In many industries, there is a busy season. Accountants have tax season, doctors have flu season, retail has Black Friday. In Maine we have summer tourist season. The off-season, while being a chance to work at a slower pace is also a time to do marketing.
I love to sew. I love the construction process, I love picking out fabrics, and I love the final result. However, I learned that the part that takes the most time is planning the project. It takes much more time to research your pattern, figure out what you need (zippers, buttons, interfacing, elastic…), cut out the pattern pieces, and pin pieces together than it does to actually construct the garment. Running the fabric through the sewing machine (the part you think about when you think of sewing) is actually just a tiny fraction of the project.
Similarly, marketing is the same as sewing. It requires a lot of planning, and getting the parts needed. When we are in the off-season, we need to take advantage of that time to use our imagination, play with ideas, prepare ads and social media posts, and finally store finished projects away for your busy time.
I recommend getting your calendar out. Look at your calendar and think about what is coming up in the year ahead. In the case of Kennebunk, we have leaf-peepers to come in the Fall, we have visitors who come up for Christmas Prelude, Memorial Day weekend is big, and of course we have Summer Tourist Season. Looking at the calendar helps us to think about what events we need to plan for. Do we need advertisements, do we need artwork to be done. Brochures, press releases, magazine submissions and social media posts can all be prepared while business is slow.
Did you know that customer emails and social media posts can be scheduled to send weeks in advance of going out to customers? You can have readied things to go out when you are too busy actually running your business to worry about reaching customers.
Marketing takes planning and preparation. Good luck using your quiet time to make the most of your business growth.
Everyone is trying Social Media Marketing these days. We are all looking for new ways to capture the attention of new clients and draw new business to our establishments. All of these attempts are creating a lot of noise for consumers. We are all bombarded with messages we don’t need or want. And, while social media marketing has its use, it is not a golden ticket to more sales. In fact, at its best, social media marketing will bring in an additional 2% of new business. So why do we do it? And, how do we do it effectively?
Well, first we need to have a healthy online presence. Most of the people who are shopping these days immediately go to Google on their smart phone and search where to get the thing they need. They check out the listings and the reviews and pick one that inspires the most confidence. Usually people choose a business that Google has ranked in the top three. My Dad needed a tow truck one day. No local tow trucks came up in his online search. Only national companies 2 towns away were listed. What a shame! Small businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to Google Algorithms. So, how do we help ourselves?
Social media and blogs help us to get noticed by the Google Algorithms. The whole point is to create enough activity that the internet robots recognize that your business is alive and well. Activity lets Google know something is happening. Google places your listing higher causing your business to get more looks. More looks cause your rating to improve. See the cycle? Large name-brands are at an advantage over small businesses. Especially if the small business doesn’t even show up in a search.
Many will claim that you need to be posting multiple times daily to reach your audience. This adds to the over-whelming noise that we all sift through to get to the stuff we want. I recommend only posting content with real purpose. That takes planning, but it’s worth it to drive interested people to your site. Social media primes the pump for online recognition Having an online presence helps you to come up in Google searches. This is how your business gets credibility and gains customers.
Sit down with your calendar and look ahead. Imagine what will be needed during different months of the year. In Maine we have a lot of additional tourists in the area during the summer. Planning social media to engage customers who are planning their vacations or capture their attention once they are here is legitimately worth doing. Posting a picture every day just to keep coming up in the feed doesn’t really work.
The other factor in this game is choosing the right social media platform. Different platforms appeal to different demographics. For instance. Older people prefer Facebook. Young people prefer Instagram and Snapchat. LinkedIn is great for reaching business people. If you choose to place a social media ad, you get to tell Facebook, or Instagram (or whichever platform you choose) exactly who you want to see your ad. Hitting the right group of people is absolutely the best way to reach interested parties.
Think about who you are trying to reach. What personality is going to appeal to your audience. Is your audience a group of church ladies or biker bar customers. Keep in mind the language and topics you use will not appeal to everyone. Make sure they appeal to the group you want to talk to, and don’t worry if they won’t appeal to anyone else.
Finally make sure your website is clean and Google robot friendly (this is a whole other topic.) Make sure your information is fresh and up-to-date. Show your clients the information they need to make decisions about spending their money with you. Keep your website presence as well as you keep your physical location. These are some of the keys to gaining confidence in your business. The whole point of social media marketing is to drive your customer base towards your business goal. To get to those goals, we are using social media to increase your Google ranking and increase your businesses credibility.
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