Dear Local Business Owner Why Are You Hurting Your Business?
Are you a local business owner that always looks for the cheap path? Do you know that going the free or cheap route can sometimes harm your business? See why.
To stay in business, you need to retain your existing customers plus acquire new ones. A few years ago, marketing was easily understood because it usually involved some or all of the following:
- Classified ads
- Direct mail pieces
- Radio ads
- TV ads
- Painted windows on your store front
- Sponsorship of a local team or event
- Word of mouth advertising
Times have changed because of the technological advances that seem to be moving at a faster pace every year. Many of the advertising method you know and trust are becoming MUCH less effective than they once were.
The majority of your customers now get a lot of their entertainment and news on their cellphones or on their computers by accessing the Internet.
This switch means newspapers aren’t read as much so classified ads are less effective and coupons inserted in the newspaper may not be seen or redeemed as often.
TV ads are very expensive and out of reach for most small business owners but even the businesses that can afford them are finding the ROI is lower. With that being said, have you noticed many ads point you to their Facebook page or company website for more information.
With the exception of drive time radio ads, the ROI for that medium is way down because cellphones and the Internet provide most of the services the radio used to provide.
Direct mail for prospecting is fairly expensive considering the return on investment because you cannot target your mailings tight enough.
The new ways you must promote to survive and thrive are:
- A professional looking website on a domain you own that sits on a paid hosting account. This website must be optimized for search but not over optimized.
- You must have a mobile friendly version of your website.
- You must have claimed your Google Places page, your Bing Local page, your Yahoo Local and Yelp at the minimum. After they are each claimed, some of them can and should be optimized and promoted like your website. Optimization and promotion is especially important for Google Places.
- You must actively engage your customers and prospects on the major social media sites they frequent. This is usually Twitter and Facebook with LinkedIn being a great place to interact with other business owners who are consumers too.
- You should regularly add photos to image sharing sites.
- You should regularly add videos to YouTube.
- You need to have a system in place that encourages your customers to leave reviews about your business on review sites.
- You need to actively seek out and collect testimonials from your customers.
- Evaluate whether your business will benefit by incorporating SMS marketing into your promotional and customer retention tool kit.
- You need to track your online and offline lead generation efforts to see which work well and which don’t.
Some traditional marketing methods can still be profitable so do not abandon any marketing method until you test it to see if it is making you money, generating leads or getting you more exposure. When you know what you want your advertising to accomplish, you can usually find a way to track its effectiveness.
You may be an expert at running your business but are you an expert at web design, SEO, social media engagement and video marketing?
Are you willing to waste your valuable time trying to master each of these disciplines when you could and should be doing what you are best at which is running your business?
You could hand each of these tasks off to a customer, family member or college student that claims to know how to do them but where is the strategic marketing plan that ties everything together into one neat little local business building machine?
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