If you’re looking to grow a small business, there’s no way around it. You need to have a strong marketing plan in place. Poor marketing is one of the most common reasons why 90% of startups fail.
Luckily, with the right tips and tools at your disposal, you will develop the right strategy for your business. Here are some important small business marketing tips to start using today!
1. Choose Your Small Business Marketing Strategy
While we will mainly be discussing digital marketing, as it’s so widely available and easy to use, there is no reason to limit your company’s marketing strategy, especially for a local business. Word-of-mouth marketing is still extremely effective and using flyers, mail campaigns, and other strategies could help you build customers at a low cost.
When it comes to digital marketing, there are pieces of the puzzle that work in tandem, integrating into a cohesive marketing funnel. Incorporating each of these tools into your strategy is very important to maximize the outcome of each individual campaign.
Search engine optimization is arguably the most important marketing tool available, but you should never rely solely on it. The reason is that, while much of it is within your control, too much is left out of your own control.
Even more importantly, a successful SEO campaign takes time to build. You should be skeptical of any service that offers to get your website to the top of a Google search in a few weeks, as growing an SEO strategy takes months of consistency.
However, that’s not to say it isn’t worth your time. While you will need to use other tools in the interim to build clients and maximize your reach, the payoff of a properly executed SEO strategy is too big to pass up.
Unlike advertisements, where you have to keep pouring money in to see results, SEO’s benefits last. If you show up at the top of one Google search with medium traffic, that could easily be enough to keep your business afloat for years.
Many small businesses pass up on this tool, as they believe it is complicated. Although, if you understand the basics of SEO, getting started is easy. More on that later.
Getting customers is half of the battle, keeping them is the other. Always leave prompts on your website for newsletters and email campaigns and use the opportunity to remind previous customers of why your brand is so great.
Don’t send spammy amounts of emails, don’t worry too much about unsubscribes, and try to use engaging imagery while keeping your text as short as possible to maximize the effectiveness.
Also, double-check that your display name is accurate (like the name of your business) and try to use catchy subject lines. These are the first things recipients will see, and if they are used correctly, will turn your recipients into readers.
Social media offers you more than half the world for a market, so a business would be foolish to pass it up.
Don’t worry about the number of followers early on. Continue posting engaging content at a regular schedule, utilize relevant hashtags and trends, engage directly with your intended audience, and followers will come.
“Going viral” is not a strategy. It could take you 2,000 posts before one goes viral if one does at all. Focus on quality, staying on-brand and on-message, and promoting your company to your target market.
Advertisements are bound to be the most expensive part of your marketing strategy over the long term, but that’s okay. In the short term, they are inexpensive, easy to control, and they are a great way to start boosting your reach.
SEO, social media, and email marketing strategies take time to build, so giving yourself a paid boost is a smart strategy for building initial revenue, which is critical in the early stages of a startup or for a small business that is looking to grow.
Choose the type of ad that you want to use based on the nature of your company. Facebook and Google ads allow you to target your audience with extraordinary precision, but they might not be right for your business.
For example, how is a video game company supposed to rely on search ads? Video ads would be more appropriate in that case. Determine the type of ad campaigns that your business will gain from the most, and go from there. More on that later.
2. Set A Budget
A marketing budget is important to stick to, especially in the early days of a business. Of course, you need to allocate funds for growth, but how much is too much?
Well, the Small Business Administration suggests that startups and small businesses should allocated between 7% and 8% of their revenue toward marketing. This means, ideally, that a business with $250,000 in revenue (not budget) should be spending as much as $20,000 per year on marketing.
How you want to distribute those funds is up to you, your objectives, and the nature of your business. If you’re initially working to build an SEO strategy, allocating some money toward that is a good idea. Social media and email marketing are flexible for budgeting, without sacrificing much on quality.
If you are in need of short-term revenue, you should strongly consider putting a majority of your budget toward ad campaigns. As revenue increases, you will be able to focus more on other strategies. For now, use all of the free tools at your disposal and go heavy on the advertisements.
3. Don’t Neglect Your Website
Would you believe us if we said that 28% of businesses don’t have a website?
Well, answer this: What does your SEO, social media, email, and ad strategy have in common? They all direct traffic to your website. If you want to improve your conversion rates for all of your campaigns while increasing your SEO prospects, take good care of your website.
