As a small business owner, it can be challenging to cut through the noise and get your company noticed. But fortunately, there are several tried-and-true marketing strategies for small businesses that will help get your small business noticed and attract loyal customers, some of which will cost you nothing more than a little of your time.
This article takes an in-depth look at 6 proven digital marketing strategies – all designed to help your small business grow this year and begin reaching its potential.
The Power of a Well-Executed Marketing Strategy
You might have a great business that’s loved by all who know about it. But the problem is, relatively very few people may know about it. And that’s why marketing is a critical aspect of your business, regardless of its size. It helps to increase brand visibility, build a loyal customer base, and generate revenue. Effective marketing can help you establish trust and credibility in your local area and position your business as a leader in your industry.
But as you know, small local businesses face unique challenges when it comes to marketing initiatives. Limited budgets, a lack of resources, and a saturated market can make it challenging for you to create an effective marketing plan.
And with so many different marketing channels available, from social media to email marketing to SEO (search engine optimization), it can be challenging to know where to focus your time, efforts, and money.
Despite all of those obstacles, a small business marketing strategy is an essential element to your business. And there are several small business marketing strategies that can help you overcome these challenges and create an effective marketing plan. By focusing on the channels that are most likely to reach your target audience and then measuring ROI accurately, your small business can develop marketing strategies that drive growth and success.
Effective marketing can help you establish trust and credibility and position your business as a leader in your industry.
Strategy 1: Utilizing Social Media Platforms
Social media is a powerful tool that can help your small business connect with your target audience. You have access to an incredible potential customer base, with millions of users worldwide and tens or hundreds of thousands of local users. And the best part is, it’s all for free!
However, you might feel that social media won’t work for the type of business you have, that it might be challenging to stand out in a crowded social media landscape, or that you don’t have the expertise or the time.
If that’s how you feel, we understand. But trust us, many businesses like yours have had similar feelings but when they implemented social media marketing in the right way, it worked for them. And it can work for you. But it’s important to choose the right social media channels based on your business’s goals and target audience.
Choosing the right social media channels
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok are all popular social media channels that can help you reach a broad audience. Each platform has its unique features and audience demographics, so it’s important to do a little research and determine which platforms your target audience is most active on.
For example, if your business targets the younger demographic, TikTok and Instagram might be the best platforms to focus your social media strategy on. But if your business targets, say, homeowners, then Facebook or Twitter might work better for you. Your target audience is out there, you just need to determine where to find them on social media.
Remember, it’s not about being present on every platform, but rather about being present where your target audience is most active and receptive to your message.
Creating engaging content
To succeed in social media marketing, you need to create engaging content that appeals to your audience. This content can either be photos, videos, blog posts, or infographics. Your content should always be relevant, informative, and visually appealing to capture the attention of your audience.
One way to create engaging content is to tell a story. People love stories, and they are more likely to engage with content that resonates emotionally with them. For example, if you run a restaurant, you could create a video showcasing the story behind your signature dish and the inspiration behind it. Or if you run a service-based business, you can show a before and after of your work or a case study about how you helped a customer. The possibilities are endless; you just need to think about what your target market would want to see.
And don’t forget about videos. So many people today love getting their information through videos. And you don’t need to go out and buy an expensive high-tech video camera because you already have one–your mobile phone. That’s all you need to create short videos to post on social media.
So for example, if you’re a retailer, you could create short videos showcasing your products in action. Or if you’re a service business, you could share bite-sized video tips related to your niche. The possibilities are endless and this honestly is one of the most under-utilized marketing strategies today.
Social media is a powerful tool that can help your small business connect with your target audience. And the best part is, it’s free!
Strategy 2: Content Marketing
Content marketing is a powerful tool that can help you establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. By providing valuable, informative, and educational content to your audience, you can build trust and credibility with them. And if your competitors are not doing this, it can be a powerful tool to help you get ahead and stay ahead.
Here are some tips for implementing a successful content marketing strategy for your small business:
Starting a blog
One of the most effective ways to provide valuable content to your audience is by starting a blog on your business website. Your blog can become a hub for all your content marketing efforts, such as guest posts, infographics, and videos. By consistently publishing high-quality content, you can attract and retain a loyal audience.
