Article

John Hinds
John Hinds 27 November 2018

Brand Promotion for Small Businesses

Without a doubt the trickiest part of running a successful small business is brand promotion and achieving the desired level of brand awareness.

Without a doubt the trickiest part of running a successful small business is brand promotion and achieving the desired level of brand awareness. The odds are stacked ever more heavily against the small business owner, with bigger brands deploying whole teams of social media managers and data analysts to ensure their websites are, as the kids say, META and they attract they eye of the relevant consumers.

Time is money and many small business owners lack the ability to divert their time and cash away from the very pressing need to make money short term and into the long-term strategy of digital marketing. Fortunately there are some excellent cheap and even free (discounting the time factor of course) ways in which digital marketing tools have begun to help small businesses get on the digital marketing gravy train.

Listing your business

Taking the small amount of time it takes to list your business’s information on Google My Business will really make a difference to how potential customers view your business. Just being able to see your opening hours and contact number on Google will lend your business a more professional appearance. You will also be able to reply to any reviews you may get and view analytics. You can do the same for other search engines, such as Yahoo to give yourself the very best chance of success.

Looking good on mobile devices

With 5G around the corner, meaning that movies will be able to be downloaded without WIFI in a matter of less than a minute, it is not unthinkable that mobile phone manufacturers will up their game to such an extent that laptops will be rendered technology of the past. Already the majority of people’s browsing is done on their mobile devices and this trend will only continue, so if your digital marketing strategy is not geared, to a large degree, towards mobile platforms then you will surely be missing out.

You must ensure that your website is designed so that it is fully functional and smooth as silk on mobile devices (both android and IOS – especially relevant with apps). The best way to achieve this is via responsive website design. In essence, responsive website design is an approach that means design and development are geared around user behaviour and device and as such centres on screen size, orientation and platform, using flexible grids and layouts, images and intelligent CSS media enquiries. Seamless switching between devices is the ultimate goal.

Use those free Google resources

Google offers quite a staggering array of free resources for assisting in best digital marketing practice. Starting off with Google Analytics is a fine choice as it will help the small business owner get an idea of who is visiting their site, what is leading them there, which pages they are visiting and spending most time on and which of those customers actually convert into leads. This enables you to at least make a start on creating libraries of key words and search terms to include in your online content to help drive traffic.

Then you have the cloud based services like Gmail, Docs, Calendar and Drive. Of course these are not digital marketing tools in and of themselves, but all are necessary in helping you to organize and collate your research and ideas. Once you are more au fait with the whole concept and want to get into more complex tools the Google Webmaster Tools is the next port of call. It allows you to get deeper into profiling your target customer than Google Analytics.

Content 

Creating exceptional and SEO (Search Engine Optimized) content for your site and blogs is absolutely vital. You will learn much from Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools as to which keywords and phrases to incorporate, but make sure you publish quality content presented in a manner that is attractive to your visitors. Finding time to write such content can be nigh on impossible, so getting good content writers on board is imperative.

Social Media

There’s almost no point doing any of the above without a coherent, comprehensive and up-to-date social media strategy. Year on year not only is social media becoming more important but it also shifts in terms of user behaviour. Younger folk are turning away from Facebook and switching to Instagram and yet one comment from a key influencer like Kim Kardashian can see a 10 or 20% drop in using one platform in favour for another.

These are challenging times indeed for social media strategists. Creating a brand is all about finding a voice and being consistent in that. Social media offers a great opportunity to practice this and put out unique original posts that represent your own vision of that voice.

Influencers

Influencers are the modern day version of socialites, in a way, but far more…erm…influential. As previously mentioned the biggest influencers can alter people’s behaviour at the drop of a tweet and just look at how certain coats sell out if Kate Middleton wears one! If you can send your products to key influencers, making them aware of the care package via Instagram, Twitter or whichever social media platform is de rigueur at the time then you may get them to promote them and you could soon reach their thousands or millions of subscribers.

Don’t underestimate the power of video

Every single month we watch 3.25 billion hours of video content on YouTube alone. This is staggering and offers a tantalizing idea of just what you could achieve should you launch a successful channel. You need to have a vision for your YouTube material and whether you choose to inject humour or dazzling production you need a selling point. Engage with your customers while building brand awareness. With video content it’s not just what you post, but also the timing of the post and their orientation. Previous conventional wisdom dictated that horizontal was the way forward, but you only need to consider the rise of the popularity of story features on Instagram and Facebook, where vertical is the standard format, to see that this is now up for debate.

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