Business owners frequently ask what we recommend that they do to market and promote their business. While we cannot suggest strategy for your business without consultation, we can recommend the six tactics we outline here as critical to developing a strong presence and attracting new business.
Marketing and Public Relations Recommendations
- Add social media advertising to your plan—Whether you use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or LinkedIn, you must begin to allocate advertising dollars to promoting posts and your firm. Many people were lured into thinking that social media were free to use to promote their businesses. We have all discovered that free is not free. It takes time and energy. Changes to all social media channels have caused it to be increasingly difficult to stand out and connect. Now every platform allows you to use ad dollars to reach target customers. Don’t fight this. Just do it.
- Create a content marketing plan—If you are using your owned media channels to distribute content, you must have a coherent content marketing plan. Without a plan, you will drift into poor habits and unfocused posting and sharing. Focus on your core business and anchor customers.
- Create a content driven website that gets updated on a regular basis—If you have been too focused on your business this last year perhaps you missed the news that Google has drastically changed their algorithms in the last 18 months. Firms who need to be found are beating you in search results pages because they are using their website to author new, consumer / customer focused information which supports marketing and SEO goals. A content managed website allows you to easily add content to your website.
- Use email marketing to keep in contact with your customers—You can say thank you, share news about customers, congratulate them and at the same time, remind them of the solutions offered by your products. If you are smart, #2 and #3 above will be designed to work hand in glove with this initiative. E-mail marketing to current and past customers is a must-do. Not a want-to-do.
- Create a crisis communications response plan—Neglect this recommendation at your peril. Every business will face a crisis and you have no way of knowing when. Whether a disgruntled customer who takes to Twitter to vent or an employee who commits fraud or embezzles from your business. You are vulnerable. A crisis communication plan allows you to prepare in advance by understanding and evaluating the risks and threats. And it allows you to have first line responses composed and a plan of action. Don’t wake up one morning to find that you are being skewered in social media and you have no way of knowing in which direction to turn.
- Think and act like your customers—Of all the recommendations I have to make, this one is essential to your continued success and the success of all my other recommendations. If you get out of the self-promotional mindset, you will discover new perspectives. These new perspectives will help you do better work, offer better, more customer-centric products.
It is up to you to make sure your marketing fits your customer and supports your business goals. Don’t neglect doing something now that will win you new business in the future.