Marketing, yuck! The daunting task of selling your products, your services, your brand…yourself. You went into business not because you are a natural sales person but because you are good in your specific industry. The sad reality is that in order to be a successful entrepreneur, you must also be a successful marketer. You may have the best business in the world but it means nothing if no one has heard of it. If the idea of sales makes you shudder, read these pain free tips for marketing your business.
- Start Posting More on Social Media
Want to get some buzz on your page? Posting updates, links, photos, and retweeting is the best way to organically generate interest on your page. If you are having trouble coming up with ideas, do some market research and look at what your competitors post on their social media pages. A few posts a week is a good start.
- Join Relevant Facebook & LinkedIn Groups
Joining groups on social media introduces you to new people and helps you target potential customers. Use LinkedIn’s search function to find the groups most relevant to you. People often use groups to pose questions or ask for advice. This is where you can demonstrate your skills and expertise but don’t be too salesy. Remember, you want to add value and help people, but you must also be patient. If you provide solutions to people on a regular basis, you will be top of mind and they will look to you for advice in the future.
- Start a Blog
According to Entrepreneur, a blog is a place where you find your customers, feed them information, and position your value. You have a lot of knowledge that could help people. Write about your business, your customers, and frequent problems customers have that you can shed light on. Think about the kinds of things your customers would want to read or that they would look up and create posts on those topics.
- Write a Guest Post on Another Blog
Don’t have the time to make your own blog? Submit a guest article on someone else’s blog. Many bloggers accept guest content so just email them and ask. (For example, http://brainhackers.com/contributorguidelines/ looks for contributing writers all the time!) Find a blog with an audience similar to the demographic you are looking for. Make sure that the host blogger includes a link to your company website in the post. This is called a “back link” which over time this improves your SEO (search engine optimization.) The more places your website link is posted, the easier it is for people to find you via Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines.
- YouTube Ads
Running YouTube ads is a great way to get your message in front of a target audience and it may also help your SEO. (Google owns YouTube, so these videos are often ranked high in the search algorithm.) Google makes it incredibly easy to set up and monitor ads. For more info check HERE.
- Be a Guest on a Podcast
Much like writing a guest blog post, this will you get your message in front of a new group people and will only take an hour out of your day. How do you become a guest on a podcast? Simply contact the host and ask. Do NOT be overly salesy with the podcast host because you will be offered paid ad space instead of a free guest spot. Rather than selling them on your product or service, sell the information and value you will provide to their audience.
- Optimize your Site for SEO
Does your website show up on the first page of a Google search…or the tenth? Did you know there are often simple things you can do to improve your ranking? For example. some things that affect your website SEO are the quantity and quality of photos used, the titles and descriptions of your pages, the way the pages are categorized, etc. Not sure where to begin? Check out this article in Forbes for some tips to improve the SEO of your business.
- Create A Yelp Listing
Many businesses grow through word-of-mouth marketing and Yelp is the digital version of this. Customers turn to Yelp more than any other site to make buying decisions so it should be an essential part of your online portfolio. First check to see if you are already on Yelp. (The platform pulls information from different places so you may be without realizing it.) For more information on how to optimize and manage your Yelp listing click HERE.
- Offer a Free Giveaway
Everyone loves free stuff. This is a great way to get customers familiar with your brand. It can also help you build a mailing list of contacts. Offer a free download on your website (like a tip sheet or a report) that you must opt in to receive. Discount your service on Groupon and post on Facebook about the sale.
- Get Press
Getting your name to appear in the media raises brand awareness and it also builds credibility. Unlike advertising which immediately puts people on the defense (no one likes to be “sold”) earned media frames you as an expert and allows you talk about your brand in a discreet way that is much more effective for making sales and building brand advocates. Check HARO for media requests, send an opinion editorial piece to publications, or you can outsource the work to a professional PR team.
- Host a Webinar
Webinars are a way to build trust with customers/leads and help you demonstrate your expertise. Your webinar should provide useful information around your subject area. For ideas, you can look at what other people in your industry have done in the past. (Yes, someone has done a webinar on your topic, and if you search you will find it.)
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