Like any other business, the goal of a small business is to grow. However, small businesses tend to find themselves constrained by tight marketing budgets and limited internal marketing resources. If you operate a small business, you’ll be glad to know you can take charge of your online market and boost your reach – if you follow some smart online marketing tips. Here are the top strategies to help you shake up your digital marketing strategy.
1. Always establish an online presence
Recognise an online presence is essential, no matter how local your target market or how small your business. Don’t fall into the common trap of thinking you don’t need a website because you don’t sell online. Leads and would-be customers often make their decision to buy by first doing research online, so if you’re not visible through search, they might be more likely to go somewhere else.
2. Work to an overarching branding strategy
Much of your business’s value and sales potential is locked in your brand. It’s easy to forget about what your brand stands for when you’re busy managing staff and overseeing operations, but a cohesive brand identity is vital for everything – from customer trust to sales growth. Define your brand, its values, and what you deliver to customers. Align with your brand in all aspects of your online marketing. Your marketing campaigns should embody, enhance and reflect your brand.
3. Understand your customers
Without understanding your customers, you can’t make the most of your resources by creating compelling online marketing campaigns. Knowing who your customers are allows you to meet them where they are, whether that’s on social media, through email newsletters, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Get to know your audience by researching and developing buyer personas. If you know your customers, you can create targeted content, engage them in useful dialogue on social media, and deliver the products and services they need to solve their pain points.
4. Choose your channels
Are you aware of all your channels and do you know which ones are best for your business? From email marketing and PPC advertising, to search engine optimisation and content marketing, online channels are numerous, and each has its own strengths.
You can also advertise through social media, hire influencers to promote your products, look at affiliate marketing, or raise your profile by participating in online forums. Video content and video advertising are emerging as hot new trends, so consider whether video is a suitable channel for your digital marketing strategy.
Consider your budget, business goals, how quickly you want results, and your audience when deciding which channels to go with. You could end up using a number of digital channels or only one or two. If you have the budget, you might want to consider outsourcing your marketing efforts to an agency.
5. Design powerful customer funnels
Whether you’re looking to get more newsletter sign-ups or brand mentions, the ultimate goal is to boost sales. This means your online marketing efforts should be part of a powerful customer funnel that guides your customer from initial contact to completion of sale. Think about how your online marketing fits into the funnel and how you can design stronger points of contact throughout the sales process to get them from interested to ready to transact.
6. Capture leads online
If you’re already a savvy marketer, you probably know the importance of capturing leads at every opportunity. Once a customer lands on your website or social media page, offer incentives to encourage them to sign up to e-newsletters or email offers. A free ebook and access to members-only content are great ways to encourage email opt-ins. By taking advantage of lead-generation opportunities, you could add hundreds of customers or more to your database in a short period of time.
7. Concentrate on one product or channel
If your business is on a tight marketing budget, start by concentrating on your most promising and profitable product. Similarly, limit your efforts to the top performing marketing channel. As you start seeing results, you can expand to other products and channels.
8. Share compelling, useful content
Content is an ideal way to deepen brand engagement and build traffic for the longer term. At the same time, you can establish your business as a voice of authority. Create blog articles, infographics, newsletters, social media posts, vlogs, and even podcasts to share useful, how-to information.
Think about how your product or service helps solve your target market’s problems and create how-to content around that. List your top buyer personas as you explore topics to share information about. You can also share compelling content through native advertising, and zoom in on your niche market by writing or creating content specifically directed to a local audience and targeted through Facebook Ads.
9. Leverage your team’s skills for marketing
Take stock of your team’s online marketing skills to stretch your online marketing budget further. If you have strong writers, staff with SEO know-how, or team members who have managed PPC advertising campaigns, invite them onboard to your online marketing efforts.
10. Refine and adjust
Online marketing gives you access to more marketing information than you might have had before, so study the metrics so you can refine and adjust your efforts. You should know where your leads are generated and where conversion happens. Find out where your cheapest repeat customers are coming from, and focus on these channels or campaigns. This way, your online marketing dollars go further, while you’ll have more data to drive strategic business decisions.
See your business grow with online marketing
Online marketing is an indispensable tool for small businesses, even if you’re marketing through only your website. By starting with a coherent brand strategy and reviewing your metrics, you can keep refining your online marketing efforts to drive strong growth and sales.
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