The New Year is here - full of fresh starts and exciting opportunities!
Our team at OSM can’t wait to see what this year has in store - for both existing companies and new startups!
Will 2023 be the year you start your own small business?
If so, keep reading!
We wrote this article with emerging small businesses in mind - AKA you!
Because there’s no reason why you should be jumping into this exciting moment in your life alone.
And while you might not have the budget for in-house employees, there’s a cost-effective way to get the help you need!
Hiring a local digital marketing agency for startups gives you a competitive edge from the get-go! They can help you:
a) Create a strong foundation for your business.
b) Hit the ground running.
c) Scale, scale, scale!
A digital marketing team is your key to starting strong and staying strong!
Below are 7 benefits of hiring a digital marketing team as a new small business:
You’d be surprised at the cost of an in-house operation vs that of an agency.
Over time, the agency route typically costs much less!
First, you won’t have to hire a specific employee for each digital service you need.
These roles range anyway from content writers to SEO specialists! With many more between!
Hiring a marketing team means you get an all-in-one marketing wizard!
Secondly, you won’t have to pay for other costs associated with having full-time employees.
These extra expenses include payroll taxes, health care costs, salaries, benefits etc.
Thirdly, you won’t have to pay for costly subscriptions to essential marketing tools. Your digital marketing agency has these covered for you!
Agencies have professional tools to optimize and streamline their digital marketing services. These tools typically come with a costly one-time payment or subscription.
Since agencies use them for all their clients, they can sign up for cheaper package deals. This help lower their overhead costs - and yours!
Examples of these digital marketing tools include:
You’ll have to pay for these services alone if you do your marketing yourself. But if you hire an agency, a fraction of these costs is usually built into your plan!
Every business is unique. It has its own mission, vision, audience, niche etc.
Key differences set you apart, even if you sell similar products as your neighbour. This is your USP (unique selling point)!
Because your business is unique, your marketing strategy should also be. Marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s a specifically curated plan that’s designed for your business alone.
When you hire a digital agency, they work with you to create a strategy that fits. This strategy is a realistic plan that intentionally caters to your business goals and budget.
Having someone in your corner is a huge asset as a brand-new small business. That could be a mentor, a coach, a fellow business owner, a consultant etc.
A digital marketing agency for startups provides you with an on-call marketing expert!
Helping businesses grow from the ground up is what they do every day.
An agency also brings a third-party perspective to your growing business. They provide fresh ideas and strategies from new marketing trends and past experience!
Digital marketing is constantly evolving. Social media algorithms, Google ranking metrics and ad targeting techniques are changing all the time in order to find new ways to keep their audience happy.
Google uses different ranking metrics to help show more accurate search results.
These updates focus on quality web content. They help Google determine whether your site satisfies its visitors.
Your digital agency studies these updates to help you create rank-able content!
One of the main goals of a digital agency is to help you create and sustain a healthy online presence. This could be within your social channels, website, Google Business Listing etc.
Social media management services help set up, grow and enhance your social media platforms.
Web marketing services help grow your online reach, traffic and leads.
Google Business Listing services help optimize your local visibility.
Lastly, and one of the most valuable to business owners, is the time you get back when you hire an agency.
As a business owner, you wear a lot of hats. You’re the accountant, production manager, production team, sales associate etc.
Not to mention the entire marketing team!
If you ask us, that’s too many hats for one person to wear.
Your small business can quickly take centre stage in your life - monopolizing your time. But with a digital agency, you can spread out these roles to the team that always has your back!
Looking for a local digital marketing agency for startups in Quinte? We’ve been serving our Belleville community and beyond since 1997. And we’re excited to work with you!
Meet our OSM team! We are passionate and dedicated individuals - ready to take your business to the next step.
See more of our web marketing services on our website!
2023 is only a few short weeks away! And if you’re like us, you’re ready to wind down for the year.
Many businesses take a well-deserved breather before launching into the New Year - either for a couple of weeks or just a few days.
If you’re one of our clients, you’ll know that we’ve booked our annual Holiday Shutdown from December 19th to January 2nd. This break allows our staff some time to spend with their loved ones over the holiday season. And we are so grateful for the opportunity to do so!
Whether you’re planning a holiday breather or readying your business to transition right into the New Year, there’s something you need to do first.
Reflect on your 2022 business year!
Before you close out for the year, take inventory of yourself, your team and your business. This helps you appreciate all you’ve gone through, learn from your mistakes and move forward in the right direction!
We’ve listed 10 year-end questions below to help you reflect on the year before launching into 2023!
When the New Year comes around, many business owners immediately start thinking ahead.
