Ideally all business owners want a consistent and profitable stream of leads that don’t cost a lot of money to acquire. But that stream doesn’t just magically appear. You have to build it. The good news is that I’ve been there and done that in this article I’m going to give you actionable tips to follow my lead and build your own referral streams for your business.
First, Calm Down
I get it. When you look at all the different on and offline ways you can market your business, it can be overwhelming. And part of you might want to just “hustle” and do as much as you can, with the reasoning “more is better.” When it comes to building the marketing plan for your new business, more is definitely not better. In fact, less is more.
By “less” I simply mean you are going to want to focus on 1-2 types of marketing first. By narrowing your focus you are going to be able to see what is working, make adjustments as necessary, and budget appropriately.
But before we can get to any of that, the first place you need to focus on is your website. Make sure that:
- Your design is simple and easy to navigate
- Your brand colors and logo are well-integrated
- You have relevant keyword content blended throughout the site
- You have appropriate calls to action (CTA)
Next, Check Out the Competition
Once you’ve got your website squared away you’ll want to see what your competition is doing. Take a look at:
- Their website (all your improvements are fresh in your mind - it’s good to see where they are lacking and where you might improve)
- Their reviews (do they have 10 reviews or do they have 1000? That will tell you a lot)
- Their paid search (do a search for their business name or the business category and see if any regular paid ads or Google Local Service Ads (LSAs) are triggered)
- Their organic search (what places do they hold on page 1 and in the Map Pack for relevant keywords)
- Their social media platforms (do they just have pages established or are they building a community and consistently interacting with people)
Once you’ve looked in all these places you have a pretty good template of what they are doing. There are a couple ways you can look at that data of which channels the competition is using:
- This is where they are spending their time and money because that’s what works
- This is where they are spending their time and money because they don’t have the time/money/resources to try other channels
That’s where you will need to dip in and test yourself. I tend to think of this as a checklist. When I find something that works by trial and error, I put that on the “keep” list and when I find it doesn’t work, I make notes as to why that didn’t work and keep working my way down the list. Sometimes those lessons won’t apply in different markets.
Different Locales, Different Methods
One of the platforms that is a big deal out here in Southern California where I live is Yelp. If you’re a service business and you don’t have a claimed Yelp listing out here, you’re just missing out on a referral channel. But this year I helped a MaidThis franchisee open in Myrtle Beach, Florida. Out there, they are all about Google Reviews. It’s like “Yelp, who?”
It will be the same with paid search. Sometimes you will find that is a profitable lead channel in your market. Other times competitors will be throwing so much money into them that it’s foolish for you to try to keep up.
As I noted above, the key is to get one or two channels humming. Then you can slowly add on as your budget and resources allow. And I only talked about digital channels above but there’s offline marketing as well, including direct mail, val-packs, etc. Those are going to need the same sort of testing and research that the digital marketing channels will.
This article was written by Neel from MaidThis Franchise, a remote-local franchise opportunity for people looking to escape the rate race and reach financial freedom. Learn more here.