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Simple, Affordable, Practical
Small Business Marketing
Spring Into Action

Spring Into Action – Thirty Marketing Tips to Jump Start Your Business

Spring Into ActionWelcome to Spring Into Action, a series of 30 simple, affordable, and practical marketing tips to jump-start your local small business this year.

This month-long series provides one tip a day for thirty days, all of which are available on the Small Business Marketing Minute podcast. The episode for each tip is just a few minutes long, so you can listen to the entire series in under 90 minutes once all episodes are available.

Below is a complete list of all the tips, including links to additional resources that will help you learn more about the subjects mentioned and complete the various action items.

If you are a local small business, I guarantee that if you complete every action item on this list you will see dramatic growth in your business this year.  You will be more profitable, have more customers or clients that you enjoy working with, and increase your rate of customer retention.

I can make this guarantee because all the things listed below are services I provide to my clients, and without exception when I perform all of the services listed below for a local small business they see dramatic results.

If you are doing all of the things on the list below yourself instead of hiring professionals to help you with some of them, chances are your results will not be quite as good as they could be with the help of a professional–just as it is with anything else in life.  However, you will still experience increased growth and profitability in your business.

That’s because the things on this list, for the most part, are not very complicated or technically challenging.  Some of them can literally be completed in a matter of minutes.  However, nonetheless the majority of the items are things that local small businesses just aren’t doing–and that’s why they work. 

You see, as a local business owner, you don’t have to have better marketing and customer service than every other business on the planet that does what you do.  You only have to be better than the handful of other businesses in your area that you’re directly competing against.  In most small to mid-size markets in 2019, a business that does everything on the list below will have the best marketing and customer service in their area.  In larger markets, it will probably put them in the top 5 companies in their area.

In fact (and I probably shouldn’t tell you this), in smaller markets you could probably only do half the things on this list and still be the top business in your industry in your geographic area.  But your goal should be to accomplish as many as possible, because as time passes more and more of your competitors will finally “get it”, and will start doing these things as well.  The business that gets everything on the list done first in any market will have a huge competitive advantage–possibly an insurmountable one.

If, after reading through the list below, you feel like you would benefit from professional assistance in accomplishing these tasks, click here to schedule a free 10-minute phone call with me to discuss your situation.  If I feel like I would be able to help you out we can move forward, and if not I’ll refer you to a provider who is a better fit for you.

Without further ado, here’s the complete list of Spring Into Action tips.

Tip #1: Write down a description of your ideal customer.

Podcast episode for tip #1:

Quick explanation: Knowing who your target audience is for your marketing will help you better focus your efforts, thus making everything you do more effective.

Additional resources related to tip #1:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #2: Write down 2-3 things that truly differentiate your business from your competitors.

Podcast episode for tip #2:

Quick explanation: If consumers can’t tell the difference between one business vs another business, they will choose the business with lower prices.  If you want to join your competitors in the race to see who can work the hardest for the least amount of money, then skip this step.  Otherwise, spend a decent amount of time thinking carefully about this, and check out the resource below for assistance in that process.

Additional resources related to tip #2:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #3: Make sure your business email address is @yourdomain.com and not at a free service like Gmail, Yahoo, etc.

Podcast episode for tip #3:

Quick explanation: Consumers make a lot of judgments about a business on a subconscious level.  Based on their experiences, they expect legitimate, professional businesses to act a certain way and do certain things, and of those things is using a professional email address.  Every single time I have encountered a business using a free email address at Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. it has proven to be an indication that they don’t have their act together when it comes to other aspects of their business–especially as it relates to communicating with customers.

Additional resources related to tip #3:

  • GoDaddy.com–If you don’t currently have a domain, I recommend purchasing one at GoDaddy.com and calling their 24/7 customer support hotline for help setting up your email.  Do not use GoDaddy’s website hosting services, especially for WordPress–they are not good.  But they are very easy to work with when it comes to domains.
  • BlueHost–another solid domain provider.
  • If you already have a domain, you will need to contact the company your domain is registered with for assistance in setting up your email.

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #4: Get a professional logo designed for your business.

