Remember the “Desert Island” game? It’s the one where you’re allowed to have a few items or people with you in order to survive until the rescue team arrived? Many small businesses are playing this game with their marketing programs without even realizing it.
The reasons are all over the place and most are not solid excuses:
- “Budgets are limited right now.”
- “Sales gets the majority of the funds.”
- Or even, “My office manager is handling the company’s marketing in addition to their other responsibilities.”
Marketing is the afterthought of many small businesses due the busy nature of daily operations and the weight of caring for existing clients and leads already in the funnel. Since the wheel isn’t squeaking, we often overlook marketing in the name of sales or administrative initiatives that appear much more urgent.
No matter what your excuse, you need to be doing something. Search, social, and content marketing programs can be relatively inexpensive if you have the right tools and a solid strategy in place. It may not be ideal, but it’s better than doing nothing.
Here are three tools I would choose to be marooned on a “digital desert island” with that will help keep your company relevant in the marketplace:
- Analytics (www.google.com/analytics)
It doesn’t matter what your strategy is, if you are not measuring key metrics on your website, you should assume that the campaign is a failure in advance. You have to know what is working and what is falling short in order to work efficiently and effectively. Whether you are working with search, social or content marketing, you have to be able to tie success or failure to metrics so you can optimize your strategy and increase your return on investment.
- Email marketing (www.mailchimp.com or www.activecampaign.com)
Communication with leads and customers alike is vital to optimizing customer acquisition and retention rates. Your leads want a relationship and education; and your customers want to know that you still care. Whether your email marketing is a monthly newsletter or an automated customer lifecycle/funnel, regular and targeted communication is the foundation for success.
- Social media content management (www.bufferapp.com and www.hootsuite.com)
Having something to say to your audience isn’t worth much if you are not around to say it. We are all busy and spending time on social networks several times a day can be counterproductive to other operations within the company. If you can’t spend time regularly curating and sharing content throughout the day, consider utilizing a system to curate, schedule and push content live during peak activity times for your audience. Tools like Buffer App and Hootsuite are two of my favorites that allow me to plan the content I want to share with my audience in advance and free up my time to engage instead.