New goals. New dreams. New accomplishments.
And while it’s important to look ahead to all that you hope to achieve, it’s also crucial to look behind you at all you’ve already accomplished.
What are some things you’ve accomplished in the last year? These could be things on your list of 2022 business goals. Or it could be something else entirely!
The key here is to not compare.
Just make a list of the things that have helped move your business forward!
We’ve included a list of examples below to help give you some ideas:
Nothing is off the table here! Just keep listing everything you can think of - big or small!
Healthy work/life balance is something our team at OSM has had to really focus on this year.
We switched entirely to remote work almost a year ago and have loved the flexibility it brought! But with the work-from-home adjustment has come the difficulties of separating our personal lives from our work lives.
While it has given us more time with our families, it can be hard to leave the computer at the end of the day and focus solely on our personal lives.
Some of the ways our team has implemented a healthy work/life balance while working from home include:
All these small changes can drastically help improve the work/life balance at home.
Have you taken steps to improve your work/life balance? Have they worked well for you, your family and your business?
If so, keep going! But if not, try implementing some of the above tactics! Keep in mind they may not be practical or applicable to everyone. So be sure to pick and choose what strategies work best for you!
How many roles are you juggling right now? Social Media Coordinator, SEO Specialist, Financial Advisor, Accountant?
As business owners, it’s only natural for us to want to take the lead. But there’s power in knowing when we need more support.
The three most practical ways of getting support are:
Each of these strategies plays a role in supporting you as the business owner.
Let’s face it, as business owners, we can easily get sucked into working IN our businesses. But once that happens, the growth of our company is no longer the priority.
Getting the support we need can help reduce our workload, ensure we’re moving in the right direction and free up our time! So we can keep focusing on growing our business rather than just keeping it afloat.
Did you get support when you needed it this past year? Or were there some areas that you tried to carry all the weight yourself?
At the beginning of 2022, you probably came up with a series of business goals you wanted to achieve by the end of the year. Maybe they applied to finances, time management or performance.
Then, over the year, you’ve implemented numerous strategies to help you achieve those goals.
When looking back over the year, can you identify some of the goals and strategies that worked well for you? And which didn’t?
For example, maybe you made a goal of onboarding 10 new clients in 2022.
If you succeeded, was your team able to handle the additional workload?
If you didn't succeed then what was holding you back?
Knowing what works for you and your team can help you create realistic future goals.
This question isn’t meant to be a downer or to make you feel guilty. It's to help you reflect on the previous year from an honest, productive perspective.
Is there anything you need to forgive yourself for in the past year? Whether that be a mistake or something you weren’t able to achieve?
Mistakes are normal. And as a business owner, the ones you made this year probably won’t be your last. These mistakes or unexpected turns of events are how we grow as flexible, problem-solving business owners!!
In the words of Thomas Edison,
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”
Forgiving yourself for any of the disappointments in 2022 can put you in a better mental mindset for the new year!
This question can apply to any number of things - like an award or even a personal sense of accomplishment.
We can truly be our own worst critics, which is why it’s vital for us to learn how to appreciate ourselves.
Is there a moment in the past year that made you particularly proud? Give yourself some credit for it! You deserve to appreciate these moments!
This one is a doozie, but it’s incredibly impactful!
Reflecting on the previous year gives you a great vantage point. You can now see things from the big picture perspective rather than bit by bit.
Would you remind yourself to be more optimistic?
To have more faith in your team?
To spend more time with your family?
To give yourself more grace?
Try to apply the advice you would have given yourself in 2022 to this year! This bigger-picture perspective is a great way to enter 2023.
Looking back with the wisdom of today gives you a valuable perspective for tomorrow!
Once you’ve had a chance to look back at the incredible moments of 2022, you can move forward into the fresh, open canvas of 2023!
What will this year have in store for you?
It’s time to deck the halls! Or, in this case, your web marketing platforms!
As a small business, it’s easy to think you’re “too small” to go big during the holiday season. After all, most companies go all out with festive decor, events and sales. And those large-scale businesses have more space, money and time to make something extravagant come to life. I’m
Is it possible for a small business to capture shoppers’ attention even amid the holiday buzz?
Of course! And you don’t need a huge budget or a massive space to make that happen.
In this article, we help small business owners create their winter wonderland - online!
Ready to deck your small business in some holiday fun? Let’s start by creating your Christmas web marketing strategy!
If you own a business, you know how important it is to both,
It’s why you’ve invested time and effort into learning new platforms and creating one-of-a-kind content! It’s also the reason you installed TikTok, created your first Real and started blogging.
