Tag Archives: small business

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

Pinterest is that popular new social media platform that is getting all the buzz from small business owners. This platform is full of potential for growing your small business because people are fascinated by the visual! Consumers and brands alike want to get to know Pinterest and start gaining some of the benefits it may bring! Many businesses and brands are beginning to pin and populate boards without a strategy in place. Some are just plain boring and some are so terrible that they are actually damaging the brand’s reputation.

Your goal is to build a strong presence on social media platforms and this requires providing high quality, interesting content and responding to the wants and needs of your audience and potential clients. Your strategy should incorporate content that is centered on the following questions: Who is your audience? What do they care about?

Start off by doing some research. Look at how other brands within your field (your competitors) are using Pinterest, and how users are responding. You need to know what interests your audience. Now you are probably anxious and ready to start pinning. Keep these do’s and don’ts in mind:

The Do’s:

Pinterest Do's

  • Come up with catchy names for your boards and strategically choose the cover pin for each carefully (ie. Your boards’ cover photos are the first thng your audience sees when landing on your page so better make them look appealing. Visual stimulation is key!)
  • Integrate Pinterest with Twitter + Facebook (as a tab app) for greater exposure. Cross-platform promotion boosts your Pinterest following!
  • Add Pinterest and “Pin It” buttons to your website and blog
  • Use “$” sparingly because trying to sell something on Pinterest can be perceived as pushy and annoying
  • Always link your pins back to the original source page to boost traffic back to your website
  • Comment on other pins and interact with new groups of people
  • Utilize the comment feature on your own pins-longer comments and descriptions get noticed
  • Try asking a question in the comment box to elicit a response or get a discussion going
  • Follow the 5-5-2 formula to get started (ie: 5 boards about things your audience loves, 5 boards on things that your audience has a hard time finding, 2 boards about your business/brand)
  • Use a secret board to save content for the future. When you’re on the hunt for great images to repin, don’t worry about getting your timing right. Simply create a secret board, pin the image to that board and include the original pin’s URL in the caption so you can go back and repin it publicly when you have time.
  • Use keywords in your descriptions. If you took the time to optimize your site with relevant keywords, why not optimize your Pinterest with the same keywords? Boards, pins and profile descriptions are all excellent places to work some SEO magic so you can come up in search results.

The Don’ts:

What-Not-To-Do-On-Pinterest

  • Don’t pin more than 5 consecutive pins all at one time (it is better to spread them out over time, otherwise people may begin unfollowing you)
  • Don’t confuse your followers by pinning random things (stick to a topic or theme)
  • Don’t forget to sign in and out if you have multiple logins (ie: personal and business accounts)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your Facebook and Twitters followers to follow you on Pinterest
  • Don’t pin only pictures of your products, think beyond. This is huge. DO NOT pin only your own content. Stretch your brand’s personality into other areas of visual interest such as articles related to your field, interesting images and funny memes. (your audience does not want blatant advertisements all over their feed)
  • Don’t be hard to find. It’s a good idea to keep your profile specific to your company, so anyone searching for you on Pinterest will know they have the right profile in one glance.
  • Don’t forget the “Office” board. These may not get repined but it is important to have fun pictures from around your office. These boards help humanize your brand to followers and clients, helping to foster a deeper connection. You can even link to the board in the “About Us” page of your website.

 

 

 

 

 

If you have not yet noticed, big companies and even small businesses have already started using Twitter as it is the new way to promote, connect and brand a business. If your business has not taken advantage of an online presence, your business is definitely missing out on many benefits and opportunities to bring in potential clients. So why bother using Twitter for your business? Harness the power of social media! The following are reasons why you should start tweeting.

  1. Connecting With Clients

This is the key reason why you should get on Twitter for your small business. You will be able to connect with your followers and potential clients because they themselves are using Twitter. Twitter has become a daily routine for most users who log onto it every single day, and check in at multiple times in the day. Some users log onto Twitter first thing in the morning, even before brushing their teeth. If you have an unsatisfied customer you will most likely hear from them on Twitter. This will help your business to help them. See what people are tweeting about your product or service.

Follow-us-on-Twitter

  1. Branding

You do not have to be a big brand like Microsoft, Adidas or Tim Horton’s to brand yourself on Twitter. You can be an average joe, small business owner and still brand yourself on Twitter. If your company is not recognized, you need to get a personal account that identifies your story and what your company does. Nobody want to talk to a logo unless it’s a famous brand. You will connect with more followers when they know you are a person and not a robot.

  1. Client Feedback

Once you have established a connection with your followers and potential clients, you will soon be getting feedback on how you can improve your product, your services and maybe even your customer service. Listening to them will help you in the future. You can tweet a question to get a grasp of how satisfied your clients are.

  1. Marketing

One of the reasons to use Twitter is for marketing purposes. Get your product or service out there to a wide audience for absolutely FREE. You don’t have to pay to have a business account on Twitter.

  1. News

You can tweet the latest business updates on Twitter. Keep your audience informed of special offers and promotions as well as new products and services.

6. Give Away Coupon Codes and Promotions

You can tweet about new deals and give out coupon codes to give your company the extra boost and to attract new clients. Everyone loves getting a good deal. Special offers and incentives are great for small businesses because they help bring in new customers. You can use these promotions as a thank you to your loyal followers as well.

7. Twitter is Viral

If you follow the most successful businesses and brands on Twitter, you will know just how viral Twitter can be. Use the fast-paced sharing of tweets as your marketing strategy for your future promotions.

8. Spy on Competitors

Did you know that you can spy on competition too? The best part about this and keeping tabs on your clients and customers is that it is FREE using Twitter search. You can not only read what customers are talking about, but you can also read what they are saying about your competition. If your competitors are not dealing well with customer complaints, what would happen if you suddenly tweet an answer for them about their concerns? You can offer them a solution or suggest they try something new.

9. Increase Your Sales

Twitter can help you increase sales and ultimately make profit for your business. The best part is that Twitter is free advertising for your business. However, it also takes time to engage in and this is where many businesses falter…social media marketing is a medium to long term marketing strategy on the whole and you need to be committed to it. Twitter is completely free and possibly the fastest way to build a list of prospects, but it doesn’t end here; you need to keep your followers entertained and informed and that takes valuable time.

10. Foster Brand Loyalty

At the end of the day, once you have engaged with your followers and helped your customers on Twitter, they will be loyal to your brand for a quite some time as long as you post regularly. The Twitter platform is there and ready to use… so what you waiting for? Start tweeting.

o-TWITTER-facebook