But starting a blog is not just about creating content–you need to have a clear strategy in place to ensure that your blog is going to help you achieve your business goals. This includes identifying your target audience, understanding what they want, the customer journey, defining your brand voice, and setting realistic goals for your blog.
But in this regard, we need to mention two mistakes you must avoid: not creating content on a regular basis and using your content to only self-promote.
Listen, we get it, it’s hard to stick to a content creation schedule when you’re busy with so many other tasks. But you do need to try your best to create content for your blog consistently because it will help in several ways. First, it helps establish a consistent online presence, demonstrating to customers and search engines that your business is active, reliable, and knowledgeable in your industry. In short, you become viewed as the expert in your niche to both potential customers and Google.
Fresh blog content also provides opportunities to target important keywords relevant to your business, improving your website’s visibility in search engine results and driving more organic traffic to your site.
Don’t solely self-promote.
Writing all about yourself on your blog can be tempting, and it’s ok to do so–sometimes. But for the most part, your blog should be about sharing knowledge and information that your audience would appreciate.
People don’t want to read advertisements about you disguised as blog posts. They can learn about you everywhere else on your website. Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule; sometimes you do need to write about your company or products or services to explain some things. But generally speaking, your blog should be created around the idea of sharing valuable information which will result in establishing your business as the trusted expert in your niche.
Create valuable and informative content
Creating valuable and informative content is key to establishing your brand as a thought leader in your industry. Your content should address your audience’s pain points, answer their questions, and provide solutions to their problems. By doing so, you can position yourself as an expert in your field and build trust with your audience.
Promote your content
Promoting your content is crucial to ensure that it reaches your target audience. Even the best content won’t get noticed if it’s not promoted effectively. There are many channels you can use to promote your content, such as social media, email marketing, and paid advertising.
But promoting your content is not just about sharing it on social media or sending out an email blast. You need to have a clear promotion strategy in place that takes into account your target audience, your marketing budget, and your goals. This may involve using different channels for different types of content or experimenting with different types of paid advertising.
Ultimately, the success of your content marketing strategy depends on your ability to create high-quality content that resonates with your target audience and to promote that content effectively. By following these tips, you can build a strong content marketing program that drives traffic, generates leads, and builds your brand.
Content marketing is a powerful tool that can help you establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
Strategy 3: Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great way for your small business to reach out and connect with your customers, build relationships, and drive conversions. Thanks to email campaigns, you can directly hit people’s inboxes with personalized messages tailored to their preferences and behaviors.
Plus, it’s a super cost-effective option that can really give your business an edge. You can use it to share valuable info like industry insights, tips, promotions or exclusive offers, plus track metrics like open rates, click-throughs and conversions so you can optimize your strategies over time.
In short: email marketing gives your business the power to engage with your audiences in a direct and meaningful way while ultimately nurturing leads and increasing sales.
Building an email list
Building an email list is a great way to keep in touch with your customers and reach out to your target audience. And it’s cost-effective, too. One of the best strategies for growing your email list is to provide exclusive content, discounts, or free resources.
You can create a landing page or simply add a sign-up form on your website to capture email addresses. You will want to highlight the reasons why they should sign up, which could be to receive valuable tips, advice, and industry knowledge, to get access to special promotions, discounts, and offers reserved for subscribers, or to get early access to new releases, limited edition products, or pre-sales before they are available to the general public. You can also use social media platforms to promote your email list and encourage your followers to sign up.
Remember that building an email list takes time, effort, and patience. It’s important to keep your subscribers engaged with valuable content and avoid bombarding them with too many emails.
Crafting effective email campaigns
Once you have built your email list, it’s time to craft effective email campaigns that resonate with your audience. Personalization is key to creating successful email campaigns. You can segment your audience based on their interests, demographics, or behavior to send targeted messages that are relevant to their needs and interests.
Another important element of effective email campaigns is attention-grabbing subject lines. Your subject line should be concise, clear, and compelling enough to entice your subscribers to open your email.
Make sure your email content is visually appealing, easy to read, and mobile-friendly. Use images, videos, and infographics to break up your text and make your message more engaging.
Measuring email marketing success
Measuring the success of your email marketing campaigns is essential to refine your strategy and improve your ROI. You can track several metrics, including open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.
