If you’re like most businesses, you’re probably looking to expand your customer base, get more leads, and put your business in the spotlight, right?
One of the biggest challenges small business owners face is getting their name out there, building their company profile, and competing with powerhouse corporations.
Even if your business has the best product or service on the market, it doesn’t matter if no one knows about it -- or at least not enough people.
The basics of successful communications remain the same so regardless of what kind of business you own.
These 5 steps can work for you. Let’s dive in.
Step 1: Create a Marketing Plan
The first step is to come up with a strategy and create a plan. In order to this successfully you need to identify the following:
- Who you want to communicate with;
- What you want to say;
- What channels (email, text message, social media, etc.) to use;
- How often you want to communicate and establish a cadence; and
- What you want to achieve from raising your business profile.
This doesn’t need to be complicated. Think of it in the simplest terms. If you are a landscaping business -- say Bob’s Landscaping -- you are looking to communicate with homeowners. In particular, those with yards or other landscaping needs.
In regards to your message, what is it that sets you apart from the competition? Perhaps you are faster than the others, you have all 5 star ratings, or you donate a portion of your proceeds to charity. Whatever it is, figure it out. For the landscaping company, they may be the highest rated in customer satisfaction in the local area.
When it comes to channels, this is just a fancy name for where you put your marketing message. For Bob’s Landscaping, this may mean advertising with the local homeowners association or putting a billboard next to the local Home Depot.
Think like your customers. Where do they get their information? That’s probably your best advertising channel right there.
Once you have this established, try your best to build a plan that achieves your goals and stick to it.
For instance, ask yourself: Am I looking to make more sales, increase brand awareness, or maybe both? You have to factor your goals into your strategy and plan accordingly.
Step 2: Build a Professional Online Presence
In the world of business, your image is everything -- this is especially true with everything moving online with the rise of COVID-19. How customers perceive your brand can directly impact their decision to choose you or one of your competitors.
For example, when you respond to an online customer review, demonstrate your professionalism. If a customer is unhappy, instead of being argumentative, publicly and empathetically resolve the issue. All eyes are on you -- this is your time to shine so you don’t want to blow it.
Step 3: Be Active on Social Media
Although some businesses choose to neglect their social media profiles and see it as a waste of time, that’s a mistake. With nearly 50 percent of the world's population (that's over 3 billion users worldwide) using social media, it’s not a channel that businesses can ignore.
You have to build a strong social media presence that searchers trust. Here are some social media best practices to ensure you get the best results:
- Post 5-10 times per week (you want to post regularly, but not too often).
- Be active on all social media channels where your customers are (not just one);
- Engage with your followers by responding to messages, questions, and comments (the interest you show will be returned);
- Demonstrate your expertise;
- Provide important business information, updates, and specials going;
- Upload quality images and informative content;
- Provide interesting, valuable information and resources that your followers find useful; and
- Invest in video and professional photography to tell your story.
Back to Bob’s Landscaping. He may realize that homeowners -- his target market -- are really active on Instagram and Facebook, but less so on Twitter.
Step 4: Stand Out From the Crowd
What makes your business different and separates you out from the competition? In other words, what makes your customers keep coming back? Go back to your marketing plan, and hone in on this.
Regardless of what kind of business you own, you need to make sure that people can find your brick-and-mortar location and on the web. You want consumers to be able to see how great you are. The best way to do this is through your website and reviews.
If you have a website – and in today’s digital world you should – make sure it’s doing its job. Meaning, it has to be effective in attracting new customers.
Tips for your website:
- Update your website and add new, relevant content;
- Ensure searchers can easily navigate your page;
- Double-check that all the information is accurate;
- Include high-quality images throughout;
- Make sure it’s SSL secured;
- Add clear and clickable CTAs; and
- Make sure your website is mobile-first and responsive to all devices.
Once your website is in good shape, leverage your unique selling point so that you can convert more searchers into buyers.
If you don’t have a website (or your website needs a refresh), GoSite offers an easy-to-use website builder.
Step 5: Go Out (or Stay In) and Network
Professional relationships won’t build themselves. Just like your relationships in your personal life, you have to put in the time, work, and effort to build them. Whether you love it or loathe it, networking is a part of doing business.
Even today, there are tons of ways to network without ever leaving your home.
Networking opportunities include:
- Live webinars;
- Online business forums;
- Virtual conferences;
- Industry and trade associations;
- Organizations; and
- LinkedIn groups.
Pro tip: follow-up, contact everyone you meet, and keep in touch. Networking doesn’t just stop when the event comes to an end. You don’t want to be a one-hit-wonder who everyone forgets about after the event. Doing this will help you stay relevant and be remembered.
It’s Time to Raise Your Company Profile
Check each step off your to-do list and by the time you get to the bottom I guarantee your company profile will be in tiptop shape. With a few simple steps, your whole world can change and get much bigger.
Keep in mind that what you put into these steps is exactly what you’ll get out of them. The more time and effort you put into building your company profile, the more quickly your business will gain traction and see results.
Are you ready to put this simple five-step plan into action? And remember, once you put in the time and effort to get the business profile you want -- make sure that you keep up the great work and don’t lose it.