Do you want to build a strong online presence and brand for your small business but you're struggling to make an impact?
This month in the VIP Members Club (get on the waitlist to join us here) we're talking how to differentiate yourself from your competitors and create a strong brand and online presence that drives sales for your business.
VIP Member Michelle Sokolich has done this really well and today I wanted to share with you 3 clever things she's done that you can do too! So here goes...
1. KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET & CORE MESSAGE
I talk about this all the time but I can't stress how important it is!
Once you know your target market you can start talking to them in a language they understand. And that converts to sales.
When you talk to everyone, you attract no one. So get tough on yourself and narrow your niche and you might just see results.
Michelle owns Show and Tell, a content marketing agency that helps small businesses tell their story online.
This is what she says on her Home page:
"Every business has a story. You might think you’re just a building company, a daycare centre or a café. But behind that logo, there’s a story to tell. A story about the dream you have, the journey you’ve taken so far and all the highs and lows along the way.
Sharing your story through video has the power to move your customers, to create an honest connection so they feel like they know you before they walk through the door."
I love this because in just a couple of sentences Michelle has:
- Told me who her target customer is. Someone who has a small business and a dream but maybe isn't getting that across to customers very well
- Highlighted the importance of her skill sets. How powerful storytelling is especially combined with the strength of using video
- Touched on a result- that if you get your storytelling right, your customers will feel a strong, authentic connection with you = big win!
Because Michelle knows her target customer well, she is able to speak to them in a way that resonates. She's not talking to big business here.
She's talking to small business, and she makes it clear that she 'get's your struggle. It makes her relatable and professional all at the same time.
2. BACK YOUR MESSAGING UP WITH STRONG VISUAL IMAGERY
Strong visual imagery including video, photos and graphics will help you build on your brand image and define a consistent look online.
When you get this consistency you're telling people- hey, I get it. I am a small business but I have my ducks in a row. I know what this brand stands for, who I'm talking to and what I represent.
Your brand personality will start to shine through.
This is what Michelle is amazing at and you can see how she uses imagery herself by:
Using video on her homepage, Facebook page and Instagram accounts to tell both her own story and the stories of her customers.
Using high quality, professional brand images that help you get to 'know' her and feel familiar and welcomed to her service.
3. SHARE YOUR CONTENT CONSISTENTLY
The clincher is that once you have created your content you actually need to share it! Don't let your content get sucked up into cyber space- if you find creative ways to share it with your audience you will start to make an impact.
Michelle is also amazing at telling people about her services consistently. She knows how to share her own journey and regularly shares online in spaces like our free support group for NZ women in business:
Check out the responses she gets to her posts- amazing!
For some of you promoting your business online might feel overwhelming. There is a fine line between 'spamming' people and sharing your business details.
But you can be clever with your online marketing strategy using Facebook groups and I've shared a few tips here on how to do just that.
HOW YOU CAN START USING THESE STRATEGIES
If you're reading this and thinking "yes, I definitely need to up my game but all of this sounds time consuming and expensive," don't worry, there is a way forward.
Being a successful small business owner is all about having big dreams and working in small steps! So you could break it down into phases and do this over time. For example:
PHASE 1 (allow 1-2 months):
Research and read up on how to develop your brand strategy, niche and core messages. Give yourself time to learn about these things and get to know your own business and key strengths better.
Hone your messaging on your own and if you feel like you need to, reach out to a copywriter or coach to help you fine tune your message. We've got some great copywriters in the business directory who can support you with this if you need guidance.
Once you've got strong core messages in place, reassess your visual presence and decide if your existing branding and imagery do the trick.
If you need to and you can afford it, now is the time to reach out to designers who can help you develop a visual brand, or to a storyteller like Michelle who can help you prepare to get your message out there online with video.
Once you've got your core messaging and smart visuals ready, it's time to start getting that message out there.
Research online FB groups filled with your target market. Some- like the WE Network Support Group if you're a VIP Member- (get on the waitlist here), will allow you to directly promote your service. You should make note of those groups.
Other groups that don't allow promotional posts you may still be able to make use of by creating a presence as a regular contributor and adding good value.
And then of course you can use Facebook Ads and your own FB page and social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram to drive traffic to your site.
The important thing to remember is that sales posts don't sell! Don't forget to check out this post on how to create engagement and interest online using storytelling, it'll give you a great idea of how to generate sales without yelling 'buy me buy me!'
GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME
Developing a strong presence like Michelle has can take time for a small business owner. Not everyone knows about branding, copywriting and marketing their business so for some of you the learning curve might be steep!
But if I can give one piece of advice in conclusion it is this. No matter how interested or good you are at marketing right now, if you are a small business owner, the biggest gift you can give your business is to better your understanding in this area.
You are the driving force of your business and even the best products and services can get lost without good promotion. That does no one any favours! Your business loses out, you lose out and the amazing customers who would've loved your product lose out if they never find you.
So apply yourself to learning about these things and you never know- you might find you enjoy it and I certainly know you'll enjoy the results!