2020 was undoubtedly the year of fallen businesses. In fact, in April of 2020, about 41% of Black-owned businesses were forced to close down due to the pandemic. The massive shutdown of Black-owned companies has had a significant impact on the community, with about 11.4 million African-Americans filing for unemployment in 2020.
However, there may be a comeback in 2021.
There has been a slight rise in small businesses that researchers have yet to fully explore. The closest explanation comes from a recent study; the study uses data to point out that the surge is connected to the federal stimulus. Although financial stability is still a struggle for most Black families in America, the stimulus has also helped the Black community and aspiring entrepreneurs.
So if you’re a small-business owner and you’re looking for ways to expand your enterprise—you’ve come to the right place! Marketing is the perfect way to grow your business and connect with your clients so they keep coming back. After all, we live in a world where branding and marketing are everything. If you don’t have a brand, do you even have a business? Think about it! Read further for ten marketing strategies to sustain your business.
Become a master at social media.
Having a personal social media account may sound like a no-brainer in 2021, but have you considered creating one for your business? Maintaining a social media account for your business is the new business card. A business social media account is a great way to show off your work creatively and appeal to a particular audience. As a consumer and a fellow millennial, I immediately check a company’s social media account when I hear about its product or service. However, if social media seems like a task you’re not willing to take on, consider hiring a social media manager.
Hiring a social media manager to manage your business accounts can save you a lot of time to focus more on your business. A social media manager can manage multiple accounts (Instagram, Twitter, TikTok), create an aesthetically pleasing feed across all platforms, connect with your audience and focus on growth strategies to build your platform. If employing a social media manager is too costly at the moment for your small business, consider managing the accounts yourself.
Overseeing your own business social media accounts can save you tons of money. You should consider using platforms like Hootsuite and Canva to manage your posting schedule and create your content. The most significant benefit of using Hootsuite is you can schedule posts on multiple accounts. You’ll be able to post on your Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook through one medium. Canva is also great for creating your brand colors for your social platforms to develop a cohesive look. And remember, be authentically yourself, and don’t be afraid to get personal with your audience.
So you have your social media accounts, but you can’t figure out what to post? How about tutorials? Since the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels in 2020, short videos have become more popular. Creating tutorials for your social media audience is a helpful way to advertise your product or service. Show your audience step-by-step how your product works and why they should invest in it. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your tutorials by adding popular sounds, jumping on TikTok trends, and adding fun texts for a more detailed description. If you love editing, consider creating more extended tutorials on YouTube.
Despite the rise of shorter videos, YouTube is still one of the largest search engines in the world. Here, you can create longer tutorials with further detail and show off your “day-in-a-life” as a small-business owner. Now I know what you’re thinking, Everyone has a YouTube channel! You have a point, but also think about how many times you’ve looked something up on YouTube. Exactly! Your YouTube channel gives your audience the opportunity to know you and your product more intimately.
Understand that analytics are your best friend.
Once you begin to post on your social media platforms and YouTube channel actively, you’ll be able to check out your analytics. This data will allow you to get to know your audience on a deeper level. By looking into your analytics, you can see your audience, their gender, age, location, and optimal post times/days. In fact, on both Instagram and Facebook, you may use this data to target your audience with paid ads. In short, the analytic page helps you know who you’re talking to, how to speak to them, and when to speak to them.
Level the playing field with search engine optimization.
Ah, the big SEO. Everyone is afraid of her, but I promise she’s not that bad. She’s here to help! Lucky for you, there are plenty of crash courses out there to teach you the ways of SEO. However, they may break the bank. As a small-business owner, there’s nothing wrong with taking your time and learning independently. Consider picking up a few books from your local Barnes & Noble or watching YouTube tutorials. The truth is, growing a successful business takes time and hard work. Setting some time aside after work or on the weekends to learn SEO can pay off in the long run.
If you play your cards right, SEO can be a solid foundation for your business. According to a study, 60% of marketers have reported that their highest quality leads comes from SEO. Some helpful tips on SEO? Don’t spam your engine with random words. Consider your audience and put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. What keywords do you think of when it comes to your business? Be consistent and remember SEO isn’t a shortcut to overnight success; it will take time.
Understand the power of email marketing.
Let’s be honest—not every customer who goes on your website will buy your products. This is where email marketing can come into play. Email marketing is the perfect way to lock in potential customers by simply asking for their email addresses. Through this option, you can send special offers, updates on product launches, and write clever blog posts. These tactics are called “lead magnets.” The overall goal with lead magnets is to turn potential buyers into leading customers with offer exchanges. Seeing these potential lead magnets on the backend of the site can also help you.
When a customer clicks on a particular link, that means they’re interested in something. This information gives you the chance to retarget that customer with special offers. If the customer becomes a buyer, tag that customer now as a “buyer” in your email list. This method is a great way to keep a relationship with new customers and continue sending them updates. Email marketing is also an excellent way for current customers to stay engaged with your business and keep coming back for more, as it creates a loyal client base.
Dive into influencer marketing.
We live in a world where influence is power. Influencer marketing can potentially drive immediate sales to your business with only one post. According to the site Tomoson, businesses are generating about $6.50 per $1 spent. In the study, Tomoson also found that influencer marketing is the fastest-growing online reach for organic sales. This study also proves what the customer is looking for: transparent reviews on products from influencers they trust. As a small-business owner, how can you influence an influencer to review your product? Simple, with product exchange.
It’s understandable that paying an influencer anywhere from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars is less than ideal for a small-business owner. However, there are several different ways to collaborate with an influencer. Offering an influencer a quality product in exchange for a post is common among small businesses. The key is to provide a product that aligns with that influencer’s niche. Also, consider reaching out to micro-influencers and offering them a percentage in sales—they have bills to pay too.
Offer a free consultation.
If you are a small-business owner providing a service for your clients, consider offering a free consultation. A free consultation is a fantastic marketing tool to meet your clients one-on-one. This meeting is your chance to detail the service you offer, packages and what options align with your client’s needs. On the flip side, this is your prospective client’s chance to ask questions, try out your service and come to a clearer decision.
Business owners sometimes worry about free consultations in fear of being taken advantage of by freeloaders. While this may be a legitimate concern, you don’t have to give all of your time in a consultation. Generally, consultations are 30 minutes to an hour. Think of it as a sneak peek at the service you provide. I understand this may not work for every business, but if you offer a slightly pricey service, this may be worth considering.
Partner with other businesses.
Teamwork makes the dream work. Partnering with other businesses is an excellent way to network, support the community and access a whole new client base. The goal is to collaborate with a local business that provides a mutual benefit for both enterprises. The best part is, your collaborator doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same niche.
Collaborations can come in many forms and sizes. An example of this is offering your clients free coffee from a local coffee shop when purchasing. This collaboration can also look like receiving 30% off when subscribing to both YouTube channels, email lists, social media pages and more. This tactic can only expand your client base and get the word out about your business.
Speak at events.
Are you an expert at what you do? Do you feel confident enough to share your knowledge with others? Then public speaking could be your next marketing adventure! Speaking at events or attending events are great ways to network with other business owners and spread the word about your business. Public speaking can show the audience that you are an expert at what you do. Your knowledge can also build trust in potential clients and can impress investors in the audience. A bonus? You can always set up a booth and sell branded merchandise. Perfect for marketing!
Join Facebook support groups.
Having a small business can be challenging and lonely, building a support group can help you get through the life of entrepreneurship. There are plenty of support groups on Facebook for different business niches. Your support group can give you tips on the market, spread the word about your business and keep you motivated through tough times. Connecting with other entrepreneurs can keep you fresh and aware of upcoming marketing strategies in the future.