Many small business owners fall into the trap of believing that there is not enough capital in the company to go big on marketing. But, in reality, this is exactly why marketing should be a priority. Any form of marketing should be considered as an investment rather than a cost and the key for small business owners is to work smarter, and not harder.
Another temptation for small business owners is to go about their marketing in-house, in order to make it more cost-effective. Whilst on the face of it this seems to make sense, the truth is that using a digital media agency albeit more expensive, will actually provide you with better value for money and higher levels of income as a result of their marketing efforts. Regardless of whether you decide to go it alone or work with a specialist digital marketing agency, here are some tips on how you can supercharge your small business marketing efforts.
Let’s start at the most important point for businesses, which is, of course, their online shop window. This is the place to which all roads point and it is the place where your marketing efforts will bear fruit or fail.
Brand identity is about creating a design that screams out who you are and what you do, and your website needs to reflect this. From the moment that someone hits your page, they should have an instant understanding of the personality of your business, what it does and what is available to them.
Ease of Navigation
Your website visitors will quickly turn back where they came from if you have a website that is tough and slow to navigate. In fact, if you start marketing before you get your house in order, all you will be doing is showing the world that you’ve got a poorly functioning website, which will, of course, have the opposite effect to what you are looking for. Ensure that there are no broken links and that the page load time is slick, make navigation simple so that your visitors will stick around.
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Calls to Action
Calls to action when a user hits your site can give you the chance to take them right to where they need to be, as well as helping you to build your email list. Keep this simple and do not overload the customer with multiple pop-ups.
Social media should form a core part of your small business marketing strategy, be it paid for or otherwise. Regardless, here are some key things to consider when using social media for business.
Don’t restrict yourself to just one or two social media channels, cast your net wide and look to use as many as you possibly can. Remember that each channel requires something a little different, photos and videos are great on Instagram for example but don’t perform well on Reddit or Twitter. Learn about these channels and then leverage each one to spread your message.
Engage with Your Audience
In terms of social media, the clue really is in the title… ‘social’, and you must endeavor to play your role within this community. Engaging with your customers is essential and we don’t just mean replying to their queries. When posting content, you have to bear them in mind and utilize calls to action such as polls to really stoke the fire.
“The more involved that you are, the more that they will be and that means that your message will quickly spread further.” – as mentioned by Jeremy Decker, the PPC Manager at Local Digital.
Each social media platform has an algorithm that it uses to identify who should see what, and when. If you are only posting from time to time then your content will be seen by fewer people, and therefore will be engaged with by fewer people. It is important therefore that you are disciplined with the amount of content that you are putting out each day and that you invest significant time and energy into making sure that it is of very high quality.
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The 80/20 rule indicates that you use 80% of your content across social media giving value to your followers and subscribers. You will then use the other 20% to promote your brand, business or products. This rule ensures that you aren’t simply bombarding your customers with sales pitches. You are in act giving them some value which will increase their loyalty to you and their likeliness to spend money when you do deliver a pitch.
There are also, of course, many paid options which you can look to when you want to give your digital marketing a shot in the arm, which vary in terms of the financial outlay that you’ll have to make. As any small business owner knows, the key to finally deciding on making a marketing investment comes down to the return on investment, and these are some of the most cost-effective for small businesses.
Search engine optimization involves using a number of different strategies. Primarily it involves the content produced by a company website. Secondly, involving the user experience, and the trust flow through links that a website has. These strategies all have one aim and that is to work within the algorithm of a search engine in order to boost where the business ranks in the search results for certain keywords. When consumers search for ‘Italian restaurant in Perth’ they want to see the best results at the top of the search results. Google and other search engines know this. It is for this reason that algorithms exist. Through the use of SEO, you can tap into that and launch your business to the top pages. This will bring increased sales and brand visibility.
Pay Per Click
Pay per click is another highly cost-effective tool that small businesses can utilize to bring more people through the door. The premise of this is very simple; you create a great looking ad using a service such as Google AdWords, and you link your ad to the relevant landing page on your site. The ad will be placed on relevant websites that are within your particular niche. Then every time someone clicks on the ad, you will pay a small fee. The benefit of PPC advertising is not only that you can set financial limits for your adverts, but you also won’t be paying for what is essentially a static ad, which consumers will still be able to see and feel influenced by.
Email Marketing Software
The reason we mentioned calls to action on your website earlier is that having a great email list is essential for your small business marketing efforts. Using the information which you discover about a potential or existing customer, we can send them personalized emails in order to gain maximum engagement. You can use targeted email marketing to share offers and keep customers up to date. You can bring back customers who haven’t been around for a while and have a direct line of communication with potential and existing customers.
One trick which many miss out on is remarketing. Remarketing is a total tool that will help small businesses to bring in more sales and more profits. There are few things more frustrating than seeing that a customer has been on your site, added products to their cart and then abandoned it. When this happens, your business should be on the front foot with a follow-up email to let them know that they still have products left in their cart. Alternatively, you can add a pop-up which is activated when the customer clicks to leave the site, adding an extra touch of inspiration for them to complete their purchase. Remarketing can be a vital weapon in your marketing arsenal.
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Year on year we are seeing much higher volumes of organic search, purchases, and referrals being made using mobile devices. This includes small businesses. Small business owners have to tap into their local communities. Be aware that consumers are actively using their mobile phones to find nearby businesses and services. What this means for your marketing efforts is that you must ensure that your website is mobile-optimized. You also should have a section of your marketing campaign which focuses on the mobile-only audience. Naturally, your social media efforts will fit into this perfectly. You may even wish to push more people towards mobile by offering promotions and discounts for those who are using your mobile site.
Finally, it is absolutely essential that no matter what kind of marketing strategy you are using, that you perfectly understand the metrics which are produced about the activity of the customer. The key metrics you need to be looking into is the demographics or your customers, who is engaging and when, understanding how to gauge your online reputation, identifying the best landing pages and sources, and ultimately using these metrics to finely tune your future marketing endeavors. The better that you can understand your metrics, the better that you’ll be able to track the progress of your marketing campaigns and make it more streamlined as you move on.
Supercharge your small business marketing and just watch the difference it will make for your company’s fortunes.