Local Business Marketing Trends 2018

A recent study conducted by BrandMuscle found that for local businesses messaging and search engine optimization are the most effective digital tactics in 2018 for marketing local businesses. The study also concluded that Snapchat  the social media network was the easiest to execute when it comes to social media marketing…

The report captures marketing and ad-spending trends among US small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The study covered small businesses that participate in co-op or MDF funding programs…

Via MarketingLand

The report offers a snapshot of tactics and attitudes among US small business marketers as a whole.

Interesting Findings

The report found that the vast majority of small businesses are doing their own marketing in-house. 64% of small business owners apparently are doing all the marketing themselves. According to the study authors this generally means poor execution – in other words the business owner gets poor results as a result of doing their own marketing.

local business marketingThe study discovered that only 3 percent of the small businesses surveyed were employing an outside agency or vendor, and only 7 percent had a dedicated marketing person on staff.

The study also finds that in  2017, small business owners adopted a range of new tactics, with the majority – the 63 percent – having tried 3-6 new marketing tactics.

The lessons for 2018?

Top Three Local Marketing Tactics for 2017

The top three tactics used by all the surveyed small and medium businesses were websites, Facebook Marketing and either email or direct mail. It was found that for the smallest businesses, direct mail substituted for email marketing as one of the top three tactics.

When businesses were asked where they intended to add or decrease budget — digital, traditional media, social and (offline) events — majorities in each case were holding the line. However, substantial minorities (40 percent and above) intended to increase budgets for events, digital and social.

It was also discovered that most small and medium businesses were a little confused and uncertain regarding the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.  Many business owners for example considered messaging to be the most effective digital tactic on the list, followed closely by local business SEO (search engine optimization), partly because these are also some of the easiest to implement…

And while most business owners see Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram as similarly effective, Instagram and Snapchat (in particular) were seen as less difficult to use.

How are you marketing your small business n 2018? If you are doing it yourself you need to realize that you can get phenomenally better results with the same amount of effort and ad-spend you are currently using – simply by learning how to do it like the pros. We have compiled the stealth marketing power pack DIY specifically to help small and local business owners supercharge their local business marketing – all quick and easy.  Read more here.

Facebook for Small Business Owners

Facebook is as an extremely powerful networking medium for businesses and it can help grow your business. But it is important to remember that Facebook, for business, is all about building relationships, not business transactions. Recently, in early 2018, Facebook has in fact announced that it will be suppressing business and promotional content in newsfeeds in favor of social content. They want to go back to what it originally was in the “good old days” – a “fun-with-fans” social platform.

facebook for businessThat said, here are some reasons why you want to leverage Facebook to grow your business:
Great exposure. If you use it strategically and consistently, Facebook will significantly increase your company’s online presence and visibility. You can use the platform to post comments, to provide insights, advice and tips. This earns you respect and credibility in your network, and ultimately gains your business leverage.
Facebook can help drive visitors to your website and to generate more interest in your products/services. The links you get from your Facebook pages help build your website’s ranking and visibility in the search engines.
In Facebook you have a powerful marketing platform all for free that allows you to reach out to hundreds, even thousands of people with a host of user-friendly applications and tools you can use to market your products and services.
Facebook, for businesses, offers targeted ad space you can use to promote your products and services. For a reasonable fee, you can create ads and target them to reach specific gender, location and age group, as well as track the performance of your ad campaigns.
You can use Facebook to provide regular updates. It’s a convenient way to update your network on new products, promotions, and to pass on general information about your company to your customers and prospects. Your brand therefore stays fresh and relevant in the minds of your market.
You can use Facebook to facilitate online discussions that will give you valuable inputs and insights into your processes, the customer experience, etc. You can – and should – use the platform to discuss and respond to comments and inquiries. Facebook is a great source of constructive feedback to help you enhance your products or services.
Facebook enables you to stay connected and to nurture relationships with your customers. You can use the platform to engage your customers and fans by giving them useful information regularly. Content can be helpful how-to videos and other relevant content which your market may enjoy.
Facebook enables you to enhance customer service. Consumers today prefer real-time response to queries and concerns. Your business Facebook page offers you a convenient and accessible option for your customers to reach you.

All of this means work of course, and big businesses have employees dedicated to managing their business Facebook pages. If you are a small business this is out of the question. I suck at social media myself and I can imagine lots of small business people out there don’t have the time or the skills to use Facebook effectively.

My advice is to do the tasks you absolutely have to do in as the business owner, and to outsource the rest. You should respond to queries and comments – this isn’t something you can outsource.

But you can outsource the setting up of the Facebook fan page for example, and maybe posting some of the content, generating fans, etc. Your Facebook profile must be impeccable, because this is the first thing most people visiting your Facebook page will want to see. Businesses today are judged based on their Facebook profiles and so your profile on Facebook is that important.

Remember, you can get outsources on Fiverr to do these tasks for you for as little as $5.

Don’t get trapped into a skills trap, trying to do-it-yourself and become a Facebook expert!

