When small businesses start, they’re often not thinking about these two tips, however, after reading this blog they’re going to be your business’s new obsession.

When it comes to small business marketing, there are things that people can do better. But when you’re juggling the payroll hat, HR hat, marketing hat and the business owner hat, there isn’t a lot of extra time to dedicate to thinking ‘outside of the box.’

Now, don’t get me wrong, there were some things we could have done better too. But, I’ll let you know that there are two things that every small business should put on their to-do list right away. Here’s what they are and why it’s imperative to their growth.

Growth Hack #1:

Collecting emails from clients. Even though this sounds like it would be self-explanatory and would be common sense, marketing isn’t always on each and every business owner’s mind. And we get it. But, collecting emails from clients is so imperative because this is the best way to follow up with people and to keep top of mind.

According to Campaign Monitor and VentureBeat, “For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.”

Can you imagine? If you spent $1 on email marketing, you would get $38 in return. If this was an investment, people would be hopping on this train!

According to HubSpot and ExactTarget, “91% of consumers check their email each day.”

NINETY-ONE percent. That’s a heck of a lot of people who are checking their emails daily. But, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. You need to get people to open those emails. Here’s where this gets good.

First thing’s first

You need to create a great headline for your email campaign. Headlines can be hard, but I’ll let you in on a secret, and some of you might think I’m crazy, but here it is. I visit Cosmopolitan and look at their headlines to get ideas for mine.

You may think this is nuts (maybe the guys more so) however, if you look at all of their headlines, they’re ALL so clickable. I want to find out why Lady Gaga dyed her hair green and I want to know why Rob Kardashian is ‘dissing’ his whole family, and yes, I do want to know the beauty secret that the stars are using that you’d never guess.

All of their headlines are so clickable. So here’s what I did for this article. And as I’m writing it, it’s flowing because I didn’t plan on putting this in here at first. No joke, I opened Cosmopolitan and looked at their headlines, then came up with some for this blog post. Now, I know we’re talking about email marketing here, but this can be translated into your:

  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Blogging

And anything else you want to use to grab people’s attention. Let’s don’t forget mail marketing too.

Okay, so here’s what I did for this post:

  1. Went to http://www.cosmopolitan.com/
  2. Scrolled down the page and came up with articles that I thought I could take and tweak to make them useful to me

Here’s what I came up with:

  • Cosmo: What actually happens when you drink a PSL
  • Me: What Actually Happens When Small Businesses Miss These Integral Steps
  • Cosmo: Naya Rivera explains why she chose to share her story
  • Me: We Explain Why You Should Integrate These 2 Things When Starting Out
  • Cosmo: (I think I was just on a roll and made this one up on my own)
  • Me: 2 Things Every Small Business Can Do Now to Keep Clients Engaged
  • Cosmo: 16 other OMG confessions
  • Me: Why Every Small Business Owner Need To Do These 2 Things
  • Cosmo: No-Churn galaxy ice cream is going to be your newest galaxy obsession
  • Me: These 2 Tips Are Going To Be Your Business’s New Obsession
  • Cosmo: (This was also a combo of ones I’ve seen on the site)
  • Me: 2 Growth Hacks Small Business Can (and should) Implement Now

Now that you know my secret, I came across this website to check your headlines against their algorithm. They say that headlines should be four things:

  1. Have uncommon words
  2. Have less common words
  3. Be emotional
  4. Be powerful

As you can see below I’ve chosen the last headline because I think it will bring the most interest and clicks, however, I only scored a B+.

These 2 Tips Are Going To Be Your Business’s New Obsession

Let’s test the rest of them:

67%: 2 Growth Hacks Small Business Can (and should) Implement Now

63%: We Explain Why You Should Integrate These 2 Things When Starting Out

58%: What Actually Happens When Small Businesses Miss These Integral Steps

63%: 2 Things Every Small Business Can Do Now to Keep Clients Engaged

69%: Why Every Small Business Owner Need To Do These 2 Things

72%: These 2 Tips Are Going To Be Your Business’s New Obsession

Well then, as you can see I chose the third best headline option. On the last headline, the one that scored the top points, the program said:

  • I received an A+
  • 58 characters
  • 12 words (they said it was a little low)

They even show you what the headline will look like on Google and through email:

These 2 Tips Are Going To Be Your Business’s New Obsession

Okay, so now that we have the headline part down, we need to talk about the content. I personally use MailChimp because it’s free and it’s very easy to use. I feel that there is no extensive learning time on it and recommend it for my clients too.

