New Outreach Strategies to Improve Your Bottom Line

With stretched budgets and fewer personnel dedicated to delivering advertising and marketing messages, small businesses have become more creative in targeting their audience. From social media to content development to mobile marketing to outreach, companies are looking for the biggest bang for their buck.

Engage in social media

Social media continues to change how businesses communicate and share information it’s also an inexpensive way of reaching your audience. Each social media channel has a different function so understand what each channel does and develop a plan on how to use it.

Exposure to social media’s large user base is another reason to have a presence. However, social media is not for everyone. Not every business is meant for social media because some businesses cannot take advantage of the instantaneous feedback each platform provides. Examine your audience to see if you could benefit by having a presence.

If you use social media, choose the channel appropriate for your business, and then develop a strategy on the type of content to share, the frequency in updating your content, and how to respond to messages or comments on your pages. 

Assign someone on staff or an outside consultant who will be responsible for maintaining your account and keeping your content updated. It’s also a good idea to monitor the competition to see what they’re doing.

Update your website

A website or a blog is another important component to your marketing initiatives as long as you keep it updated with fresh content. When you provide customers with quality content, you’re gaining their trust and establishing your credibility. It can also boost your rankings in search engines. Today, businesses can manage their own content through content editors.

A content management system, such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, is very empowering for a small business and there’s no reason to rely on an outside organization to maintain the site.

One way to keep your website updated is by writing blog posts weekly. Your content management plan should include a communications calendar. As an added bonus, you can aggregate those posts into a monthly e-newsletter for your clients.

Conduct a keyword analysis—using tools such as Google Analytics—to discover how customers are finding your business and incorporating those keywords into your content.

Incorporate mobile marketing

Small businesses should also embrace mobile in their outreach efforts which also means that your website should be optimized for mobile. Small business marketers are presented with a powerful opportunity to reach specific customers at the right time and place with the right offer.

Register your business with Google Maps, and sites like Yelp and Foursquare, to harnessing the power of smartphones. Sixty percent of all cell phones sold today are smartphones. Not only do you have to be thinking about a mobile version of your website, but how consumers will use their phones to find products or services that they need.

Connect through outreach

Outreach is another effective method to reach your audience. In our OutreachU Programs, we define outreach as a two-way, community-based, customer focused effort which is distinctly different than the one-way message traditional marketing offers. In a one-way marketing strategy, businesses push a message to customers using methods such as direct mail or print ads. 

You’re pushing this message constantly, one way, and then hoping people will take action. Outreach is a two-way conversation with your customer—learning about them, their needs, and their desires through regular conversations.

Outreach is similar in some ways to social media, but even without social media, businesses can still interact in a two-way manner with potential customers through methods such as face-to-face networking and permission-based, email marketing.  

Plan a strategy 

No matter which marketing or outreach channels you use, planning is critical. 

With marketing messages splintered in terms of different channels, develop a strategy that incorporates different delivery mechanisms. We also still think we’re controlling the message. That clearly has changed. The brand does not belong to us anymore. It belongs to our customers.

Once your plan is in place, establish goals and stick with it. Outreach usually falls on the list of priorities during the day. People tend to dabble in it rather than commit to it. When they dabble, they don’t have the patience to let it work.

Lack of consistency is another problem that plagues businesses. 

Some businesses don’t have a consistent message and broadcasts it out there in the hopes that it lands on someone’s ears. Figure out your message, which vehicles to use, who you’re targeting, and allocate time to commit to this plan.

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