Updated: Sep 26
What is the role of Marketing for small business owners?
One of your jobs as a small business owner is to get people, the right people, interested in buying something from you. Hopefully when you set up your business you noticed a gap in the market that you believed only you could fill. Either because no one else was already doing it, or you have a certain expertise that you feel adds to the existing market place.
Where did you start your Marketing?
You would not be alone if the first thing you did when you started your business was to set up an Instagram page, a Twitter profile or a Facebook page. Isn't that what people do nowadays to market themselves?
It is absolutely great to be visible as a small business owner, front and centre in the local area you inhabit, showing up each day posting great relevant content. But here is why social media isn't the most important tool in your Marketing tool kit.
Why Social Media Sucks
You can knock yourself out trying to get to the golden 10,000 followers on Instagram that unlocks the 'Swipe Up' feature which simply means you can include links in your stories.
Which if you are trying to sell things, or send people in a certain direction is really helpful.
By the way, unless you have a very popular account, getting to 10,000 is to use common terms, a bit of a journey.
And when you get there you may well find that Mark Zukerberg owner of Facebook and Instagram decides that unless you pay him to access your business profile, you are not going to be allowed on.
That is the reality we are trading in as small business people on social media.
Considering it the jewel in our Marketing crown is just wrong.
It is more akin to spending the day on the beach making the most intricate sandcastle design ever, only to watch as the tide comes in and takes it away. And with it, your fans.
Oh no what should I do instead?
The best way to be in your customers lives is to ask their permission to be, which means setting up a mailing list and a website, and gradually moving as many people off of your social media platforms and onto that list, and making visits to your website to read your content as possible.
I'm going to mention a book now, I get zero pounds for recommending it but here goes, if you are serious about learning about permission marketing, go get Seth Godins - This is Marketing
So I should stop doing social media?
No not at all. It is a wonderful place to be every day, engaging with your peers, finding out about new trends, and quite frankly seeing how other small business owners are doing social media too, I'm a great believer in peer to peer learning.
But its so important to not rely on social media as your only way of reaching your customers.
If you take 1 thing away today please let it be this, your social media account is not yours. It belongs to a billionaire sitting in silicon valley. Who could turn it off tomorrow and then go get a snack.
1. Set up a website.
Some people will argue it is not necessary for their business but it is like buying a place of your own instead of renting. You can paint it bright pink, put up your flying ducks and settle in there. When you decide to set up a line of merchandise, create an ebook, launch a course for your customers, guess where all that goes. On a website.
Websites are like everything else, you can spend a fortune on them, or go cheap. I use Wix for my site at the moment which suits my purposes.
One thing I hear time and again is people who have paid a developer to create them a site, but then every change that you wish to make to that site costs money, the interface is challenging to manage, you don't know how to see who has joined your mailing list etc.
My vote is for quick, low cost and simple to manage.
2. Create a mailing list. Decide how often you will get in touch with your customers. My own preference is for weekly.
I think it keeps you in peoples thoughts, daily is intrusive unless you absolutely love someones content.
My recommendation is to start off with Mail Chimp, it is free until you reach 1000 sign ups, which again will take you a nice amount of time to hit in any case and until you do, that's a great free resource to make use of.
3. Start moving people across
Once you have your website and mailing list set up, tell people about them as your top priority.
Don't feel like you should tell people once and then expect them to merrily file in and sign up.
You need to work at it, expect that each time you mention your mailing list you'll get another person signing up.
This is another rule of Funnel Marketing, you could well have 5,000 followers on Instagram, but only 100 on your Mailing list, and still sell well within that audience. You need to move people from casual contacts to purchasers of your services.
And that's it! I really hope that all makes sense to you, if you have any questions please do ask me. I have a Free Facebook Group on my Facebook page Shona Chambers Marketing
where I'd love to answer any of your questions or getting a discussion going.
Thanks for reading!
Would you like more help with your marketing? My new book is out now
If you would like a book of 100 Marketing Tips written just for small business owners then do have a look here. I wrote this book to be easy to read cover to cover or to be kept as a reference to dip in and out of!
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Shona Chambers Marketing is a Marketing Agency based in Nunhead near Peckham. Specialising in helping Small Business Owners and Freelancers with their Marketing. Based at 61 Cheltenham Road, Peckham, SE15 3AF