Small Business Local Marketing Part 3

Welcome back Sunday readers! Last we talked the focus was on planning for your local marketing campaign. Small businesses live and die on how many "fans" they create in their local area. It's important to plan, and plan well, I might add. But it's even more important to execute and create new and repeat sales! With that in mind, we need to look next at exactly how we execute our strategy around marketing activities like SEO in the Raleigh, NC area and other tactics that we make part of our small business marketing plan.

As we mentioned, the focus of our discussion will revolve around how we take our small business marketing plan and put it into action. The activities we'll cover include:

  1. Execute your plan on a small scale
  2. LISTEN to your customers
  3. Measure your success and adjust your strategy
  4. Now, get ready to hit a homerun: PREPARE FOR GROWTH!

So how do we execute our plan on a small scale? First off, you should exclude the most expensive aspects of your overall plan, most likely TV and radio advertising. That leaves us with print and internet marketing. When it comes to print, focus on smaller, short-term ads. This way you can test your message before it goes out to the entire area. Maybe it's a local periodical or in the form of trade show handouts. As you see or hear of folks viewing your ads, ask them what they think. Stay focused on listening. It doesn't matter if you can convince them that your ad is on target AFTER they speak with you! It only matters that they understand and feel compelled to act on your ad with no intervention. Ask them if you ad motivates them to buy. Ask how you might make your ad better. Ask what types of incentives would make them want to act immediately. Remember, their opinion (assuming you talk to at least 10-20 people) is gold and should be taken into account when you move to the larger campaign push. I'm not saying re-architect your complete message, but do take the most valuable points into consideration going forward. Test groups are an awesome way to ensure your marketing success.

Xperience4Higher is your internet marketing and SEO experts. We serve Raleigh, NC and many other US cities.

When it comes to internet marketing, the quickest way to get feedback on your message is through pay-per-click advertising. Whether it's Google Adwords or other local-focused directories like Yelp and Foursquare, take your refined message from the small print campaign and send it out to the masses. Take about 5% of your overall internet marketing budget and heavily hit these sources for a couple weeks. Gather information on how well your message was received. Look at things like impact on overall sales, quantity of new customers per dollar spent and other metrics you might collect. This will be invaluable when you set out on the longer-term activities like SEO for your Raleigh, NC small business. While the most valuable driver of leads aside from television advertising, SEO can be difficult because it takes months to rank for competitive keywords in major cities. Local search is, however, a must for small businesses in a market of more than 50,000 people. City-based local search like Raleigh, NC SEO is crucial for the ongoing success of most businesses. People look for things (and services) on the internet. Whether you provide lawn care or dentistry services, your business needs to be on the first page of Google search results. Again, it's an uphill battle but the best small business marketing firms won't have a problem getting you just that exposure. With local SEO rankings being our long-term internet marketing goal, you have to start somewhere. PPC is the best way to ensure you'll get it right before extending all the effort to be ranked organically for a competitive, and most likely lucrative, keyword.

You've tried out your plan on a small scale while listening to your audience along the way. Now, it's time to see how well we did. There's a million metrics out there that large corporations typically use. First, you don't have that much time in your day. And your budget is no where on the scale of these firms. So for now, let's look at a few of the most important things you CAN and SHOULD measure. Remember, opinion doesn't count here. It doesn't matter what you think. It matters what results you got! That's hard for me because I tend to focus on what I could have done to make it better. That's not your job right now and just keep it front brain as you look objectively at results.

  1. Direct impact on sales: Did your business increase as a result of the promotion?
  2. Cost of new business and profit you made: Take the money you made and subtract the cost of advertising and marketing for the small scale campaign.
  3. Cost per lead: Look at all the folks that contacted you about the ads, understand where they came from (again just ask) and lastly calculate the average cost of the lead. Take what you spent on a specific medium and divide by the number of inquiries it was responsible for. This will help you adjust where you spend money going forward.

Now that you've figured out your message, refined your advertising medium spend and set your self up for a successful advertising campaign, get ready for GROWTH! Here's a few ideas that will help you in this area:

  • Staff accordingly: Make sure you don't sacrifice customer experience during high growth periods. They won't come back and you'll loose current customers.
  • Procure adequate supply: This is tricky for perishable goods, but other small business owners should have no problem ensuring they have ENOUGH of their products on hand. Don't run out! Word WILL get around.
  • Focus on every customer and treat them with care: Do your best to create fans. Make sure your current customers keep coming back and give the new folks a reason to come again. A simple thank you. An incentive program (future discounts). Anything that would make a person want to come back again, including a positive attitude from you and your staff. Think SERVICE, SERVICE, SERVICE.

That's it for now, but keep in mind we're not done. Come back next week and get ready for the full-scale assault on your local market. And don't forget! Contact our small business marketing firm for help with activities such as planning, organizational readiness, print and internet advertising, and/or SEO. Raleigh, NC small businesses, and in cities like Richmond, Atlanta and DC, are already witnessing the impact created by partnering with Xperience4Higher.

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