Top 5 “Recommended Resolutions” For Small Business Advertising

Happy Holidays from all of us at Nick Ponte Marketing! No matter how difficult this year went for you, we hope it ends well, with family and friends around you (socially distanced, of course!).

Most entrepreneurs take time, at the end of each year, to think and plan for success in the coming one. With the curve 2020 threw at us, and what it meant for digital marketing  – I can’t think of anything more important, as we round out these last two weeks of the year.

Personal New Year’s resolutions often revolve around losing weight. But for business this year, most companies will look for ways to increase online sales

The pandemic’s effect on brick-and-mortar businesses was a mixed bag. Many grocers and hardware store owners we know enjoyed the “shopping crazes” of 2020. Any outlet that sold toilet paper, hand sanitizer, Clorox spray or protective facial coverings got the best free global marketing campaign they could have asked for. Online retailers, from Amazon down, smashed all their previous records.

But for many other businesses, COVID-19 was painful at best. Restaurants, gyms, hotels, catering companies, event centers and other companies that traditionally gathered large groups in one place suffered enormously.

Of those that survived and profited, they usually did it by offering “limited” versions of their services, or finding creative ways to continue selling them. It  usually implied a reduction in the amount of working hours they could offer to employees.

Suffice it to say, we don’t want to cut back any further than we need to in 2021. Whatever you decide to do, it’s a good time to look deeper into leveraging ideas to increase sales online.

Unless, of course, your current marketing plan gets you too many of the wrong prospects. This can (and does) happen, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t try to bootstrap complicated marketing strategies like search engine optimization (SEO) or pay per click (PPC) advertising. It’ll cause you more problems than it will solve.

It’s not easy planning internet marketing for small businesses by yourself. Even less, if it’s your first time. The way I see it, you need to handle this like any other “overwhelming” business situation. If you suddenly get a flood of new customers and you can’t serve them all, what do you do? You hire someone to help. You “spread the workload.”

It’s the same with your marketing strategy. You can hire a marketing manager on a permanent basis. But let’s not forget, we’re down to the wire at the end of a very unstable year. Time is unlikely to be on your side … so give us a call to get your internet marketing dialed in for the new year.

Top 5 “Recommended Resolutions” For Small Business Advertising in 2021

One thing I want to make clear about marketing is that it’s both solid (some things don’t change) and fluid (some things do). There’s an old saying, “A terrible thing happens when you don’t advertise … nothing.” That’s an unchanging rule, especially with online marketing. 

But now, you also have to factor in that a terrible thing can potentially occur when you do advertise: the same as what happens when you don’t. Many a hurt client has come through our digital doors complaining of how they spent tens of thousands of dollars on a marketing funnel that went absolutely nowhere.

So I’ll do my best to make clear when a recommendation is solid or fluid. But even then, you should be aware that marketing strategies differ by brand. For some people, some plans simply won’t work, until they’ve saturated their own geographic or niche market … and they’re forced to expand to add new revenue streams.

  • Set Up A Marketing Calendar

Have you noticed some brands are always ready to speak to whatever holiday or special occasion is near? There are the obvious ones, where there’s a guaranteed spike in website traffic, like Black Friday and Cyber Week. But what about things you could potentially mix with your brand, such as “Star Wars Day” (May 4th), “St. Patrick’s Day” (March 17th), or even “Aloha Friday”!

Solid or Fluid: SOLID. Your dates may vary, but it’s extremely unwise to “wing it” with marketing your business. Always plan out at least a basic calendar that acknowledges dates observed by the overwhelming majority of people.

  • Prioritize Building Your Network

Local may be global, but it’s also still local. There’s nothing like votes of confidence from your community to stir some viral local business marketing. If you think of how SEO works, you may know that search engines rank certain words and phrases above others. It’s mainly based on what people search for, so when your content contains a lot of those keywords and phrases, it gets ranked better. There’s a human parallel to this: when someone asks for a recommended provider, and they get five or ten different people they know, all shouting your praises at once – you know you’re optimized.

Solid or Fluid: SOLID. The only thing better than paid advertising is free advertising. If you can make good impressions on the people in your network, don’t be surprised if you start receiving referrals.

  • Build a Web “Presence”

I’m sidestepping website design specifically, because influencer marketing has changed so much of the game that not every business needs a fancy website. There are situations where what’s important is that you have a web presence, whether it’s on social media or a website. (Although you should remember – your social media handles are the property of the social networks. You can’t take them with you, if Facebook or YouTube decides they don’t want you.)

Solid or Fluid: FLUID, mainly because it depends on your current situation. You might be brand-new and reading this, and I don’t want you to think, “Oh no, now I need to spend thousands on a state-of-the-art web designer.” Start off where you can afford it. If social media’s all you can manage, so be it.

  • Get Acquainted With How to Improve SEO

Yes, I have an incentive to recommend myself as an SEO company. But let’s not forget the year we just experienced! Online shopping went bananas over the last eight months. The biggest winners online were companies who were already invested in SEO keyword research before the pandemic hit. We noticed similar results for local SEO services. If you haven’t done some preliminary work with it at least, now is the time.

Solid or Fluid: SOLID. You may not need to do much beyond a simple strategy, but you do need to do something. The year 2020 may be over, but “change is here to stay,” and the market’s adapting to doing virtual versions of things they used to do live.

  • Email Marketing

Remember what I said earlier, about how the social networks own your friends, fans and followers lists? Well, there’s one component of digital marketing that belongs to you, and you alone – your email list. If you can still engage the local market without running afoul of social distancing or public health rules, you want to make sure they know about your sales, events and specials. Unlike a post in the news feed, an email sits in a subscriber’s inbox until they delete it.

Solid or Fluid: FLUID – depends on how long you’ve been in business, and how you’ve built your following until now. If your success came entirely through an Instagram following, you should have email as a long-term, “important-not-urgent” agenda item. Instagram will likely remain popular for some time, but it’s also good to cultivate an alternate tool that can’t be taken away or fall prey to a market evolution.

If all this sounds a little overwhelming … that’s because it is. If you’re brand new to business, it can be a huge shock to the system. But we’re here to help – contact my team, and let’s get working on some creative ways to market your business in 2021.

Photos by Alesia Kazantceva and Visual Design on Unsplash

 

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