The other day, I was speaking with a friend, and he asked about priorities from a marketing perspective. He was wondering what can be done for ramping marketing fast. Also, what should be done for long-term marketing health. There are things you do that yield results later, and there are other things that start having an effect almost immediately. But his questions were around how to ramp up quickly; and what should be the mix between ramping up marketing fast vs the long play.
You should always have a blend of short term priorities and long term priorities. What things should you focus on for maximum growth for your business?
Keys to ramping marketing fast
While there is no silver-bullet to win in a short span, there are some things you can be doing to drive traffic quickly to your business.
Get your website online
Your first marketing priority should be to get a website online. It needs to be a framework that will allow you to expand and add-on in the future.
- Get a URL – Choose a URL and select a service to purchase it (a company that holds URLs is called a “registrar”). GoDaddy.com is one of the very popular ones, and if you’re using them just to purchase the URL their prices are great. However- During the checkout process they will attempt to get you to purchase numerous other “add ons” and these should be avoided. Google Domains is an excellent choice as well, and in the last few years has become my preferred provider. This article has some great info on the specifics, and is worth the read.
- Find a host – A host is the service that will hold all the data for your website, such as pictures, videos, & HTML code. You can get a host that is bundled with a registration service, but often these aren’t the best deal. GoDaddy is a good solution if you want all in one; but if you’re willing to go through the work you’ll find a better deal with some other services. At DIY SMB Marketing we use In Motion Hosting, but there are lots of other great options as well. I would steer clear of Host Gator— they used to be one of the better options, but their quality has slipped as of late.
- Install site code – The hands-down best choice for most SMB’s is WordPress. It is free to use if you have your own host, it is open-source (people develop content for it free), and its poweful. Some hosting services will install wordpress for you, but if the one you selected doesn’t, you can follow directions: found here.
Setup business email addresses
Nothing says “we’re not professional” quite as much as an email address that is “firstname.lastname@example.org” or something like that. Once you’re paying for a registrar and a host, you’ve got everything you need to have your own email addresses.
Usually its a good idea to setup a “email@example.com” (use this for website related things) and “firstname.lastname@example.org” for more personal emails, and consider an “owner@…” or “manager@…” email as well. Be sure if you set them up, that you’ve regulalry checking them. You can also have them be aliases that forward to a central email address as well. Look up info with your hosting provider for information on how to do this.
Create social media presence + monitoring
Depending on what your business does you may get more or less mileage with social media. Most businesses will not find a good ROI from investing copiously (either time or money) in social. But, having a basic presence and a way to respond to customers who reach out to you is always a good idea!
At a minimum, Facebook and Twitter are probably good places to start, with a lot of businesses also setting up a presence on Instagram as well. Be aware, as soon as you set up businesses pages, the respective networks will start encouraging you to buy advertising. Here at DIY SMB Marketing we’ve stated out view on paying for social media before, so I won’t re-hash that discussion here; but the short version is: “Probably avoid it”.
Setup Google My Business listing
Google My Business is a free service provided by Google. It allows you, as the business owner, to manage what your listing looks like in the Google search results, and on Google Maps. Setting this up correctly will increase your online visibility as well as increase your search ranking across your entire site. Do you rely on walk-in traffic? Do this today.
This guide, by BrightLocal, offers a quick how-to walk through. It’s pretty easy to do, and it should only take you 10-30 minutes from start to finish. Make this a priority if ramping marketing fast is important.
Purchase retargeting ads
Retargeting ads are those that “follow” you after you visit a site. Retargeting is extremely effective at getting people back to your site. It can also simply remind them about their original interest in your product.
They tend to be cheaper to purchase than targeted display ads (or even general search ads). Many different ad platforms offer retargeting solutions. Make Google ad network your first priority. Getting retargeting ads rolling through Google isn’t tough. First, add the tags to your site, then build out audience lists, then finally turn on ad campaigns.
If you’re not getting a lot of traffic, the ads won’t be expensive, and it will really maximize the value of that original visit. If there was any chance they were going to be a customer, retargeting ads capture that chance. Want to be ramping marketing fast? Buy retargeting ads.
Purchase targeted social ads (Optional)
As soon as you setup a social profile, the networks will start hounding you to purchase ads right away. Almost all of the ad campaigns they suggest are worthless, but there is a way to make social advertising work for you. The key: Hyper targeting. Most social networks have the ability to queue up ads for very specific criteria. If you can identify, specifically, what a potential customer may look like, it may be beneficial to serve up ads.
Most of the social networks will throw roadblocks, “Your audience is too narrow, loosen your criteria”. Resist following these directions! When you’re looking to build up your business, spending you advertising dollars carefully is key. The smaller the audience, and the more specific the ad to the audience, the more likely each $1 you spend is likely to turn into a purchase.
Long-term marketing priorities
Equally important to ramping up marketing fast is building the foundation for healthy long-term marketing. The following things won’t get you traffic and customers today; but if you want customers later, these are things you need to start today.
Regularly update your content
Google rewards sites that are regularly updated with better search ranking. If you’re looking to take advantage of this major boost in search placement down the road, you’ll need to start today. It is much better to update 2-3 times a month consistently over a few years. Don’t update 4-5 updates a week for a month or two, then quit.
Site updating is a marathon; not a sprint. You should get started on a slow-and-steady pace early on (2-3 times a month is sufficient for most SMBs) and keep it up consistently.
Monitor business reviews
Reviews (especially Google reviews) are a major contributor to potential customers interest in your product. Did you know they are also increase your search ranking? Google will increase your placement in the search results based on how positive your reviews are, and how many you have.
If you don’t monitor and respond to these regularly, it will hurt your search ranking and your business reputation. If you respond to a negative review 18 months after it was made, you’ve missed your window. Also, it shows that you’re not responsive to customer’s concerns.
Setup email engagement + collect email addresses
Regular engagement with your customers and prospects is an essential backbone to a good marketing strategy. While there are many different channels that your prospects and customers will to use, email is one of the most reliable methods for almost all SMBs.
If you want to be able email your customers and prospects, you need to first have a list. And building a list isn’t often something you can do over night. You need to be regularly collecting your email addresses from the start for email to be a useful channel.
Email tends to be a very low-cost channel to execute. Collecting emails addresses on your website and at your place of business will provide immeasurable value in the long term.