If every small business or organization could become a big business overnight through a process, we’d have to redefine what it meant to be a “small business”. We’d all have 10,000 employees and sit in lofty towers. Here’s the simplest and most direct way to find new customers.
But just as not everyone gets to be the Prom King or Queen, so to do small businesses not get to become big businesses.
But there are a few takeaways from what it means to be competitive in advertising and marketing.
Where customers come from
BrightLocal did a survey of 20,000 businesses to figure out where leads and customers come from. They found:
- 26% of new customers come from word of mouth
- 19% come from online search engine optimization
- 15% come from online local directories
- 3% from Pay-Per-Click (PPC) (i.e., Google AdWords)
- 2% local radio advertising
- 1% local TV advertising
They also found 54% of new customers to small business comes through online marketing as a whole. That’s all online SEO, online directories, PPC, sharing on social media, seeing friends talk about something online, web ads, etc.
So your marketing strategy starts with this:
- Get referred to new business
To do that, you do great work that entertains, adds value, or solves problems.
Then you add in local online directories. These are things like Indy’s local A-List, Nuvo’s Reader Choice, Yelp, or any site that serves a niche, such as a directory of wedding dress retailers on a popular blog or site about wedding planning.
If you don’t have any of that, your best bet is Pay-Per-Click. This is Google AdWords and Facebook Offers. Ideally $100 a month for both at a minimum, but I recognize that’s sometimes hard to swing. Put as much into those as you can afford and test things constantly. Try an ad and see if it works with a picture. If it doesn’t, try something else without a picture. Try different headlines, write better copy, or change your approach (more on that in a later post).
Only social media outreach should be considered for the long-term. This is something you do alongside all your other work as a policy of protection for the future. It won’t do much to start, but it will in a couple years.
So now your strategy looks like this:
- Do great work.
- Get referred to new business by people who love the work in Step 1.
- Setup listings on Yelp and other local directories.
- Setup Google AdWords.
- Setup Facebook Offers.
- Post to Facebook, Twitter, etc. for the long-term.