Tony is a strategy-driven, brand-focused 19 year veteran of the advertising industry. Prior to founding The BLÜ Group in 2004 he served as a senior account executive for a variety of large, national brands including Hickory Farms, NEBS, and Betty Crocker. Since BLÜ’s inception, Tony has dedicated his time to helping small-mid size businesses and organizations build strong brands while volunteering for a variety of civic and professional organizations, including serving on multiple boards and chairing a variety of committees.

Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

6 Tips To Help Grow Your Small Business

Over the last 12+ years of running The BLU Group – Advertising and Marketing I have been fortunate to work with hundreds of small businesses and give presentations to hundreds more. During this time I have found that there is a common theme that ties them all together…a lack of time and a lack of understanding about “what to do”. This has caused small business owners and their employees to miss out on some really great opportunities to strengthen their brand and grow their bottom line. Below you will find 6 tips to help your small business succeed…no matter what industry you are in.

  1. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly. More internet searches are conducted on phones and tablets than desktops. If your website is not mobile-friendly and responsive you are missing out on significant sales and probably frustrating your visitors. Plus, in April 2015, Google started to demote websites that were not mobile-friendly in their search engine results in favor of those that were. You need a mobile-friendly website!

    Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Here is a quick way to tell. Look at it on your desktop and on your phone. Do they look exactly the same, but the one on your phone is smaller? If yes, odds are your website is NOT mobile-friendly. Contact your website developer today or reach out to a website design agency and get a new website as soon as possible.

  2. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a website from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. Search engines depend on on-site SEO to understand what your small business is all about and what goods or services you provide. Without it, your website and your business is invisible to Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. In order for people to find your website easily, you need to optimize your website and it needs to be done properly to maximize your visibility and keep from making fatal errors. To learn more about what goes into basic search engine optimization, click here.

  3. Create New Content for Your Website on a Consistent Basis. A website with stale content is like a movie theater that only plays one movie. You may get people to visit once, but odds are they will never come back. People are looking for new information, new product offerings, new specials, and new reasons to visit your website. The best way for a typical small business owner to keep their website fresh and people coming back is to add a blog and post to it often. You can write about your areas of expertise, industry trends, new product lines, and special offers. Plus, by using a blog you are creating new content that can be used in other mediums such as social media and e-mail marketing. Which leads me too…

  4. Be Active on Social Networks. Social media is great opportunity for small businesses to connect and engage with customers and prospects. Every company is different which means not every social media network may be appropriate for your business, but there is at least one that you should be utilizing.

    Facebook is the best and easiest option for almost every business. Twitter works well for certain niches and in certain marketplaces. LinkedIn is an excellent network to connect with like-minded professionals and share industry news. YouTube is THE place to house your company’s videos (great for SEO too). Instagram is the visual medium with Pinterest being an excellent option as well. Snapchat is quickly becoming a source of customers for businesses looking to appeal to a younger demographic. And yes, Google+ is still around and has some good SEO benefits. There are many other options for companies to consider based on their goals and position in the marketplace.

    Being successful at social media marketing is a combination of art and science. To learn more about what to post, when to post, the balance between promotion and non-promotion, and more, be sure to read about each network online or contact a professional social media marketing agency.

  5. Develop an E-Mail Marketing Program. For years I have been telling our small business clients that e-mail addresses are marketing gold. Every time a person gives you their e-mail address they are giving you permission to market to them directly. This is your chance to sell your products, promote events, provide them with useful information, and get them to visit your website. Collecting e-mail addresses are fairly easy. Ask for them when people check-out, have a sign-up form on your website, and promote it on social media. Giving a small incentive or give-away to get e-mail addresses is a great investment so don’t be afraid to do it.

    We recommend using an e-mail program such as Constant Contact or MailChimp. They are easy-to-use, have an excellent return on investment, and provide good statistics so you can see what is working and where there is room for improvement. Also, there is a big difference between an e-mail that gets a good response and one that does not so study up on how to write strong subject lines and create content that will get read and acted upon. 

  6. Use Text Marketing to Get Your Offer in Front of People Immediately. We have our phones with us all the time so sending out offers and relevant notices to your customers via text is a perfect opportunity to increase sales. Over 97% of text messages are opened and read within minutes of being received and the cost to send texts out are very affordable. There are a variety of text marketing providers in the marketplace so be sure to find one that works best for you based on your list, ability to collect new names, and goals for the program.

One other thing that I have learned from small businesses over the years is that they are not very good at tracking the results of their marketing efforts. How do you know what is working and what is not if you and your staff are not dedicated to asking people how they heard about you or what brought them in today? A simple piece of paper or spreadsheet behind the counter(s) can provide insight into where you should invest your future marketing dollars. There are many other ways to track effectiveness of existing campaigns. You just have to be dedicated to taking the time to measure results.

If you or your team need help developing a marketing plan that gets positive results or if you just need help with a specific project, our team at The BLU Group is here to serve and would be happy to talk to you about your unique situation. Contact us at 608.519.3070 or e-mail Info@TheBLUGroup.com.