A marketing strategy is not something you rush into half-heartedly. As with any major decision, having a sound plan of action is probably more important than the actual results themselves. Planning your future will give you confidence.
So, let’s take a look at the top marketing strategies for small business.
Two million small to medium sized businesses advertise on Facebook; it’s an inexpensive and effective way to market to virtually any audience.
Image Credit: ibisinfotech.com
Facebook ads excel at advanced targeting. They allow you to target a specific audience based on location, interests, age, sex, online behavior, and many other factors.
Creating Facebook ads is very easy. You just need a solid headline, a bit of descriptive copy, one image, and a link.
Promote your app icon here as well.
The Facebook Ads Manager also makes it fairly simple to run and test multiple ad sets, allowing you to hone in on a winning formula and reach profitability without needing advanced technical expertise.
That said, many new users have a lot of difficulty succeeding with their initial campaigns. It takes some persistence, but on the plus side, Facebook’s popularity has produced numerous 3rd party tools that can help you succeed.
If you decide that Facebook is the right channel for you, I’d recommend using a tool like AdEspresso to run your campaigns and speed up your journey to positive ROI.
If you run a business that has a strong visual component, it might be worth trying out Instagram Ads instead. As a subsidiary of Facebook, Instagram Ads benefit from the same data base and targeting options, while allowing you to connect with an audience that is better primed for visual sales.
- Facebook Advertising Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide by Neil Patel
- How to Run App Install Ads On Facebook by Aki Merced
Google My Business
Ranking your Google My Business (GMB) listing is one of the most powerful things you can do for your business.
In fact, if you run a local business targeting local clients, I would dare to say it is THE most powerful strategy available to you.
For example, if someone searches for a “Portland contractor”, this is what they see:
What you are seeing here is one paid ad, followed by THREE Google My Business listings before we even see the normal organic search results. If you can rank your GMB listing in these top 3, you can pull in large numbers of highly qualified leads day in and day out without needing to spend a dime on ads.
Google My Business combines all your different Google platforms into one central place, which includes your Google+ profile, Google Maps profile, your Google reviews, access to data on Google Analytics and Google Insights, and more.
If you have a unique brand name, you can even get a large display like this to show when people search for that name:
GMB immediately gives your business credibility and visibility, and as I said before, if you run a local business, it should be #1 on your priority list.
And best of all, ranking your GMB listing is really not that hard. It simply requires you to optimize your profile and then collect reviews and citations.
- How to optimize your Google My Business listing: expert tips by Graham Charlton
- 7 SEO Mistakes That Leak Money From Local Businesses by Jacob McMillen
There are more than 40,000 search queries on Google every second. No other advertising method has the potential to get your business before that many pairs of eyes.
Google Adwords is sort of the godfather of online marketing channels. It’s been around a long time. It’s competitive. It’s expensive. And if you know what you’re doing, it can work very, very well for you.
Despite being a paid channel, Adwords’ goal is still to deliver relevant search results to users, and as a result, it will be less expensive for you when you are utilizing proper on-page SEO.
Google assigns a quality score to your ad, which is dependent on CTR (Click Through Rate), relevance and the landing page your ad sends traffic to. This quality score factors into the bid rate you will need to get an ad displayed, with higher scores lowering the bid cost.
Unlike many of the channels we will discuss today, Adwords is a remarkably symbiotic channel that can be paired with many other strategies to maximize output. As a paid marketing channel, it also allows you to obtain immediate results and can scale as far as your budget allows.
- The Complete Google AdWords Tutorial by Jerry Banfield
- The Iceberg Effect: How Your AdWords Strategy Is Slowly Drowning by Johnathan Dane
18% of marketers say that content marketing has the greatest commercial impact on their business of any channel in 2016.
Image Credit: SmartInsights
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and drive profitable customer action.
Unlike paid advertising, content marketing focuses more on long-term results. The initial payoff tends to be low, but the long-term, sustainable growth in visitors, leads, and customers can single-handedly carry a business.
Content marketing is not easy, however, and requires every element to be done right:
- Quality content
- Relevant topics
- Optimized for SEO
- Optimized for readers
- Consistent content creation & promotion
Content is not limited to blog posts. It includes videos, podcasts, online courses, and a host of other mediums in which people consume information.
If you are considering this strategy for your own business, make sure you have the time and capital needed to get going with no initial ROI, and then DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Too many businesses these days are just wasting resources creating mediocre content with no payoff, now or ever.
- Getting Started With Content Marketing by Content Marketing Institute
- Why You Need a Growth Model For Your Blog (And How to Create One) by Devesh Khanal
- How to Start a Blog in 2020 (and Make Money): Free Easy Guide to Start Blogging Today
by Ryan Robinson
Organic Social Media
Using social media for business is really a non-negotiable.
67% of consumers use social media for customer support, and 33% prefer using social media instead of the telephone. If people can’t find your business via social media, they will look for your competitors who ARE present on preferred social channels.
The real question isn’t whether you should have active social media accounts, it’s how much time and resources you should be investing in growing your social audiences.
For some businesses, it makes sense to invest heavily in organic social media growth.
