5 Marketing Moves Small Business Owners Should Make Today: Insights from Regional Experts

June 20, 2024

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the vast and ever-changing marketing landscape? You're not alone. With so many strategies and tactics to consider, marketing your business can quickly become daunting, leaving you to push it aside, waiting for "someday."

In this article, we've tapped into our Expert Network marketing professionals to bring you five actionable tips you can implement today (not someday)to make a real difference in your small business's reach and impact. From the power of consistency to the importance of evaluation, these expert insights are proven to boost your brand and connect with your customers. So, grab a notebook and get ready for ideas to spark!

Just Start – Be You

I firmly believe in the philosophy of "just start." In the realm of content creation, especially video content, there's a huge impact in simply taking that first step. Often, business owners get caught up in the potential impact of their content, meticulously calculating every outcome before even starting. Unfortunately, as the old saying goes “perfect is the enemy of done” and many who spend hours planning the perfect piece of content end up not completing it.

However, the real magic happens when you shift your focus to producing authentic content that carries a piece of your true self or your genuine experiences. It’s about letting your target consumer know who you are, and the best part is that anyone with a smartphone can do it. We are truly in a world of endless opportunities when it comes to marketing. Younger consumers are heavily leaning towards organic content that feels more natural and less stock. When you commit to this approach, you allow your content to resonate more deeply with others because it comes from a place of sincerity and passion.

Embracing this mindset takes you from the paralysis of perfectionism. Instead of agonizing over the possible reception of your work, concentrate on the act of creation itself. Make content that means something to you, content that reflects your unique perspective or offers a glimpse into your world. When you do this, you’re not just filling space; you’re adding value to your community, building connections, and perhaps without even trying, impacting lives. The beauty of focusing on authentic content creation is that it naturally aligns with the interests and needs of your audience. Trust in the process—create with heart, share with confidence, and watch as your work finds its place in the world. The snowball effect is real, grab that phone and start making videos! 

Andrew Weisz - CEO, Finden Marketing, Duluth, MN

Andrew is a seasoned professional in organizational strategy with a proven track record of helping countless businesses achieve substantial growth by transforming their operational frameworks.

Be Consistent – Across All Spaces

Be consistent in your online presence. This doesn't mean you have to post on social media every day. You can post once a month - but as long as you're always posting once a month, every month, you're staying consistent.

Even more important is making sure all your online information is accurate and consistent across all platforms. I can't tell you how many clients I’ve worked with that have inaccurate hours of operation on all sorts of portals. You're losing customers when your hours aren't published correctly. So, make sure you have a clean, accurate Google Business listing (free!) that has correct hours, and make sure they're the same across Google Maps, Apple Maps, social media, and your website. If you don't have time to update this information, I suggest hiring it out. You're better off spending a little money upfront to ensure you're not losing valuable customers and your online reputation.

Abby Miller – Owner, Miniver Marketing, Ashland, WI

Abby offers custom website design, logo and brand design, photography and videography services, and social media strategy for businesses and organizations.

If You Haven’t Already – Claim your Google Business Profile

One of the most important things you can do is to claim your Google Business Profile and get verified. Google Business Profiles are essential for enhancing a business's online presence and credibility. These profiles facilitate visibility in local search results, maps, and Google's Knowledge Panel, which are often the first touchpoints for potential customers. By providing critical information such as address, phone number, operating hours, and customer reviews, Google Business Profiles enable consumers to easily locate and choose businesses. This increased visibility not only drives more foot traffic to physical locations but also boosts online engagement, resulting in higher conversion rates and increased sales.

Google Business Profiles are not just about visibility, they also offer valuable insights and tools for businesses to better understand and engage with their audience. The analytics provided by Google help businesses track customer interactions with their profile, including views, search queries, and actions taken. This data allows businesses to refine their marketing strategies and enhance their customer service. Furthermore, features like posts, photos, and Q&A sections enable businesses to showcase their products, promotions, and expertise, fostering a stronger connection with their audience. In today's digital marketplace, a well-maintained Google Business Profile is an indispensable asset for any business aiming to succeed.

