SME's...17 ways to UP your game without spending a penny!
Brand your email:
I see this all the time on company websites for example Joblogs@btinternet.com or Dave@virginmail.com. These email addresses are great for personal use but if you are running a serious business then the email should be linked to your domain name for example Oliver.firstname.lastname@example.org. If your web designer hosts your domain name they should be able supply an email address for you. All It’seeze websites come with 5 branded email addresses as standard.
Create a professional telephone message:
This is probably the one that baffles me the most because it’s such a simple thing to do but I hear it all the time, “welcome to Tesco mobile” or even worse no message at all “we are not here right now” Nooooo! it takes 5 minutes to setup a simple message saying "thanks for your call, I’m not available at the moment but please leave a message and I will call you back ASAP otherwise please feel free to email me directly on...
Use social media consistently:
Over the last 5 years social media has become massive and while I understand most small business owners don’t have the time to read about what their long lost school friend had for dinner last night, there is a place for social media to help your promote your business news, services and brand locally.
Setting up and running a business Facebook page, for example is free and has the potential to help you win new business, and increase traffic back to your website. Be aware that if you just set up a business Facebook page and then forget about it, it won’t work. You need to post on the page at the very least once a month to keep it active.
Blog on your website:
If you have access to your website to update it yourself and the website has a Blog function, then this is a golden opportunity for you to firstly increase your Google ranking (SEO) but also to talk about what you are doing and how you can help your clients.
Remember Google loves websites that present new content so use your Blog to promote your services, it takes time and you’ll need to think of things to write about but Blogging will pay dividends later. For example, if your business is in the home improvements sector then create a blog about your latest project, include a couple of paragraphs introducing the project, some pictures and if possible a testimonial from the client.
Ask for testimonials:
If you do a great job then why not ask your clients for some positive feedback to show others how you can help them. Testimonials are everywhere these days, on Google Business on websites on Tripadvisor, Amazon, social media and free index websites.
I would suggest you try to build your testimonials across a range of platforms so that you have all the bases covered. Asking for testimonials is free and the best bit is that you don’t need to write the content. One word of warning on testimonials, don’t make them up as they will stand out as fake and may do more harm than good.
Create / update your Google Business listings:
The Google Business listing tool is free to everyone running a business whatever the size or age and it’s a great way of telling Google that you exist. Promoting your business on Google Business will also help local people find you so it’s like a free advert, make sure you add your logo, some photos of your work, your address and of course a link back to your website. https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/business/
Add your business to Free Business Index websites:
A Business Index website is like the Yellow Pages back in the day but on the web, most allow you a free listing where you can add your logo, a business profile description some photos, telephone number, email and a link back to your website.
Here are a few examples to try:
They take a little time to setup but once done and approved you have created another mini advert promoting your business for no cost.
Send clients email newsletters:
Luckily this doesn't mean spending hours and hours typing out individual emails to every client, because there are now free tools online that can send bulk emails for you, with just a few clicks once setup.
Your email newsletters could contain news about a new project, a new product, recent testimonials or if your business is an online shop then you could direct people to purchase items.
You will need to make sure that the recipient is happy to receive your email and adding an opt out option is important. Luckily most of the email marketing platforms cover the legal stuff regarding spam and permissions now, so it’s worth putting in a little time to understand the do’s and don’ts before you press the send button. Try Mail-chimp to start with.
Create a professional email signature:
So you've created your lovely new email, now all you need is to create a professional signature that appears at the bottom of every email, this should contain your logo, contact details and a link back to your website.
I would also suggest including a short disclaimer in case the email goes to the wrong person. The best way to create your signature it to have a look at what others are doing / saying and amend it for your own business needs.
Call your clients:
Speaking to your clients on a regular basis will help you build your business relationships, gain useful feedback and create further opportunities for future business.
Remember the old saying “if you are not looking after your clients then someone else will be” I understand it takes some time and people are busy but a simple phone call once in a while will create loyalty and pay dividends later.
Attend free business networking events:
We’re very lucky here in Colchester because we have a active business community and there are many types of business networking events happening in the area, so head along to a local event and see who is there. Most offer a free to attend policy for the first few visits and then either a monthly subscription or pay as you go solution.
My advice would be to try as many different business networking events as possible to see where you feel most conformable and to see what each group has to offer. A great place to start would be the FSB website.
Offer video meetings:
With the recent changes in the way we interact, many SME’s have quickly embraced the idea of video meetings and I think this trend will continue because it’s very simple to setup and of course it’s free. There are many different video platforms out there that give you free access to their services for limited functionality so give it a try.
Offer a free 20 min consultation:
If your business is consultative then it may be worth thinking about offering a short / free consultation so potential client can understand how you can help them and so you can understand their needs better. This could be a simple telephone conversation, a video meeting or even (when permissible) a face to face.
You might also want to promote this on your website home page to help get the message across better. See this examples here...
Ask your clients for referrals:
They say the best businesses are built on referrals and I would agree, if you do a great job for one person then that person will shout about you and this will lead to more opportunities. This is most visible in the restaurant industry, if you have a great experience / meal then your are likely to tell 7 other people how great it was. The same goes the other way of course..
So remember to ask your clients if there is anyone else they know that might be looking for some help with their garden landscaping or personal fitness program.
Respond as quickly as possible:
This one goes without saying, if I leave a telephone message asking for a call back and I get a quick response then I’m much more likely to engage the services of that person / business. On the other hand if the person / company takes 3 days to get back to me they have probably missed the boat.
Email is slightly different in that it should be responded to in a timely manner but I would not expect a response straight away. Personally I do my best to respond to email as quickly as possible but it’s not always possible, so I normally say I’ll be in touch within 24 hours. Of course if it’s urgent then pickup the phone.
Hand out your business cards and flyers as much as possible:
A few years ago I was in an Irish bar in Barcelona and I spotted one of those boards where local business’s could pin their business cards, being a bit cheeky I pulled out a card and stuck to the board and then thought nothing of it. Sure enough a year or so later I got a call from a young lady who was living in Barcelona and was running an online business but was struggling to find a good website designer locally.
So if you see an opportunity to pin a business card or hand a new person you meet your card then go for it, you never know where it will lead.
Get a Free website / marketing review:
You see them everywhere, “Free website Heath check” or “free website audit” we also offer one with no obligation, whatever stage your website is at and however much you spent on it, I would still recommend an audit every 3 -6 months to see what improvements can be made, at the very least it will highlight some spelling and grammar issues that you can normally fix yourself.
If you made it this far well done, I hope you found this useful, if you need any other information or assistance then please feel free to make contact: 01206 512093 or email@example.com
Tagged as: Digital Marketing Colchester, Marketing Colchester, SEO Services Colchester, Web Design Colchester
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