Having proper user experience (UX) will help reduce your website’s bounce rates and improve your rankings on Google. This includes proper navigation, fast load times, mobile friendliness, and overall page quality across your site.
If you’re competing at the national or global level, this is essential. You would be lucky to appear on the 10th page of Google if your website doesn’t meet a certain standard, which severely hinders your long-term growth ability.
If you’re competing at the local level, then optimizing your website’s UX and content quality is a ticket to the top of relevant Google SERPs in your area. SEO is an important part of web design, so don’t neglect it.
Also, if you click on an advertisement and you’re brought to a less-than-modern website with no clear navigation system, it’s unlikely that you will stay long. Improving your UX will ultimately improve your conversion rates across your social media, email, and ad campaigns.
4. Optimize Conversion Rates
If you’re spending a significant portion of your marketing budget on advertisements, remember that a lot of it goes to waste. Most companies are lucky to see a 2% conversion rate on their advertisements, while still paying for every click.
Optimizing your conversion rates starts with a quality advertisement. It isn’t just the PPC campaign that costs money. Developing a captivating ad is critical to being noticed, providing relevant information, and enticing users to want more.
The average web user sees over 5,000 ads a day, making it critical for your ad to stand out. You want to use quality visual imagery when applicable, and make your message as clear and concise as possible.
From there, make sure that your landing page has a quality internal linking structure that allows users to easily navigate to your intended destination. This will save you a fortune in the long run.
5. Use Social Media Like a Pro
Social media is a precise science for brands. You don’t want to appear as a “bot” account, but you don’t want to be too casual at the same time. You also want to meet your target audience when and where they are. There are steps to an effective social media campaign, but here are the basics.
Choose the Right Platform
You’re not going to reach the most business executives and Baby Boomers on Instagram or TikTok, and you’re not going to reach the most of Gen Z on LinkedIn or Facebook. Conduct some market research if you’re unsure about your target market and set up an account where you will have the most opportunity.
Optimize Your Profile
The blue checkmark will come in due time, so don’t worry about that now.
Fist, start by opening a business account on your desired platform. Upload a clear logo or picture of your company building as the profile picture. You want this to be legible on mobile devices without users needing to open the image.
Next, make sure that your title is clear. If your company name explains the nature of your business, then that’s all you need. If not, add it at the end with as few words as possible.
For example, a company like Dick’s Sporting Goods doesn’t need to add anything to tell a user what they are. However, if the name was just “Dick’s”, then adding “Sporting Goods” would be appropriate to help users understand what the business is.
Lastly, optimize your bio. This should be one or two brief lines followed by a link to your website. You want to keep this as clear and concise as possible so that users don’t have to click “read more” to get the necessary information.
Post At the Right times
There is a best time to post on social media. You want to reach your target audience when they are most active. Automated systems are very efficient at this, but you can also create content in advance and set a reminder on your phone to post when the time is right.
Use Hashtags & Trends… Wisely
Overusing hashtags and trending topics is a line you don’t want to cross. Picking your battles is very important in this industry.
You should only use trending topics if they are relevant to the nature of your business, promotion, upcoming event, or the content you are posting. If you attempt to only post about trending topics that have no relevance to your business, this will appear as spammy.
However, hashtags and trends are an excellent way to boost your organic following. Adding between 1 and 5 relevant hashtags at the end of a post will help you expand your reach to the right audience.
6. Two Words: Quality, Content
We talked about website quality in relation to SEO, but there’s another side of that coin. You need quality content.
Sure, your SEO value is defined largely by user experience, but you need relevant information and backlinks to establish authority with Google. Well, quality content covers both of those.
By posting quality content on a regular basis, you will engage your audience, promote user retention, and eventually build a channel of quality backlinks by offering other bloggers and websites a reason to link to your content.
This is the only proven way to build a long term SEO strategy from the ground up, and it will help with every other aspect of your marketing efforts. You can promote blog content on social media, use your content as a landing page for your advertisements, and use text from it in your email campaigns.
The key to building quality content is to always have something to say and to cut out words and sentences that don’t offer value. Follow these simple guidelines and you will see the best results.
Get Ready To Launch!
Your campaign, that is. Small business marketing doesn’t have to be too difficult. Use these tips, try out new tactics, see what works, and have fun with it! The marketing world is always changing, so stay up to date with our latest news and feel free to contact us with any questions!