Many small businesses are now starting out with a Facebook page first instead of a website.
The market has responded to this fact and created marketing tools that make it extraordinarily easy to make your business fan page on Facebook look fantastic and be extremely user friendly. But that doesn’t mean that the process shouldn’t be well thought out.
Our research shows that the vast majority of people who are using Facebook for their businesses are sole proprietors, meaning they are often the only employee and sole owner of their business. I like to call these outfits microbusinesses. They are dynamic, open to new technologies, and are often created quickly to fill a market niche.
One of the keys to success with microbusinesses is keeping costs down as much as possible; in fact these businesses are often home-based largely to save money, and to them marketing seems difficult to cost justify.
That’s why so many microbusinesses are turning to the far more affordable marketing opportunities on Facebook. With that in mind, here are seven suggestions that help to ensure success and growth.
Get To Know Your Customers
With a Facebook fan page you’ll be interacting directly with customers. You can monitor their comments to you and respond back. That’s one way to get to know your customers, but another advantage with Facebook is their analytics tools.
You’ll know whether your fans are male or female, what age, and where they are located. With this information, you are armed with more data to customize your Facebook posts and broader for them to purchase your product or service again.
Put Together A Marketing Plan
Now that you know who your customers are and what they like or dislike, now’s the time to plan on how to get more of them and keep the one’s you have happy. Put together a plan to not only get new leads through various marketing channels (Facebook fan page, website, online advertising, etc.), but how to keep your existing customers coming back to you.
You should continually communicate with them through social media and email campaigns. You’ll want to stay top of mind when it’s time for them to purchase your product or service again. By creating a marketing plan, you can track who you are targeting and see what is working for your business and what isn’t.
Design Custom Tabs
A credible microbusiness is one that is modern and at the forefront of emerging technologies.
That means designing the best looking custom tabs on your Facebook fan page possible, particularly your welcome tab. Good design means having content (images, video or text) that is clear, crisp, and enticing to visitors. There are many free tools available to non-designers to create great looking custom tabs that look professional, but are still really easyto build.
Make Use Of Branding
There’s a big misconception that branding is limited to only largencompanies like Disney, Apple, and Toyota. Branding works for businesses of all sizes, including the smallest ones.
It’s been shown time and time again that businesses that are branded effectively can charge a premium for their services or products relative to businesses that are generic and boring. Even microbusinesses can benefit. Show off your logo and reflect your brand on your Facebook fan page.
Static pricing means less activity for your business and less interactivity with customers. Very few businesses have a constant level of sales. Sales go up and down depending on seasons (for example customers buy more during the holidays) and depending on the product or service.
The more often you consider sales, the more often you are learning about your business and its customers. You can easily promote a sale with a special coupon on your fan page, and even only offer it to users who like your fan page first.
Microbusinesses are well aware that costs can quickly spiral upwards when trying to market their businesses. When putting yourself on Facebook, look for a design tool for your business page that is affordable and effective. Business owners should realize that a lot of design work can now be done on their own without having to splurge on professional designers.
Regard Facebook As Part Of A Larger Marketing Strategy
While marketing experts will debate for years to come which is the most effective online presence, a website or a Facebook business page, the most reasonable answer to this debate is to simply have both. If you know your customers well you’ll know where most of them reside and which form of marketing will reach them best. You’ll also know which marketing tool to put the most effort into.
We are at the cusp of a small business revolution. The social web is transforming the way small businesses can access new customers and is constantly reducing the barriers to entry. I fully expect this to lead to both an explosion in the formation of new small businesses, but also a rapid increase in the adoption of online marketing tools by these new businesses.
Facebook is undoubtedly going to be at the center of this revolution and any small business that ignores this trend is at risk of becoming obsolete. So, embrace the full business potential of Facebook to learn and engage with your customers by building out your custom tabs for your microbusiness’ success!