Since ForwardView is a full-service marketing and design firm, we enjoy a 360º view of small business promotion and sales strategies. For many clients, we've built their website, designed their business cards/brochures/flyers, and implemented their digital marketing plan. We have more marketing data for most clients than the clients themselves have collected! Because we have such a comprehensive perspective, we've identified a problem faced by entrepreneurs across the country: disconnected marketing.
Many small businesses have a good website OR effective social media marketing OR a strong physical marketing presence (signage, menus, etc.), but very few small businesses possess all three. We encourage business owners and managers to develop a cohesive marketing strategy that reaches customers in multiple ways and that allows for seamless transitions between communications media. If you answer "No" to any of the questions below, you have marketing silos/barriers:
Does your website lead to active social media accounts? (By "active," we mean accounts that you've used within the last two weeks.)
Can people access your website from your social media accounts?
Do your website and social media accounts list your actual business address (assuming that you have an office or storefront)?
Do your business cards and brochures list your website address, physical location, or social media handles?
Will customers visiting your office/storefront see your website address or references to your social media accounts?
"Build it and they will come" is the business "philosophy" behind most of the disconnected marketing we see. Multiple business owners have asked us to redesign their website because it's not receiving very much traffic. Oftentimes, the website isn't the problem; the actual problem is that nobody knows the website exists! Creating a website is pointless if the site's address isn't included on business cards, menus, flyers, or social media posts/ads. As a matter of fact, search engines won't even locate your website until a) there are links to it or b) you specifically submit the website to each search engine!
Have you ever seen a new restaurant or retail store open in your community and be unable to learn anything about it online? "I don't even know when they're open" someone says. "I heard it's a seafood restaurant, but I can't find a menu online" says another. Once again, you have an example of disconnected marketing: The physical presence of the business attracted your attention enough to search online... but you found nothing.
We'll be clear: If nobody knows when you're open, you'll be permanently closed very soon!
In summary, it's critical to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that builds engagement online and offline. Your social media accounts should increase usage of your website which should boost visits to your store/office/restaurant which should encourage people to engage with you online... and on and on in a virtuous cycle. If you don't feel comfortable identifying gaps in your marketing plan, use the button below to request a free assessment from ForwardView! As always, we welcome your feedback on this article! Feel free to suggest topics for future articles, too.