Open rates measure the percentage of subscribers who opened your email, while click-through rates measure the percentage of subscribers who clicked on a link in your email. Conversion rates measure the percentage of subscribers who took action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form.
By analyzing these metrics, you can identify what works and what doesn’t in your email campaigns. You can then refine your strategy, test new ideas, and improve your results.
You can also use a drip email marketing strategy which will automatically send emails to your subscribers. So for example, if a subscriber didn’t open your email, they will automatically be sent it again at a predetermined time. And for those that did view your email, it will send them an automated sequence of emails afterward, again at a predetermined time. Once the emails have been created and the email sequence is set, you can let everything happen in the background automatically.
In conclusion, email marketing is a powerful tool that can help you reach out to your target audience directly. By building an email list, crafting effective email campaigns, using email automation, and measuring your success, you can create a successful email marketing strategy that drives results for your business.
Email marketing is a great way for your business to connect with your customers, build relationships, and drive conversions.
Strategy 4: Local SEO and Boosting Your Online Presence
As a small local business owner, it’s important to take advantage of every opportunity to reach potential customers. One of the most effective ways to do this is by optimizing your website for local search. By doing Local SEO (search engine optimization), you can increase your online visibility and attract more customers in your geographic area.
Optimizing your website for local search
When optimizing your website for local search, there are several key factors to keep in mind. First and foremost, you should focus on adding relevant keywords to your website’s content. These keywords should be specific to your geographic location and the products or services you offer.
In addition to adding keywords, you should also create local content that speaks directly to your target audience. This could include blog posts, articles, and other types of content that highlight the unique aspects of the services you provide in the community.
For example, if you’re a remodeling company in Chicago, you could write about energy-efficient remodeling solutions for historic Chicago homes. Or if you’re a dermatologist in New Orleans, you could write an article sharing skin care tips for humid weather.
Another very important step in optimizing your website for local search is claiming and optimizing your Google My Business profile. This free tool allows you to manage your business information across Google, including Search and Maps. By claiming and optimizing your profile, you can improve your chances of appearing in local search results and attract more customers to your business.
Claiming and updating online business listings
In addition to optimizing your website, you should also focus on claiming and updating your online business listings. This includes platforms such as Google, Yelp, and Bing, which are all important sources of information for potential customers.
By claiming your online business listings, you can ensure that your business information is accurate and up-to-date. This can help improve your online visibility and attract more customers to your business since there will be more places they can find you online.
Encouraging customer reviews
Finally, it’s important to encourage your customers to leave reviews on your website and platforms such as Google Maps and Yelp. Positive customer reviews can help your small business establish trust and credibility with potential customers, and can also improve your rankings in Google.
Make it easy for customers to leave reviews by including links to your online review profiles. You can also print special business cards to give to customers after the job is complete, asking them for a review online and including a direct link to the review site.
Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly
Considering the fact that 90% of Internet users in the US use their mobile phones to go online, it’s crucial that you optimize your website for mobile devices to provide a seamless user experience. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, loads quickly, and has a responsive design. And keep in mind that a site that is not mobile-friendly will affect your local search rankings and how much website traffic Google sends you.
Strategy 5: Networking and Partnerships
Networking and building partnerships can be a great way for small businesses to take their success to the next level and it’s cost-effective, too. If you’re looking to grow, attending local events and trade shows is a great way to do just that – meet potential customers, get connected with other businesses in your industry or related industries, show off what your business has to offer, and make valuable new contacts.
Attending local events and trade shows
If you’re looking to make your business more visible and get in front of more potential customers and partners, attending local events and trade shows could be a great way to do just that. It’s always nice to connect with people face-to-face, as it can help build better relationships than online communication alone. Plus, you can stay in the know about the latest trends and developments in your industry too.
When attending local events and trade shows, it’s important to come prepared. Have plenty of business cards and promotional materials ready so that you can make a great impression on interested attendees. To really stand out, why not consider running a special promotion or offering a discount for those who visit your booth or attend your presentation? This is an excellent way to build relationships and gain more customers. And don’t forget to be friendly and engaging – it makes all the difference!
You can find some local small business networking events here.
