Small Business Marketing
The goal of good marketing is to raise awareness of your business and brand, increase qualified leads and then convert those leads to customers. As a small business owner there can be challenges (ex. resources like money and time), however there are key tactics and steps to take that can boost your business and marketing efforts.
Below you’ll find the basics, tips and some ideas for marketing your small business.
- Get organized
This is the first step in any business marketing endeavor. Try brainstorming ideas and action items, and then organize those on a calendar or task list. Always start small and build from there. Be sure to measure ROI. If your first attempts at marketing doesn’t succeed, keep trying but integrate lessons from your previous efforts.
- Get customer input – early
This will help you learn what your audience needs and wants, which will help you adjust your marketing plan or product offerings accordingly.
- Be sure to have a website
The first thing a potential customer or employee does is research your business online. A website signifies that you’re real and allows you to offer information about your business to leads, consumers, potential employees, and possible partners.
Your website isn’t just a simple brochure. You have the ability to turn it into a 24/7 salesperson by understanding how to convert traffic and turn them into leads.
Your website needs to be mobile-friendly and incorporate search engine optimization best practices.
Incorporating tools, such as Google Analytics, allows you to track the traffic to your website and learn what information is the most popular and which pages could use improvement.
A lot of marketing agencies and specialist promise to get your business’ site to page 1 and to the top of the rankings, however, remember that you get what you pay for. While there are a ton of do-it-yourself website services, some things are better left to the experts.
- Leverage social media
Social media is a powerful business tool. Social media can help you increase your domain authority, improve your search engine rankings, and engage with potential customers.
If you are not using Facebook or LinkedIn for your business, create a page today. You are leaving opportunities on the table if you don’t.
- Set up and claim your business online
Information about your business is and will be on the internet, so wouldn’t you prefer to proactively control what people read or see about your business when they search for it?
- Create local awareness and establish a network
Join chambers, business associations, community groups, etc. Get involved. Networking is a great way to capture business, as it allows you to meet new contacts and create more brand awareness and new referrals. Give awat promotional items with your business name, logo and contact info on them.
- Offer coupons or free products/services
“Create loyalty early on. A happy customer will come back and will tell their friends about you. Create a buzz with brand ambassadors. These can be family and friends who help promote your products or services.” – Forbes.com
Get your business out there, telling people who you are and why your products or service is different and better from competitors. Be sure to include calls-to-action and to inform people on how to find/contact you.
- The importance of branding
Focus on consistent and repetitive branding. Many marketing professionals believe in the “rule of seven,” which means people need to hear or see your message at least seven times before taking any action. The most common reason that people do not buy your product is that they do not know about it yet. – Forbes.com
- Know your audience
Not everyone is your potential buyer. As they say, “the riches are in the niches.” When you find your niche, you’ll have the most leverage as a small business. To do this you must understand your potential buyers’ pains, problems, triggering events, and priorities.
- Emphasize your value proposition
If there’s no difference between you and your competition, there’s no reason why a buyer would be compelled to work with you. Your value proposition is what will differentiate you from others in your space and make up your prospects’ minds that you’re the provider to go with. What do you do better than anyone in the industry? Conveying this makes a compelling argument.
- Stay focused on singular goals and objectives
There is an infinite number of directions you can go in. It’s tempting to do it all at once, and it’s easy to take on too much. In that case, you may be setting yourself up for failure – or at least, be missing out on successful opportunities, because you didn’t put enough effort into any one strategy.
Look for areas where you can make the biggest impact. What is the biggest area of your business strategy that is prohibiting growth?
“Set a performance goal around that one key area and focus your resources on the activities and tactics that will achieve that one performance goal. You can expand your efforts or pivot to other initiatives when you’ve made more progress toward that singular goal.” – HubSpot.com
- Capitalize on short-term plays
In the beginning, it’s critical to see ROI sooner rather than later. Start with small effort, quick win initiatives. This will give you the momentum and cash flow to put toward larger projects.
- Double-down on what works
Once you have your programs up and running, having experimented with tweaks and adjustments, analyze the data. This will help you learn what works and what does not. As you grow, double-down on proven methods of generating revenue.
- Understand the power of existing customers
Don’t stop marketing once customers have made a purchase.
Identify opportunities for repeat sales, upselling, and cross-selling. Since your existing customers have already made a purchase, they already know, like, and trust you. If you delivered a quality product and experience, they are more likely to return to you when the need arises.
- Use free promotional tools
As a new and/or small business, there’s no need to increase your overhead with tools. Use free tools and solutions where possible. Commit only to paid tools if you know they will drastically improve existing operations or performance.
