Seven seconds. That’s roughly all the time you have to make a great first impression. No pressure at all! (Actually, a lot of pressure.)
With those odds stacked against you as a solo entrepreneur or a small business owner, it’s tempting to put all your eggs in one marketing basket. But that’s the thing about marketing; it’s so diverse and multifaceted that there isn’t just one magic formula to fall back on.
Rest assured, however, you don’t need a marketing degree and unlimited time to effectively market your business. Try some of these strategies for making a great initial impact and potentially gaining customers for life.
#1 Create a Content Marketing Strategy
Without great marketing content, your business can’t reach customers with the compelling, useful, and memorable messaging necessary to build fruitful relationships.
The simple solution seems obvious: just create great content. That is, of course, much easier said than done.
While a content marketing plan won’t make the job of coming up with ingenious marketing ideas and content a cinch, it can provide the structure you need to make it all fall into place.
Think of it as:
- An outline – Before you market your business, you need to answer three big questions: what you’re marketing, why you’re doing it (what you hope to achieve from it), and how you plan to do it.
- A resource – One critical piece of your marketing plan revolves around your customer base and audience. Use it as a reminder of your evolving content needs and what you need to produce to edge out the competition.
- A tool for readjusting goals – Inside or alongside your content marketing strategy, you can create systems—such as an editorial calendar—for keeping your content streams organized and flowing.
If you think of your marketing plan as the foundation for your house (your business), you’ll create solid bones to build on in the future.
#2 Use Email to Reach Customers
Some people believe that email is dead in marketing, but chances are you’ve received a slew of marketing emails in your inbox (and spam folder) just today—and perhaps even opened a few.
The most successful email campaigns use visuals that pop and short-and-sweet messaging to:
- Share company news
- Send product updates
- Inform customers about product promotions
- Solicit customer feedback
Whether you offer yoga mats, CBD pills, or earthy incense, email marketing is a handy way to put yourself right in front of your customers. Cut through the noise and keep your fans engaged with emails that are informative and leave them wanting to know more.
#3 Get Your Website in Order
Imagine inviting guests to your home for a party and having no refreshments, food, or entertainment to offer once they arrive. That sounds like a terrible party, right?
Even if you would never call yourself the host of that situation in real life, there’s a business equivalent you could unwittingly find yourself mixed up with. If your e-commerce shop or company website is guilty of any of the following, it’s time to get to work:
- No inventory or business details
- No contact information or ways to interact with the business
- No unique branding
- Lack of mobile-friendly design
- Errors and outdated content
Luckily, all of these website mistakes are completely preventable with the help of skilled designers and web developers… or a streamlined small business site builder.
#4 Stay Social
Social media: you love it and you hate it, but you also know that it’s a must. Everyone is on social media. Why pass up a free and powerful way to reach your customers?
You don’t need to be an influencer or convince your staff to bravely take on the latest dance challenges to stay relevant with the latest social media trends.
But a healthy mix of trending hashtags, regular posting, and branded visuals (and maybe a puppy GIF or two) will keep your company visible and accessible.
#5 Analyze Your Efforts
Marketing is definitely an art, but it’s also part science and math. That’s right. Your teachers were telling the truth about using math and science as adults.
Even if you weren’t a huge fan of either subject in school, take advantage of the opportunity to tweak your marketing campaigns as if they’re formulas or experiments. Remove a piece here or there, try several variations, and keep track of all the elements of your great marketing experiments, including:
- Unique website visitors
- SEO ranking
- Email metrics (opens, clicks, etc.)
- Average order value
- Social media conversion rate
Make a Lasting Impression
Strip away the many layers and you’ll discover that marketing is all about relationships and storytelling. Who doesn’t love a great tale?
Unlike traditional marketing, there are so many modern digital outlets for telling your story. And that’s a great thing! More choices mean more opportunities to reach your audience.
Apply these marketing basics, and with any luck, you’ll make a positive and lasting first impression that extends well beyond those first seven seconds.