Tipping Points and Starting Points in Small Business Marketing
Most probably recall the book titled, The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell which talks about magic moments when ideas, trends, or social behaviors cross a threshold; “tipping” and spreading like wildfire through society, the economy, politics and other environs.
But none of those tipping point moments could have occurred without starting points.
And it can be harder to find the right starting points, and more difficult to get started, than to find the tipping point.
You may be at a personal tipping point where you have momentum, time and resolve to launch the marketing programs that your small business needs (and deserves). In order to capitalize on your momentum and resolve, though, you need to know where to start.
Without knowing the right starting points to put your plan into motion to attract more web traffic, get more customers, engage or retain them, you could end up spending energy, time and money on marketing that doesn’t help you get to where you want to be. Worse, you might give up before you start, simply because you can’t sift through all the options to get to where your marketing ROI will be.
If you’re searching for small business marketing ideas with the goal of finding starting points, you’re going to see results that could overwhelm you. If you haven’t ever sent an email marketing blast, thinking that your starting point has to include email segmentation, personalization and A/B testing will keep you from ever starting at all. If you don’t have a website, thinking that your starting point has to include hundreds of indexed pages, landing pages with forms, and optimized content may cause you to shrug your shoulders and wait until you have the forty grand needed to “do it right.”
Don’t wait. Don’t quit. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t give up before you begin.
Action is relieving, and to do something is nearly always better than to do nothing, when it comes to marketing.
You just need to know the right starting points to get your small business marketing ideas out of your brain and into action!
While there are hundreds of options when it comes to marketing media, social networks and sharing sites and communications, it should help you to know that the foundations of marketing remain what they’ve always been:
- attract customers
- engage them, so they’ll be
- motivated to take the actions you want them to take and
- retain them – keep them coming back for more
And the strategies haven’t changed much either; you still need:
- to create awareness of the existence of your business and brand
- to address real, meaningful needs and wants of your customers
- to price, position and promote your product, compellingly
It’s where we get to tactics and tools that many of today’s businesses get stalled, either from a lack of understanding of the importance of new media or lack of information needed to utilize them effectively. So here is your quick list of starting points across the board when it comes to small business marketing (or any size business marketing!).
You can do these yourself, but remember that you can also ask for help, hire help, trade for help, engage tech savvy teens for help – heck, you could ask the local high school or tech school to take on your website as their senior project! You won’t know if you don’t try!
Small Business Ideas – Small Business Internet Marketing Starting Points
Your Small Business Website
You can start small! Your small business website should have a landing page, page/s describing your products and services, a contact form so people can ask you questions, directions for getting to your business if it’s a brick and mortar, and – this is really important – reasons for visitors to come back to your website and to share content with others. What will make people want to come back to your website?
- Frequently changing content that interests them – these could be special offers, educational information on topics they need to know about or something truly unique, such as your own app that lets people “play with” or personalize some aspect of your product offering.
- Unique and compelling content – if the content on your small business website could be written equally true of any business in your town or any of your competitors, it’s a fail. Your website must differentiate you from the pack if you want to get noticed, shared and visited!
Your Small Business Email Marketing Plan
People who give you their email address expect you to send them email. They want you to do so. They may not be in the market now but may be later. They may not be in the market personally but know someone who is. Email marketing is still one of the best and lowest-cost ways to:
- Educate prospects and move them through the decision making, buying and repurchase cycles
- Manage your customer relationships
- Maintain top of mind brand awareness
- Reengage customers or former prospects who were not ready to buy
- Stimulate sharing and engagement online
Your Small Business Social Media Marketing Plan
It’s been said that “social media IS the internet.” In an article titled “22 Social Media Statistics You Need to Know,” we learn that 91% of online adults use social media regularly and that internet users spend nearly one quarter of their time on social networking.
What’s more, we live in an age where the majority of product and service research and vetting is now done online, with many buyers reaching buying decisions before they ever speak to a sales person or set foot in a store. In fact, 79% of online shoppers spend half of their online shopping time researching products.
You simply can’t ignore social networks. Maybe you already know that – maybe what’s keeping you away from social networks is not knowing how to use them effectively for marketing (and wanting to avoid wasting your time) or not knowing which of the hundreds of sites available would bring ROI that justifies their use.
Your small business social media marketing starting points have to be where the majority of users are, and where ROI from participating using best practices is proven. As of today, these include:
- A blog
On each, you’ll find a different audience, which means you will likely find different types represented in your target markets on each. In an upcoming article I’ll provide starting points for people who are just starting to use these social networks and talk about content curation tools that can help you get even more traffic to your website.