Effective Business Marketing Easier Said Than Done

A good marketing approach looks so simple on the outside, but to make it run that seamlessly, there is always a lot of work going on behind the scene

Effective Business Marketing Easier Said Than Done

Interested in Business?

Get Business articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Business + Get Alerts

We have all heard the adage, “Keep it simple, stupid,” also known as the KISS method.

As easy as that sounds, simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy in business or marketing. Most small businesses want easy. Their owners wear so many hats that nothing seems easy. When something comes along that looks simple, they jump on it only to find out later that it was simple to understand but harder to implement.

An example when it comes to marketing is Google Business Profiles. It looks like all you have to do is verify the listing and you’re done. Simple, right? If you don’t have any competition where your business is located, then maybe you can get away with the one step and be done. For the rest of us, we will need to optimize the Google Business Profile, get good — if not great — reviews, and keep an eye out for bad actors so we can deal with them through Google's processes. When properly managed, your Google Business Profile takes a lot of hard work, though most businesses who look at it think it’s simple. 

Steve Jobs once said, ”It takes a lot of work to make something look simple.” This is in all areas of business: training, operations, customer service, marketing, etc. It’s why most companies have manuals to refer to for everything they do. 

Speaking of manuals

Several years ago a client and I were talking about reviewing his website and he made the statement that he’s now reviewing everything in his business. When I asked him what made him think he needed to do that, he told me this story.

He hired a new technician and gave him the manual to learn how to operate a certain piece of equipment. The guy seemed to be taking a lot of time so he went back to the shop to check on his progress. Long story short, the manual told him to insert a floppy disk into the piece of equipment and he was looking everywhere for the disk as well as where to insert it. This was in 2017, a time when floppy disks were obsolete. 

It made him think of all the other areas of the business he needed to look at that were out of date, no longer applicable to the job, and needed to be updated for the current environment. One of those things was his website and what he was doing for marketing, all of which are simple but we all know this is not an easy task.

To be clear is to be kind

Author and public speaker Donald Miller says, “To be clear is to be kind.” In marketing, clarity is everything. 

Mark Twain said, “If you want me to speak for an hour, I am ready today. If you want me to speak for just a few minutes, it will take me a few weeks to prepare.” This also applies when crafting marketing messages for email, social media, and ads. It takes research, thought, and creativity to come up with the right thing with little space to make the needle move.

When building a website that's easy to navigate and looks professional, it isn't about throwing up some text and images. You want your site to be inviting and organized so that customers can find what they need without confusion. Your website should clearly show your services, areas of service, and how to contact you and be able to convert a visitor into a lead. Behind the scenes, this involves design choices, organizing content logically, and making sure the website loads quickly on computers, tablets, and smartphones.

It also involves additional tools. Are you taking advantage of call tracking, chatbots, or smart forms? What about all of the new AI tools for websites? Are you scared of the new or embracing it? Have you asked the website writers if they are writing with on-page optimization in mind? Have you asked how they research, what style they write in, or tell them anything else they need to know to make the website clear and concise?

Understanding SEO

Speaking of SEO (search engine optimization), do you or someone in your office have a base understanding of what it does for a business or are you taking everyone’s word that it's being done? Most business owners know it helps customers find your business among many others on the internet. For instance, if you specialize in HVAC repairs, SEO helps your business show up when someone types “HVAC repairs near me” into Google and a thousand other ways they can search for what you do. But it isn’t just about using the right words; it’s about creating useful content that answers what potential customers are asking, like how often to service an HVAC system or tips for maintaining it, which in turn helps your site rank better.

Do the title tags (think of the library) have the main service you do, a location descriptor, then the name of the business in them? If not, they should. Does the website load fast enough and have enough content on it that the search engine actually knows you do that service? All of this and more goes into best practices for SEO. It seems so simple; people search and they find you, right? Except there are hundreds of other companies that do what you do trying to get potential customers to their website. Good SEO makes your site clear to Google for what you do and where you are.

Good website content features

Good content on your website should work much like a helpful salesperson. It should inform and engage customers, not just sell to them. If you're selling a service, your content could include all the different services you perform, before and after pictures, and reviews highlighting your great services. This approach builds trust with your customers, showing you're an expert who cares about their needs.

One thing you do need to know is most people who come to your website will look only at your home page. Make sure that the page is inviting, gives them options to dig further into what you do, has financing options if applicable, reviews showing happy customers, and great photos that are yours, not stock if you can help it. All of these things are important but don’t let this stat fool you. You need all those other pages to support your home page and top category pages (top menu).

Utilizing social media and advertising wisely

Effective social media and advertising are about knowing your audience and what catches their attention. This could mean sharing before-and-after photos of your work or special offers for seasonal maintenance services. Each post or ad is a chance to remind your community of your skills and services, like putting up a new banner at a local baseball game where you know it’ll get seen by potential customers. Again, you don’t have a lot of space to say it so you have to be clever and think through your messages.

Back it up with stellar customer experiences

Simplifying customer interactions can set your business apart from competitors. This means looking at your business from the customer's perspective and smoothing out any rough spots. For example, if booking appointments is complicated, consider an online booking system. Or, if you find customers often have the same questions, a FAQ section on your website could resolve these issues quickly. Simple changes can significantly enhance how customers perceive and interact with your business.

All of these things equal reviews. Getting great reviews is the No. 1 way to help your marketing team. Why? Because no matter how they found you, over 92% of all customers look at reviews first. They look at what others say about you and they also look at how you respond to those customers. Getting the review is only half the equation. Answering the review, good or bad, finishes it and, if you can get your customer to post a picture in the review as well, you get bonus points with Google.

Today’s marketing map

Marketing isn't just about making a business look good; it's about genuinely making things simpler and more accessible, all while doing a lot of complex work behind the scenes. Just as a mechanic streamlines a car's engine for performance, a business owner fine-tunes their marketing to ensure that customers have a seamless experience. This effort to simplify, when done well, not only attracts more customers but also builds their trust and loyalty, driving long-term success and profitability.

About the authors: Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill are the authors of Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love and the owners of Spark Marketer, a "no bull" digital marketing company that’s been getting sh*t done for home service businesses across the nation for a decade. They’re trusted thought leaders in the industries they serve, which is why you’ll find them regularly speaking at service industry trade shows and conferences and writing for trade magazines. Tired of empty promises and ready for focused digital marketing and balls-to-the-wall dedication that gets your business seen? Visit www.sparkmarketer.com.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.