To celebrate Small Business Saturday, we interviewed business owners and experts to learn more about what advantages small business owners have and how they can market their companies. Barry Moltz has founded and ran small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 20 years. With decades of entrepreneurial experience in his own business ventures as well as consulting countless other entrepreneurs, Barry has discovered the formula to get stuck business owners unstuck and marching forward with simple, strategic steps to facilitate change.
Q. What are some of the benefits of being “small” that a business owner can leverage to beat out the “big” guys?
A. It is easier to be nimble and innovative so you can respond to changing market and customer needs. When you are small, you can make change happen a lot more quickly and don’t have to get stuck with years of tradition.
Q. Is there a common place where you see many small business owners go wrong when they start to market online?
A. They think just because they build a website, customers will come. Small businesses need to have an ongoing process in marketing and sales to attract prospects and convert them to customers.
Q. We all know those emails or websites that “look” like spam, but what are some strategies you’ve see business owners do to demonstrate their credibility?
A. Stop selling and start educating. Build credibility by being a resource to help prospects solve their problems. In this way, you can be there when customers are ready to buy.
Q. With so many places for business owners to turn for online advice, how do you recommend they cut through the noise in order to make an impact?
A. Build an online tribe. Find the prospects, customers, vendors and associates that share your view of the world. Be constantly present on at least one social media platform like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn or Pinterest.
Q. When working with new business owners, what are some tools or steps you use to come up with a digital strategy unique to their business
A. Small business owners don’t need a unique digital strategy, just one that they can stick with. Most owners only do marketing when they have no sales and they stop it as soon as they get new customers. They need to have a digital marketing strategy that is consistently attracting new prospects despite their current level of revenue.
Q. Can people expect to get results from purely organic campaigns these days or is it pretty much required that they have an ad budget for a campaign?
A. Different digital marketing works for a variety of businesses. What is important is that small company’s test both organic and paid strategies to see what works. Professional help is definitely needed in this area.
Q. Online-to-offline. Any examples of companies doing a great job driving traffic to their physical store through online campaigns?
A. My client, Ben’s Garden uses their Pinterest and Instagram accounts to help with holiday planning and drive customers to their stores and independent retailers where their products are sold.
Q. What tool/strategy do you think will make the biggest impact in 2017?
A. Customer service through artificial intelligence and bots will be the big story for 2017. Most customers want zero interface to ask questions in natural language like what is used for tools such as Cortana, Siri and Alexa.
Q. Who are some of the influencers who have made a large impact on how you think about online marketing?
A. The one and only Seth Godin.
For more information on how your business can prepare for Small Business Saturday, visit our guide.