If you own a small business, it’s vital to build a strong marketing strategy that spans across multiple channels to reach your potential customers wherever they are. A successful marketing plan helps you drive traffic, engage with your target audience, increase brand awareness and loyalty, establish your business as an industry thought leader, and ultimately increase sales. But that doesn’t always mean you need to have a huge marketing budget to make an impact.
It’s more important to create a cohesive strategy that effectively reaches your target audience.
Here are 10 tips to help you get started:
Understand your brand
Even the smallest mom and pop shop needs to think about branding to differentiate your business from the competition and stand out. You’ll need to create a logo, a tagline, and establish your company’s branded look and feel. Using your branding consistently can help you create recognition and awareness in the marketplace, so be sure to use it on all your materials (business cards, letterhead, packaging, digital assets, etc).
Build a responsive website
Develop a professional-looking website that functions well on various screens. Today, more people access the internet via their cell phones than any other medium, so you may want to build your site with a “mobile first” approach. Test your website on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones to make sure it looks professional and responds well across the various screens. There are many affordable tools that you can use to design the website yourself if you are looking for budget-friendly options.
Regularly create and add content to your website in the form of blog posts, case studies, eBooks, whitepapers, landing pages, videos and more. This will increase your rank and visibility in the search engines, engage and educate new customers, and nurture existing customers. Once you’ve developed some great content, promote it across channels via email, social media posts, blog posts, partner and affiliate sites, pay-per-click ads (PPC), etc.
Engage in email marketing
Build a list of contacts by letting people opt-in to your mailing list online or gathering their contact info on site. Then regularly send out email newsletters, promotions, company news or events, or links to new content to drive traffic to your site and keep your business top of mind. Consider adding an incentive like a giveaway or discount code to encourage visitors to give you their email addresses.
Post on social media
Create social media pages for your company on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram. It’s important to post frequently to grow your online following and expand your reach. Again, this is a great way to promote new content, as well as posting company news, behind the scenes photos, job postings, and fun pics that show off your company culture.
Optimize for search
Optimize your website for search engines to make it easier for people to find you online. There are technical ways to improve SEO (talk to your website developer to ensure they are using best practices), but you can also improve your rank by frequently and consistently adding relevant content to your site. Include keywords in your content that your customers will use to search for you. You may also want to check out what keywords your competitors are using.
Develop compelling campaigns
Once you’ve established all your marketing channels, you can create compelling cross-channel campaigns. For example, you can generate leads by creating an eBook that people can download after filling out a form on a landing page. You can drive people to that landing page by promoting the eBook on social media channels, via a promotional email (and follow-up emails), by promoting the eBook on your site and affiliate/partner sites, or by buying display ads. By creating cross-channel campaigns, you’ll be able to not only expand your reach, but also see which channels are most effective for you.
Consider paid advertising
You don’t have to have a huge budget to try some targeted pay-per-click advertising. As the name implies, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad, and having your ads display across a huge network of sites can increase awareness of your brand (for free). Google AdWords is the largest PPC vendor, but you may also have luck purchasing ads with Bing, social media sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, or popular online publications within your industry.
There’s a transformation of local advertising across the country as community businesses capitalize on the power of GPS, mobile technologies, and the web to draw in traffic. Geotargeting and geofencing allow businesses to make specific offers via text to targeted customers who are in a designated location or vicinity. Local online listings like Google My Business let companies control their online presence, show reviews, and even respond to messages and ads with click-to-call functionality. This gives local businesses a way to track their incoming calls. If your business has a local storefront or location, you may also want to get involved in community events. Make sure to promote these events across your various platforms.
Track and adjust
One of the key benefits provided by today’s digital marketing is the ability to instantly track results. Analytics reports can show you what content is most popular, or what web pages are most or least often visited. You can see how much engagement a certain social media post is getting, how many targets have opened an email, or how many people have visited a specific landing page. You can also test PPC ads against each other to see which one gets the most clicks. Digital media reporting can help you understand what’s working and what isn’t so you can adjust your marketing strategy (and budget) accordingly.
Marketing can mean the difference between your business just surviving or thriving. We hope these tips help you create marketing strategy that helps your small business soar.