- Consider blogging to attract prospects for your website
Blogging is a great way to generate organic traffic, particularly for those prospects who have not reached a purchasing decision yet. It can establish credibility in your space and position you as a thought leader.
Even if you only publish once a week, it will improve your website’s visibility online and help educate your potential customers on why they should trust your company.
Once you start writing, you can add a call-to-action on your posts for visitors to subscribe to your blog and receive emails This is a great way to start collecting leads and offering potential customers a way to get information if they aren’t ready to buy anything from you yet. – HubSpot.com
- Invest in ads
Organic traffic takes a while to build, and as a small business, you want to invest in short-term plays. Pay-to-play tactics that target buyers with high intent are great for short-term wins to jump-start other objectives.
Google Ads are perfect if you know that your target audience is searching the web for your product or solution. If they aren’t, you might consider social media ads instead. Individuals on social media have less buying intent, but with highly targeted ads and enough impressions, you’ll gain the interest of your audience.
- Make sure you’re capturing web prospects’ information
A simple way to start generating leads or customers from your website is to implement a conversion tool.
A simple, free option is HubSpot. By using this tool to add a pop-up widget to your website, you can start collecting the email addresses of potential customers. From there, you can send out promotions and offers and convert them into paying customers. – HubSpot.com
- Use email marketing to nurture leads
It’s important to stay top of mind and move leads closer to a purchasing decision, which can be achieved with email marketing.
Email marketing is a critical part of your marketing toolkit. In fact, 73 percent of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email.
This technique is a scalable way to communicate with both new and existing customers.
Try emailing your database newsletters (with your latest blog posts), and other promotions. Consider utilizing marketing automation to make this process even easier for yourself.
- Manage relationships with a CRM
“Email marketing works best when you’re sending personalized, targeted emails. This begins with a customer database or customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Your CRM stores information about your leads, prospects, and customers so that you can keep track of customer interactions and identify sales opportunities more effectively.” – HubSpot.com
- Determine your brand’s identity
“Having a consistent brand identity to promote your business will make you look more professional and help you attract new customers. According to a 2020 study, nearly 9 out of 10 people are brand loyal with nearly 25% of them climbing to be more brand loyal in 2020 compared to 2019.” – HubSpot.com
- Identify your buyer persona
When you imagine a customer searching for your product or service, what are they like? What are their pain points? What is their job? Creating a buyer persona that tells a story of your ideal customer can help you make a website that’s optimized for them.
By learning more about your target customer through creating a buyer persona, you can better figure out what types of things they may be searching for so you can include those terms on your website.
- Design a logo and other assets
- Consult agencies or freelancers for web design help
If you aren’t on the technical side and want a website built for your small business, you can use a freelancer or a marketing agency that specializes in web design. This is a great option for businesses that already have a website but need it to be updated and revamped for search engine optimization to help improve your Google ranking.
- Experiment with photo and video content
According to HubSpot Research, more than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands. Additionally, most social media apps, like Facebook and Instagram are embracing more visual layouts. To keep up with these trends, it’s a good idea to make a few marketing videos.
- Hire a freelancer to help you scale your content
If you need some help creating regular blogs or promotional content, consider hiring a freelancer or specialist – not necessarily a new full-time employee.
- Use social media for customer service
Once you’re on your chosen platforms, be sure to answer customer or follower questions when they ask them through post comments or direct messages. This will make your company look responsive and credible.
- Build interesting landing pages
A landing page offers your potential customers a free resource in exchange for filling out a short form of contact information. When they receive the resource, they might be even more pleased by your company and more interested in buying the full product.
- Share your distribution channels on your website
Once you have a few social media accounts and can allow people to sign up for your newsletter, highlight this on your website so your visitors can follow you.
- Offer a free webinar
While this strategy can help you boost your credibility in your field, it can also offer you potential leads and sales opportunities.
- Try co-marketing
“Is there a local business in your area that isn’t a direct competitor but offers a product or service to a similar target audience? Consider working with them on a cobranded campaign where you promote each other on social media, via email, or in your blog. While you’ll give your partnering company added promotion, it will also allow their fanbase to learn more about you.” – HubSpot.com
- Draw up a go-to-market strategy
You need to create a promotional plan that aligns with the customer journey. Consider which content will attract, engage, and delight your prospects and how you will convert them into a customer.
Whether you’re struggling with a limited budget, the time restraints caused by having a smaller team, or even a lack of direction, a marketing plan that’s appropriate for your business can provide guidance as you scale.