For example, Instagram users that follow fashion influencers are actively looking to purchase new styles. By building an active, fashion-savvy audience, a clothing retailer can build a consistent direct sales channel.
For other businesses, investing in Instagram might not make sense.
The key is identifying where your customers are and how they like to be approached. If social media is the answer to both those questions, it’s the perfect channel for your business.
- 7 Step Beginner’s Guide To Effective Social Media for Small Business by Jamil Velji
- The Ultimate Guide To Creating The Perfect Social Media Calendar by Sandrine Sahakians
Coupon Deal Sites
Whether you sell a product or offer a service, you can use coupon deal sites like Groupon to quickly promote your business.
Coupon deal sites amass massive audiences, grouped by location, and then allow local, regional or even national businesses to offer limited-time discounts to their members.
Benefits include mass exposure, targeted local advertising, increased brand awareness, and an influx of new customers. The cost comes in the form of low revenue per sale. In the case of Groupon, you are required to discount your product by at least 50%, and at least half the revenue goes to Groupon.
In other words, unless you are running a 300% markup, you will lose money on your Groupon deal. It’s essentially paid advertising.
The primary purpose for using coupon deal sites is not sales. The more significant your discount, the more popular your deal will be. The goal is to get people in your door or trying your product, and from there, your customer retention strategies kick in.
As an added bonus, many new potential customers will browse your website even if they don’t decide to purchase the deal.
But be warned!
If your deal gains traction, you can quickly be overcome by more customers than you are prepared to handle, and if you don’t do the math correctly, you can lose a lot of money. It’s important to be ready and to have a plan for handling different tiers of new business.
It’s also important to have flawless customer service during the period after running your deal, with the expectation that your coupon-driven customers will be even harder to please than normal customers.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Follow deals going on in your area and see how they play out. If you can, talk with fellow business owners who have run deals and learn from their experience.
And make sure – for the love of all that is good and decent – make sure you do the math.
- Doing The Math On A Groupon Deal by Jay Goltz
- The Real Cost of Groupon and What it Means to Your Marketing Planning by Mana Ionescu
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Most people search for information online, and organic search can account for the majority of a website’s traffic. This makes optimizing your website for SEO extremely important. Through strategic SEO, you can introduce yourself to leads with a high need state or purchase intent, which can make this kind of business easier to close. Furthermore, if a customer searches for help with a problem and your website comes up, this helps position you as a credible, trustworthy source to help them.
If you’ve built your email list right, you’ve gathered a group of people who have expressed some interest in your company or product. By segmenting this group based on different characteristics and then emailing them with the right content and offers at the right time in their customer journey, you can influence a purchase decision successfully with no added impact to your marketing budget.
Affiliates are a cost-effective way to build sales without adding large fixed marketing costs like advertising. Because they have skin in the game, affiliates are properly incentivized to promote your products or services and are only rewarded if they are successful. These affiliates can take the form of influencers, content publishers and review or coupon sites, and you can structure the partnerships to pay out based on clicks, leads or sales.
Tapping into the goodwill of happy, existing customers is one of the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective ways to grow. Mobilize your customers to spread the word about your products or services by reminding them to share their experiences and incentivizing them to bring new business to you. You’ll likely get highly qualified leads at a lower overall cost of acquisition than if you had to find them on your own.
Even with a modest budget, there are many options available to you to create a solid marketing plan as a startup or small business. By employing a number of different affordable strategies that address the entire marketing funnel, from awareness through conversion and advocacy, you can strategically, creatively and tactfully garner customers and build revenues to eventually reinvest in your marketing efforts and speed up your growth.
The value of a credible third party touting your praises cannot be underestimated. Not only do press articles and earned media gain you trust, but you can also benefit from a wider distribution by leveraging their existing audiences. Influencers and bloggers can fall into this category and can share your company with their followers, which gains you an endorsement with potentially exponential reach. Stunts can also be a creative (and low-cost, if done right) way to garner media attention or that of your target market.
Creating content that’s relevant and interesting to your target audience can help you generate new leads by capturing their interest and building trust. It can also help increase your close ratio by building your brand, answering customer questions and providing reasons why prospects should choose you. From articles to infographics to eBooks and even videos, you should showcase your expertise, differentiation and brand values to attract potential customers and help those who are already considering you to make that purchase decision. Great content also often gets featured and backlinked, so you can increase your domain authority by placing it on your website. MORE FOR YOUQueen Elizabeth Advised By Doctors To Rest Two More Weeks
Partnering with another company or organization that has a similar target customer can help you both increase your reach and marketing abilities if you pool your resources together to build your brands. Complimentary products and services can be a great place to start. By sharing email lists, exchanging blogs, bundling offerings or even co-branding programs, ads or sponsorships, you can create win-win situations for both partners.
In order to succeed as a small business you must promote your company online. This is often time consuming and very expensive. However, there are many simple strategies that can be implemented by any small business owner to help promote their company. Small businesses do not need to spend thousands of dollars on advertisements in order to be successful. You can instead spend just a few dollars on some social media ads to increase the visibility of your company for very little money.