Kara Vanskike

Dear Business Owner, You’re Doing It Wrong!

By: Kara Vanskike | August 24, 2016 | 
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Small Business Marketing Means Planning and Getting HelpIn my past life, I worked for a company that designed and built exhibits for museums and other organizations that had stories to tell.

After seeing behind the curtain so to speak, I can’t see an exhibit and not critique how it was built and wonder which firm created it.

I constantly look beyond what the average visitor sees.

I look for the details that set one exhibit apart from others.

Here, at Arment Dietrich, I find myself doing the same thing, particularly with small business marketing plans (or lack thereof).

As a marketer, I’ve always looked a websites and billboards and commercials and magazine ads differently.

My dad and I used to pick apart commercials and my mom used to laminate my favorite magazine ads for me to hang on my walls.

But, since working here, I’ve become even more critical.

I find myself yelling (in my head) “You’re doing it wrong!” or “It could be so much better!” when I look at websites, blogs, and social accounts.

Hey, Small Business Owner

A friend of mine is a private investigator.

He started his own agency a couple of years ago and built a website.

(Thankfully he did not rely on Facebook.)

I looked at it last week and thought there was so much more he could do with it.

It could be sleeker, his domain is not user friendly (it’s not the name of his firm), and he could start a blog.

He also needs to optimize his keywords for SEO as he does not come up in search results for anything related to “private investigator” and his domain authority is very low.

He, in effect, does not have a small business marketing plan. At all.

Domain Authority

Wait. What?

Are you asking what domain authority is?

A site’s domain authority predicts where it will rank in Google search results—the higher the authority, the better the ranking.

Your domain authority is connected to the quality and amount of content produced and how much of that content is shared and searched for.

It takes a great deal of work and strategy for a site to increase its authority, it doesn’t just happen.

But it’s doable!

Think of Forbes, Harvard Business Review, or Inc.

You know when you visit those sites, you will be presented with quality content.

They are authorities in their subject areas.

Am I comparing my friend’s site to Harvard Business Review?

No.

But I am suggesting, with a solid small business marketing plan, he can increase his ranking by strategically using keywords and developing quality content which will boost his rank.

(I am NOT talking about keyword stuffing!)

If he compares his authority to those of his competitors, he’ll have an initial goal for where he needs it to be.

Not Just Word-of-Mouth

My friend relies on word-of-mouth for his business.

He said he doesn’t want a client from Google; he just wants referral clientele.

On one hand, if you can build a business with little marketing effort, great, but in most cases, that’s shortsighted.

Even those word-of-mouth clients are going to look you up somehow.

Why not stand out and differentiate yourself?

Become a thought leader in your field.

(Insert eye roll.)

Yes, the terms “thought leader” and “expert” are overused, but why did you start your company?

I’m sure to earn money and not work for someone else were two strong reasons, but a desire to do something differently than everyone else was probably a factor, too.

Talk about that reason.

Let people know what truly differentiates you and your business from your competitors.

Build on it.

You’ll need a small business marketing strategy which should include content creation, interviews, speaking engagements, and patience.

It’ll take time.

Don’t expect sustained success to happen overnight. Be persistent.

What Do I Do?

As the avid readers I know you are of this little ol’ blog we call Spin Sucks, you shouldn’t be at a complete loss as to what to do.

However, if you want a small business marketing guidebook to kickstart your strategy, buy Gini Dietrich’s book Spin Sucks.

(Seriously. This isn’t a plug for brownie points. You’ll thank me later.)

For the rest of you who have a handle on what you should be doing, but aren’t because you don’t feel like you have time, go through your routine and figure out something you could stop doing in order to fit this in.

It’s important!

Then take our Modern Blogging Masterclass (launching on September 9, so more information coming soon!) and learn how to develop content which uses the PESO model.

If you have ideas for what you want to write, but aren’t the strongest writer, hire a freelance writer.

Every business should have a marketing budget, no matter how small you are, so fitting in content creation shouldn’t be prohibitive.

Small Business Marketing Help

I have another friend who’s an instructor at the University of Illinois (ILL – INI!!!).

He teaches a business consulting class and I’ve worked with his students on five or six different projects throughout the years from marketing plans to consumer research—all for free.

Seek opportunities like that to help build a content strategy or some initial quality content.

Will it take time and oversight on your part?

Absolutely.

But so would hiring an intern, or a freelancer, or a professional firm.

You’re the expert of your content.

Without your guidance, whoever you hire will need to rely on that in order for them to do their job well.

If you’re sitting there thinking, “All this talk about content is a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. I’m doing just fine.”

I can guarantee you’re the one who needs the most help.

Hire a coach, or a writer, or a full-service firm.

Your small business marketing plan will thank you.

image credit: shutterstock

About Kara Vanskike


Kara Vanskike is the Account and Earned Media Manager at Arment Dietrich. Friends with Gini since their first meeting in 2009, she eventually made the switch from client to coworker. When not perfecting her mind-reading skills and researching media outlets, she can be found exploring travel destinations on her bucket list, hanging out with family and friends, and catching up on whatever is saved on her DVR.

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