Templates

MailChimp has templates that you can use too. We just sent one out on Wednesday morning and we used a template they provided. Here’s which one we chose:

These 2 Tips Are Going To Be Your Business’s New Obsession

We chose to add a main story at the top, then three smaller stories, but main points and then one final story at the bottom two spots.

Email marketing should be an integral part of your marketing strategy because you can’t see the amount of people in your newsletter each and every month. So, you send them a newsletter telling them what you’re doing and who you’re targeting.

These 2 Tips Are Going To Be Your Business’s New Obsession

Growth Hack #2:

The second growth hack small business marketing tip is to get reviews from the beginning. If you’re a year down the road, or even more down the road, no worries, you can still ask.

Why are reviews important?

Reviews are important because it’s other people’s real opinions about your business. According to Search Engine Land, “88% of online consumers trust a review they see online as much as a personal recommendation.”

If you read that correctly, that’s 88% of people who use the internet. We’re not math majors, but that’s a HUGE number. 88% of people online trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation.

How do you get reviews?

Getting reviews can be time-consuming, however, it’s so worth it. Here’s the strategy I take:

  • I email the client I know had a great experience with me
  • Here’s what the email looks like:

Hi (name),

I hope you’ve been well! I would greatly appreciate a review from you on Google. If I send you the link can you leave me a review?

Thank you,

Kaitlyn

  • Then I send them the link. I also do have to tell them that they need to be logged into their Google page.

Google Reviews

I focus solely on Google reviews because Google is the most used search engine on the internet. When someone searches your company, your Google+ page shows up on the right-hand side like mine.

As you can see by the arrows, the right section is the page that pops up and the reviews and other information are shared there. If someone Googles ‘South Street Marketing Orlando’ this is what they’ll see.

These 2 Tips Are Going To Be Your Business’s New Obsession

The follow-up

It is important to follow up with the people that you’re emailing for the reviews. Life gets busy and people forget. I tend to remind people a couple times and let them know that they’d be greatly helping me if they did this. Usually by you adding that in there they’re more than happy to do that for you- especially if you did a great job for them.

The importance of reviews

We went over the 88% statistic and believe it or not, people do look at reviews when they’re searching for your company.

Implementation

Here’s how you implement this. Go through your last invoices and email everyone asking if they’d leave you a positive review. Make sure you add the word positive in there because you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot by asking for a negative one. Only ask people you know will leave you a great one.

I tend to go through my last invoices to ask clients if they’ll review me. I do this once per month so the reviews don’t get bogged down with one after another. I want them to look organic, which is what they are.

Side Items

Some things you must know about Google reviews:

  • The person needs to have a Gmail account in order to leave a review. Sometimes this means you sending the link to the person’s personal email.
  • The person has the option to leave a star rating or write something. They don’t need to write something but they do need to leave a star rating.
  • People can openly go on Google and leave you a review without you asking them. You need to always monitor reviews and keep an eye out for new ones.

Negative Reviews

Negative reviews are going to happen, it’s how you handle it that matters. Right now I’m managing the review process for a roofer. I get notifications through their Google+ page every time someone writes a review, good or bad. This is easy to set up and I would highly suggest it.

When someone leaves you a negative review, you should always respond. If we go back to the previous 88% statistic, this applies to good and bad reviews. You should always respond to someone’s negative review.

A client once had someone who reviewed their company, however, the client had negatively reviewed the wrong company. We had to respond and say that we never had the client in our records and we hadn’t seen them for the condition they described. We kindly asked them to remove their review, but unfortunately, they never did.

After receiving the review, I notified the owner and we came up with a plan to respond. This particular client had to take HIPPA into account because they were a medical facility. So we needed to be strategic about saying they weren’t a client, however, we couldn’t give too much information away.

Responses

You should always have a response ready for a good or negative review. So many people are turning to the internet to shop, purchase and make decisions. Your online reputation matters just as much as your physical reputation. Take care of it!

Do you have anything to add that small businesses should implement immediately? Tweet us at @SouthStreet_Co, we’d love to hear from you.

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