Bike Shop ManagementBike Shop Marketing

A Re-Introduction To Small Business Marketing In The Digital Age

As a small business owner you end up wearing multiple hats: salesperson, bookkeeper, shelf stocker. But the one hat that gets forgotten on the hat rack is marketer. We understand, a small business owner’s time is at a premium, and marketing is often the lowest priority on your busy schedule.

But marketing is important, and lucky for you, today’s marketing tools have made it easier than ever to reach out to your customers.

These days, it can be easier to think about marketing in two ways: Digital and traditional. In this article we’re going to focus on digital marketing as it is the most time and cost-efficient way to connect with consumers. 

If marketing has fallen by the wayside for you the past few years and you’re not quite sure where to start, we’re here for you – and establishing a strong foundation is easier than you think. Let’s get started.


Your Website

In today’s digital world if your company doesn’t have a website does it even exist? 

To many of your potential customers, probably not. One of the first things a potential customer of yours is going to do is Google your business, and if they don’t find a website for your company, they’re likely to move on to one of your competitors. 

Think about it this way: Nearly ⅓ of all Google searches are related to a location. And 97% of consumers search for local businesses online.

Your website is your digital business card and storefront for the millions of people that are Googling businesses like yours every day.

It allows potential customers to verify you’re real and to learn more about your company and the services you offer. Your website should be the hub for your business. It’s a place where customers can find and connect with your social media accounts, sign-up for your email newsletter, read your blog and, most importantly, learn about your services or products. 

By having your website and connected social profiles actively updated, you remind your customers not only of your expertise – but also that you’re still actively in business!

While the idea of creating a website, or paying someone to create your website, may seem daunting, a wide variety of DIY and managed products make it easy to get a nice looking website up and running. If you have the money to splurge on a professional to build your website though, we say splurge. While this is something that you can feasibly do, the right digital marketing professional or company can make sure your website looks sleek and is properly optimized for search engines.

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Social Media

Your Social Media

Regardless of your personal feelings on social media, it is unmistakably one of the biggest tools for marketing your business today.

So, which social media channels should you be using? That depends. While there’s no such thing as too much reach or exposure, if you only have time to manage one social media channel, make it Facebook. With 2.23 billion monthly active users as of January 2020 it is the largest social networking platform, and the most well-rounded for a business’ marketing needs, allowing you to share videos, pictures, and general updates about your business. If your industry is more focused on B2B – Linkedin can also be an effective choice.

While social media can be a place to sell your products or services, its more ideal use is as a community hub where your customers can connect with and understand your business on a deeper more meaningful level than just transactional. 

In many cases – it can enhance their trust in you as an expert. Don’t know what to share? If you recently completed a job you’re particularly proud of put a post together with before-and-after pictures and give a little rundown of what the job entailed. If you read an industry article you think your customers might find interesting, share that. Share every new update you publish about your company on your website.

Put yourself into your customer’s shoes and think about what they would find interesting that relates to your business and industry. Or, just ask them. Social media is a place where you can tell your business’ story and turn your customers into your champions.

Looking for a good place to start making an impact? Audit what’s published about you already.

Trust us, it’s out there. Whether you want it to or not, information about your business will make its way online, and probably already has. So, like any good business owner, you need to be proactive about corralling that information and making sure you’re in control of it.

Do a few searches on different search engines like Google and Bing, and see what information is out there about your business. Does a Google listing pop-up for your business? If so, claim it. Does no listing pop-up for your business? Create one. 

These business listings will allow you to set your days and hours of operations so as to not possibly frustrate potential customers. Setting up your listing will also allow customers to leave you reviews that you can then respond to, and you want to respond to them, good or bad. 

Email Marketing

Your email list

That almost endless list of customer emails you’ve accumulated over the years is a gold mine waiting for you to bury your pickaxe into it. 

If you haven’t been leveraging that list of emails with a weekly or monthly newsletter, now is the time to start. Why? Because 99% of consumers check their email on a daily basis, and those that purchase products or services through an email offer spend 138% more than those who never receive one. With an array of DIY and managed email marketing products on the market it has never been easier to put a newsletter together.

Now, that’s not to say that you should be filling up your contacts’ inboxes with emails about sales every day. That’s a quick way to alienate your customers, and get your email address marked as spam. 

Use your newsletter as another tool to connect with customers and leads on a personal level. Write about a convention you recently went to, provide them with an insider insight into your industry, or share a unique problem you just helped another customer solve. Make it personable. Heck, if you fancy yourself a comedian make it funny. But don’t use email marketing as a way to overwhelm recipients with ads. 

If you give valuable insight or provide something entertaining to your recipients, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how receptive they are when they do get an email offer from you. 

So, now that you’ve got a basic idea of where to start, set some time aside to put a marketing plan together and put it into action. Take small bites.  If you commit to putting serious effort into marketing your business there’s no limit to how much it can grow!

Your marketing is just like a muscle. The more consistently you work it – the stronger it gets.