Small Business Centers of NC – SBC Directors Marketing Tips
Small Business Centers of NC – SBC Directors Marketing Tips
February 2013 training for Small Business Center Directors by Martin Brossman
The mission behind marketing and referrals
Start with clarity of how you are explaining to others what you do. Your explanation should be compelling enough for people in your community to want to join forces with you. What is your purpose that people want to be part of? What are you committed to? Express your own passion for what you are doing so others will want to be involved. In most towns you are the business training and consulting that will be core to their success.
When you apply your small business passion to a larger circle of people, your referral network will inevitably grow. Be enthusiastic in asking for referrals from students and clients up front. Make sure you have a clear commitment from them to follow through and refer you to other people.
In your overall strategy, the key targets are: (1) maximizing your position as a referral-based business lead by an expert business advisor, and (2) working to integrate actions on the ground with actions on the Web. Most of your students and clients almost live parallel lives on social media and in-person. When we match that world we can lead them to new knowledge. A good educator provides useful information and a great educator goes to where the students are and leads them to a better place. Keep going with all your quality in-person work, including meeting with Chambers, business owners and people of high influence in your communities.
Steps for integrating Web Marketing, Social Media and on the ground contact
First: Make sure you have fully populated your main page https://www.ncsbc.net with the words your customers/clients would use to find the page. Included in this you can put your public profile link to your fully filled-out LinkedIn page, Facebook Business page, Google Local page, email signup, YouTube channel and your WordPress.com blog. Note: These may be added later after you create or update them.
Next: Create a local landing page that is mobile friendly and will not be lost in the community college site, which allows people to have a public place to post reviews. One way is setting up a Google Local page for the Small Business Center with hours, keywords, photos and a map to your location.
[ How to set up a Google Local Page: http://youtu.be/oVos7q9TzZI ]
Next: Determine how you are distinguishing yourself on the Web as a small business expert advisor, knowing that doing so will market the SBC faster than just trying to brand with limited funds. One way is to fill out your LinkedIn profile with a photo and the keywords you have developed from your keyword list. Then connect the public URL to pages where your small business center is listed, such as connecting to the NC Small Business Center Network LinkedIn community for Directors only: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4649141&trk=hb_side_g
Next: Choose an online vehicle for creating keyword-driven content referencing your local area with a clear path (such as a URL or phone number) to drive people to come to your classes and consulting services. This could be on a school blog or an http://Wordpress.com free blog. Possibly follow these steps in creating content grounded in your expert knowledge. [Addingto WordPress: http://youtu.be/jBrK-_iyEkY ]
– Listen in the real world: to the participants for what is important, where they get stuck, what they value, what their needs are.
– Write 300 to 900 words about it or find content that you can add comments to in a blog post (remember never post a Word doc directly into a WordPress blog.)
– Use the keyword tool to find the right keywords to use in the title or body: http://GKWords.com or Google: Google Keyword Tool
– Post it on a blog or wordpress.com and use it on Facebook, G+, Twitter
– Make sure to respond to comments
Next: Create content on social media platforms like your Facebook business page so people will engage with it and more people will like/follow what you are doing. First understand that it is Social Media, not Broadcast Media and with the way we are ignoring commercials at a higher rate every day, this is the best way to reach people at the lowest cost.
▪Become your Facebook business page and post constructive, appreciatory and welcoming comments on the pages and posts of other businesses in your community and your local Chamber. (See a video on how to do this: http://youtu.be/Cv3GhGz4NrY ).
▪Make sure you reference the page in the class / one-on-ones with clear reasons why they should go there and comment. Also have an easy way to get there with the URL of the page and/or a QR code that links to the page. You can use www.facebook.com/usernames to get a user name for the page once you have enough people, but be careful to get this right the first time since it is hard to change.
– If you want to use Twitter then you can post your content from your blog as well as class listings on Twitter. Using tools like Hootsuite.com are useful to manage your Twitter accounts but the real value comes in following, re-tweeting and engaging with others on Twitter. Just broadcasting on Twitter has some value but not as much when you engage with others on it. You can use tools like bit.ly to shorten long URLs and track how many times people clicked on the link.
All of these steps contribute to a foundation for robust SBC marketing. What we are doing here is creating a greater Web presence built upon the outstanding work that SBC Directors are doing all over the state. This larger Web presence combined with the main SBCN site (ncsbc.net) enhances the collective social signals that help secure the future of the SBC program as a leading catalyst for small business success.
Be sure to connect to me (Martin) to be included in the Google + for Directors only community. To do this follow me on G+ at BrossmanOnGP.com then send him a note to add you to the closed community.
Remember the SBC Directors Resource page: http://www.ncsmallbusinesstraining.com/small-businessresources/sbc-director-resources/ with the Password given in class.
Best way to contact me is by emailing or calling Colleen Gray: Colleen@MartinBrossman.com or call (919) 858-6122 my direct number is (919) 847-4757 as well. – Martin Brossman – Directors may always schedule time to talk on the phone or Google Hangout. My mission is economic growth from the ground up by supporting the growth of Small and Micro Businesses in NC. Your referral is the best thank you.
See all my classes and resources at NCSmallBusinessTraining.com