Podcast episode for tip #4:

Quick explanation: This tip is based on the same philosophy of tip #3.  You can have the best marketing message in the world, but if your logo looks like it was designed by a third grader people will never see or hear it, because they’ll immediately dismiss you as a non-serious business.

Additional resources related to tip #4:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #5: Make sure you have a professional voicemail message/phone system.

Podcast episode for tip #5:

Quick explanation: Do you like throwing money away?  Then by all means spend money on marketing and advertising for your business in order to generate phone calls that go to a voicemail box that is full, or that uses the default recording that doesn’t even mention a business, or that results in an unprofessional experience for the caller.  It seems like such a simple thing, but I can’t even tell you how many businesses I’ve seen that don’t have this in place.  You also need to check it periodically to make sure everything is still working.

Additional resources related to tip #5:

  • RingCentral: A good place to get a professional cloud-based phone system set up for your business.

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #6: Start using a CRM system.

Podcast episode for tip #6:

Quick explanation: Similar to tip #5, this one helps insure that leads generated by your marketing efforts don’t slip through the cracks–especially if there is more than one person in your business (including virtual assistants or independent contractors).

Additional resources for tip #6:

  • Zoho: There are hundreds of CRM software systems out there but Zoho is one that can be customized for just about any industry and that integrates with many other services.
  • Constant Contact: More of an email marketing tool, Constant Contact can also be used as a basic CRM system, at least as far as keeping data organized about your customers, vendors, and contacts.

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #7: Collect email addresses and start an email newsletter.

Podcast episode for tip #7:

Quick explanation: Email marketing is by far the cheapest and easiest way to keep in touch with everyone who has had some kind of interaction with your brand in the past.  If you like spending 50 cents or so per customer on stamps every time you want to communicate with all your customers at once, or if you love paying your office staff to play phone tag with hundreds of people for a few days, then skip this step.

Additional resources for tip #7:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #8: Claim and complete your Google My Business listing.

Podcast episode for tip #8:

Quick explanation: The information on your Google My Business page–including phone numbers, pictures, customer reviews, hours of operation, and much more–is one of the first things people will see when searching for you online.  It’s become so important for local businesses in recent years that it is now second only to your website in terms of importance in driving traffic and generating phone calls (with the possible exception of paid advertising campaigns).  Google generates these pages automatically, so if you haven’t claimed your listing there may be one floating around out there that you don’t even know about, with possibly incorrect information or even negative reviews.

Additional resources for tip #8:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #9: Get professional photos to use in marketing your business.

Podcast episode for tip #9:

Quick explanation: Unless you are a talent agency that provides models for stock photos, the pictures on your website should be of your employees, your building, and your products. And the quality of those pictures matters.  The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is absolutely true.  Good images can help reinforce your marketing message, while bad pictures can undermine even the best message.

Additional resources for tip #9:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #10: Start posting to your Google My Business page (i.e., using Google Posts)

Podcast episode for tip #10:

Quick explanation: Google Posts are free messages about promotions, events, or other important news about your company that show up right on the search engine results page when people look up your business online.  If you don’t like free advertising for your business, then skip this step.

Additional resources for tip #10:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #11: Get your business listed on all major directories.

Podcast episode for tip #11:

Quick explanation: It’s important for the name, address, and phone number for your business (known in the SEO industry as the “NAP” information) to be correct and consistent everywhere it appears online.  It is a basic starting point for search engine optimization efforts, and failing to complete this step will make any other SEO tactics you employ less effective.  Doing this step by itself won’t make your phone ring off the hook with new customer inquiries, but it nonetheless is very important and must be taken care of.

Additional resources for tip #11:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #12: Make a short, 30-second video about why people should do business with your company.

Podcast episode for tip #12:

Quick explanation: Video content for small businesses is becoming more and more important.  All major online platforms are really pushing video content, so if you don’t have any video content for your business you will lose out on traffic.  Start with a 30-second basic “about us” video so you can post it to your Google My Business page (current limit is 30 seconds).

Additional resources for tip #12:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #13: Ask every customer to write a review and send them a reminder to do so.

