Business Slow? Here are 4 Ways to Improve your Marketing.

August 12, 2020

4 Ways to Improve your Marketing

This guest post comes from the wonderful Casey Watson. I've known her husband since high school and actually had the opportunity to help him with his branding/website for Fiscal Fluency a while back. So fun! When I found out Casey was a talented copywriter (who is familiar with the Storybrand marketing framework), I knew I had to hire her write a couple of posts for the Ember & Co community. You're going to love her!

Every business experiences slow seasons, when revenue drops to a trickle. During those times, it may seem like you, as an owner or manager, have little to do other than sit and worry about your bottom line. 

However, that’s probably not an emotionally healthy decision. Instead, you can choose to look these moments as good opportunities to work on your marketing. This mindset will not only take your focus off the problems but also help better position your business for a comeback.

Tick these items off your checklist while you have some downtime to improve your marketing and give your business a boost.  

Audit your website.

It’s easy to forget about your web presence once it’s built, but you need to review it regularly to make sure the information stays relevant. Look at every image, word, and link and make sure your website is up-to-date and fully operational. Ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Is the grammar correct? Are there any typos?
  2. Do all of the links work?
  3. Are there any missing pictures? And are any of the photographs pixelated?
  4. Is the information still accurate? (Pay particular attention to the services, staff, and special offer pages since those may need more frequent updating.)
  5. Have I posted to my blog in the past month? If not, how can I develop a more regular posting schedule?
  6. Does the content clearly communicate what I do/sell?
  7. Walk through the site as if you were a customer—do the links lead you through the site correctly?
  8. Check and see how the site looks on a mobile devise. Is the mobile version easy to use?

Audit your social media.

Some businesses start social media accounts without forming much of a strategy, and that leads to a hodge-podge social presence that doesn’t quite fit their needs. Instead, evaluate your networks, their purpose, and the messages they convey about your brand. Are they sharing the story you want to tell? 

Consider this: 

  1. Do you have the resources to properly maintain all of your accounts? Small businesses are often spread pretty thin, so it’s better to operate one or two accounts well than to support four or five poorly.
  2. How often do you post? Suggested post frequencies vary for each platform. For example, some sources say it’s best to post at least two or three times per week on Facebook and once or twice daily on Instagram. Shoot for that goal, but if you’re not posting at least once per week to your platforms, you genuinely have a problem. You’ll need to form a game plan for taking better care of your networks.
  3. Do you have solid branding? Your posts should look like they belong together. Use the same colors, filters, and fonts on all of your content, and make sure your logo features frequently in your feed.  
  4. Is your branding cohesive across your platforms? You need to use the same profile image for all your accounts and post similar language in your “about” sections. Make sure people know that your networks belong together. 
  5. How are people responding to your posts? Check your insights and take a look at your engagement numbers. See what posts encourage the most comments and reactions from your audience and then adjust your strategy accordingly. 

Review your audience.

As a small business, you probably already know a lot about your customers. You know their ages, their occupations, their desires, and maybe even their dreams. But it never hurts to take a second look. 

Examine your customer base and see if your demographics have shifted recently. You can even take a look at your social media insights and see if your audience on those platforms matches your general customer base. 

Once you get a good idea of who is currently looking at your content and who is actually buying your products and/or services, see if they match up.  Maybe it’s time to adjust your marketing to better fit your target audience. Or, it could be time to narrow your focus to the clients with whom you most enjoy working and who are the most profitable.

And, while you’re thinking about your audience, consider your services, too. Do they suit the needs of your customers, or do you need to make adjustments?

Stockpile blog posts.

Blog posts work wonders for your business because not only do they establish expertise, but they also give your website a good boost in search engine optimization. That’s why it’s a great idea to take time during these slow workdays and create a decent cache of material. 

You can take inspiration for post content from your frequently asked questions page, from upcoming seasons and holidays, and from current events. Just sit down with a cup of coffee and a blank computer screen and start cranking out ideas. 

Take a few courses.

It’s hard to find a chance during the usual hustle and bustle to hone your marketing skills. That’s why you should take the opportunity to educate yourself now. I highly recommend any StoryBrand course or webinar. I also suggest you check out Donald Miller’s book, “Building a StoryBrand,” as well as his podcast, “Building a StoryBrand with Donald Miller.” 

You might also browse platforms like Skillshare for affordable courses on subjects ranging from business to writing to photography. 

Just do what you can to prepare for normalcy—because once things go back to "normal," you’ll wish you had made better use of this extra time.

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Caitlin Shannon, Founder of Ember & Co Website Design Studio

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