When we talk to clients, there are some questions that come up repeatedly. In the next two posts, we will answer some of the top questions we receive. Here are answers to 10 of our most frequently asked questions.
1. When is the best time to start marketing my business?
The best time to start is now. Marketing is an ongoing process that should be happening consistently, not just when business is slow. Investing in marketing will better position your business in front of your current and potential customers.
2. Do I really need a marketing plan?
Yes. Always start with a plan. As you know, a failure to plan is a plan to fail, so don’t skip this important step. Your plan should include some S.M.A.R.T. goals and a way to achieve them. Don’t wing it. You don’t want to jump right into marketing efforts without a clear strategy in mind. A written plan will keep you on track and help you avoid costly mistakes. It gives you a starting point and helps you stay on track and avoid losing sight of your ideas and how to turn them into reality.
3. Where should I start?
Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to start implementing your goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics. Consider product, price, place, and promotion to answer these questions:
What do consumers want?
Does our good or service meet or fail to meet consumer needs?
How is our product or service perceived?
How do we stand out from competitors?
How do we interact with customers?
4. Is social media worth the extra effort?
Social media is a powerful tool for marketing almost any business. While it does require time and cost money for paid marketing like ads or boosted posts, social media is an affordable way to connect with customers of all demographics. It should not be your only marketing tool, but it is an important asset that you do not want to miss. There are many benefits to social media, including connecting with your audience, increasing brand awareness, establishing your company as a thought leader, increasing web traffic, helping you monitor your customers, and helping you keep an eye on your competition. It may seem overwhelming, but social media is relatively easy to start.
5. How do I know which social channels to use?
Consider your target audience and meet them where they are. Use the social media channels that best line up with your marketing goals and your audience’s preferences. You don’t have to be on every channel. Start with the one or two that will help you reach your target audience. Don’t forget to measure results and adjust accordingly. It takes time to engage and develop a following on social media, so keep that in mind. Keep posting and engaging and make sure to analyze the results of your efforts. Find a good analytical tool to see how effective your channels are. If something isn’t working, try a different tactic!
6. Should I start an email list?
Yes! If you haven’t started an email list, start today. Your email list is one of the only things you own online, and email marketing is an effective way to reach your audience. There are several reasons to implement email marketing— it’s cost-effective, personalized, drives traffic, has a high ROI, builds your brand, and keeps your business top-of mind to your audience. If you would like some tips to start email marketing, check out this post.
7. Do I really need a website?
Along with your email list, your website is the other thing your business owns online. Your website is your online face to the world and the first impression. It is crucial for providing information about your company, showcasing your expertise, building credibility, instilling trust, and setting your business apart from competition. A website is so important that many customers will not engage with a business that doesn’t have one. For more information on your small business website, check out these posts on website success.
8. How do I know if my website should be updated?
A general rule is that your website should be updated every few years, but there are a few ways to tell that it may be time to upgrade now. One quick way to tell is by user experience. Research shows that 88% of online customers will not return to a website after a bad experience. This post provides ten reasons to upgrade your website.
9. Is SEO important?
Yes. Search engine optimization (SEO) is important. According to Moz.com, a leading SEO software company, “SEO connects you with the people who are searching for the solutions you offer.”
SEO drives traffic to your business, and ultimately can increase your success. There are many things to consider before you “do” SEO. Check out or series on SEO basics for more information.
10. How long does it take to see results?
To measure success, you first need to define success. What does it mean to you? Decide what you want to accomplish, write it down, and measure your results over time. Whatever your goal is, remember quality is always better than quantity. Depending on what you are doing, it may take six months to a year to see meaningful results. It’s also important to find a tool that will measure results. Google Analytics is free and has a lot of information, so it’s a good place to start. There are also many paid tools that may be worth exploring. Regardless of what you choose, make sure you are tracking the same metrics, so you are getting an accurate view of your marketing performance.
Check out next week’s post for more answers to frequently asked marketing questions. In the meantime, let us know if you have any other questions you would like us to address. If you feel overwhelmed, we are here to help. The team at The Social Bullpen can create a custom plan for all your marketing needs.