This truly is an amazing time to be a small business owner, for many reasons, but two in particular:
First, small is the new big. Not long ago, big was big. We had two giant superpowers, the “Big Three” automakers, three television networks, and so on. Not today. Today, whether we are talking about entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg or how small businesses are proliferating around th
e world, entrepreneurs and small businesses are being celebrated.
Second, technology has leveled the playing field. Today, any small business can act small but look big. We have access to some incredible tools that previously were only the domain of the big boys.
This is especially true when it comes to marketing; it used to be so much more challenging and expensive. For example, back in the day you might have put an ad in the newspaper and maybe people would see it, but maybe not. Or you might have bought some television time, hoping that folks would see it and not change stations or would take some desired action.
That’s a lot of maybes and hoping.
Today things are so much easier, better, and less expensive. Let me suggest five key e-marketing tools that you really should be using right now if you want to fully take advantage of this golden age of small business:
1. Your great website: You will notice I didn’t say “your website.” I said, “your great website.” There’s a difference, a big difference. The days when you could simply throw up a bland, boring – or worse, ugly – site are long gone.
Question: What is the first thing someone will do when they initially hear about you or your business and are thinking about working w
ith you? That’s right, they will look you up on the Internet. What will they find when they look you up? That’s the question.
Do you remember the old vocabulary building commercial, “People will judge you by the words you use”? Not only was that true then (and now) but what is even truer is that they will judge you based on your website.
Have a great one and you are in the game; don’t, and you are not.
2. Content: “Content Marketing” is all the rage for a reason – it works. By sharing content that puts your best foot forward, is interesting and engaging, links back to your site, and brands your business, you offer people a valuable way to engage with your brand.
Your content can be shared in a variety of different platforms, including:
- Social media posts
- A blog
- Articles on your site or others
- Videos and podcasts
3. Mobile marketing: Check out this amazing stat: Half of all searches are now done on mobile devices. And, not only that, almost half of those searches have a local intent. That means that people are out there in your neighborhood right now, looking to buy what you have to sell, and many of them are searching for where to do so.
It is not a good idea to have a mobile marketing strategy. It is imperative that you have one.
4. Social media: You know the drill by now: Social media is the next great marketing frontier! It’s almost a cliché. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true.
Social media has become the giant marketing tool that it is because 1) it is where the eyeballs are, 2) it doesn’t cost money per se (although of course, time is a form of money), and 3) it’s a place where you can build your brand and customer base directly, without any filters between you and your audience.
5. Pay-per-click (PPC): PPC may be my personal favorite. Why? Because you can market your business so efficiently and affordably using those little Google or Bing or Facebook ads. If someone sees your ad and likes it, they will click on it and come to your site. Only then do you pay for that ad. If they don’t click on it, you pay nothing. As such, PPC allows you to create, and only pay for, qualified leads. Amazing. Different. Better.
So yes, it is definitely an amazing time to be in business, and it’s an even better time if you take advantage of some of the great e-tools available today.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.
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