As a Houston small business owner, you’re always looking for ways to get the word out about your products or services. Marketing budgets are tighter than ever these days, and you need as much bang from your marketing buck as possible.
Odds are that you’re not alone. Many Houston small businesses are now striving to get an edge over the competition and adjust to the city’s growing population and changing demographics. The effectiveness of marketing and brand recognition can often make or break an entire business.
So what exactly can you do to stay ahead of the marketing curve? Here are six small business marketing tips from the pros that you can start using today to make a significant impact both now and into the future:
1. Use Automation & Technology
Automation is great because it takes a lot of the manual work out of your marketing efforts. Many platforms now allow you to create emails and marketing that are sent out once triggered by a specific action from a prospect. Also make sure to leverage analytic tools to monitor web visitors and social media automation services, like SocialSync, to autonomously post updates. In fact, many experts believe that the future of small business lies in automation, not just for marketing but HR, payroll, and inventory management. By having a solid technology strategy and automating as much as possible, you’ll be able to focus only on the most important aspects of your business.
2. Understand Your Audience
Marketing is a conversation, and before you start talking to someone you should know everything you can about them. As a business owner, do you know who exactly you’re targeting with your marketing? Have you done any market research or surveying to determine not just who your market is, but what their motivations are? You can leverage some of the following strategies to better understand and define your target audience: online analytic tools, database marketing, and product analysis.
3. Utilize Traditional Networking
There’s still nothing like face-to-face interaction when it comes to making a lasting impression. Networking with other Houston small businesses can pay dividends in the long run, as referrals and respect in the business community are great forms of marketing themselves. In addition, by networking with other business owners you’ll be able to learn from one another, swap ideas and figure out what’s working and what’s not as it relates to your marketing. Here are some astounding statistics that illustrate the power of face-to-face networking:
- 84% of business people said they actually prefer face-to-face meetings
- 74% said they were influenced by looks and a handshake
- 77% said they prefer in-person conferences because they can read body language
- 95% said face-to-face was essential for long-term relationships
4. Leverage Real-Time and Social Media
In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, new stories and topics are trending every day and can sometimes change dramatically by the hour or minute. If the topic makes sense as it relates to your business, go ahead and inject yourself into the conversation. You can build on this to use social media as a brand-building tool for your business. Answering questions, providing customer service, and engaging individual customers will make a huge difference in your social media marketing efforts. One caveat: be careful which topics or events you choose, as you don’t want to come across as insensitive. You’ll want to shelve any potentially risque humor, or anything that could be deemed offensive or inappropriate.
5. Target Your Marketing
As a small business owner, not targeting your marketing is something that you can’t afford. By understanding your audience and specifically targeting different segments, your marketing efforts will deliver a much higher ROI. You’ll also be targeting individuals that will be much more responsive to what you have to say, and therefore receive better feedback. If you’re unclear about your target market, you can start by identifying and analyzing your existing customer base. First, start with general traits such as gender and age, then drill down to find more specific commonalities and motivations.
6. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users
Not just some, but all business need to be thinking about the mobile user. Google’s latest algorithm update now penalizes websites that are not optimized for mobile use, making it something you literally can’t afford not to do. In case you don’t believe us, check out these statistics from Smart Insights:
- More than 20% of Google searches are performed on a mobile device.
- In the United States, 25% of internet users only access the internet on a mobile device.
- 61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a positive mobile experience.
- 25.85% of all emails are opened on mobile phones, and 10.16% are opened on tablets.
If you feel like your marketing efforts are stuck in the stone age, use a few of these small business marketing tips from the pros. Small businesses are constantly evolving and by putting some of these tools and tips into action you’ll be able to realize both short and long term results.
Do you have any marketing tips to share that might help other Houston small businesses? Make sure to let everyone know in the comments!