Chat with an Expert: How to Grow and Promote Your Business Online

Welcome back to our #Chatwithanexpert series!

If this is your first time here, #Chatwithanexpert is a monthly live session on our Small Biz Nation Facebook group, in which we feature experts across numerous fields who answer YOUR questions about how to grow your business.

This month, we featured our very own VP Marketing Maayan, who gave a live session on how to promote and grow your business online. She covered all things marketing, from how to generate leads to your business to the secrets of creating a small biz marketing strategy.

ICYMI: Check out the video here, or read on for our Q&A with Maayan!

Interview with Maayan Kotler, Tailor Brands VP Marketing

Q. Which marketing methods do you recommend, considering I’m just starting my business?

For a business that is just starting to roll out and probably doesn’t have a lot of spare money on the side, I would definitely recommend starting with promoting yourself organically, using social networks and marketing to your current clients.  Start a blog, create content; try all of the things that surround marketing but don’t require spending money.

Paid marketing channels can give you a quick boost, but they will require much more resources and effort.

Q. How do I know who my target audience is?

If you don’t have a clear target audience in mind, your marketing campaigns are going to cost you. Marketing to everyone and anyone is simply a waste of effort, time, and money.

On the other hand, don’t start with a really narrow audience right away. Instead, begin with larger groups that you assume may be interested in your brand. From here, you’ll see who your first users are that are coming in, and you’ll start to get an idea of the types of people you should be marketing to.

Use simple and general segments to get started with, like gender, age and location Try to build a “persona” of the people who are using your service or product; this will help you slowly start to understand who your specific audience is, and then you can target them according to those parameters.

Q. How do I attract people online to my business/service and generate actual leads?

There are a lot of different marketing channels, and the ones you choose will be impacted by the type of business and life cycle stage your company is in, and what your resources are.

However, there are organic marketing channels which include promoting your business organically on search engines, using social networks, and any other channel that leads traffic to your site or online store organically.

Q. How do you know which marketing platform is best for your business?

First of all, test, and test some more; it’s really important to understand which platform is best for you. It depends on what your business is and where you think your target audiences will be found, like I mentioned before.

Some businesses won’t find their target audiences through search engines, and the same goes for social networks. So to answer your question, the best platform will be where you can find your target audience.

Once you get on a platform, you need to measure. There are a lot of measuring tools out there, and a lot you can check; because you won’t be using many marketing channels in the beginning, I think you’ll be able to easily narrow down which are working for you and which aren’t.

Q. What percent of my budget should I allocate to digital marketing? What is the minimum budget you recommend?

If your digital marketing is performing well and you are seeing good results with positive ROI (return on investment), I would recommend investing as much as possible. Always leave a 10-20% budget for testing out some new marketing channels.

As for minimum budget, there is no real minimum budget. Invest what you have. Start with low scale and increase the spend gradually.  

Q. How do you create a marketing strategy fit for small businesses? Does a small business even need a marketing strategy?

So, “marketing strategy” might sound like a big word, but it actually means: What are my marketing channels, and what is the budget allocation between them?

Any business should have marketing channels, but in some cases (especially in the case of small businesses), you’ll only have one or two marketing channels – in which case it’s pretty easy to measure how well that channel is working for you. So, start with one channel, and if you see your efforts are working – expand to another!

Q. How important is digital marketing in your marketing strategy and what are the most important metrics you follow?

Digital marketing in our marketing strategy is major; it is, in fact, where we direct most of our marketing efforts. I think it’s super important in a marketing strategy, and today, it’s even more important than offline marketing in some cases – especially if you’re a global business or have an international audience.

We have quite a lot of metrics that we follow, and there are so many that are important; if I start listing them, I’ll probably never stop. I will say that the final goal you have is the most important metric you’ll follow – whether or not you’re meeting your goal, and of course, how to improve if you aren’t.

Q. What’s a "call-to-action", and what are your tips for creating ones that work?

A call-to-action (CTA) is when, at the end of a marketing message, you’ll have a button with a link to some action you want the user to perform – the goal of the marketing message in the first place.

This can be through email, landing pages, ads, or any other marketing material – but it’s very important to have one, regardless of where it is.

My first tip is to use a clear CTA, one that best defines the action you want the user to take. Second, test several different kinds to see which one works best for you!

Q. How long should it take before I start seeing results?

That’s a great question. It really depends on which marketing channel we are talking about, but as a general note, organic traffic can take a bit more time to reach, while paid advertising will show more immediate results.  

Q. Is offline marketing still important? How should I balance my offline and online marketing efforts?

Offline marketing (like using billboards, signs, TV, radio – anything that isn’t digital marketing) can be important for some businesses; local businesses, for example, should definitely consider offline marketing.

The thing with offline marketing is that it is much harder to measure than digital marketing. However, if you find a way to measure offline marketing there is no reason not to test it and see how it performs for your business. For example, you can put a specific code on an advertisement and ask people to call a specific phone number; that way, you can track the amount of calls you get and how successful the campaign is.


Over to You

Are you ready to start promoting your business?

If you haven’t seen it already, we recommend checking out the video now and watching the full interview, to hear all the helpful marketing tips that weren’t covered in this recap.

And, join our live session next month to learn all about growing and managing your small business’s social media accounts. Check back in our Facebook group for all the details – you won’t want to miss it!