Podcast episode for tip #13:

Quick explanation: Customer reviews on third-party platforms are extremely important to the success or failure of a local small business.  If you haven’t paid attention to this until now and you want to be out of business within five years, just keep ignoring this step.  Otherwise, listen to the episodes listed below and take action using the recommended resource.

Additional resources for tip #13:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #14: Start mailing postcards to your current and former customers.

Podcast episode for tip #14:

Quick explanation: Very few local small businesses use direct mail, which means you won’t have a lot of competition for your customer’s attention in their mailbox.  Postcards are very cheap to send and people don’t even have to open an envelope to see your marketing message; plus with tools like the EDDM program you don’t even need a mailing list to send postcards.  For best results, use postcard campaigns as a way to stay top-of-mind with current customers and up-sell them on additional services.

Additional resources for tip #14:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #15: Create a formal referral program for your business.

Podcast episode for tip #15:

Quick explanation: Most small businesses get a large percentage of their new customers by way of referrals, but very few have a formal referral program to encourage this.  Complete this step, and you will get more referrals–period.

Additional resources for tip #15:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #16: Install Google Analytics on your website.

Podcast episode for tip #16:

Quick explanation: If you enjoy making important decisions about your online marketing efforts based on guesswork and intuition instead of hard data, then skip this step.  Otherwise, start using this free tool that gives you literally hundreds of data points about how people are interacting with your website.

Additional resources for tip #16:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #17: Set up Google Search Console for your website.

Podcast episode for tip #17:

Quick explanation: Do you hate free tools that give you extremely useful information about your website’s performance on the world’s most popular search engine?  Then this step is definitely not for you.  If, on the other hand, you do like getting extremely useful data for free, then take ten minutes and get Google Search Console set up for your website (ok, maybe 15 minutes if you don’t know what you’re doing).

Additional resources for tip #17:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #18: Install CallRail call tracking on your website.

Podcast episode for tip #18:

Quick explanation: CallRail is a service that tracks all calls generated by your website.  It tells you the page of your site someone was on when the called you, and even tells you how they found your website.  You can even record the call to see what it was about (comply with all local privacy laws).  It is a great tool not only for marketing but for helping to properly train your office staff and ensuring good customer service on the phone.

Additional resources for tip #18:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #19: Get printed marketing collateral designed for your business.

Podcast episode for tip #19:

Quick explanation: Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could have a great salesman for your business that instantly appears anytime someone tries to refer you to a new customer?  Or, for that matter, every time one of your employees makes a service call to an existing customer?  Well, unfortunately, you can’t…but the next best thing is to have well designed, effective print marketing materials like brochures and flyers that clearly communicate your products and services.  They represent your business when you (or your best sales rep) can’t be there in person.   Professionally designed marketing materials are an expectation for legitimate businesses, so why wouldn’t you want to have some for your business?

Additional resources for tip #19:

  • Upwork: A great place to find freelance graphic designers to help you with your design projects.

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #20: Create a subscription-based service to offer to your customers.

Podcast episode for tip #20:

Quick explanation: Have you noticed the explosion of subscription-based services in the past five years?  Everything from ready-to-cook meals, fishing bait and tackle, and coffee beans are available as subscription based services.  The reason is simple–it is a very successful and highly profitable business model, because it drastically increases the lifetime value of a customer without increasing marketing costs.  The great news is that you, too, can offer subscription-based services–no matter what industry you are in.

Additional resources for tip #20:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #21: Add a page to your website about each service you provide with 800—1000 words of content including FAQs.

Podcast episode for tip #21:

Quick explanation: Most local businesses have one or maybe two pages on their websites describing all the services they provide.  Very few have detailed pages for each and every service with at least 800 words of content.  If you create these pages for your business, you will not only rank highly in search engines for people searching for very specific things (which usually indicates a high intent to purchase goods or services), you will also convert more of the people who visit your website into leads due to the fact that you’ll look like you know what you’re talking about.

Additional resources for tip #21:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #22: Join your local chamber of commerce and create your profile in their directory.

