As a small business owner, you don’t have time to waste on marketing strategies that aren’t suited to your needs. Small business marketing strategies should be carefully considered before deploying any large scale plans, so let’s take a look at options that will get you the most bang for your buck.
If you don’t have a website you’re severely handicapping yourself. Creating a site with multiple pages allowing you to up your SEO factor (more on that below) will help you pop up the next time someone is doing a Google search for what you’re selling. What’s perhaps even more important is that most customers will use your website as a way to validate that you’re a legitimate business.
Without a website, you may as well not even exist. Hard truth.Other benefits of having a website:
- Collect customer contact information
- Gather intel about your customer base by tracking page visits
- Control your brand image by having information about your business online
- Be more accessible to your customers by including your contact information
- Educate site visitors about all of your offerings
- Direct traffic to your social media accounts
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a necessity. Businesses across the board are beginning to invest heavily into their SEO strategies in order to attract as much organic site traffic as possible. If your business shows up in the primary search results on any search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo) you’ll be more likely to gain new clients without investing into any other marketing strategy. Of course, you should have a diverse marketing plan, but SEO needs to be at the top of your list. Take a look at the chart below for an interesting look at SEO (Source: Search Engine Land).
Your blog does a couple of things for your business. First, it’s a way to increase your SEO standings. You’ll have the freedom to meaningfully incorporate keywords, HTML clues, backlinks, keep your content fresh, etc. It also provides you with the opportunity to establish yourself as a subject matter expert.
Your blog topics should be useful and of interest to your client base. Don’t use it as a personal journal. Include topics that make your products easier to use, write about relevant industry news and trends and write about topics that may not directly pertain to your offerings but that someone who uses your services would find helpful.
Related eBook: Business Blogging 101
Original Content (eBooks, Whitepapers, Infographics, etc.)
While we’re on the topic of useful content…offering eBooks, white papers, and infographics for free download (or in exchange for signing up for a mailing list) can be tremendously useful in multiple ways. You’ll demonstrate that you’ve got a working and expert level knowledge of a given topic establishing your credibility within your industry. You’ll also be giving site visitors a reason to come back—to check if you’ve created any more original content!
One of the biggest benefits of online advertising is how much control you have over your budget. Google Analytics provides a wealth of information regarding the success of your advertisements allowing you to keep what’s working and ditch what’s not. Your campaigns can be tailored to your ideal demographic ensuring you’re getting in front of the right people, too.
Social Media Marketing
Consider this: 90% of our time on mobile is spent on email and messaging platforms, according to Chatbot Magazine. That means that people are beginning to use their messenger apps more than the social network itself and any experienced marketer will tell you that you need to go where the people are and as of now, that’s in the messenger apps.
Chatbots allow you to connect with users via messenger apps using set responses for common FAQ’s or by even helping someone make a purchase. Services like MobileMonkey make it simple for anyone to build a bot regardless of your technical prowess.
Create a Community
If your products/services inspire a following of like-minded people, meaningfully engage with them to create an online community. Ask questions and invite their feedback and opinions on topics relevant to the group. Go beyond simple self-promotion and share newsworthy information on their common interests, like and share your followers’ posts, and ask them to like and share your posts as well.
Don’t just post blocks of text. Incorporate fun videos and interesting imagery—otherwise your profiles will begin to feel stale. Social media is the ideal place to show off your brand’s personality. Careful not to post the same thing across your social media profiles all the time, otherwise your followers will know what to expect and not feel the need to visit all of your pages.
Until further notice, email marketing should always be a part of your mix. Regular communication keeps you in front of your customers and top of mind so the next time they’re in the market for what you’ve got, they’ll head your way. While it’s easy to create an email blast cadence—then set it and forget it—don’t! Put some time and thought into which customers should receive each communication and don’t overstay your welcome either. Segment your mailing list and target your messages appropriately otherwise you’ll get tossed in their spam folders faster than you can say “Delete”.
Snail mail never hurt anyone! People still appreciate a hard copy of a coupon or flyer advertising seasonal specials. Keep direct mail to a minimum since it can become pricey but don’t leave it out entirely. There’s a whole world of people who rarely go online, don’t alienate them by ignoring offline marketing strategies!
Events and Activities
Hosting an event doesn’t have to be a huge production and can really draw a crowd especially if you’re in a high foot traffic area. If you’re looking to host an event on the low-key end, choose a fun holiday that coincides with your business (for instance, July 20th is National Get to Know Your Customers Day) and set up a table outside your shop enticing passersby’s to stop in.
(For more holiday ideas, download our full (free) marketing calendar here.
If you’re up for something more substantial, coordinate with complementary businesses in the area to host a joint event. Each business benefits from access to one another’s customers, you share the costs, and you create a fun activity for your clients helping to strengthen their loyalty to your brand.
With such varied options to throw into your marketing mix, you’re sure to find the perfect combination to suit your business, budget, and goals.