5 Ways to Market Your Small Business in 2015 — Even if You’re Short on Time
As a small-business owner, you’re already notorious for wearing multiple hats in order to reach your business goals. From functioning as the entire HR department to learning how to code HTML, putting in extra hours to perform tasks, and developing systems you’d rather outsource or hire an employee to do is par for the course when you’re working for yourself and times are still leaner than you’d like them to be.
Because of the hectic realities that most small-business owners face, marketing — one of the most important elements of maintaining and growing a successful business — can often take a back seat to more seemingly pressing day-to-day concerns. If you need more and better marketing in the New Year, but you’re hard-pressed to figure out how to do it well, here are five ways you can effectively market your business in 2015, even if you’re convinced you don’t have the time.
1. Email Marketing
A successful email marketing campaign can make a huge difference in your bottom line in the coming year. Even with the advent of social media, a zillion and one apps, and traditional marketing’s continued importance, email marketing proves highly effective time and time again — especially when it comes to return on investment. Whether you hire out your email marketing campaign or do it yourself, make email marketing a cornerstone of your marketing plan. To that end, craft emails your customers and potential customers will want to read by:
- Writing excellent subject lines
- Making your call-to-action clear
- Never writing more than you need to
- Offering discounts, deals, and specials
2. Be Interesting and Engaging on Social Media
Social media has yet to prove its worth when it comes to a reliable ROI, but its importance in connecting with your customer base is still undeniable since so many people spend so much time on it. Simply having a Twitter feed, Facebook page, and Pinterest account aren’t enough, however. You also need to be interesting and engaging anytime you interact or post on social media. Stick to highlights and items of true human interest. Before you post anything, ask yourself: Would I care about this if it weren’t my company? Only post those items you’re sure pass the test. To save time coming up with ideas, spend an hour or two at the end of each week planning a handful of high-quality post ideas you can utilize the next week. Then, spend no more than 15 minutes each day implementing it.
3. Participate in Local Charitable Events
Donating goods, services, or money to local charitable events will not only raise awareness regarding your business in the community in which you live, but it will also boost your reputation, assist in promoting the common good, and provide you with real tax breaks. From a marketing perspective, it’s ideal. Oftentimes, volunteers from the organizations you’re helping will do the heavy lifting for you, too, by picking up items, coming by to pick up a check, and the like, which means you won’t have to spend a lot of time when you donate.
4. Assess and Test What’s Working
One of the most important aspects of any solid marketing plan is to assess and test what’s actually working for you. While this tip can seem as though it will cost you precious extra time that you don’t have, consider the fact that you may be wasting time on marketing efforts that aren’t yielding positive results.
From using Google Analytics to track how people find your website to keeping track of how many leads a radio ad generates, don’t let 2015 slip by without good knowledge about what is and isn’t working.
5. Invest in Mobile
Like it or not, the world is becoming increasingly mobile — even in its use of technology. Smartphones and tablets are becoming the preferred way people access the Internet, which means your business needs to have a mobile presence in order to keep your customer base and grow it. Whether you put forth the funds and energy to invest in a mobile app or you redesign your web page so that it’s mobile-friendly, jump into the fray now, before you start losing business. While it probably won’t save you time this year, it will certainly keep you ahead of the curve for the coming changes that might see some of your slower moving competitors’ lack of mobility put them out of business.
It’s true that effective marketing takes time, and you have precious little of it. But if you play your cards right and invest some effort in the types of marketing most likely to yield the best results, the effects on your business and its resources will pay for itself down the road.