And, in all honesty, it’s the reason you’re here, reading this article, too!
You want to learn HOW to tell your story - how to put yourself out there, engage in the 2022 marketing era and make your mark.
Well, you’re on the right track!
Holiday marketing is not a new concept, as you well know. But staying in tune with your audience and creating content that speaks directly to them in each season? That’s never a stagnant thing to begin with!
Your audience is constantly looking for fresh ideas, new sales and an incredible shopping experience.
And what better time to do that, than at Christmas time?
During the holiday season, shoppers are on the hunt for more than the perfect gift. They’re looking for the best deals, bonuses and experiences. All in hopes of making their Christmas season PERFECT.
This tension to create the perfect Christmas experience is one of the main reasons why holiday web marketing is so effective.
Demand. Urgency. And a willingness to buy.
Customers aren’t simply window-shopping or leaving empty carts in your e-commerce platform anymore. Their buying behaviour has switched from passive to active - increasing their urgency and their willingness to buy.
This increase in demand presents you with the perfect opportunity! The opportunity to create new, holiday-themed content that catches your consumers’ eye.
So get creative this holiday season with your holiday marketing!
Before you start throwing tinsel around, you need a plan of action. Or, to be more precise, a Christmas web marketing strategy.
Grab a scrap piece of wrapping paper and your jolliest pen - it’s time to start planning!
There’s a reason we launched this article earlier than planned.
While the phrase, “better late than never, " sometimes works, we don’t recommend it as a philosophy for your holiday marketing.
We wanted to get this information to you as early in the season as possible! So you have the time you need to collect your resources, get a plan in motion and start executing - before the holiday buzz hits.
And, to be honest, it’s already begun!
The 2021 report by the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) stated that 30% of Canadians planned to start Christmas shopping in late October. And 36% said they planned to begin in early November.
Rumour has it, this year is no different!
With stats like that, it’s crucial to have your holiday marketing ready to go as early as possible!
What are your business goals this holiday season? While many businesses go for the typical increase in sales or foot traffic, your goals might look different.
And don’t forget! While you’re setting your goals, remember to make them SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
Whether you have one target demographic or many, learning how to target your holiday marketing to them specifically is vital.
Once you decide WHO you’re targeting, you’ll be able to decide WHERE to launch your efforts and HOW to reach this demographic most effectively.
Start by asking yourself some questions:
Where are your ideal customers?
What are their consumer behaviours?
How can you best connect these answers to launch a campaign that meets your customer exactly where they are - physically and emotionally?
Now that you have a plan, it’s time to get cracking on your holiday web marketing!
Below is a list of easy and effective Christmas marketing ideas. Some of these are tactics we’ve done ourselves, some we've worked on with clients, and others we've seen trending in the market.
Which ones speak to your business, clientele, budget and resources?
While it may not be realistic or in your best interest to do them all, we recommend selecting at least a handful of them. And there are lots of options to choose from that are both affordable and effective!
Contests are a great way to generate buzz for your business, especially when prizes are involved!
Try hosting one of the below Christmas-themed contests on your social media:
Giveaways are a fantastic web marketing tactic to use over the holiday season! They can help you reach new customers, spread the word faster and encourage a sense of community on your platform.
When planning your giveaway, we encourage you to also collaborate with other local small business owners. This can help expand your reach to other potential customers and improve your brand reputation.
Do you run an e-commerce business with no physical store location? If so, try this!
While you have no halls, racks or storefronts to decorate, you do have your online store. And there’s no reason why you can’t spread some holiday cheer on your site!
Here are some simple holiday website decor ideas you can put in place:
And while you’re at it, get seasonal on your socials too!
Start by customizing your cover and profile photos, Then branch out into festive social content, graphics, videos etc.
Incorporate holiday jargon into your captions and ensure your content is as seasonal as you can make it.
One of the recommendations we give our clients at OSM is to book a holiday photoshoot! This can help spice up your content and give your customers something fresh and seasonal to enjoy on your account!
This one is a no-brainer. Who doesn’t LOVE a good holiday discount?
If you’re looking for a way to increase your sales, clear out your inventory or launch a new product, a discount is definitely the way to go.
Examples of Holiday Discounts:
Want to promote new or existing products? Try highlighting these products in a Christmas Gift Guide!
Gift guides are easy to make. And they simplify your customers’ shopping experience as well!
Step 1: Title your gift guide.
Step 2: Select appropriate products.
Step 3: Include photos and links to these products.
Step 4: Launch!
Once you’ve completed the list, you can launch it on almost any platform.
