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Local Small Business Online Marketing StrategiesMany local small businesses are stuck in the “same old marketing” mold of one to one, traditional ads, evening networking events, etc.. Too many have not adapted to the new world of marketing using the technology tools available such as email, sms text messaging, social media and sales funnels. I’m very surprised at how few local small businesses are effectively using email and text messaging to market their businesses. Let’s talk about three of these tools that are available to small businesses at very low cost; email, social media and sales funnels.

Email Marketing
Studies show that it takes 5-20 touches with a prospect before a buying decision is made, yet 92% of those who are selling make less than 4 touches before giving up. Email is a tool that will allow you to easily make 20 or more touches with a prospect, and much of it can be automated. If you understand your ideal target market and really understand who your customer is, you can target your communication to them to answer their questions, provide value and draw them into your tribe. Using an email system such as GetResponse will allow you to build systems to draw them in and nurture them to the point where they see you as the expert. A system like this will allow you to create a lead magnet (a gift that will entice them to give you their email address) and then automatically deliver additional content that they are looking for. It allows you to stay in touch until they are ready to buy.

If you’ve only made a few touches and then they haven’t heard from you in a while, they will likely buy from the next business that is top of mind when they are ready. Many small businesses think that people will just remember them and come to them when they are ready. It usually doesn’t work that way. People are just way to distracted and there are just so many messages coming at them, that if you are not constantly reminding them that you are here, they won’t remember you. An email nurturing system can remedy that problem.

Social Media
Social media is another way to easily engage with your potential customer. Once again, a key factor here is knowing who your ideal customer is and where to find them on social media. My favorite social media channels are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Periscope. Many people think that Periscope is dead, but depending on your target market, it isn’t. Thousands of people are finding their broadcasting voice on that channel still. The big question is if your clientele is on there or not. All of my favorite channels offer some kind of live broadcasting option. Live broadcasting is the fastest and arguably the best way to connect with and build your audience. Many of those who have found success in using social media to promote their business have found a way to broadcast small chunks of information on a daily basis. This keeps people coming back for additional info.

Sales Funnels
Sales funnels are nothing more than the process you use to take a prospect through the process of learning who you are, what you can do, and becoming a customer. Too often people think of sales funnels as a piece of software, a tool. It is a tool, but it’s much more about the process than it is the tool. The tools used should just help you automate the process. Think of these steps in the sales process. Yours may be slightly different, but it’s going to be similar for most companies.
1. Awareness – Introducing your company and products to people and attracting them in a way to get them to give you their information to indicate their interest.
2. Lead – They have given you their contact info and let you know they may be interested.
3. Prospect – At this stage they have expressed an interest and it’s clear that your company and product is a good fit and could work for this prospect.
4. Customer – They are a paying customer and using the products
5. Fan – Not only do they love the product, but they also love you and their willing to shout it from the mountain top!

Your sales funnel is the process that walks them through all the necessary steps to make them a raving fan. Depending on your business it might be partially or fully automated with software, or it may not. This just depends on each individual business. Many small businesses have no concept of a sales funnel because they’ve never worked in an environment that had one clearly defined. Every business has one, but may not have labeled it as such. Some are more effective than others.

Wrapping it all up
Your email system, social media, are important components of your sales funnel to consistently bring you new business. When you get it right, you know exactly what to do in order to drive more sales, therefore more revenue and profits. If your business doesn’t have the ability to do this right now, you may not know your sales process and don’t have the tools in place to consistently drive revenue. If that’s the case, and if you want to take your business to the next level and consistently drive revenue seek out help. Find someone who knows the tools of the online marketers and can help you apply them.

Stan N. Shields is a local small business owner who has successfully used the online marketing tools for more than 15 years to grow his local martial arts school and now his local small business consulting business. Click here for a free 30-minute consultation, or visit stanNshields.com for more information. Some of the links contained in this article may be affiliate links. This means the author may receive a small commission from any purchases made, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.

 

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