Are you a small biz gearing up for the holiday season? If you’re Ricky’s…well you have your model down fairly well. This one stop super-shop garners 20% of its annual sales in a mere two months due in large part to the success of its pop-up stores. Pop-up stores are temporary stores in New York City that Ricky’s leases, decorates and stocks with temp employees prior to Halloween.
For those without the means and resources to fund 30 pop-up stores at a time in New York City, this post is for you
Below I will walk you through five digital pain points of small businesses and how you can excel in each of these areas to make your business shine during this busy time of year. Here’s to driving sales, keeping customers happy, and most importantly, leaving them with an unforgettable experience.
SEO – Is your site optimized for the season and your product?
Have you examined your company’s website recently? Does the layout, design, and content match what you are selling when you are selling your product? If you’re a local shoe shop, you want to ensure you are capturing qualified traffic online for those users searching for your shoes. To begin, you will want to ensure that you understand SEO, or Search Engine Optimization for Small Businesses. Google ranks websites on a variety of factors including landing page quality, keyword density, inbound links, quality of inbound links, age of site, and frequency of updated content (Google wants to ensure that your site is an active site).
Creating content around your holiday offers and around long-tail keywords are good places to start. You want to ensure that you rank high in Google and Bing for searches around, “Clarks holiday discount shoes,” if your store has a huge selection of Clarks shoes. You need to show up for these types of searches. The tool that will help you find long-tail, low competition keywords that you will rank for is the Google Keyword Tool. For more information on how to use this tool, see Part I of my 4-part series on SEM: Get Found Online: SEM for Your Small Business. This brings me to my next point…
SEM for Small Businesses
Having a robust presence online is essential to running a successful business today. If a consumer can’t find you online, forget about it, she will go to the numerous other competitors that are competing for real estate at the top of Google.
Setting up a campaign in Google with relevant keywords and ad groups takes mere minutes. With SEM, you will again leverage Google’s Keyword Tool to help you identify keywords around your product that resonate with your customers. Within Google Adwords, you can have your text ads run continuously throughout the day or you can day-part. In other words, you can exclude certain low volume days while allocating more of your budget towards high volume days. You can even day-part by hour.
For example, if you are promoting a huge holiday sale for the weekend of October 28th and you have a limited budget, you may want to consider weighting your Adwords budget more towards the week leading up to the sale and save money during the weeks where Halloween is not as much top of mind.
For a deep dive into the nuances of SEM for Small Businesses, see my 4-part series on Google Adwords for Get Busy Media.
Get Active on Social Media
Yeah, yeah doesn’t everyone say this? I can tweet at my customers through Twitter and post to my Facebook Fan Page every once in a while, right? Wrong. Social Media is not throwing darts in the dark hoping to hit your target. Social Media Marketing takes a commitment to understanding your customers’ desires, complaints and needs. This means listening and interacting with your customers on a daily basis.
Michael Stelzner, Founder of SocialMediaExaminer.com, generates amazing daily content on social media and how to leverage social networks to reach and engage with your customers.
Need to figure out Facebook and how to get more out of this amazing platform. Check out this recent post from Social Media Examiner, 9 Facebook Marketing Success Stories You Should Model.
Here are just a few of my favorite resources for social media news, strategies and updates:
- SocialMediaExaminer.com – Great How To’s, Contrarian articles, Interviews & Case Studies
- SocialMediaExplorer.com – More of a Contrarian Blog, takes a deeper dive, peeling back the layers of social media
- Mashable.com – #1 Social Media news site on the planet
- Chrisbrogan.com – Chris Brogan is the master of relationships and all-world marketer
- Searchengineland.com – Breaking news in the search space
- Hubspot Internet Marketing Blog – Amazing whitepapers and eBooks on internet marketing
Start Blogging…and Start Blogging Regularly
Blogging may be the most effective way to drive engagement on your site and provides you with a platform where you are able to position yourself as a thought leader within your industry. Blogging generates discussion, raises questions and helps to further refine and develop your company’s brand (as well as your personal brand).
Are you blogging but not gaining any traction? Having trouble engaging readers and encouraging comments? Social Media Examiner put out a great article about a month ago on how to increase your blog comments.
The part about blogging regularly is no joke. If you’re going to gain any traction with your blog and reach a critical mass of customers you need to be blogging regularly. Whether this is 3 days a week, 5 days a week, twice a month…the frequency is up to you. More importantly, you need to be consistent and punctual with your posts. Your readers will keep coming back if you have fresh, relevant, interesting content on your site to present to them at the same time each week.
Nearly as important as content is layout and design. At Get Busy Media, we love WordPress and its hundreds of customized themes that make any WordPress sites look beautiful and clean. Through Studiopress.com and pagelines.com, you can create customized themes that require no programming knowledge – simple drag and drop solutions! You can have a site up in no time with access to hundreds of plug-ins to help add a little extra zest.
Set Up Geo-Location Promotions via Foursquare
This is the last feather in the cap but this is a big one. Once you have customers in your store or at least interested in your store, offering them an incentive to show up is the ultimate deal-maker.
Our recommendation: use your blog, Facebook fan page and/or Twitter to broadcast this promotion, “first 50 people to arrive at x store receives 15% off total purchase.” Not only are you promoting a sale in your store but you are encouraging fans to interact with you on Facebook and Twitter. Furthermore, you are generating buzz for your store…buzz that is self-sustaining.
For small businesses, this is the ultimate sign of success: marketing campaigns that run themselves and put customers in your store.
Here’s a great post to Get Busy Media’s Blog on Foursquare Tips for Your Small Business.
We hope this overview of the digital landscape was helpful and that this will help you jump start your internet marketing efforts. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Rachel or reach out to myself at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author’s Bio: Jim Armstrong is the Co-Founder of Get Busy Media and a paid search specialist. Since 2008, Jim has built his knowledge around emerging media and leveraged several experiences to develop a keen understanding of internet marketing. His core competencies include search marketing, SEO, email marketing, social media marketing and online reputation management. Jim currently works for Ogilvy & Mather, in their digital arm, Neo@Ogilvy, as a search planner. When not diving headfirst into his next project, Jim enjoys spending time with his family, fishing and writing.