We recommend sharing your gift guide on visual and shareable platforms - like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and even your blog!
Celebrate the holiday season with your newsletter subscribers! Your newsletter can help you engage with your online community, share festive content and attract people to your website.
There are many ways for you to interact with your newsletter subscribers over the Christmas season. That could be sharing a holiday campaign, thanking your customers for their support over the year, or simply sharing a festive video of your team!
At OSM, we typically share a final Happy Holidays message with our newsletter subscribers before we go on holiday ourselves. It’s an incredible way for our team to thank our customers for their support and wish them a Merry Christmas!
Which of the above Christmas web marketing ideas will you put into action?
As a small business, you have the incredible opportunity to capture your unique customers' attention. And it doesn’t require a large budget or a storefront! All you have to do is harness your creativity, make a plan and get to it.
Need help putting together your holiday marketing materials? Our team at OSM is happy to help!
Our affordable digital marketing services help your small business gain the traction it needs - even during the holiday buzz!
The idea of growing your small business exponentially as fast as possible is exciting. But, in most cases, it’s also very, very difficult.
Especially if you don’t have the tools or resources to get you where you want to go.
Bet you think we just crashed and burned this article, right?
Well, that depends on how you look at it!
No, this is not a typical 10 Steps To 6-Figure Success Guide.
I’m not giving you a list of things to spend money on or fill up your schedule.
In fact, everything I talk about in this article is 100% free.
This article is about building a sturdy foundation for your business to grow on. One that withstands the unexpected. From high winds to seemingly never-ending pandemics to unflattering budget cuts.
It’s about the roots.
So, here’s the honest truth:
While I’m a big believer in business success, I'm not a fan of the typical route it takes to get there.
I don’t dream of hustling 24/7 and climbing my way up a rickety ladder to a reality that’s…to be real…exhausting at best.
That’s just not for me.
And if you’ve read this far, I’m guessing it’s probably not for you either.
Our WHY goes a lot deeper than deep-pocket goals, which means we have to root our marketing strategies in something deeper too.
Let’s camp there for a bit.
What is your business success rooted in?
In my eyes, business success is about having:
These are the things I always come back to at the end of the day. And I believe they are the life-changing "6-figure success tips” that will actually help businesses succeed in the long run.
And, if you notice, none of them has to cost a dime!
You can’t grow a successful business without first building a team that’s strong enough to uphold it.
That’s just fact.
But what makes a strong team?
A team with aligned values, purpose and passion is a force to be reckoned with!
This isn’t a popular opinion, especially in the corporate world. But I highly recommend prioritizing joy at your job.
As business owners, it’s easy for us to lose sight of the reasons we launched in the first place.
At the start, everything was exciting. Challenging. Scary. And thrilling!
But after running the business for a few years, things start to settle into a rhythm.
Never stop doing things that bring you joy in your business. Prioritize them. Make them a part of your daily or weekly routines.
Habits are what stabilize the rungs on your ladder to success.
They are the practical, steady, dependable staircase you can take to reach your goals!
Remember in my last article when I mentioned the groundbreaking truth? That habits actually outweigh goals in the business world?
In that article, I mentioned how I actually love goals. But it's the habits we build and implement that have the bigger impact.
Our daily attitude, routines and behaviours are what create that strong foundation for our company's growth - one rung at a time!
I love building lasting, meaningful relationships. In fact, it’s one of my favourite things about being a business owner!
The opportunity to connect with other businesses in Quinte and surrounding areas has made such a big difference in my life.
That’s why I started Shop Talk Quinte! A platform built for meaningful, intentional, authentic conversations with entrepreneurs and professionals alike!
(Pssst…if you haven’t guessed it, this is one way that I prioritize joy in my job!
To be honest with you, these conversations have taught me the real way to create a community in business.
They’ve taught me how to network with heart. And how to allow people to see the real me. And to be brave enough to share my genuine answers with them. Just as they are brave enough to share theirs with me.
Even though it’s uncomfortable (because it can be)!
This leads me to my next point…
We all have a comfort zone. And that’s not a bad thing!
Being confident and comfortable in what you do is so valuable. Especially in business!
But there’s also unique value in being simultaneously confident and UNcomfortable. Strength in knowing you have to do something and being willing to give it your best shot - regardless of the doubt creeping in.
As business owners, we’re given challenges like this almost daily.
Maybe it’s initiating a difficult but necessary conversation with another team member.
Or maybe it’s downloading TikTok and making your first video.
Whatever your UNcomfy is, I encourage you to embrace it! To get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
This is something I encourage my whole team to do.
