This originally was a podcast episode on the Time2Fly Podcast. Click to listen!
Last week, we talked about a couple of different things that you needed to have done on your website. You’re free to listen to that podcast at any time, just go to time2flypodcasts.com and you can see our latest episodes there. And this week I wanted to talk to you briefly about the 12 marketing must haves when it comes to marketing your business, at least according to me.
Now, why should you listen to me? Well, I have been in marketing for 20 years now. I actually started doing website design back in 1999, made a detour into print media, including owning and selling a successful horse magazine. And I had a year and a half long stint at Go Daddy where I learned even more about the ins and outs of marketing, along with all of the information that I continuously learn on a weekly basis, whether it comes to social media or websites.
Now these are the 12 things that I feel any business needs to have in place. Now you don’t have to do all 12 at one time, but the first three are definitely the most important that should be done at the same time. And if you’d like to have a free PDF download of these 12 steps, just hop on over to the front page of shieldbar.com, you can request the free PDF to be delivered directly to your inbox. So, without further ado, the first six that I want to visit with you about our website design, search engine optimization, Google My Business listing, digital advertising, email marketing and branding. As I said, the first three that you should do simultaneously is website design, search engine optimization and Google My Business listing, these are all intertwined.
#1 – Mobile Friendly Website
So mobile friendly, a lot of website designers are going to tell you that that’s going to cost a lot of extra money to make it that way. To me, that is something that’s a standard package offering, and you shouldn’t have to ask for it. It should be something that’s automatically included in the pricing from your designer. So, make sure you ask them: Is this site going to be mobile friendly? Is it going to be secure? And are you going to follow my instructions on how I want it to look?
Now, depending on what type of business you’re in, you may want more of a simple website, or you may want something that’s over the top and beautiful. And of course, beautiful, is subjective to whomever is looking at it. So, make sure you have a designer who’s going to listen to you and also offer you great feedback. You don’t want somebody who’s going to be condescending and say, well, this is how it should be. You want somebody who listens to what you have to say and explains in layman’s terms, not in our geek speak about what it would take to accomplish that.
#2 – Search Engine Optimization
Along with your website, you need to make sure that you have search engine optimization. I include basic search engine optimization in all of my sites. Some designers are going to charge you extra for it. And if you get into a lot of SEO, yes, you definitely should be prepared to pay more for it. But at the minimum, when you’re writing your blog posts or creating content, just remember h1 tags, so the big text on your website is the first thing that Google and Bing see. Now you don’t want an entire page full of h1 tags, because that’s going to make it hard for them to decipher what is actually important. When you’re using WordPress, which I design in, there’s actually a plugin called Yoast that you can fill out and update all the information pretty easily.
It even gives you a green light to just tell you that you’ve done all that you can. If you have a gray button, it means nothing’s been done. If you have a yellow button you’re getting there, and if it’s orange or slightly red, that’s not a good thing, you have lots of work to do. Make sure you have that SEO done. This is what Google and Bing look for. It’s like an address to a building, if it’s not there, you can’t find it. So, if that address doesn’t match up with that building or that SEO doesn’t match up with that website, people are not going to find you.
#3 – Google My Business
And the third and probably the most important thing to make sure you have going as soon as that website is live, is your Google My Business listing. This is going to be the foundation to any business that provides services in a specific geographical location. Even if you’re an online only entrepreneur, still list your Google My business listing, you don’t have to list your actual physical address, so it shows up on Google. You do have to provide it when you establish your listing, but it doesn’t actually show there if you make sure you clicked the correct box.
If you have any questions on the GMB listing, please feel free to reach out to me it’s something I do almost on a weekly basis for clients, is double checking their listing, making the links work properly, making sure they have their logo and their photos uploaded. Maxing out every single section on there going to make a huge difference. And as you grow, you’re going to want to be listed on other local listings. This is a new service that we actually offer at Shield Bar Marketing, you can be listed on almost 100 local directories. If you have questions on any of those, feel free to reach out to us at Shield Bar Marketing on that.
#4 – Digital Advertising
When it comes to digital advertising, I know people are like, oh my gosh, I have no idea where to start. I don’t have any money to spend on digital advertising. I just want you to know it’s not a luxury upgrade. Even modest budgets can get great returns. So, whether you’re advertising on Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest any of those, as long as you can have a small budget and you can test out on those, you can start seeing results. Now you’re not going to see results immediately. You’re going to need to test different ads. And if you’re doing this yourself, be prepared to test at least a half a dozen ads before you ever get any traction. If you hire a professional to do it, of course, you’re going to be paying a setup fee and a management fee, but they should be able to get you results sooner than later when it comes to digital advertising. And make sure you don’t sign any long-term contracts. Seriously, if we can’t deliver to you within one month or two months or three months, or keep your business going, we shouldn’t deserve to have your business, correct?
