Many business owners shy away from the big M-word. “Marketing” generally has negative connotations, and we find ourselves slipping into the trap of picturing the stereotypical Used Car Salesman.
So let’s take a moment and re-assess what marketing actually is from a small business point of view: It is simply getting yourself out there so the people you can best serve, and who will benefit the most from what you have to offer, can find you.
It’s definitely not about dodgy, pushy sales tactics. It’s about getting out there and being seen.
I’ve written the following as a mini-guide to help you do just that.
1. How to be judged postively
Groundwork. When people do find you and your business online, what is their view of you? Take a step back for a moment and try to see what you’re putting out into the world from your audience’s perspective.
Are your visuals and text friendly, warm and chatty? Are we getting a good sense of you in your business? Or are you slipping into sales-speak and corporate jargon?
Make sure that what you’re posting and writing about is relevant to your ideal client. Try to add value and be engaging – asking questions is a great way to bolster engagement – and let your personality shine through.
2. How to Build Trust with Potential Clients
Putting ourselves and our businesses out there in a way that builds trust with our potential clients is crucial. You’re not going to convert many followers into paying customers without building trust first.
Firstly, remember that your customers are buying from you. Yes, your product or service is important, but people buy from people. So make sure you are present in your business online.
Be visible, and tell your story, and help customers find you online!
In order to build trust you need a consistent and professional approach. This consistency is less about how often you post or blog (though this is important too), and more about the look-and-feel of what you’re putting out there. Make sure everything that goes public is “on brand”. Check that it tells the story of you & your business in a way that’s aligned with your branding. Is the look of the images you’re using consistent? Are you being consistent in the language you’re using?
Maintaining consistency and adding the magic ingredient (you!), your followers will set off on a happy and successful journey to building trust with you and your business.
3. How to add personality to your business
Yuk. What a horrible sentence.
You’re not trying to add personality. You’re letting your personality shine through.
If you’re a small business or freelancer, you are your business. Making sure you’re visible in your business online will really help with this. A great set of professional, on-brand photos of you involved in your business and interacting with clients is an absolutely fantastic way to be present consistently, without investing huge amounts of time and stress every day. Your images will tell your story to your audience in an instant. And if you want a chat about this, you can contact me here.
When you write your posts, make sure the language that you use is true to you, too. Write as if you’re talking to your ideal client – be friendly and warm.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid of your quirks, or your “Too Muchness”. This is your superpower. They very thing that make you YOU, and sets you apart from the rest.
4. How to make collaborations work for you
A great way to connect with more potential clients, and help more customers find you online, is to reach out to other small businesses who serve the same ideal clients as you. Mutually beneficial collaborations are the cornerstone to successful business. By working together, we raise each other up.
Build your network carefully and thoughtfully, connecting with other small businesses who work with the same client base as you, but with a complementary products or services – the kind of things your existing clients would benefit from.
For example, as a Brand Photography Specialist, I have collaborations set up with web designers and graphic designers, and am looking to build more in other fields (such as business coaches and marketing specialists).
It is then possible for both your business and your collaborator’s business to work together to offer more value to your clients, and to connect with each other’s followers. It may be that you offer a special service exclusively for the clients of your collaborators for example.
You can then do lives or interviews on each other’s social media platforms, providing useful help and advice to your collaborator’s audience, and starting that all-important journey of trust-building and familiarity.
5. How to be the face of your business
It doesn’t matter what your business is – from epic-cake-maker to thoughtful-and-thorough-accountant – you need to be seen. Not just your business. You.
Be present in your business online by making use of professional on-brand photos. Yes, this is where your Brand Photoshoot really comes into its own, because you’ll have your very own amazing resource to draw from: a bank of professional, on-brand images telling the story of you and your business.
Want to find out more about brand photography and how it can help you? Take a look here.
Lives and videos are also a great way to help people get to know you and what you’re all about. If you’ve never dabbled before, start small and build up!
Let people see what you look like; how you interact with people; what exactly you do in your business. Get your friendly face out there as much as possible. Allow people to become familiar with what you look like.
6. How to stand out from competitors
The key here is: YOU. You are unique. You are your business’ unique selling point. Once you get yourself out into the world, your ideal client will be drawn to YOU. By following the tips above, and getting out there in a consistent, professional and personal way, telling your story and building trust, you will build a following of people who want to work with you, rather than your perceived competition.
7. How to showcase your business
Showcasing your business is a great way to help more customers find you online.
But how do you showcase your business? A strong combination of consistency and great visuals!
Consistency encompasses not just how often you post, but (more crucially in my opinion) the look and feel of your posts. Use your brand colours and brand fonts. Yup. Even if you’re feeling bored of them on a particular day. Use images that align to your brand, your business.
This is where your bank of photos from your brand photoshoot really comes into its own. You can showcase your business perfectly – telling your audience:
- what you do
- how you do it
- who the clients are that you serve
And you can convey this information very quickly with the right images (which will of course be professional, and aligned to the values and look-and-feel of your business)!
To find out more about the how my brand photography solutions can help your business, contact me here.
8. How to use your existing branding more effectively
If you’re already happy with your branding, but you’re not quite ready for your (next) personal brand photoshoot, there are still many things you can do to help your business stand out online.
The points listed above can be revisited and applied at any point in your business journey, refining what you’re putting out there and switching up the marketing activities you’re undertaking as you find out what works best for you and your business.
Using the ideas above, you can start to come up with a plan that will cover the different areas of your marketing activities.
Sometimes this can be tough – particularly because, as small business owners, we are so familiar with the core of our business that it’s hard to see the wood for the trees!
We can all benefit from a set of Fresh Eyes from time to time, which is why I offer my Online Visibility Consultation, which will provide you with a tailored action plan to help you use what you already have in a more effective way to help you reach more people and increase your conversion rate from followers to paying customers. You can find out more here.
Like this and want more?
I hope you’ve learned some handy tips on how to help more customers find you online! I’m passionate about helping small business owners to tell their stories and take their businesses to the next level.
When you’re ready, there are three ways I can help you:
- Sign up to the SuperFunkyPenguin Snapshot – my regular emails packed full of tips, pointers, and thoughtful pauses for small businesses and freelancers.
- Get booked on to an Online Visibility Consultation with me, to see how you can make the most of what you already have to get yourself out there more effectively!
- Invest in a Brand Photoshoot session with me, so we can capture your story together, and take all the stress and hassle away from social media, website refreshes, marketing material and more.
I’m Adele Williams, and I founded SuperFunkyPenguin Photography in 2015.
I specialise in taking natural photos that genuinely gives prospective clients a real feel for what it’s like to work with you, creating that initial connection.
We work together to plan and design your brand photoshoot to be as effective as possible. Your portfolio of images from the shoot will be carefully crafted to align to your brand values, and includes everything you need to help you easily craft social media content and refresh your website.
Curious to know more? Book a cuppa-and-chat by clicking here!