Podcast episode for tip #22:

Quick explanation: There are many great benefits to being a member of your local chamber of commerce, including networking opportunities.  But one of the most overlooked benefits is actually one of the easiest to take advantage of–a backlink to your website from the chamber online member directory, which in most cases is a do-follow link.  If you are a chamber member and aren’t taking advantage of this, get this step done today and cross it off your list.

Additional resources for tip #22:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #23: Find the nearest BNI chapter to your location and visit a weekly meeting.

Podcast episode for tip #23:

Quick explanation: Of all the tips in this series, this is the only one that, by itself, has the power to potentially change your life.  BNI is the world’s largest networking and referral organization for local business owners, and in most cases the members in your local chapter will represent the best of the best in terms of quality local businesses.  In short, they are people that you probably want to meet and get to know as a local business owner.  Even if you have no intention of joining BNI, you should visit your local chapter, collect some business cards from the members, and offer to buy some of them a cup of coffee (or a beer, if that’s your thing) just to get to know them.

Additional resources for tip #23:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #24: Create a profile on Alignable and start using it to meet other local business owners.

Podcast episode for tip #24:

Quick explanation: Alignable is like LinkedIn for main street businesses.  It’s a great way to meet business owners that might live down the street from you, or go to your church, or who might be standing in line behind you at the coffee shop every morning, and who you might never otherwise meet.  In other words, it’s a great way to meet some people who could refer a lot of customers to you.

Additional resources for tip #24:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #25: Make some FAQ videos about your business and post them to LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook.

Podcast episode for tip #25:

Quick explanation: Videos area great way to showcase your personality while putting a face behind the brand and demonstrating your professional knowledge and expertise.   Videos answering some FAQs you get from customers are easy to make and can be used in a variety of ways.

Additional resources for tip #25:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #26: Start sending thank-you cards to customers (for reviews, long-time loyalty, etc.)

Podcast episode for tip #26:

Quick explanation: Thank-you cards for current customers are a great way to increase customer retention, generate repeat business, and get more referrals.  Listen to the episode for tip #26 for some ideas about how to use them strategically.

Additional resources for tip #26:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #27: Start a customer loyalty program.

Podcast episode for tip #27:

Quick explanation: Loyalty programs, like subscription services, are a great way to increase customer retention, increase the lifetime value of a customer, and reduce marketing costs.

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #28: Create a sales incentive program for your employees (and give them some sales training).

Podcast episode for tip #28:

Quick explanation: In a small business, every employee is a salesperson–or should be.   But are you giving your employees the tools, training, and incentives to be good salespeople?  Chances are good that you aren’t.  Start changing that today.

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #29: Add a lead-gen offer to your website (enter to win, downloadable coupon, etc.)

Podcast episode for tip #29:

Quick explanation: Using strong calls to action on your website and having incentives for people to give you their contact information is a great way to increase your conversion rate from the traffic you’re already getting.

Additional resources for tip #29:

Need help with this step?  Click here to contact us for assistance.

Tip #30: Raise your prices.

Podcast episode for tip #30:

Quick explanation: If you have done all of the things on this list, the demand for your services will now be exceeding the available supply.  Guess what?  That means you get to raise your prices, and get paid more for doing the same amount of work you were doing before.  Isn’t being a small business owner great?

In Conclusion

Congratulations! You now know just about everything that I do for my clients that makes their marketing so effective. I gave you all the tools, tricks, and secrets (which aren’t really secrets at all, just fundamentals that most people don’t do).

If you have implemented all the tips on this list, you are now reaping the benefits.

On the other hand, if all you did was quickly read through this list, you may be feeling overwhelmed.  Perhaps you’re thinking about all the time and energy it would take to accomplish these things–time and energy you just don’t have.

If that is the case, I might be able to help.  Use my calendar link to schedule a free, 10-minute phone call, and I’ll either determine that I can help you (and give you some options for that), or determine that I’m not a good fit for you (and then refer you to someone who is a better fit).  Either way, after the call you’ll be more empowered to start accomplishing the tasks that must be done to jump-start your business this year.