Kim_Erie_FBook_Profile-2Summer is an important time of year when it comes to your online marketing.

Whether you’re in the middle of your peak season or gearing up for a busy fall, the investment you make in your marketing efforts today will play an important role in the results you’re able to achieve down the road.

In an effort to help you make the most out of your summer, I took some time this week to talk with Kim Dixon, Constant Contact Solution Provider and founder of Insights LLC, to see what tips she had to offer. Kim provides marketing solutions to a number of small business clients and consultations to other solution providers.

Here are three tips to keep in mind:

1. Find out what people are saying about you (and where)

“Even if you’re not online, your business is because people are already talking about you and sharing information in all sorts of places,” says Kim. “It’s crucial that you take the time to monitor that activity.”

In addition to search engines like Google or Bing, consumers are using city guides like Citysearch, review sites like Yelp, and other mobile apps to discover new businesses. As a small business, you need to make sure you’re aware of the information that potential customers are finding in all of these places. You’ll want to confirm that all of your listing information is accurate.

To help, Kim offers a few solutions:

“Perform a Google Search for your business and figure out where you’re already being listed and talked about online. You can also set up a Google Alert that notifies you when you or your business is mentioned. Once you have a list of places where information about your business is available online, take the time to monitor that activity and make sure you’re taking people’s feedback seriously.”

2. Get to know your customers

As a marketing consultant, focused on helping clients grow and achieve their business goals, Kim knows just how important it is to know her clients.

“When you’re working with clients in a variety of industries as I do, you need to make sure you’re taking the time to understand the needs of each individual business,” Kim explains. “You also need to understand the needs of their customers, which can vary a lot based on their particular business.”

Regardless of the products you sell or the services you provide, as a small business owner, you have a big advantage —the relationships you have with your customers. Making the commitment to better understand your customer’s needs, challenges, and expectations, as not only a consumer but as an individual, will enable you to offer an experience your audience will remember and want to tell their friends about.

“The vast majority of business that I’ve gotten over the years has come to me through the relationships and trust I’ve developed with clients and colleagues in the past,” Kim explains. “A huge part of that came from understanding the needs of my clients.”

Before the summer ends, take time to figure out how you can learn more about the people who matter most to your business.

Here are a few more tips to help you get started:

  • Send a survey: Most likely, you already have people engaging with you on social media or receiving updates in their inbox. An online survey is a great way to check in with your customers and give them a chance to voice their opinions.
  • Keep a log of customer questions: If summer is your busy season, take advantage of the extra foot traffic and learn more about your customers. Encourage employees to keep track of the questions and comments they’re hearing from people when they’re at your place of business.
  • Get in touch with your community: As a small business, you hold a special position in the community that you serve. Make sure you’re staying up-to-date on the events and happenings that could be influencing your local customers.

3. Rethink how you create content

It doesn’t matter if its winter, spring, summer or fall — creating great content is an important piece of any successful online marketing strategy.

But creating great content takes time, and if you’re in the middle of your busy season or are just about to start it, you may have some concerns about whether or not you’ll be able to create the stuff you need to be successful.

Kim offers some valuable advice:

  • Your tools: “My first piece of advice is to go out and get a smartphone or digital camera and start to create content in real-time. This type of content is impossible to beat.”
  • Your tone: “Keep the tone of your content conversational. Don’t waste time trying to push out marketing jargon because your audience can tell when you’re being genuine and when you’re not. Try to have some fun instead.”
  • Your role: “You don’t have to be the only one in your business, responsible for creating content. Your employees have first-hand communication with your customers every single day. Empower them to get involved.”

Tomorrow’s success starts today

TSSTWith fall right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to make the most out of the time you have left this summer. With these helpful tips from one of our experts, you’ll continue to grow your business in the weeks, months, and years to come.

Our Small Business Success Guide has ideas and resources that will help you grow your business with online marketing during any season. Download the guide today!