To stay curious. To keep learning new things and pursuing excellence in their unique niche.
It doesn’t mean you have to go back to school or take expensive courses. But it does mean having a willing mind and a teachable spirit.
We have to learn how to be okay with losing.
Not everything we try is going to work. And sometimes, we just have to try a whole host of different things before something really sticks.
Whether that's a career choice, a campaign, a product design etc.
Instead of becoming discouraged, we can become empowered to keep going.
Because in the words of Thomas Edison,
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”
And isn’t that what learning is all about?
As I mentioned above, I love having these intentional conversations. And I hope they are as impactful to you as they are to me.
Let's continue this discussion online!
- Josh & The OSM Team
Being a business owner is hard.
Now, don’t get me wrong! I love it. I love the creativity and talent I see every day in my team. I love the passion I see in our clients. I love the daily challenge I’m presented with to lead and grow my business to new heights. And I love having flexibility with my family to live a life I love.
And while these things don’t necessarily make my job any easier, they do make it so incredibly worth it.
So, while I could give you all the helpful business advice on how to start, grow and accelerate your business - I’m not.
At least, not today ;)
Because what I want most for you is deeper than that.
I want you to enjoy what you do wholeheartedly. To wake up on a Monday morning and start your day with excitement and confidence.
I want you to be unafraid to lead your business forward with the vision you have for it. And I want you to build healthy habits and relationships with your team.
I want all this for you.
So, in this article, you won’t find fluffy encouragements or empty sentiments. Mostly because I don’t believe you can stand firm on fluff. And also because everyone knows you can’t go very far on an empty tank.
Instead, I’m giving you a behind-the-scenes look at owning a business - the pretty and the not-so-pretty.
I hope you learn some of the most impactful lessons I have had to unpack and digest over the years. Because I believe It’s truths like these that impact our success the most.
This is one of the first things you’ll learn - and it’s not a fun one. It is, however, necessary to understand.
As a business owner, the buck stops with you.
In other words, your business is your responsibility. So whether the result is good or bad, you must be willing to accept the criticism - regardless of whether that critiquing is constructive or not.
Nobody likes the blame game. And frankly, it will get you nowhere.
So while nobody likes to hear the words “it’s all your fault”, sometimes that's what we have to accept. Only then can we take the necessary steps forward to healthy reconciliation.
My advice? Be the bigger person.
Who here loves confrontation and conflict resolution?
(I’m not expecting a lot of hands to go up)
If you’re like me, the resolution part is easy! But getting there is less than fun.
I used to shy away from confrontation because it seemed like a more peaceful solution.
But if you want to build a successful business based on your and your company's core values, you must face the issue head-on.
Otherwise, what started as a simple disagreement could lead to a very unnecessary argument.
In my experience, learning to be upfront and kind is the best approach to confrontation - AKA cultivating kind candour!
Do you ever feel guilty for taking a break?
For setting a strict boundary on your schedule?
Or for limiting how much time you spend at the office?
You’re not alone!
In North America, we are taught to EARN our rest.
In our fast-paced world, getting as much done in as little time as possible has become more than a social norm. It’s become the goal of most career-focused individuals!
But in reality, this mindset is causing increased stress, anxiety and burnout - especially as businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a CFIB and Nexim Canada study, 66% of small business owners are close to burnout.
And this burnout is precisely why boundaries and rest are so necessary.
To work on and in your business effectively, you need to learn how to approach it from a place of rest - not exhaustion.
In my experience, a solid vision and healthy habits always outweigh a goal.
You might be shaking your head in disbelief right about now. After all, how can a company move forward and grow without a goal in mind?
But I’m not telling you to stop making goals.
In truth, I love goals!
But I believe the habits we build and implement in our daily lives hugely impact these goals.
I believe practising core values and implementing healthy routines are the ONLY way to effectively achieve these goals.
Every company has a vision. And everyone in that company needs to understand the direction that vision is taking them.
But what are you and your team doing to get there?
How can we build strong, healthy habits that support our vision?
We touched on this topic briefly in our 2022 Social Media Engagement Guide. But, as a business owner, I believe this is one of the greatest lessons you can learn.
Here it is:
Not everyone will like you.
And not everyone will understand you.
But, regardless of who does or doesn’t, you must stand firm on your values. You must treat others as you would want them to treat you - with respect.
At OSM, we love connecting with and supporting local businesses.
Our VISION is to help you cultivate, grow and thrive.
And we make it our DAILY HABIT to give you the practical tools and creative solutions you need to do just that!
And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter too! We'll keep you updated on all that's happening at OSM, as well as upcoming events and new blog posts!