How to Reap the Benefits of Facebook – Tips for Small Business Owners

When it comes to small businesses, the greatest advantages of using Facebook is the opportunity it gives you to engage one on one with your ideal clients. I’m a big believer in referral marketing and building great relationships with your customers is where it’s at. Use Facebook to ask questions, to encourage conversations, and to create personal engagement with your customers and prospects. Using Facebook and email marketing you can build relationships with your customers in a way that you could never do before.

Big businesses with big marketing budgets can attract millions of followers on Facebook and they have invested lots of money to study the platform and they know how it works. Study these big-brand giants on Facebook and turn their success into an opportunity for you to model the best and learn from them.

This is called creative emulation. Well, here are four key strategies that these big brands use in their Facebook marketing to help them stand out from and succeed:

Acknowledge your fans. The big brands are great at spotlighting their fans. If your fans feel that they are appreciated, they’ll continue to engage with your business’s Facebook page

Know your audience. Once you know who you’re communicating with on Facebook, this gives you a good insight into what content to use to give them a good experience – because you know what interests them, and what they like.

Mix up your media. Use photos and video besides written content. It has been shown that Facebook strategies that use a variety of media draw a bigger crowd.

Have fun when using Facebook. The fact is most people log on to Facebook to have fun and connect with friends. As I said at the beginning, this is the experience Facebook wants to emphasize and they are rolling back their algorithms to enhance this experience in their newsfeeds.

Interacting with brands and businesses is not the No. 1 reason why people get on Facebook. Still, you can captivate this same audience even now with Facebook giving precedence to the fun factor and the social experience. The key is to infuse fun into your Facebook activity whenever it’s appropriate. Facebook for businesses isn’t about marketing, promotion, and more marketing.

Use photos a lot because they are viewed more than anything else on Facebook. Photos can go viral quickly because when you post an interesting photo you could get hundreds of thousands of potential new fans seeing it in their newsfeeds..

Implementing these strategies can be done at little cost to a small business owner. Like I said you should outsource the mundane stuff. Model the best that’s out there, outsource where you need to and make these strategies work for your own business.

6 Ways Your Business Can Win With Facebook

Here are six ways you can model your Facebook efforts after the successful campaigns run by big businesses, and some ways you can even get a leg up on the big brands.

Have a plan and a strategy

Big businesses have plans for their Facebook campaigns. They’re focused on strategizing, plotting and forecasting. They have goals in mind and they know the hurdles they’re going to have to jump to get to those goals.

Small business owners, on the other hand, often create Facebook pages with no real goal, just that they know they should.

Think about what you want out of your Facebook presence. Is it more foot traffic? More sales? Or is it just more contact info to populate your newsletter mailing list? I recommend leveraging Facebook to build great relationship with your fans and customers, with referrals in mind.

Use custom tab applications

You’ve probably seen those sharp, shiny customized page tabs that big businesses have. Years ago, companies had to hire designers to build these sorts of tabs at great cost. Today you can get an outsourcer on Fiverr to do it for you for as little as $5. Or you could use services such as www.ShortStack.com and many others to create your own custom tabs with relative ease.

Custom tabs will help you increase awareness and maximize social media potential.

Emphasize interaction

Facebook users want interaction and attention, and this is where big businesses blow the little guys out of the water.

From contests and sweepstakes to virtual gifts and sharable content, big businesses know how to give Facebook users what they want.

Unfortunately, it seems most small business owners missed the trick. If your business pages consist only of a couple of pictures, a short bio and perhaps a map, this sort of static content will not hold the attention of your fans. If you want to be effective on Facebook, you’ve got to buy into the ideals of Facebook, and that means embracing engagement and interaction.

Consider using a custom tab app to create engaging content and be social.

Be available

Facebook for businesses is still about the individual – your customer. Don’t forget, today consumers expect companies to respond to the concerns and queries they have posted within the day or within the hour. Additionally, today’s consumers want to have their say on every product and service they invest in and they expect to be heard.

Don’t be the small business owner that checks your business Facebook page once or twice a week, responding only occasionally. Look at it this way: Would you feel comfortable knowing customers were in your store with no one to ring up their purchases or answer their questions? Make it a point to be available online. Use apps to get alerted anytime someone interacts with your Facebook page. Integrate your Facebook on your website, etc.

Your being available online and how you engage with your online community could be what motivates your next customer to come in and make a purchase. So, check your business Facebook page often, and respond when your fans post to your wall.

Take action

Your advantage as a small business owner is you can gather feedback instantly from your Facebook interactions to make appropriate changes when customers complain. You can quickly resolve issues and even enjoy compliments. Big businesses are slow to react. This gives you an edge when it comes to improving the customer experience process and making your business more referable. Take advantage of this.

Be flexible

As a small business owner you can afford to be flexible. So, if you want to get a bunch of people to your restaurant tonight you can just let your fans know via a Facebook post that everyone who comes in and mentions the post gets two-for-one drinks.

If you have too much inventory you need to clear before the next shipment arrives, you could post a today-only 25% off coupon for your fans to print and bring in. Creating a sense of urgency and offering your fans good deals is a great way to get a strong community response. This is where Facebook for small businesses rocks.