#5 – Email Marketing
I believe customer service needs to come first. And of course, once you have that website up and you have people coming and checking it out, you need to make sure that you’re capturing their emails and sending out email marketing. It’s kind of like the yard maintenance company that shows up and takes care of things month after month, a monthly email marketing campaign will work. You need to share information, education or entertainment and kind of lay off the whole sales pitch in your emails as far as I’m concerned. Some people may not ever actually open your email list and there’s different sides to that story of whether you should delete them off your list or not. A lot of it’s going to depend on how big your list is, how much you’re paying to your email provider for having that spam compliant email marketing system.
But if you have people on that list and let’s say you are a company that maybe once every three years, they actually need to contact you. Well, if you show up in their inbox every single month, you’re not trying to pitch them something. So, when they do open the email it’s educational or entertaining, you will be in the back of their mind when that problem happens. For example, with a garage door repair company here in Arizona, they are one of my clients and with garage doors about once every 10 years is when your garage door is actually going to have serious problems unless you run into it or if your spring start to have problems.
Well, once every 10 years, how do you keep clients coming back for more? Well they’re customers so, you have to be out there advertising over and over. But if your friend runs into a garage door and needs immediate service and they ask you, who do I call? Well, if that company has been reaching out to you on a monthly basis, you know, I got somebody in my email, let me find it right quick for you. And they can hand over the information. So, email marketing is a long-term plan.
#6 – Branding
Number six. And some people are going to say, oh, you need to have this locked in before you do anything else. I don’t necessarily agree with that. But it’s the branding. The right symbols, the right colors to promote your brand will help you to stand out. They’re going to help people recognize you and understand what your brand is about. However, if you don’t have the budget from the get go to get branding exactly the way you want to, just be open to the idea that anything you do online can be changed over time. As you’re developing your branding, be open to changing it. What you pick today may not resonate with you tomorrow. And a lot of it’s also going to depend on your ideal client and customer who you are targeting.
So, you may try something and it’s just not working. You can always change it. Anymore, you don’t put as much stuff into print, so anything digital, you can openly change it, whether it’s the banner, whether it’s your logo, things like that. I would suggest having at least a color palette that you want to stay in, picked out from the beginning, but don’t be locked into that you have to have these three specific pantone colors on every single thing you do and that your logo has to be on every single thing you do. You can change that stuff and grow with your business. Because how you start today is going to be different than what you look like three years from now, what you look like from nine years from now. So, don’t be hung up on making sure your branding as exactly right before you ever get to finding that first customer or client.
Here are the last six steps to marketing your business that I feel are important.
#7 – Directory Listings
Directory listings. Now, yes, I know I mentioned Google My Business as number three at the very beginning, and that is technically a directory listing. But you need to be on other directory listings too. All of these listings, as long as you have your website in there, will help to organically drive your website to the top of the search engines. Directory listings are not search engine optimization; SEO is done on the website. But anytime you have other websites linking back to your website, it drives that information up. So, think of directory listings like the local gossip, telling everyone about your fantastic service or product. So, think Yelp, Angie’s List or Facebook. Those all have different listings based on your type of business. And with the advent of voice search such as, Hey, Alexa, what do you have for X, Y, Z start thinking about different things that you’re going to have appear on there too.
#8 – YouTube
Now, number eight in marketing your business, YouTube, you need to be on YouTube. Video is huge when it comes to content marketing right now, and it’s only going to get bigger. You can show people how to create something, you can share your desktop and show them how to do something online, you can do a video about your daily life, whatever you do, you make it engaging. You can do it from your phone. You don’t have to get with the green screen, you don’t have to have a professional recorder. I will say this, make sure that you’re over a minute in length when it comes to recording on YouTube. Anything less than a minute and YouTube kind of thinks you’re just shooting a commercial and they’re not going to rank you.
YouTube is also owned by Google and Google takes six to eight weeks to index your website to show changes on your website in search engine results. However, YouTube is another search engine and you can actually get your videos ranked within 24 hours. If you fill out the description, you add the tags and you know, all the other little tricks to come into creating the search engine optimization within YouTube itself. I like YouTube videos because one, people usually can get their point across. Their passion shows through you can see their facial expressions, or you can see exactly what they’re doing step by step on the computer screen. What I suggest is you get that transcribed and then you embed the YouTube video along with your transcription into your website itself.
So, then you have YouTube working as a search engine for you, you have the transcription and the video on your website, which also helps with search engine optimization. Then you take pieces from that transcription and you turn them into social media posts, or you send it out to your email marketing list. Just like what you are reading now! You can take YouTube and make it the top of your funnel and have everything broke down from there. So, think about this.
