Every business has to start somewhere, and often that somewhere is a scrappy team pulling late nights trying to make a dream into a reality. You know that leveraging marketing strategies for small businesses is crucial to your success, but where to start? There are a million things to do and you have to remain cognizant of your limited budget.
While you (probably) won’t transform into the next Amazon overnight, with a clear plan and targeted marketing efforts, you can build a solid foundation that will set your business up for long-term growth. Let’s take a look at how.
8 Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
Define Clear Goals
As a small business, your resources, time, and personnel are limited. That means you need to make every move count; don’t just take random shots in the dark hoping your marketing strategy will hit the target. Instead, really hash it all out before you launch any marketing initiatives. Define your target audience. Figure out what channels appeal to them most. Think about what pain points your product or service solves for them and what makes your company unique. Determine what markers will determine success and identify both long and short-term goals. Then, work to create an attainable roadmap for how to reach those goals and set up the appropriate tracking. This way, you won’t waste time and money going down the wrong path.
Take Care of Your Customers
When you’re a small business whose audience may be confined to a narrow geographic area, word-of-mouth can make a big difference. Now, I’m not saying to start spreading rumors about the wonders of your company on the street. But making sure customers feel satisfied and appreciated can go a long way. This can be as simple as sending thank you emails, gathering feedback (and using that feedback to make improvements), responding to negative reviews with solutions, or providing coupons or other promotional materials. Every customer counts, so don’t burn any bridges.
Optimize Your Website
If your small business doesn’t have a website yet, get one. It doesn’t matter if your customers are entirely local; you need a website. If you have a website, it’s time to make sure it’s in good shape. A well designed, easy to navigate website is well worth the investment. A technical site audit is a good idea too. Issues such as slow site speed, broken links, or a site that isn’t mobile friendly can quickly deter would-be customers.
SEO in general is a critical pillar of digital marketing, but local SEO is particularly important for small business, especially those with a primarily local audience. Make sure your Google My Business profile is set up, that NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) info is correct across platforms, that phone numbers are clickable, and that titles/metas are optimized for your business. You’ll also want to add geo-targeted keywords to your site to make sure local customers are directed to your business.
Ads are a great option for small businesses since they typically provide a faster return on investment compared to organic strategies. This will help you reap some short-term rewards while you are waiting for your more long-term strategies to show results. Just make sure that these ads are still done in a thoughtful way. Always keep in mind your audience and the unique angle that your business offers.
Modern consumers expect businesses to be on social media. And it’s not enough to just make a profile and hope people will find you, either. You need to post engaging content consistently, have your business’ info displayed prominently, respond to customer communications via social media platforms, and use these platforms to define your brand. Think about what platform is most likely to appeal to your audience, too. If you are a B2B company, LinkedIn will be more important than if you are a B2C company. If you sell something highly visual (for example, an art gallery), Instagram is your best friend. If you’re targeting a young, hip demographic, it may be time to dive into the world of TikTok. You’ll also want to consider Facebook and Instagram ads as a powerful tool to target the people most likely to become customers.
Email marketing is a tried and true digital marketing strategy that you shouldn’t forget about. Create a personalized feel by refining your emails according to your unique audience. Try to create real value for your readers rather than simply bombarding them with fluff.
Initially, content marketing may seem like a less effective strategy for small businesses. After all, consistently posting quality content can take a lot of time and effort, especially if you do not have in-house writers/editors, and is not the fastest way to boost ROI. However, content marketing is an excellent strategy for long-term growth, which is something small businesses need. Content marketing can encompass many different types of content, from a blog to whitepapers to a newsletter to video content. Focus your efforts on the types of content most likely to appeal to your desired audience and use it as an opportunity to target the keywords potential customers are typing into Google.
Setting Your Business Up For Long-Term Growth
There is no marketing strategy that can magically make your business blow up. Every technique will take some trial and error and time before you can truly reap the rewards. But with steady, intentional marketing initiatives—whether these are done in-house or by a digital marketing agency—your small business will begin to flourish. Keep your business goals at the core of every marketing move and soon you will find yourself looking back and marveling at how different your business looked when it all began.