We’ve been there.
You’re just starting out (or restarting) and your small business has a latte sized budget to market. But you know you have to get the word out because growing is not an option, it’s a matter of survival.
You can make it through this time, and thrive, with an intentional plan for marketing that grows with your business. In today’s blog we lay the blueprints for a robust small business digital marketing plan. If you follow these steps you’ll be ready to launch as soon as you hit your benchmarks.
1. Put together your email list
Use Excel to segment your database into multiple lists of different personas: event planners, customers, performers, venue operators, media. (You can get as specific as you want. The more specific the better results you’ll get from email).
2. Start posting on Instagram (Like right now, get out your phone)
Start today, and everyday post a photo of some aspect of your business. Artful shots of your products or your workspace, client projects, beautiful related things by other professionals in complementary industries (and mention and tag their business). Create your own hashtag and use it every time you post. When I grow up I’m going to be a traveling shoe writer so I’m going with #shoelife. I hope it’s not taken.
3. Sign up for Constant Contact
We can help you with this and it doesn’t obligate you to our marketing services. You pay a small monthly fee to the company for access to their email marketing tool. You can start right here for free.
4. Make a marketing plan
You should know what your competitors are doing online, that’s why we do competitor analyses for free. Use this info shape your strategy. If you have some money the next step is a marketing analysis. We inventory your current marketing efforts, grade your website, blog, social, email and pr, plus give you detailed recommendations you can use to reach your target clientele, for a flat fee of $500.
5. Find some time (or money) and publish a blog
Next to the talent you hire, getting the word out on your business is your most important investment. Earmark a significant portion of your new business to invest back into inbound marketing (that’s marketing that attracts people to your site – not advertising). Blogging about the needs and pains of your clients and customers gets you found on the web. (If your web developer is MIA we can hook you up with ours to create a blog on your site. Easy peasy, small fee-sy.) You can write the blog yourself so long as you’re honest about your ability to keep cranking them out. Can’t devote the time? Pay someone to do it. We can point you to writers that can write them for $150-$250 each. If you’re ready to blog you need a plan. We’ll build you a strategic what-to-do-when calendar to grow your online presence (including email, social and SEO work), plus a list of blog ideas that you can write in less than an hour each. DIY marketing game plans are $1,000.
6. Email the blog to your lists. Post it to social.
Constant Contact gives you the platform to do this and the ability to write an email intro tailored to the list – one for customers, one for prospects, one for industry leaders, shoe designers (that one’s just for me), etc. Do it every week. Damn it.
7. You can DIY your blog, email and social for a while, but you’ll get busy (yay!) and then it’s time to hire an agency.
When you’re ready to expand your business, partner with an agency to write your blog, email your contacts regularly, post and engage on social media daily, put forms and incentives on your website for people to become leads and get you in front of media and bloggers. The growth with be exponential if you partner with an agency that gets you and gets inbound marketing.
8. Count the cost of not marketing your business.
Agency fees range depending on how fast you want to grow, but you should target between $2,000 – $3,000 a month for a small business. A lot, for sure. But when you can say your marketing is bringing in, say, 5 more leads a month that could net you $10,000 a month (or whatever your lead value is) it will quickly pay for itself. With inbound marketing – that’s blog, social, email, website lead generation and pr – you can expect more leads from your site, more rehires from clients and more interest from the press. And it’s still cheaper than hiring an experience director of marketing.
9. Go to the bank and cash your checks.
‘Cause your marketing just paid you dividends. Aw, yeah.