Building strategic partnerships
Do you want to increase your business’s reach and offer additional value to your customers? Consider building strategic partnerships with other businesses in your industry. Find companies that work with you to complement your services and create a comprehensive offering for your customers.
For instance, if you run a catering business, why not team up with an event planner in the area? Together, you can provide an all-inclusive experience for weddings and other special occasions, one that will make life easier and less stressful for every customer. It’s a win-win for everybody!
Or if you own a landscaping business, consider linking up with a local plant nursery. This way, you can offer customers the convenience of access to quality plants and materials as well as expert advice from both you and the nursery. Each of you could offer referred customers a discount. By working together, you can create an unbeatable package that combines your landscaping expertise with their horticultural know-how.
The key is to think about how you can collaborate with other small businesses to provide an enhanced service to your existing customers while growing your customer base.
Take advantage of these opportunities: partner up with like-minded businesses and create something bigger together. You’ll give yourself a competitive edge while providing unbeatable service to your customers.
Leveraging referrals and word-of-mouth marketing
Referral marketing can be a powerful tool for small businesses to attract new customers. Encourage your satisfied customers to refer their friends and family to your business. You can offer incentives such as discounts or free products or services to customers who refer others to your business.
Word-of-mouth marketing is also an important aspect of building your business. By far, the best way to generate word-of-mouth recommendations is by consistently delivering exceptional service and fostering positive relationships with customers. By creating a remarkable experience, you can turn your satisfied customers into enthusiastic brand advocates who will enthusiastically spread the word about your small local service business.
Networking and building partnerships can be a great cost-effective way for you to take your business to the next level.
Strategy 6: Paid Advertising
Paid advertising can be an effective way for small businesses to reach a broader audience and increase brand awareness. However, it can also be pricey, so it’s important to consider cost-effective alternatives first.
Another good choice is Google AdWords because it will help you get in front of users actively searching for services like yours.
Retargeting ads are yet another budget-friendly way of reaching potential customers as they target those who have already visited your website and/or expressed an interest in your business. A recent study by AdRoll found that this tactic can boost ad response up to 400%, and conversions can jump by an impressive 147%. So if you’re looking for a way to get more bang for your buck on digital ads, retargeting is definitely worth exploring.
When considering paid advertising, it’s important to keep in mind that not all platforms will be right for your business. For example, if your target audience is primarily older adults, platforms like Snapchat or TikTok may not be the best fit. Instead, consider platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn, which have a more mature user base.
Targeting the right audience
Targeting the right audience is essential to the success of your paid advertising efforts. To do this effectively, start by defining your ideal customer. Consider factors like age, gender, location, interests, and behavior. Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, you can use this information to create targeted ads that resonate with them.
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on how your ads are performing and make adjustments if needed. If you notice that your ads aren’t receiving the response you had hoped for from your target audience, there could be a couple of things to try like adjusting your targeting parameters or changing up the messaging. This way, you can make sure your ads are hitting their mark.
Measuring the ROI of your advertising efforts
Measuring the ROI (return on investment) of your advertising efforts is essential to understanding the effectiveness of your campaigns. After all, you want to know that the time and money you’re investing in paid ads are actually worth it. To do this, focus on three key metrics: impressions, clicks, and conversions.
Impressions let you know how often your ad was seen by potential customers. Clicks tell you how many people took the time to click on your ad. And conversions reveal how many users completed a desired action such as making a purchase or filling out a form. By closely monitoring these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into what’s working for your business and where there may be room for improvement.
Paid advertising can be a great way to reach more customers and boost your brand awareness. So make sure you’re taking advantage of cost-effective options, targeting the right audience, and tracking your ROI. This will help ensure that your campaigns are driving real results for your business.
Thrive Through Continuous Improvement
If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, effective marketing strategies can help you do just that. With social media, content marketing, email marketing, local SEO, networking, partnerships, and paid advertising all working together, you’ll be able to attract more customers and keep them engaged and satisfied.
It’s important to remember that as your business grows so should your marketing efforts. Prioritize what’s most beneficial for your business at the time and measure the ROI accurately so you get results on your investments. That way you can stay one step ahead of the competition.
And don’t forget: keep improving your company’s marketing strategy continuously as this will help you keep up with changing customer needs and maximize your marketing effectiveness.