Elizabeth Mayne – Owner & Creative Director, Mayne Design LLC, Duluth, MN

Mayne Design, which just celebrated their 20th anniversary, offers a wide range of services, including brand development, logo design, print design, social media and reputation management, email marketing, and website design. Their approach ensures that each project is tailored to meet the client’s specific needs and vision, delivering innovative and thoughtful design solutions that resonate with their target audience.

Develop a Visual Identity – Good Design Goes a Long Way

Branding! Learn the difference between a logo and a visual identity system and how consumer behavior integrates. There are a number of scientific, behavioral reasons a consumer may or may not interact with your business. Especially today, consumers have grown numb to advertising that isn't visually engaging. Whether it be packaging, a billboard or a website, the proper approach is starting at square one - developing a visual identity system that is strategic, appealing, and on-brand with your business and its target audiences. A well-thought-out identity system should inform any design deliverables it maybe applied to throughout your marketing efforts. 

Speaking of a website, that would be my #2 - investing in a well-designed and on-brand website, rather than focusing first on SEO and inflated numbers. Traffic is useless if your website doesn't convert. A well-designed, on-brand website should be visually engaging, interactive, on-brand, and most of all it should communicate trust to the visitor in order to convert them into customers - especially for high-ticket service-based businesses. 

Good design is essential to communication in the digital age. Everything is visual and the average consumer's design standards have increased dramatically. 

Evan Hughes - IDK Creative, Duluth, MN

IDK Creative is a full-service advertising and marketing firm that specializes in branding, web design & development and packaging design.

Evaluate Your Current Strategies and Their Effectiveness

When I work with small business owners, many may be utilizing marketing strategies originally put into place with great planning and intent but are long overdue for evaluation of their effectiveness. This can turn into plateauing with strategies that may no longer serve your business and result in low ROI’s. Anyone can fall into this rut and experience the frustration of becoming stagnant due to utilizing marketing strategies their business has outgrown. Now, there are plenty of analysis tools such as SWOT and SMART objectives to utilize for evaluating current marketing strategies.

My recommendation is to break down this process for you and your team by utilizing an anonymous response collector such as Google or Microsoft forms. Make sure to determine how much time you want to provide your team to respond and most importantly, which of your team members this involves.  

Allow your team to answer the following questions anonymously: 1. How well do you think our marketing strategy is doing? 2. What could be made better about our current marketing strategy? 3. If there is any confusion or disconnect with our current marketing strategy, what aspect could be explained better? 4. What possible marketing strategies are we overlooking?   

Once responses have been collected, make time to evaluate the responses as a team. After responses have been shared out, disclose what the actual marketing strategy is and any metrics to share about it. From there, you can begin to have meaningful conversations about the perceptions of the effectiveness coupled with metrics and other forms of data collected (such as KPI’s).

The biggest thing preventing you from making time to engage in this process of evaluating is trying to find the best way to do it. My suggestion is to start the process today and improve with each experience and determine what is best for your team. Overall, this is a useful strategy to implement quarterly or bi-annually and is a great way to protect the investments you are already making for your business.  

Kelly Shaggy, Owner, EduTechTrek LLC, Ashland, WI

Kelly is a Navajo and Ojibwe business consultant and educator who utilizes a blend of their teaching pedagogy and technology skills to create capacity for entrepreneurs who need guidance and support to be more effective at running their business - particularly in the area of digital marketing and copywriting.

Take Control of Your Marketing

Don't be paralyzed by the vast world of marketing – take action today! By following these insights from regional experts, you can take control of your marketing and watch your small business thrive.

If there’s a certain marketing area you’re looking to improve for your business, reach out to your business advisor and they can connect you with a trusted marketing expert in our network. You’ll be glad you took that first step.

Don't have a business advisors? Get started with our team here.


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