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Topics: Small Business Advice
Promoting and positioning your small business is a never-ending endeavor. Sometimes a heavier marketing effort makes sense, such as when the business first opens or during the holidays. Even strictly seasonal businesses cannot afford to go completely dark during their off-peak time. To remain relevant and successful in today’s hyper-competitive and crowded marketplace, it’s important to stay top-of-mind, both online and off.
SEM ads are paid text ads that appear on the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) when you type in a search query. When you consider that 51% of all local mobile searches result in a store visit, the necessity of being found in a search query can be vital for both lead generation and keeping your brand top-of-mind. Some of the great features and benefits of an SEM campaign include:
Tip! Free training certification courses are available online to help you learn, manage, and maximize your AdWords campaign.
SEM is a low-cost, highly effective way to generate leads and drive foot traffic into your store. Content marketing on the other hand, can be necessary for brand identity, education, customer engagement, and search engine optimization (SEO). In addition to producing text content in the form of articles and newsletters, another option is to change the form. Arguably, the most engaging form of content available right now is video.
The bottom line: many people are visual learners and prefer video to text content. Consider the following:
Simply put, statistically speaking, your customers crave video. You can provide them with a great brand experience at a very low cost. You do not need expensive video equipment or a fancy studio. All you need is a steady hand (or a cheap tripod) and a smartphone. Take your videos to the next level with one of the many free and low-cost, user-friendly video editing software options available online.
Tip! Keep videos brief, informative, and snappy. Aim to keep your videos between one and three minutes long. For increased engagement, you might try asking your customers to participate in your videos, perhaps in a testimonial or as a tutorial assistant. Ensure that you have participating customers sign appropriate release forms before making the video public.
Bonus tip! Transcribe your videos and add this content to the landing page where you video resides (whether it’s self-hosted on your site or embedded from a site like YouTube). The text will be crawlable by search engine spiders and can help your page rank for organic searches.
There is nothing more important to a business than customer feedback and opinion. All companies need to welcome customer feedback with open arms… and react appropriately. Customers appreciate when companies are genuinely interested in what they have to say. Get their opinion on their personal views of your business/brand, their experience doing business with your brand (i.e., ease of use, satisfaction with your product, service, etc.), and media usage habits (so you know how and where to advertise).
Provide hard copy surveys in your store, send e-surveys to your opt-in database (find low-cost e-survey options online), hold focus groups with a small group of customers in your store after-hours, and hold one-on-one interviews with customers.
Tip! To increase the number of completed customer surveys and focus group participation, offer a 10-15% discount on their next purchase for participation.
The sheer number of marketing and advertising options available today is mind-boggling. The most important thing can be to focus on doing a few things really well, instead of many things with average results. These three cost-effective marketing strategies for small businesses can help address lead generation and your brand in an affordable, quick, and high-impact way.
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