading ‘www’ on their website domain name, they just use sample.com  rather than www.sample.com. Your web host should allow you to set your preferred version.
  • Use keywords in your content– write naturally in your content and don’t repeat the same keywords to frequently so it doesn’t look like spam. Use semantic-based words related to your field throughout your business website.
  • Install a Yoast SEO WordPress plugin– this plugin makes it much easier to optimize your content for search engines like Google by letting you add proper SEO titles and descriptions to your content. The advanced user can implement XML sitemaps, canonical URLs, breadcrumbs, etc.
  • Customize your permalink structure– in WordPress you can customize your URLs to be short and easier to remember by changing the permalink structure. Make it simple by using a shortened version of your post title, if you wish.
  • Submit a sitemap to Google– this helps search engines understand your business website better and make help your page rank higher on search engines.
  • Add ALT tags to images– you can also help Google understand your images by including a description in your image ALT tags.
  • Link to other sites and back to your older content – outbound linking can help your website’s authority, making it appear more relevant which can rank better. Internal links help the search engines understand your content more easily.

seo-advantages

STEP 2: SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Set up your social media platform accounts and start building your online presence! Social media can really benefit your business by getting you exposure! A significant amount of your traffic will come from social media alone!  There’s no question your business should be on this marketing wave.

Think about this: your audience is on social media right now. You have the opportunity to expand your reach and promote your brand to thousands of new people and you can do it for free!

Create profiles on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook as a base. If you sell products or can work with many visuals, also get a Pinterest account.

Social Media Marketing Tips:

  1. Add Social Media Follow Buttons On Your Business website

Install social media buttons on your site where they will be visible. Try on your sidebar or the top navigation pane.

  1. Make your content easy to share
  • Install social media sharing buttons–You can place social share buttons on the top, left or bottom of your content.
  • Optimize your images– there are optimal image sizes for each social media platform. Here’s a cheatsheet to help you optimize.
  1. When posting content on social media:
  • Create an introductionthat will grab attention or have a call to action.
  • Use popular hashtags!
  • Use social media management tools to schedule your posts (i.e. Hootsuite and Buffer).
  • Each social network has different times when user activity is at its highest. Avoid dead time zones.
  1. Be social!
  • Find your audience on social media and add people that might be interested in your business website and services.
  • Join relevant groups or follow others in the industry.
  • Engage with followers and ask questions to start conversations.
  • Share other people’s content. If you’re on twitter @mention
  • Commenton other people’s blogs. Leave useful comments and people will recognize your expertise and come to your page.
  1. Run a contest
  • Host a giveaway to help draw attention and attract your audience.

STEP 3: BLOGGING

Blogging allows you to increase awareness about your brand or service, establish credibility and show your expertise in your specific niche.

Tips For Effective Blogging:

  • Write useful content and be consistent– once or twice a week will help your business rank in search engines and attract social media traffic.
  • Add attractive visuals– make your images more shareable by avoiding generic stock photos.
  • Make it search-friendly– use keywords, SEO and hashtags.
  • Write in an easy-to-read format– keep your audience interested and wanting more by making it engaging and easy to read.

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