Scott O Hirsch Shares 3 Tips for Small Businesses on Digital Marketing
Small businesses are often running lean, understaffed, overworked, and strapped for cash. That’s why you want to make sure that you as the business owner are taking advantage of every efficiency and opportunity for savings, states Scott O. Hirsch. Enter digital marketing.
If you’re not already on Facebook, Instagram, and/or LinkedIn you should do so immediately. Millennials are no longer the upcoming consumer generation – they’re in their 30s and Gen Z is on the rise. And having grown up with technology from birth, if they can’t find you online and digest your brand quickly and easily, you may as well not exist.
But digital marketing is more than just social media warns, Scott O. Hirsch and founder of Media Direct – a worldwide media solutions provider. Digital marketing encompasses the entirety of your online presence from your website to your SEO strategy to your Social Media campaigns to your blog to your ad placements. All of it combines and works holistically to create your overall brand and online rankings.
“As a small business owner, you have fewer resources than the big boys. Digital marketing is still a field that helps level that difference. If your brand resonates with people and you’re taking the right steps, you can lower those entrance barriers to the market and really make a name for yourself,” says Scott O. Hirsch and digital marketing guru. Here are a few of his top tips for digital marketing for small businesses.
1. Invest Time in Competitor Research to Find Your Differentiator Says Scott O. Hirsch CEO and Digital Marketing Pioneer
As a local business, you want to be able to differentiate yourself from your larger competitors (or other small businesses with the same services). If you can’t communicate your unique value proposition to your audience, they have no reason to give you their business. And in order to find out what sets you apart, you have to know the competition inside and out!
Google search is an easy place to start your research. Check on how your competitors are positioning themselves organically as well as through paid advertising. If you’re not sure who your true competitors are, just type in the keywords you want your company to show up for in the search results. If you’re a hair salon, try “best hair salon in [location],” “best haircut,” “cheap haircuts [location],” etc.
Look at who’s showing up first and pay special attention to the words in their meta descriptions – the short description sentence under their business name – and in any service previews that show up. These are a key part of their SEO strategy and an excellent measuring rod for you.
What makes you different or better? Do they offer same-day turnaround? Maybe you deliver within hours. Do they tout “excellent customer service”? Focus on offering “data-driven results”! Having a hard time finding a differentiator? Scott O. Hirsch offers his favorite places to start:
- Product – offer a new or unique product. Just be prepared for the success to be short-lived as competitors copy your ideas.
- Distribution – partnerships with industry-leading or exclusive manufacturers, shippers, and dealers can help you borrow street cred while your business builds a name for itself.
- Service – certifications, specialty training, product knowledge, speed of service, ease of access, etc.
- Relationship – post your best reviews, ask for testimonials from your best-known clients and employees, and encourage relationship building as a company value that increases word of mouth.
- Price – Are you cheaper? Let the world know! Are you more expensive? Tell the world why they should invest in you.
- Reputation – If you’re just starting out, make sure that you go above and beyond for your customers to encourage good reviews and brand advocates early on.
Once you have your differentiator, the rest of your marketing strategy will start to fall into place. Your ads, messaging, and creative will all focus on the same thing, which makes the branding feel more cohesive, professional, and appealing to your audience.
2. The Website Basics are Not Optional Says Scott O. Hirsch
If it takes more than three seconds for your site to load, your bounce rate shoots from 32% to over 90%. Of course, network and Wifi strength play a factor, but there’s a lot you can do to ensure that your website is as user friendly and frustration-free as possible. Check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights for recommendations on how to reduce the loading time of your website.
3. Garner As Many Reviews as Possible Says Scott O. Hirsch and Digital Presence Expert
Especially as you’re just starting out, customer reviews can make or break your business. Scott O.Hirsch advises you to think about your own behavior when you’re looking for a new restaurant. You likely would google “Italian food near me” or some such search query. Then, you click on the highest-rated restaurant and scroll through the reviews.
If there are hundreds of reviews, and only two or three complaints about the service or the food, your brain does a quick analysis and concludes that these are likely the outliers and/or unpleasant people. On the other hand, if there are only five reviews, and two or three are negative, the percentage is so much higher so that your brain immediately assumes the majority is correct. That’s the opinion of only five people, but it can tank your business because – unfortunately – perception is reality.
So instead of trying to argue with bad reviews, push for as many reviews as possible to drown those reviews out. If you do respond, apologize for the bad experience and offer to make it right. Never argue. Then if they respond negatively again they sound like the crazy one.