By Kitty French, Manta Content Editor – June 21, 2016
Setting aside time to market your small business is critical if you want to gain leads and attract new customers.
Do you have trouble making time to market your small business? You’re not alone: 68% of small business owners set aside time for marketing, but end up spending that time on other things, according to a recent Manta poll.
This is the business equivalent of building a ballpark but never printing tickets. Ignoring your marketing is a surefire way to kill your sales.
“You can have the best product in the world, but if nobody can find you, you’re not going to sell anything,” said Heather Harmon, Manta’s marketing manager. Small businesses cite marketing as their number-one challenge, Harmon added.
Marketing is subtler than sales, its principles more fluid than finance and other operational tactics. Often, the payoffs of marketing aren’t as clear on your balance sheet. That can lead a busy business owner to push marketing to the bottom of the to-do list. On top of that, the fast-paced changes of Google Ads, local search and social media platforms can further discourage small business owners from delving into digital marketing.
But that’s a mistake for your operation—especially in an age when the majority of customers use the internet to research, discover, find businesses and buy products and services.
“Because marketing is moving to the digital space, it can seem daunting, but the same principles apply online and offline,” said Harmon. Harmon distilled marketing down to two big points that any small business owner can handle.
- Talk to the right audience. Are your customers homeowners looking for a landscaper? Or are they car owners looking for a decent body shop in their neighborhood? These are two very different groups of potential customers looking for two very different services. Reach your potential customers by keeping your message narrow. Write social media posts and ads for your specific group. Focus on customers in your city or region. Every day, companies like Google and Facebook are making it easier to target your marketing only to those people likely to patronize your business. It will save you time, money and make your marketing more manageable.
- Solve your customer’s problems instead of trying to sell them something. Have you ever been approached in a store or on a car lot by a salesperson who beats you over the head with a sales pitch? It’s a real turnoff to be badgered to buy a product by someone who hasn’t considered your needs. Remember that when you market to your customers. Take time to get to know them. Learn what they need, what they want, what they have to spend. Good marketing is about building a long-term relationship with your customers, not making a quick, one-off sale.