Customers. Where do you find them, how do you reach them and how can you persuade them to buy? Fear not. We’ve spoken to some experts about how to get customers, all to help you reach those lovely people who want what you’re selling.
The good news? You don’t need to be a social media star or a major influencer to attract people to your brand and business. Although social media can play a part, there are plenty of other ways to attract customers to buy your product. Read on as we break down some proven techniques to get customers and promote your micro business.
Before we start, let’s answer a couple of your burning questions.
How Can I Promote My Micro Business?
It depends on the type of business you run, as it's best to tailor your marketing to your specific products and services. We recommend reading through all of the techniques below, then trying each, one at a time, to see what works best for you.
Which Marketing Is Best for Small Businesses?
We believe in not spending too much, too soon. Start small, trying out specific digital and traditional channels and tracking what’s best at bringing you customers. Then, scale up slowly, keeping a strong control of your budget. Increase your marketing spend in line with the increased revenue you’re seeing from customers.
Alright, enough from us. Let’s bring in some experts at micro business marketing and ask them about how to attract customers.
How to Get Customers for Your Micro Business
1. Remember That Social Media Is Just Part of Your Small Business Marketing Mix
As we start to dig into promoting your micro business, it’s time for a few words of expectation setting on social media marketing. Here are some words of wisdom on getting your marketing right from Lauren Razzano of Digitally Driven.
She says, “A large following means almost nothing these days unless you're an influencer — I refer to followers/likes as vanity metrics at this point. There are so many bots (and bought followers) across social media platforms now, having 10K followers doesn't mean you have 10K customers...and it definitely doesn't mean 10K people see everything you post (it's usually about 1-10 percent of that). The key metrics I monitor for all my clients are conversions, reach and engagement.”
The lesson here is that although social media may be part of your marketing, it’s important to balance that against any other promotion you’re doing so you can choose the perfect mix.
2. Start Building Your Mailing List, Right Away
Tim Clarke of SEO Blog says it’s never too soon to start collecting emails and building an effective mailing list. “A mailing list is one of the most effective ways to reach your customers without a social network acting as a gatekeeper and demanding payment. The functionality is built into many ecommerce platforms, so you may already have a mailing list if you run an ecommerce site.”
Tim continues, “You need to think differently about email marketing to generate engagement with a mailing list. Consider how you can make your newsletters more informative and entertaining instead of how you can make them generate revenue for you. Providing value in your newsletter will encourage people to read it.”
If you don’t already have a way to collect emails, then put an email subscription and signup form on your website.
3. Search Engine Optimization Is Essential for Every Modern Business
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art and science of optimizing your online presence to get found by Google. Paige Arnof-Fenn, an expert from Mavens & Moguls, has more to say: “I started a global marketing and digital branding firm 20 years ago, and you do not exist today if you cannot be found online. If we learned anything during COVID, it’s that SEO is only growing in importance. Social media is nice to have, but SEO is essential. Being invisible online is a terrible strategy — so make sure your site is keyword-rich, mobile-friendly, loads quickly and contains relevant, meaningful content.”
Investing in your website content and SEO is critical to getting found online.
4. Embrace Authenticity and the Unique Story of Your Business on Social Media
Digitally Driven expert Lauren Razzano has some great advice when you’re getting started on social media. She says, “Figuring out your brand story and how you're going to show up authentically is always key when starting on social media. Knowing exactly what your business is, sells and stands for is what people want to see on social media today. Constantly posting 'check out our sale' isn't exciting or fun. Instead, show us how it works! Show us how it will benefit my life! THAT is the key to building a brand right now on social.”
Figure out what matters most about your business, and tell that story through your branding and marketing.
5. Use Pinterest for Powerful Visual Marketing
If your business makes beautiful or artisan products, then Pinterest can be a great way to show what you can do. Pinterest expert Laura Rike has more:
“I cannot overstate how powerful this platform can be or how often it is underestimated as a simple bulletin board for inspiration for recipes, crafts and weddings. It's a powerful search engine with robust ad capabilities and can assist dramatically in increasing views, email list subscribers and even sales.”
