Have a marketing plan.
This is imperative because so many small businesses fly by the seat of their pants and that is why they feel so lost and overwhelmed.
Download a yearly marketing calendar template from the internet and build a 12-month calendar that flows seamlessly from one promotion to the next. Factors to consider when building it out:
What sales benchmarks do you need to hit and when?
What does your product or promotional flow look like? What plan to support each initiative will be put in place and what are your marketing and distribution channels that will make it successful?
What holidays do you need to keep in mind that impact your sales trends and how are you getting in front of it with a prepared and throughout plan?
What PR Initiatives are planned around promotions?
What events or collaborations are planned during the year to increase brand awareness and sales?
Increase your visibility.
Just because you build it, does not mean they will come. An Instagram account or a well-designed website doesn’t magically create online visibility.
Take the time to create shareable content that not only makes people aware of who you are, but also sparks engagement so others learn about you from the shared content. Make your efforts worthwhile and work for you in the long run.
Make sure the user experience on your website keeps people there longer. We don’t like high bounce rates! If you aren’t optimized for mobile use, or viewed as a secure website on Google, that’s a big problem you need to fix in 2019.
The more active you are on social media, the higher the probability that the right eyeballs will see you. Remember, no one likes to constantly be sold to. Create conversations, tell stories, but keep it on brand and not overly personal.
SEO tactics, while time-consuming and sometimes confusing are too important to remain ignorant on. Invest in educating YOURSELF and make changes as you can. Slow and steady is better than outsourcing to companies who profit off your naivete and take your money with little to no return.
Visually stimulating content is important and often a huge source of what is considered share-worthy; just take a look at the impact of Pinterest for driving traffic. Invest in branded visuals, but create a shot-list that includes evergreen imagery that you can re-purpose throughout the year.
It can be frustrating to pay money for digital ads and feel like you received nothing in return. While digital ads can be useful for brand awareness, it is often hard to gauge your ROI. Test digital ads that are tied to offers or the sale of a particular product so you can track redemption.
These tips are a great starting point for your business if you feel you’ve been ignoring your online strategy and aren’t sure where to begin.
If you are interested in more in-depth information as it relates to marketing campaigns, strategies, best practices, or an overall consultation on your current state of digital affairs in the restaurant or retail world, feel free to reach out.
It is my advice to all small business owners to be weary of online masterclasses, workshops, and the like that claim to help you “build a brand” or “increase sales or followers” for your business that often offer very little real world, tested and experienced tactics or best practices.