There are a number of ways to market a small business. From social media ads to email campaigns, a small business owner has an endless selection of tactics to try.
Below, 12 small business owners talk about digital marketing strategies that actually work to drive results for their small businesses.
Search Engine Optimization
We love SEO! Small businesses oftentimes can’t compete with larger corporations in the world of PPC, because corporations have deep pockets that small businesses don’t. This is why we choose SEO marketing. It levels the playing field by focusing on organic search results, meaning that the quality of your product or service matters– you’re not just buying your place at the top of a Google search results page.
Keep a Blog
Keep a blog about your business and industry. By writing frequently about your business, you give it a personality and face for your audience. You also build credibility with your audience by sharing your knowledge. Newsletters and email campaigns work well for keeping in touch with existing customers, but when you blog you add another service to your business and increase its visibility.
Find a Hands-Off Approach
Small businesses have a limited budget and restraints on time. As a result, a great marketing strategy should maximize ROI and produce leads in a very hands-off way. Social media and email marketing are great for exposure and building brand awareness, but they both require constant maintenance and their value expires soon after they are published. Small business SEO, on the other hand, produces sustainable leads for years after a piece of content is optimized for search engines and published on a company website.
Utilize Organic Traffic
Any form of advertising – including email campaigns – must accept that the vast majority of the audience will not have a need for the product at the time they see the advert. When they have the need, they will likely have forgotten the advertisement. If a prospect finds your product with a search engine, then you at least know there is a good chance they want the product at the time they search. And if they find it from an organic search rather than pay-per-click, they will believe it even more. So getting your product high up in the search engines is undoubtedly the best strategy. However, you must be able to generate interesting content and reckon on it taking a year or more.
Engage With Your Audience Via Social Media
Currently, I run two blogs: The Platinum Passport (personal travel blog) and The Posh Pear (health and wellness review blog) – both of which I use Instagram to interact with my following. Almost immediately after I post to either account, whether it be a call to action for my viewers to see a new blog post, participate in a poll, or make connections and get feedback in real-time under the comments section, I see my blog views/interactions drastically increase. By posting an eye-catching image with the right hashtags and caption, Instagram combined with the call to action to my blog (which then, in turn, causes people to sign up for my emailing marketing list), I’m able to grow and sustain a steady following of real fans. Overall, in this day and age, I recommend to all small businesses they open up a social media account that feels manageable to them (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that displays the best way to share their message as a way to expand the brand’s global domain.
Meghan Chayka, Assistant Brand Development Buyer
Try Mailing Lists
Build a high-quality mailing list and encourage your subscribers to give you input on how to grow your company. It is amazing what happens when a company can ask what a person really wants and just listen to what they say. It is magical when a company can turn that input into action.
Stay Focused and Resourceful
Get started by using free and low-cost tools available to you. One way to begin is by centering your SEM strategy around free Google tools such as Analytics, Search Console, Optimize, and My Business. It may seem overwhelming at first, but with a bit of time and completing the available tutorials, this is one path that can build your online presence without a financial commitment.
Audrey Hutnick, Marketing Manager
Create Meaningful Content
Engage in consistent, meaningful interaction on the social media platform that matters most to your consumer. Encourage brand advocacy and genuine affection for your brand. Finding the right strategic alliance partner can be a game-changer.
For small businesses especially, I think authenticity is your best marketing tool. Even big businesses are thinking hyper-locally. Start with having a laser-focus on the community of consumers directly around you and how your business benefits them.
Jaclynne Mulligan, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist
Educate Your Audience
Create email flows through email marketing that walks new customers through a series of educational, mission-driven, and product forward messages. Then familiarize your customers with your company and how you’re meeting their needs through your product or service.
Grace Mueller, Research Associate
Understand Your Market
Each industry and small business is different which leads to a different target market. The best way to begin is to do thorough market research and analysis. Understand who you want to reach and what platforms that group uses. Then focus in on that. It does not hurt to dabble into other forms as well but the majority of the resources should be invested in the prime area the market research uncovers.
Andrew Aziz, HRBP
Adjust As You Go
It really depends on your audience. Younger people work well with social media so I’d recommend paid social ads. However, the best digital marketing tactic is SEO. If there would be two places I’d pay to have someone help with, it’s SEO and content. If we can produce content that’s educational and have strong SEO, that will drive results. From a small business standpoint, it’s very cost-effective so I’d start there. As net new logos trickle in, investing in PPC will be strong as well so you can promote the amazing content you have.
Janelle Amos, Revenue Marketing Manager