Let’s say you shoot a five-minute video one time per month, you send it out to your VA or to the company that you’re working with who handles all of this for you, which is something shieldbar.com does by the way. And once a month you put out this content, it gets added to your website, it gets transcribed, there’s search engine optimization on YouTube, there’s search engine optimization on your website. You have 12 different pieces taken out of there to create social media content and it goes out on your email marketing list. How awesome is that? Five minutes of work, okay, probably more like an hour, because you want to probably outline what you’re talking about, but you can use that content over and over again. Once you added YouTube to your arsenal, it’ll definitely up your game.
#9 – Pinterest
The ninth thing that you need to think about adding them is Pinterest. This is especially if you have fantastic photos that go along with what you do. Pinterest is actually a visual search engine. You can go back and listen to the podcast interview I did with Cara Chace, I’ll link to that in the show notes, and learn more about Pinterest, but it’s a visual search engine. The work that you do today will return results year after year. Kind of like investing in an upgrade to your home, that you’re going to love this is going to make your life that much more enjoyable. Think about Pinterest with graphics and those graphics can come directly from your blog on your website.
#10 – Facebook
Depending on who you talk to. They’re not going to agree that Facebook is in my number 10 spot, but Facebook is social media. Yes, it’s one of the largest, fastest growing social media platforms out there. And of course, they’re linked with Instagram so, you can post right over to Instagram too. But think about Facebook as being a four-season room but add to your home. It adds functionality to your marketing. At least you’re going to need a Facebook page and you’re probably going to want a Facebook Group depending on your business. You’re going to want to make sure whatever you do on Facebook, that you’re consistent. You’re going to add photos, you’re going to add text, you’re going to drive them back to your website and you’re going to try to get those people also on your email marketing list, so you have multiple touch points to every single person out there.
Yes, I know you could build your entire business on Facebook. But that scares me because Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, any of those can go away tomorrow or they can totally change their algorithms. The only things you truly own when it comes to marketing is your website and your email marketing list. You can move those two things to multiple different companies, depending on your budget, depending on your time, depending on if you like who you are working with or not. So, think about that. Your website, you can move. Your domain name of course, you want to keep that and you can move it if you need to. And your email marketing, that list, you own it. Nobody else can tell you what to do with it as long as you make sure you have a backup copy of that list.
If MailChimp goes out of business tomorrow, or they get sold, or if AWeber says, you know what, We’re no longer going to let people add more than 2,500 names, you move it somewhere else and you’re good to go. So yes, Facebook is number 10 on my list because it’s something that you add once you have that website in place and you have a place to drive that traffic to, to connect to learn more from you.
#11 – LinkedIn
Number eleven on my list is LinkedIn. If your perfect client is another business, LinkedIn is definitely a no brainer. But also depending on what kind of service you offer, you may need to be on the professional LinkedIn site. LinkedIn is kind of like Facebook, it’s another social media tactic, but it’s a commercial upgrade that can be a real workhorse in your marketing arsenal. So seriously consider being on LinkedIn, especially if you’re business to business, or if your ideal client is that professional out there that you want to make sure you’re connecting with.
#12 – Graphic Design
And now the twelfth thing, and this is something that I actually enjoy doing, but I still don’t think it needs to be higher than number 12 is graphic design. Your graphic design from business cards to billboards is going to help tie everything together. So, when you meet somebody in real life, you can hand them that business card. Maybe you have your Facebook link on there. Maybe you have your YouTube link on there. You’re of course going to have your domain with your website and you’re going to have your email address on there and probably your phone number. But that graphic design is going to be consistent across all medias. So yes, graphic design does tie in with branding. So you’re going to want your branding figured out before you go all gung ho on doing PDFs, banners, doing anything printed, where you’re paying money for a physical product, you’re going to need that brand and figured out.
But the graphic design can tie everything together, so you have a consistent look across all mediums. So if people are on your YouTube channel and they see your banner there and they click over to LinkedIn and see your banner there, it doesn’t have to be the exact same, but you’re going to want the same feel and the same color palette going up. So, if you have any questions or you want to have this download, hop on over to shieldbar.com, fill out the little form in the upper right corner and we’ll email it to you. And of course, like any good email marketer, we’re not going to rent or sell your name to anybody else. Your information is safe with me.
A quick recap of the 12 Steps to Marketing Your Business:
- Website design
- Search Engine Optimization
- Google My Business Listing
- Digital Advertising
- Email Marketing
- Directory Listings
- Graphic Design
Depending on who you talk to, depending on who you listen to, we all probably have different ideas of how that list should go. And honestly, I could probably make you a list of 99 things to do to market your business without much effort. But these are the top 12 things I think that you should consider and in the order of importance, according to my 21 years in this industry.
Thank you for reading! Feel free to share on your own social media.
~ Nikole Haumont, Founder, Shield Bar Marketing