How to: Bootstrap Marketing

Small Business Marketing Guide - What you need to get started.

Written for the frustrated business owner.

This article will help you get a game plan together for your small business marketing efforts.  Its designed to be a self-start guide.  If you are looking to hire an agency to manage your marketing, be prepared to spend 1500-10,000 per month on marketing services.

I turn businesses away every day who are just not in a position to go with the agency route but who genuinely need help marketing their products.  This article is written for you.

marketing frustration for small business

Your marketing toolbox

Marketing Toolbox

To run a successful marketing program there are a bare minimum number of tools you must have.

  1. Website – Most critical element of a functional marketing program. Your website is your #1 salesperson and your #1 marketing asset.
  2. Email Platform – Creating a marketing list should be a primary goal of your website.  You want to entice website visitors to sign up for your email campaigns.
  3. Email Address – I mean [email protected] Don’t use a comcast.net, verizon.net email. It’s ridiculously unprofessional.
  4. Website Analytics – Google Analytics is a great free program you can use to see who is visiting your website.

Your Marketing Website Foundation

Getting you started in the right direction.

If you are going to be serious about your small business you need a serious website.  Really, as a small business owner, there are only two platforms you should consider: WordPress or Shopify.

For e-commerce, an argument can be made for either one, but if your business is, at its core, e-commerce then go with Shopify. WordPress is ideal for strong content sites and sites the need to grow beyond a basic website.  WordPress also has a very strong e-commerce platform but to get you up and selling online faster, Shopify is the way to go.

Domain Name

Regardless of the platform you choose, you will need to get a domain name. Try to get a .com domain name but if you can’t, don’t lose sleep over it. .io is becoming an extremely popular domain for tech start-ups and there are new extensions coming out seemingly every day. (.guru, .ninja, .shop, .consulting, etc.) Just pick something that reflects your business and is easy to remember.

As you go through the setup for Shopify or WordPress, you will have an option to register your domain name.  Registering the domain name on the platform you use for your website will help simplify your billing.

 

Shopify

To get started with Shopify, just head over to Shopify.com and sign up.  You are will be looking at a monthly fee of $29 – $79 per month for your account (includes hosting) plus a small monthly fee for each add-on.

Shopify Setup

Step by step walkthrough on what you need to do to set up a Shopify Website.

WordPress

If you want to go the WordPress route, you want to go self-hosted WordPress.  To do this, you need to do is create a hosting account with a company like SiteGround (my favorite)

WordPress Setup

A step-by-step guide to setting up a WordPress website for your small business.

Business Email Addresses

Getting your business setup with email.
business email setup

As I said previously, you need a professional email address.  My two suggested email providers are Office 365 and Google Apps.  I really suggest Google Apps.  From a marketing perspective, it integrates with a ton of tools and is a super easy to use and easy to setup email platform. Both platforms offer Word Processing, SpreadSheets, and Slideshow programs but Office 365 wins out a little here, especially if you are already used to Word and Excel.

Google Analytics for website tracking

It is critical to see who is visiting your website.  Luckily Google offers a free application that allows you to do just that.

All you need is your Google account.  Visit analytics.google.com and sign up.  Installing it on your website will vary depending on the platform.

Action Plan

  1. Business Email. Get this done first so all your accounts are listed under your business email.  Alternately, set up a Gmail account for [email protected] to use on all your accounts.
  2. Create a Google Account. You will need this for Google Analytics and can use it on a lot of accounts as a way to register/signup.
  3. Get Organized. Now that you have a Google Account, create a Google sheet to store account information: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/ You don’t need to put passwords in here but do include your usernames. Someday, you will want all this data in one place.
  4. Setup Website Platform. I assuming you are going WordPress or Shopify for this one.
  5. Website Outline. Create an outline for 3-5 Web pages. Home Page, Services, About, Contact.
  6. Write 300-1000 words for each page. You can use the home page as a summary of all the other content put together.
  7. Organize Contact List. If you have a pre-existing list of contacts, create another sheet in Google and get them organized. You for sure want columns for, First Name, Last Name, Email, Phone.  The more info you have the better.  Don’t use a purchased list if you can help it.
  8. Sign up for email marketing platform. I recommend ConvertKit.

PS... If you read this post and enjoyed it, please leave a comment or share it with a friend!

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