21 Oct One Thing Small Business Owners Struggle With and How To Fix IT
“I don’t know what to do anymore, I’ve tried all approaches.” This was the 6th time I was hearing that similar complaint (in regards to marketing) in a span of three days, not to mention the ones from the last two months. As a small business owner, you might have similar thoughts and be on the verge of losing hope, but just take a moment and reflect…
How do you market your business? How many approaches have you used since you started your business and how many have you actually stuck to for a significant amount of time to see through?
The issue is crystal clear. It’s not necessarily unsuccessful marketing campaigns for you. Your problem is you lack consistency.
The same way you always walk into a supermarket and expect to find the mixed greens on the far right side (at least that’s how my Publix is set up), your business should be that consistent with its marketing strategy and for the customers. Show up for the people who are looking for what you offer, be organized, and for your small business’ messaging to translate into unimaginable profits, look at establishing consistency in every aspect but especially in marketing. Here’s what I mean specifically…
CONSISTENCY WITH CREATING KILLER CONTENT
Content batching and content pillars
Trust me, you’re not the only one who struggles with this. Lots of businesses scramble to figure out what to post and when. Or even worse, they haven’t posted original content since 2017. I totally understand – you feel the pressure of running your business and content is more of a long-term investment. Since immediate results aren’t always seen, it gets pushed aside.
Ideally, you have someone on your team who is responsible for content. They should set aside a time when they create all posts in one sitting. This is called content batching. Content batching is the best way to give it full attention and get it all done at once, so you (or your marketing person) aren’t scrambling to come up with a post. Or worse, resorting to re-sharing an article that directs your audience to someone else’s site (I see this way too much. Yes, I’m talking to you).
Have a schedule and system in place then figure out the type of content you want to create and distribute. Here are some extremely important questions to ask as you (or your team member) does this:
What’s the nature of your business?
Who is your target audience?
What do they like?
By now, you should have all this data because, before settling on a business, you must have done your market research (well, at least I hope you did). If not, let’s figure that out first.
In answering the questions above, you should also come up with content categories or content pillars. Content pillars are a set of topics/themes that create the entire foundation of your content strategy. To build an engaging and effective content strategy, the three types of content pillars are:
– Content to grow your audience: this means posting more “viral” posts that are meant to get people to engage, share, and save. You can (and sometimes should) repost content – just credit the original creator.
– Content to build your brand: Talk about your brand’s story, be transparent, talk about your why, and share behind the scenes
– Content to sell: Address your audience’s pain points and how your product or service can fix it.
Consistency With Posting Content
Work with a schedule to ensure you give quality and timely content to your audience. If you decide on doing it on a weekly or monthly basis, then do that.
As you know, both Instagram and Facebook are successful marketing platforms for a business. Using tools like Buffer, Later, and the publishing tool right inside Facebook are good ways to ensure you do not miss or forget posting content. Make the audience look forward to your regular posts (I do this with the accounts I follow. I genuinely get excited when I know something new is coming up).
On Instagram, remember how important it is to engage with your audience and new accounts before and after posting. You do not want to be a ghost.
However, just as I have said before, it should be interesting to make them want to come back for more. Note that you have to set realistic timelines for yourself (or for a team member if they’re responsible for handling social media.
CONSISTENCY WITH A MARKETING BUDGET OR AD SPEND
If you want to throw $50-$100 towards a boosted post on Facebook here and there, that’s fine. But a consistent ad spend is necessary if you want to run any kind of paid ad campaigns. Why? Just like great marketers do, they do not pour everything to ratchet earnings for only a few months. They are aware that amounts spent from month to month should not be discretionary but rather unavoidable. Unless you only plan to operate for a few months, you need to have a specific amount that will still be reasonable in the long run.
Stopping and starting campaigns can hinder the platforms’ ability to learn and optimize your ads. It’s best to set a reasonable budget right off the bat and gradually scale up or down after some time if needed.
CONSISTENCY WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS
It is veeeery expensive (five times expensive actually) to lose a customer and try to acquire a new one than it is to sell to an already existing customer. Look at these statistics regarding customer costs of acquisition versus retention. There is a 60%-70% probability of selling to an existing customer and a 5%-20% probability of selling to a prospect. Existing customers are also 50% likely to try something new you offer and spend an additional 31% – something a new prospect is unlikely to do.
I want to note the percentage of sales you’ll lose if you put more focus on acquiring than retaining existing customers. Yes, it is important to acquire new customers but is it at the cost of losing existing ones? Many businesses unknowingly make this mistake. Don’t be one of them.
How to Retain Customers
Just like big companies do, start by having full email lists and details of previous customers. It’s important to engage them, keep them up to date with any specials, and get them to come back. Even if they don’t buy right away, by engaging them, you’re keeping your brand top of mind for when they’re ready. You can also keep important details such as their birthdays on your database and on such special occasions, leave them a birthday note. It feels nice don’t you think?
Marketing isn’t as hard as it seems. All you need to do is know your audience, what they want, and have consistency in delivering that. Be unique and stand out.