It’s not easy to stand out from the crowd. Small businesses, in particular, face unique challenges when it comes to promoting their products and services. Reputation alone no longer cuts it in today’s landscape.
Small businesses must not only understand their audience and capabilities but also harness the power of the digital world to make a lasting impression. Whilst this might feel overwhelming, this can be a great opportunity to attract new clients and better service the ones you already have thanks to some efficient marketing.
- Understand your audience and capabilities
As smaller businesses generally have more specialised expertise, the first step is to ensure your marketing efforts target clients you can actually service.
Before jumping into a full-scale marketing campaign, undertake a stock-take of your business’ capabilities to understand its target audience.
Start by considering your areas of expertise and available resources to provide those services or products, such as team numbers, software and budgeting realities.
Resist the temptation to be everything to everyone. Smaller businesses won’t be able to offer everything to every client. Identify your key fields of expertise and focus on doing them well.
- Make your website shine
When it comes to online presence, clients all judge a book by its cover.
Your business might have 20 years’ experience in your field, but if your website looks like it was the original landing page for the World Wide Web, it immediately diminishes legitimacy and sends the message that your business is behind the times.
An effective website is a key opportunity to communicate your brand identity, showcase your expertise, and help new clients find you. Investing in this resource should be a priority.
The key components of an effective website include:
- Easy to navigate
- Up to date contact information, headshots and introductions to your team
- Clear, concise summary of your areas of expertise
- Lists of awards your business and team members have won
- Positive reviews and feedback spotlighting your strong reputation
- Keeping generic stock images to a minimum and show your business’s personality
- Maintaining a blog page of thought leadership pieces to show active engagement in the field
- Level up with SEO
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a term that has become common across most industries today. It involves optimising your website’s content and structure to improve visibility and ranking on search engines, like Google.
This includes producing quality content that includes specific words or key search terms, to help rise your search ranks and increase your business’s visibility. This is where regular, high-quality thought leadership pieces come into their own (see next section).
While this technical area can seem daunting, it can pay dividends to your business. Consider engaging an SEO specialist to help set up your website effectively and identify the key terms to include in future content.
- Be a thought leader
We’ve already mentioned thought-leadership pieces as a key marketing tool – so what should you be writing?
Avoid producing content for the sake of content alone. Your blogs and articles should be of a high standard that establish your business’s reputation in its areas of expertise and enhance your credibility to attract new clients.
Consider the following when posting:
- Write about the latest developments in your field, interesting trends that may impact your clients, or frequently asked questions
- Offer a range of content types; this could include how-to guides, videos, guest posts, or infographics
- Always include a ‘call to action’ at the end of a piece to convert clicks into clients – for example, “Contact XXX in our office to discuss”
- Post regularly and create a content schedule to keep you on track
- Include key SEO search terms to boost online visibility
- Engage with your existing fanbase
Before setting out to capture a whole new suite of clients, give some TLC to the client base you have.
Send out targeted emails with specific offers to bridge the ‘gaps’ your clients maybe experiencing – as always – include a call to action.
Furthermore, pay close attention to the feedback you receive, both positive and negative, and collaborate with clients to address their feedback. This fosters a sense of appreciation and value with your business and can be highly effective in re-engaging clients.
Rounding back to thought leadership pieces, these can be repurposed to educate clients on relevant areas and prompt them to review their own practices or desires. And if they realise they do have points that require your expertise – it’s as simple as hitting “reply”.
While some may see marketing as a necessary evil in their business, when done well, it can be channeled as a force for good. Let the world know who you are.
Want to discuss how your business can attract more clients? Contact one of our Business Advisors here.