Mark 2011 on your calendar. This is the year that small business is able to leap over the hurdle of heavy box store competition and level the playing field in marketing.
Ok, small business still is not going to be able to own the newspaper of TV prime time slots with their budgets but in world where their influence has been diluted the small business owner and entrepreneur now have opportunities to capture prime real estate and market share like never before.
In todays Blog I want to discuss how small business can add simple steps in Social Media, Mobile Marketing and traditional media in order to drive their marketing campaigns to levels they have never before imagined possible.
Social Media is a scary process for most small business owners. They just don’t see how they can have enough time, or knowledge to share, to make this a worthy investment. Even though most of the social media world (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, you tube, Manta etc…) is a free service, I find that many small business owners still have stayed away because of time constraints. I spoke with a business owner last night regarding the time it takes to run your social media campaigns and to stay connected with customers or future leads. He was amazed when I talked about 30 minutes a day of planned out routine and then just basic communications with customers throughout the day. He confessed he wasted more time than that daily in his office in small talk.
Truth is if a small business will commit to 30 minutes a day of content development for any of their channels, then properly link the social media together (Blog) the remainder of the Social media experience is communication with current or potential clients. And last I checked I have never found a business that did not have time to communicate with customers.
Now lets insert Mobile marketing with Social Media, this is where I will lose many small business owners. First as an owner you have to disengage from the notion that people like yourself don’t like to receive text messages or use their smart phones for business. Reality is that busy professionals are increasingly growing their use of mobile technology and now will do as much searching about your company by phone as they do on their home PC or office computer. The challenge is two-fold for you, one your current website is to graphic heavy for smart phones and customers have to wait through painful download times. the second is that you miss out on lead generation capabilities of cell phones by not capturing their phone number when they visit.
Mobile Technology allows you to eliminate both those obstacles. With the use of SMS or DSMS text marketing, and QR codes small businesses can now provide quicker data, and collect phone profiles fo potential customers. There are services now that even offer small business owners a mobile app for the i-phones, a mobile version of their website, that will download to all phones through cloud based software systems and allow you to build VIP Text clubs in order to continually text your best customers and drive additional buying cycles.
By adding both these technologies to your traditional direct mail or mass media buys, you have invited new consumers to engage with your company in multiple channels. This increases your success and increases ROI in marketing. Imagine adding a short code or QR code to your next Direct Mail Post Card, this short code directs clients to your Facebook page for contest entry, and additional printable coupons for your business. Your Direct Mail campaign now has three channels working at one time:
- Time sensitive offer of a Direct Mail post card – 40% off this weekend
- Mobile opt in program that offers them an immediate additional 10% coupon for one item
- A social media contest that drives fans and future sales. This is also shared with thousands of people who you would have never been introduced to for future potential sales.
Both the Mobile application and the Social Media come with built-in customer data base applications which will help future marketing at a very reduced investment. And I have not even mentioned how you can use E-blasts to do this same model with a smaller budget.
Steps to get started:
- Start a Blog – Small business owners must be content creators. A blog will feed your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn accounts with little work. A blog will also help you in ranking higher all the major search engines because you are providing content. If you need help find a local business which offers set-up services. Many markets have several business start-up s which have taken this new career path of social media marketing. Some services offer basic start-up and will set you up with all the services and teach you how to run it yourself, others offer to do the entire marketing program for you.
- Find a local provider of short codes and QR codes – You will have choices for SMS, or DSMS text marketing systems, or locate a business which offers the text service with the mobile app and mobile web functions. (www.wcmobi.com)
- Plan a marketing campaign with your next traditional marketing program. Add all your Social media links and invite customers to follow you. Build a contest for new fans and provide additional discounts if they join your mobile marketing program.
- Collect Data and use your instincts in growing business moving forward.
Good luck and remember the best way to succeed is to start.
- Why Every Small Business Owner Needs a Blog (buildabetterblog.com)
- How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC] (mashable.com)
- Why use Social Media? A timely reminder I wanted to share [Jonnie Jensen] (ecademy.com)
- How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC] (fredzimny.wordpress.com)
- 22 Hot New Social Media Tools Worth Exploring (socialmediaexaminer.com)
- Social Media Marketing Up 40% Among Local Businesses (informationweek.com)