We recently shared our top 15 tips on how to buy software for your business. A lot of those tips focused on streamlining your operations and generally helping lower the costs of doing business. Now, we’re turning the tables and sharing and sharing our top tips on how to build and grow your business (and how to use good software to help)!
We've broken this down into three parts. In this post, we'll share our top tips on general marketing and advertising, including how to build a competitive advantage against existing and emerging competitors. Next we’ll move into growing your current subscriber base, through outreach and upsells. Last, we’ll focus on the most critical step: keeping your existing subscribers happy and committed!
Step 1: Create a Value Proposition
Our first tip is the most introspective! Before you start any marketing program, define what your brand stands for, above and beyond the services you provide. If you haven’t thought about that in a while, it’s worth taking a few minutes to figure out your value proposition. Do you employ a lot of local people? Do you always provide consistent and reliable service? Maybe with the recent fiber you’ve laid, you can provide the fastest service? Start to list those benefits, and keep them top of mind!
Step 2: Define your Target Audience
Now that you have a sense of what sets you apart from the competition, figure out where and who you want to target. Are you expanding into a new area? Is a new competitor getting stronger in the next county? Both of those are good areas to focus your advertising. Take a minute to identify who, generally, you want to reach as well. In the summer, as students graduate and weddings increase, new young households might be a good target. Or, could heavy gamers benefit from your great low-latency network? Or maybe young families are moving to your area?
Step 3: Create an outreach plan
While you’re figuring out how to target, think through how best to reach those people too! How will they see any outreach? If they’re online, are they using Facebook, like 69% of US adults do? That includes 73% of adults ages 50-64, according to Pew Research, and 50% of adults over 65. Or are they using Google search, like 90% of Americans do? If they aren’t online yet (because they’re not your subscribers, after all!) is there a particular newspaper that’s popular? Or even a billboard by a heavily trafficked intersection? A little market research helps here too - don’t be afraid to ask your new subscribers why they chose your firm and how they heard of you!
Step 4: Put your outreach plan together
Typically, these plans will have 3-5 main steps. Yours might include something like: advertise on Google to pick up anyone searching for internet service providers in my area; advertise on Facebook to anyone who lives in the area so that they’re familiar with me; and run one ad on the billboard at the main intersection every May focusing on newlyweds and grads.
Step 5: Lay the groundwork for putting your plan into action
Remember that anyone who responds to your ads needs to know where to go or how to reach you! So, make sure you have a website for anyone who clicks on your Google ad, for example. An easy-to-remember URL can be shared on a billboard or newspaper ad or even on a postcard mailer. A Facebook page may be useful. And, don’t forget to claim your Google business profile, and add your physical address, if it makes sense.
Step 6: Start designing your ads
This step includes almost everything we’ve covered so far. You’ll want your ad to highlight why you’re the best. You’ll want it to be focused on your target audience (Gen Z is unlikely to get a joke about landlines and dial-up modems, for example, while seniors won’t be familiar with top TikTok stars). And you’ll want it to be aligned to where it will be shown. A billboard needs to be visible and easy to read in seconds; a newspaper ad can be more detailed.
Step 7: Let your creativity shine
Think through the best images and wording to get your message across. Your local knowledge will come in handy here - don’t be afraid to use it. And if you don’t know the area that you’re trying to reach well, consider asking a local, or keeping your messaging more general. You can use your own images, or find pictures on places like iStock or Unsplash.
Step 8: Create your ad
Get the size parameters from the platform you’ll be advertising on, and start from there. Freemium tools like Canva let you create ads easily and simply in the sizes you’ll need. Keep your wording short and to the point, aligned to your target audience, and focused on your brand positioning. Unless the image is the point of the ad, make sure any wording or messaging stays prominent and easy to read.
Step 9: Start advertising
The major online platforms have easy step-by-step guides that you can use to set up local targeting. Depending on the platform, you can target the ads by county, state, metro area, zip code, or city. If you direct people to a specific web page, the traffic to it and conversions (people who click a button or fill out the form) will show you how successful the campaign is. If you’re using a billboard or newspaper ad, you may want to consider using a targeted URL or phone number that allows you to keep track of who’s calling in based on that particular ad.
Step 10: Stay competitive
It’s worth sharing your strengths frequently and widely, especially if you have an advantage over your competitors in that area. Stay alert to any messaging your competitors or new entrants might be using to reach out to potential subscribers, and counteract that if you can. For example, highlight how many local people your company employs, versus a satellite provider. Or showcase how you have the best customer service versus a big, faceless firm.
As always, let us know if you have any questions! We want to help you grow and build your business!