Laura goes on to say: “A couple of things that make Pinterest stand head and shoulders above many other social media platforms used for content marketing is that it does not follow a newsfeed format so strictly, which allows for users to share their content and split test different imagery, graphics and copy for the same content without being irritating to followers for being repetitive. It also enables evergreen content to be shared and even go viral long after it was first posted! These same features also level the playing field for those with smaller followings.”
6. Don’t Ignore Social Media to Promote Your Business, as It Can Still Provide a Good ROI
Lauren Razzano believes that social media works best alongside other marketing. She believes it’s a very useful tool when used well, “There are lots of other ways to build your business through other marketing objectives, but social media really is the low-hanging fruit when it comes to reaching a lot of people exactly in your target demographic. Billboards, TV, radio and magazines are all fantastic, but they're expensive.”
She continues: “The ROI of digital channels like social media, display, email and organic social marketing is often better. I firmly believe every business should be on social media from a customer service perspective alone. Your customers are going to find ways to write reviews or voice how they feel about your brand — you might as well capture that if it's out there!”
Don’t dismiss social media, especially as you’re just getting started. Use it to connect directly with customers and learn what they really think, then take advantage along with other digital channels.
7. Make Your SEO About Searching in More Than One Way
SEO isn’t just about static text on a fixed small business website that people search for by typing terms into Google. When you’re thinking about SEO, it’s optimizing for multiple mediums, according to Paige Arnof-Fenn:
“Searching by text, voice and image must all be addressed — for example, voice search adds usability and functionality to your site, making it accessible to all users, including those with limitations or disabilities. It’s not just about complying with ADA, responsible web design or similar goals, but it’s also good for the bottom line by reaching a broader audience.”
The key here is to think about how your audience will search for your business content and to give them multiple options for finding the information they need.
8. Use Guest Blogging to Expand Your Reach and Find New Customers
Guest blogging is a technique for posting on other websites related to your business to heighten awareness of your offerings and insights and to gain backlinks. Tim Clarke sees guest blogging as a very powerful tool:
“Guest blogging is a great way to reach new audiences. Creating valuable content you can share with websites relevant to your industry that are not direct competitors is the key to making guest blogging work for you.
It's essential to have a clear idea of what you want to write before you approach a blog to ask about a guest post. This has unlocked a window for businesses beyond traditional news and entertainment to build exciting and instructive content.”
9. Invest in Great Business Content for Strong Placement in Search Results
You want your micro business website to be found when people search for terms relating to what you’re selling. One of the best ways to do this is through content marketing — publishing articles, blogs and similar information related to your products and services.
Paige Arnof-Fenn from Mavens & Moguls explains: “Content quality and length matter for rankings too. Web pages that contain in-depth, high-quality content get more visibility and shares — so becoming a trusted source and influencer with timely and helpful answers to questions gets rewarded quickly. Search engines notice when sites publish consistently, so building a strong reputation as a site that informs and educates users pays off in better organic search results. If content is too 'salesy' or self-promoting, it often gets ignored.”
Don’t ignore the power of good content for organically attracting people to your business.
10. Fill out Your Google Business and Yelp Profiles
Local search is incredibly important to businesses that offer neighborhood products and services. People are increasingly searching for businesses that are close by using their mobile phones and map apps. Two of the best ways to appear in these searches are suggested by Paige Arnof-Fenn: Google Business and Yelp.
On Google My Business, Paige says: “Ranking higher on Google today starts with managing your Google Business Profile. The majority of people now use mobile technology, so in a mobile-first world, you have less time to grab people and attention spans are shorter than ever. When you set up your free Google profile, make sure to complete every piece of information — physical address, phone number, email address, hours of operation, directions to the physical store, URL and photos — these all help to boost your local SEO.”
On Yelp, Paige continues: “If your business has a Yelp profile, verify all of the information there, too, including your business's address, phone number, email address, website and hours of operation. Incorrect contact information could hurt your local business.”
These 10 techniques give you plenty of options for experimenting. We’re confident that you’ll find the right marketing mix to attract customers to buy products from your micro business.
Paul is a freelance writer, small business owner, and British expat exploring the U.S. When he’s not politely apologizing, he enjoys hats, hockey, Earl Grey Tea, mountains, and dogs.