Small Business Marketing: Are You Telling the Right Story to the Right People?
Q&A with Brittney Murray
Felton Banks, PLLC has set up a Meetup titled Millennials Who Work (for themselves). On Thursday, February 1, Brittney Murray with BMUR Branding Group will be leading a discussion on marketing for Millennial small business owners for us.
To kick off the conversation, we’ve asked Brittney for her opinion on a few questions plaguing small businesses ahead of time.
To chime in, use the comment box below to ask Brittney a question.
As a law group specializing in small business, we hear the word ‘personal branding’ come up quite a bit. How do you define branding? And how is personal branding different from traditional marketing?
Since there’s been business, there’s been marketing – and branding.
A brand is who you are. It’s why you’re in business, and it’s what you do. While marketing, on the other hand, is how you talk about what it is that you do. It’s how you sell your services.
Step one in developing your brand is defining your whitespace. What unique service are you providing? Why are you providing it? How do you do it differently?
But, branding isn’t something you as the business owner get to dictate. Sure, you can develop a logo, create a tagline and build a website – but that’s all marketing. Your brand is the feeling people get when they see, touch and experience your company, your product, your service. It’s the legacy and impression you leave.
You can’t have one without the other, but marketing and branding are very different.
If you had to list the 5 most common mistakes you see small businesses making in their marketing, what would they be?
1. They don’t have the basics.
In the digital world we’re in, you have to have a website. There’s a story I’ll try to be sure to tell on February 1st about my Dad’s small business (Scott Murray Builder), but to be brief here, you have to have your storefront set up. And in today’s world, that means having your digital storefront set up – your website – and it almost has to be set up long before you ever consider a brick and mortar.
2. They try to be something they’re not.
Using big catchy taglines and trying to fit into what you think sounds good, is not going to get you the business or the client base that you ultimately want. It’s important to know who you are and what you stand for. And while I definitely think it’s a good idea to know and track what your competitors are doing, the last thing you want is to sound exactly like them.
3. They aren’t consistent.
Another big mistake small businesses make in their marketing efforts is that they give up too quickly. Understandably so, most small businesses have smaller budgets and need to see results more immediately, but it’s a mistake to pull the plug too quickly on marketing.
In content marketing specifically, which is what I specialize in, I’ve had some clients expect to have an immediate following and for their articles to make the front page right away and that’s just not the reality. Sometimes you’ll have early on success or be able to capitalize on low hanging fruit, but ultimately it’s the clients that have been consistent in their efforts that realize more sustained results.
4. They don’t track their efforts (or do anything with the data they do have).
Whether it’s Google Analytics or the dashboard of GoDaddy, what are you tracking when it comes to your marketing? Where are your website visitors coming from? Is your traffic coming in organically, from paid search or social? Where physically do your visitors live? What time of day are they visiting your site? Are they using a tablet, desktop or their mobile device?
Understanding the answer to these questions will drive your marketing, and ultimately your success.
Even simple social media tracking, like who is engaging with your posts and what you do as a follow-up is important – and all of this information can and should be used to refine and retarget your marketing efforts.
5. They try to outsource it before they understand what they need.
When it comes to small business, it’s important to know a little bit about a lot of things.
It’s good to have professional services to support you – like I don’t know where I’d be without my law group, which happens to be Felton Banks, or my accountant – but you also need to set expectations before engaging with those outside services. Identify what you’re looking for them to do, set guidelines, perimeters and expectations and then monitor that engagement. You have to have a plan, and in order to have a good plan, you have to protect yourself by educating yourself.
“If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.”
For those who may not be aware or understand how Google searches impact their business, what is SEO and why is it important?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the digital marketing efforts that aim to improve the positioning of a particular page or website in search engine results, which includes Google but also Bing and Yahoo.
A quick public service announcement on SEO marketing: Anyone or company that promises to improve your search ranking or guarantee you first page results – run. Guaranteeing to make you the number one search result on Google is the same as promising people you can make them famous. Sure, you can implement tactics that will hopefully lead to that (first page results on Google, or being famous) but it’s not a guarantee.
Search engine results are based on an algorithm and that algorithm is always changing – and for good reason. It keeps people from using what we call “black hat SEO” tactics, or essentially where people try to trick Google into populating a less worthy page over another. I have quite a few good stories on this, so make sure to ask me more about it at the Meetup.
I’ll frame SEO’s importance by asking you when the last time was that you went to page two or three on Google? That’s why SEO is important – because if your website or content isn’t showing up in a search result, people aren’t seeing it. Period.
About Brittney Murray
Brittney is the founder and lead consultant at BMUR Branding Group, LLC. She has her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of New Hampshire in English Journalism and specializes in content marketing. She helps companies tell their story through a combination of brand conceptualization, creation and management, content writing and strategy, and marketing and public relations.
Prior to founding BMUR, Brittney worked for Randstad and Robert Half, two of the largest staffing and recruiting companies in the world. She has exceptional expertise in recruitment marketing, social networking and recruiting, and employer branding.
About BMUR Branding Group
BMUR Branding Group specializes in providing branded content and consultative marketing services to the staffing and recruiting industry. It's all about the right content, to the right audience, at the right time.
BMUR’s award-winning client portfolio of brands leading the way in the staffing and recruiting industry include a $10M Boston-based advisory services and staff augmentation firm, a $30+ million New England staffing & recruiting company with 4 major lines of business, a $500M Dallas-based staffing & recruiting company specializing in MSP solutions, VMS/MSP independent business consultants, HR consultants, and more!
When it comes to marketing, you need: The brand. The talent. The story.
For client testimonials, go to www.bmurbrandinggroup.com.