In today’s highly digital business landscape, small businesses are not just competing with themselves; they also compete in the big leagues, going up against large, global brands with million-dollar marketing budgets.
That’s why it is extremely important to have a solid marketing strategy no matter what you sell. However, this is usually easier said than done given that most small businesses run on a lean budget.
In this quick post, we take a look at 5 tried-and-true marketing tips small businesses can leverage to stay competitive and boost their bottom lines.
1- Create an actionable marketing plan
A great marketing plan is crucial to any size business. It’ll serve as a marketing roadmap, a blueprint that tells you where you are as a business, where you should be in a specified timeframe, and what you can do to get there.
However before you can create one, you need to define what your marketing goals are. This will help decide where you should center your efforts, where to spend your marketing dollars for optimal results, and eventually how you define & measure success.
Equally important, your goals must be clear and realistic. Define exactly what you want to accomplish in the next 3, 6 or 12 months with your marketing strategy.
For instance, do you wish to increase sales by $50,000? Generate 100 new leads? Make sure they are well-defined so you can work earnestly towards reaching your target.
That isn’t all, though. You must also commit to your goals every step of the way, particularly once your marketing plan is in full motion.
Don’t forget to document your plan and goals, as well as make them public. If it’s within your reach, you can bring in an extra pair of eyes to lend an “outside perspective”.
2- A professional website is a must-have
There’s no debate about having a responsive website for your small business. It’s your single-most-important digital asset since it puts your business and products in front of around 90 percent of your potential customers.
At the very basic, you can use your website to showcase who you are, where you are located, what you do, and how prospects can contact you. In a nutshell: it helps give your business a digital presence.
More than that, a well-designed, professional-looking website can play a pivotal role in building credibility, increasing brand awareness, and enhancing customer service, all of which can help your small business effectively compete on the digital front.
It’s also a marketing channel in and of itself, in addition to lending your small business some legitimacy online. Let’s not forget this puts your company ahead of 29 percent of small businesses that are yet to build a website.
When you are ready to create a website for business, here are a few best practices to consider that will help you make the most out of it:
Make sure it’s mobile-friendly. This makes sense considering that 72 percent of users will use only mobile devices for online access by 2025, as reported by CNBC.
Optimize it for the web. Writing enticing web copy and adding beautiful images may help attract, delight and convert more visitors.
Website loading speed matters. A typical internet user will abandon your website if it loads longer than 3 seconds, according to Business Insider.
Create an impressive customer experience (CX). Adding user-generated content, instant messaging feature and a rich FAQ page may come in handy.
3- Utilize content marketing: start blogging
Content marketing is a relatively inexpensive and powerful strategy that every small business should adopt.
Posting regular, high-quality content will help you improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO), drive web traffic, and build credibility with leads and prospective customers. It also provides you with valuable material for social media marketing, allowing you to establish authority and share meaningful information with your target audience.
With ad blocking wreaking havoc to paid advertising, it may be your only tactic for customer acquisition and lead generation. After all, 7 out of 10 people would rather learn about a brand through an article over ads, as noted by HBR.
Nonetheless, content marketing can be tricky at first for most startups and small businesses. That’s especially true if you don’t have the necessary skill set.
According to Digital Authority Partners, content marketing is now ubiquitous, but there are a few things you should keep in mind to cut above the rest:
- Study your audience so you can deliver tailored content
- It starts with great content. Make sure it’s original, informative, thoughtful, and relevant.
- Add relevant keywords to improve SEO. This can be done in a breeze using a nifty tool like Google Keyword Planner.
- Source backlinks from high-authority websites
- Promote your content. Use influencers, social media, email, events, paid ads, and other avenues to build buzz for your content.
- Breathe new life to old content. Refresh your content with new nuggets of advice, strike outdated information, and fix broken links.
While blog posts are the most prevalent form of content, you can also leverage video, infographics, Q&A’s, podcasts, and webinars, just to name a few.
4- Create an email list
Email is often seen as a tool for communication by most small businesses, but it can still be a major marketing channel if used properly. And there’s a good reason behind this.
Despite the conventional sentiment, email has proven to be more effective than most social medial platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. That’s because your emails are more likely to be “seen” than what you post on social media.
Email delivers an impressive ROI. In fact, you can expect to earn an average of $44 back for every one dollar you invest in email marketing.
Email marketing done right includes several aspects …
- Segment your email list
- Test before hit send – perhaps have someone proofread it first.
- Hit the right note with a killer headline – you’ve got only one chance to impress!
- It must be optimized for mobile
- Don’t be afraid to be personal
- Include a social bio
- Be consistent
Once the boat has left the shore, you must regularly track, analyze, and optimize your email campaigns.
5- Go social
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms might sound like a place where people go to catch up and socialize. However, it can be an outstanding marketing tool for small businesses.
It can help you improve SEO ranking, up web traffic, and engage with prospective customers. But you aren’t alone.
Every smart business is on a race to get the attention of 3.5-billion global social media users.
The trick is to share valuable content that will likely resonate with your target audience. Another great way is to use the comment section as a conversation starter. If you have room in your budget, you can run paid social ads and promote your content.
Don’t forget non-traditional platforms like Reddit, WhatsApp, and TikTok.
Every small business would benefit from more leads, more web traffic, more social engagement, a greater sense of credibility, and reduced cost of marketing.
To compete in an increasingly globalized space, small businesses must create a solid marketing plan and a professional website, as well as leverage social media, email, and content as their go-to marketing channels.