Whether you’re launching a new small business or already have an existing one, you need to develop a marketing strategy that prioritizes a strong online presence. With 97% of people researching local businesses online, it’s essential to meet potential customers where they spend the most time on.
However, growing your small business in the digital landscape isn’t easy. Between defining your target audience, promoting your services, and getting the word out, it’s simple to understand why you’d be overwhelmed.
Throw developing a marketing strategy into the mix, and it might seem like you’re trying to learn a foreign language.
Don’t worry! With the right strategies and channels in place, you can get on the fast track to growing brand awareness and earning ROI. In this post, let’s discover what should be at the center of your small business marketing strategy.
- A marketing strategy helps you optimize your online assets and promote your company.
- You need to develop your audience, value proposition, and technology before diving into digital tactics.
- The right strategy combination—search engine optimization, social media, etc.—will help you earn brand awareness and conversions quickly.
Why is it Important to Build a Small Business Marketing Strategy?
Did you know that 50% of small businesses don’t have a dedicated marketing strategy? Small businesses often deal with a limited marketing budget. As a result, it can be a challenge to earn visibility in a local community.
A small business marketing strategy helps you increase brand awareness and develop a pipeline of qualified leads that will turn into sales. With the right digital tactics in place, you can scale your small business marketing efforts to earn more customers in your local area.
Before diving into your channel strategies, you need to build a foundation. Consider the following elements when getting started:
- Understand your target audience’s problems and priorities so you can present your business as the solution
- Build a strong value proposition that differentiates you from your competitors
- Set performance goals so you can focus your budget and resources on meeting objectives
- Identify how you can leverage current customers to become your brand advocates
- Use free promotional tools and automation where applicable
How to Build a Small Business Marketing Strategy
There’s no secret sauce to developing a small business marketing strategy. However, the below strategies can help small businesses earn high ROI.
While the combination might be trial and error, dedicating time and budget to your marketing will pay off in sales and brand reputation.
1. Search Engine Optimization
Beyond developing an impressive website, search engine optimization (SEO) is perhaps the most impactful marketing strategy for small businesses. SEO is the process of optimizing your website and content for search engines or end users to find your company easily.
Often, the higher you rank on Google, the more likely you’ll be able to drive traffic and consumers to your website. With over 35% of all traffic coming from local sources, customers searching for your services will be more likely to find your business in search engine results.
You can implement SEO by:
- Creating a Google My Business account
- Requesting reviews from your customers
- Optimizing your website with local keywords
- Creating blog posts or videos that relate to the local community
- Using location pages
- Focusing on getting high-quality backlinks
2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising allows small businesses to display ads when consumers search for certain keywords in a search engine. While it can lead to an expensive bidding war, local markets are often less competitive and the PPC model helps you keep a regulated budget.
Sounds good, right? But, how does this work?
You bid on certain keywords—like “local printing company” or “office supplies near me”—and create ads around those phrases. Advertising platforms will then use an algorithm to display your ads in the search engine result pages (SERP) based on factors such as keyword relevance and landing page quality. You pay every time someone clicks on your ad.
3. Email Marketing
With a projected 4.3 billion email users by the end of 2023, email marketing is an excellent way for you to reach your target audience. In fact, 81% of small businesses report that email is their primary lead generation and retention tool.
Email marketing is the only digital marketing tool that allows you to build a personalized relationship with customers and continue to nurture them well after their first purchase. You can send customers drip campaigns based on an action—like signing up for a consultation or completing a purchase—or send regular newsletters filled with company and product updates.
To use email marketing successfully, consider the following tactics:
- Segment your customers based on demographics or activity
- Use a CRM or EPS to automate sending emails at the right time
- Develop compelling subject lines to make sure your email gets clicked
Source: Really Good Emails
4. Social Media Marketing
If you’re looking to reach a larger audience and engage with customers regularly, social media is a small business must-have.
The average user spends 3 hours a day on social media. While it may seem intimidating at first, it’s essential not to spread yourself too thin and join every platform. Instead, focus on your target audience. Where are they spending the most time? What type of content do they enjoy? How can you make the biggest impact?
Depending on your customer needs, consider the following platforms:
- Facebook: Post entertaining pictures, status updates, and customer success stories
- Twitter: Share news and answer customer inquiries in real-time
- Pinterest: Spread visual content like blogs, infographics, e-books quickly
- YouTube: Dominate with user-generated and branded video content
- Instagram: Display high-resolution imagery that showcases your services
Source: The Sill, Pinterest
5. Content Marketing
What should be at the center of your small business marketing strategy? Content marketing.
Content marketing is the act of developing and publishing high-quality content that is valuable to your target audience. It needs to speak to their challenges and needs while positioning your business as the solution through creative storytelling.
It’s important to note that content marketing is a long-term strategy. It will take significant time to build rapport with your customers and search engines. However, when done correctly, content marketing can position your business as an industry leader and build long-lasting relationships with your audience.
Your content should include a wide range of formats to highlight your industry expertise and learn what your audience prefers to consume. When getting started, consider the following content types:
Source: Marketing Insider Group
Develop Your Small Business Marketing Strategy
Limited resources and a small budget doesn’t mean you can’t leverage a marketing strategy to grow your business. Developing a small business marketing strategy allows you to learn about your ideal customers so you can better serve their needs and earn their loyalty.
To increase brand awareness and conversions in your local area, don’t forget about how these marketing strategies can help you grow:
- SEO improves your online visibility when potential customers search for your services on Google
- Paid search is a great way to supplement SEO efforts and drive more traffic to your website
- Email marketing allows you to stay top-of-mind with relevant customers
- Social media keeps you connected with your customers and relevant in real time
- Content marketing helps you establish your thought leadership through credible materials