from guest blogger & Holistic Chamber of Minnesota member Jackie Flaherty
Unless business is booming, you need to find ways to market and promote what you do. Many people mistakenly think that using the free resources of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, Pinterest, etc will cover this aspect, but it won’t. Social media helps, but it’s ubiquitous. People are bombarded all day long with promos, banner ads, links, articles, etc. And most agree that to best utilize social media, you need to pay.
Consider also that many people don’t use social media. Some have eschewed it since the beginning and others have left for various reasons (unfulfilled, overwhelmed, etc).
When you consider that you get what you pay for, you may want to look at investing in some type of paid advertising. The list of options isn’t endless, but it is long. I’ll list seven of the most common, but know that there are others. Consider your best client. Now consider how they can find you.
Here are 7 tips to grow your business:
Buy the URL that matches your business name and create a website, even if it’s just a landing page. Some people think they can use Facebook as their website and possibly that works for them, but it is not recommended. Do you want to limit your world to one social media platform?
Also, make your website benefit focused – how you can help them (or have helped others). If you fill your site with what you offer (feature focused) it becomes more about you. There’s a place for your background, credentials and such on the “About Me” or “About Us” page- not on the home page. If you’re advertising your services as a coach, counselor, psychiatrist, or whatever, the odds are good they will already know that about you before they come to your website. Welcome them warmly and make they’re experience about them.
Your email name should match your website.
If I’m Jackie from Natural Awakenings Twin Cities and my URL is www.NAtwincities.com then it’s more professional to have an email set up to match that, Jackie@NAtwincities.com, rather than to have Jackie456@yahoo.com. When they don’t match it creates a discord. It also looks unprofessional.
3. Email Signature
You should take every opportunity to make it easy for people to find you and know what you do. For this reason, you should create an email signature that says who you are, maybe add a tagline if you’d like, but most definitely there should be a link to your website. I am amazed how often I receive a business-related email from someone I don’t know who signs their name but gives me no clue who they are, what they do, etc.
Such an easy way to share your knowledge, build your following and create value to the world. Mailchimp is a free resource until your list gets to 500 names, then they charge a fee. Constant Contact starts at $15/month. They both have wonderful templates of newsletters or you can build your own. It’s easy to add/remove names to the database and they’re compliant with CanSpam regulations. By building your list, respecting your readers, sharing some of your knowledge (that’s why they’re there), you may be able to tap into selling ads to your e-newsletter as it grows or become an affiliate marketer to a product you believe in.
Paid advertising helps set you a part from the mass majority that is relying solely on free social media and referrals of existing clients. Consider your competitors for a moment. What if you see one of your competitors promoting a paid ad campaign in print or radio? You know that campaign cost $200/mo and wonder how they can afford it. In the meantime, they are reaching an audience that has never heard of you, they’re hosting events or writing articles that are getting coverage with their paid ad and growing their network, their paid clients and their position as an expert in their field in the local community. They made the decision to invest $1,200 (6 months) or $2,400 (12 months) into their business knowing that two to three clients will become lifetime clients, some of those will bring referrals and others will come too, but maybe not stay as long. Possibly they will get speaking engagements or additional writing opportunities, because they’ve reached a much larger audience than they ever had before.
Consider being a vendor at local events that have potential to bring in your type of clients. Plan for the event. Promote the event. Have clear intentions what you want from the event. Follow up.
7. Low Hanging Fruit
If you’ve been in business for any length of time then you probably have a list of people potentially interested in hiring you. Sales coach and speaker, Ursula Mentjes says to contact them and follow up regularly until one of three things happens:
1. You get a “yes”
2. You get a “no”
3. You get a next step (a meeting, phone call, provide more info)
4. Keep building this list
Most business professionals have learned that it’s not enough to ‘build it and they will come’. You need to find some way to reach the masses that puts you in front of them on a regular basis. Trust enough in your business to invest in it. Make it is for people to find you and then show them how you can help.
Jackie Flaherty is owner and publisher of Natural Awakenings Twin Cities. This free monthly magazine focuses on health and wellness, as well as eco-friendly living. Natural Awakenings is a franchise magazine and found in over 95 cities in the US.
Find Jackie at NAtwincities.com