Whether you are starting a new business or already have one, having a strong online presence for your brand is extremely important.
In fact, consumers are learning more about local businesses online than anywhere else. In 2019, 70% of surveyed shoppers said the ability to shop in person or in-store was important in deciding which brand or retailer to shop from.
Small business owners looking for a way to track ROI and brand awareness need digital marketing. Not only is digital marketing a must for promoting your product or service, but optimizing your online assets is also critical to the overall success of your business.
It is equally important for local businesses to have important and updated information available to potential customers.
If you are a small business owner with little experience in online marketing, this may sound like a foreign language to you. Don’t be afraid – we’re going to go over what all these words mean and why you should care about them!
In this post, we’ll help you build and optimize your marketing strategy using inbound marketing. This is how you can acquire new customers and ultimately grow your business.
Small Business Marketing
Marketing is designed to increase brand awareness and build a pipeline of qualified leads that translate into sales. For a small business, it can be difficult to speak up due to lower visibility and lack of resources (like budget or time). However, there are key strategies you can use to scale your small business’s marketing efforts.
Whether you’re struggling with a limited budget, time constraints from a smaller team, or even a lack of alignment, a marketing plan appropriate for your business can serve as a guide when it comes to scaling.
Small Business Marketing Strategies
- Know your audience.
- Emphasize your value proposition.
- Focus on individual goals.
- Take advantage of short term games.
- Double what works.
- Understand the power of existing customers.
- Use free advertising tools.
- Build a website to own your online presence.
- Consider blogging to attract potential customers to your website.
- Apply on social media.
- Invest in ads.
- Make sure you capture the web prospect’s information.
- Use email marketing to nurture leads.
- Manage relationships with a CRM.
- Lean into word of mouth as an advertising channel.
These strategies are fundamental in generating awareness and revenue for your business:
1. Know your audience.
A key mistake is the idea that “everyone” is your buyer. Larger companies may target a broad market, but they say “The riches are in the niches” for a reason. In a niche, as a small business, you have the greatest leverage. And to develop a niche and target buyers within the niche, you need to understand their pain, problems, triggering events, and priorities.
What drives you to make a purchase decision? What about when they succeed? Knowing these things can help you create messages that will resonate and make a compelling case for your solution.
First, think about your existing customers and the people you want to work with. Then create a buyer personality to begin the process of getting into your ideal customer’s mind.
2. Emphasize your value proposition.
If there is no difference between you and your competition, there is no reason a buyer would be forced to do business with you. Your value proposition sets you apart from others in your field and decides for your potential customers. What are you doing better than anyone else in the industry? Getting this across is a compelling argument.
3. Focus on individual goals.
As you explore the world of marketing, you may have noticed that there are tons of directions you can go in. It is tempting to do it all at once and make a complicated machine in hopes that you’ve covered all of your basics, and it’s just too much to take on.
Instead, determine where the greatest impact will occur. Where is the biggest blind spot in your marketing that is preventing your growth? Set a performance goal for this one key area and focus your resources on the activities and tactics that will help you achieve that one performance goal. You can expand your efforts or turn to other initiatives as you make further progress toward this unique goal.
4. Take advantage of short term games.
Start scratching. When scaling, it’s important to see the ROI earlier. This gives you the momentum and cash flow for larger projects, long-term projects, and more sustainable growth models.
Tactics that take time to create (e.g. SEO) will be a poor fit with your primary initiatives because you won’t see a return on investment soon enough for your taste. If you have enough resources to start there, great, but don’t put all your eggs in that basket.
If you have evidence that people are going to Google with intent to purchase your particular solution, you may find that paid ads give you that short-term ROI.
5. Double what works.
Once you’ve run your initiatives and experimented with a few things, pay attention to the data. This can let you know what works. When it comes to scaling, it is best to duplicate best practices for generating revenue.
6. Understand the power of existing customers.
A 1990 study by Bain & Company and HBR found that acquiring a new customer costs, on average, five times more than closing an existing customer. This means that once you’ve made a purchase, you shouldn’t stop marketing.
Identify your repeat, upsell, and cross-sell opportunities. Since your existing customers have already made a purchase, they already know, like, and trust you. If you’ve had a good experience, you’ve given them a reason to do business with you again if they ever need to.
Even if the need doesn’t exist (in cases where it is a one-time purchase with no upsell options), you should still delight your customers. Word of mouth is a powerful (and free) advertising tool.
7. Use free advertising tools.
When talking about free promotional tools, the important thing to note is that there is no need to inflate your overhead with gadgets because you have committed to a limited goal and scope. Use free promotional tools whenever possible, and only commit to paid tools if you know they will dramatically improve existing operations or performance. Here is a helpful list of marketing tools (some free and paid).
8. Create a website for your online presence.
A professional looking website is one of the most important assets that you will build for your small business. Here you show who you are, what you offer, where you are and how a potential customer can get in touch with you.
It’s a channel you’ll always own (unlike other platforms that may change policies or change styles). It can generate organic traffic and is also a place to send traffic from advertising and other marketing initiatives.
Your website isn’t just a simple brochure either. You have the opportunity to turn this into a 24 hour salesperson by understanding how to convert traffic and turn it into leads (more on that later).
Check out HubSpot’s CMS for one of the best website tools.
9. Consider blogging to attract potential customers to your website.
Blogging is a great way to generate organic traffic, especially for prospects who have not yet made a purchase decision. In addition, it can create credibility in your space and position you as a thought leader.
To start a blog, you can use an inexpensive or free website tool to create a free website and use one of their templates. Even if you only post once a week, it will improve your website’s visibility online and let your potential customers know why they should trust your business. If you plan to write your own posts, check out this beginner’s guide.
Once you start writing, you can add a call-to-action to your posts so that visitors can subscribe to your blog and receive emails. This is a great way to generate leads and provide a chance for potential customers to get information, if not ready to buy something more from you.
10. Apply on social media.
Social media just seems like a fun platform for people to socialize and socialize, but it’s actually a powerful business tool. Social media can help you increase your domain authority, improve your search engine rankings, and connect with potential customers. Why don’t you want to be seen where your potential customers are spending their time?
11. Invest in ads.
Organic traffic takes a while to build up, and as a small business, you’ll want to invest in short-term games. Pay-to-play tactics aimed at high intent buyers are great for short-term gains to accomplish other goals.
Google Ads is perfect when you know your target audience is looking for your product or solution on the internet. If not, you can consider social media ads instead. People on social media have fewer buying intentions, but with targeted ads and enough impressions, you can get your audience interested.
12. Make sure you capture the web prospect’s information.
We’ve talked a lot about visibility and traffic, but haven’t really explained how these can help drive sales. An easy way to generate leads or customers from your website is to implement a conversion tool.
A simple, free option is HubSpot Marketing Free. When you use this tool to add a popup widget to your website, you can start collecting the email addresses of potential customers. From there, you can send out promotions and offers and convert them into paying customers. You can also implement any of these 24 conversion tools to optimize your website and generate leads.
13. Use email marketing to nurture leads.
Just because you’ve turned website traffic into leads doesn’t mean those leads are still ready to buy. It is important to keep track of things and bring them closer to making a purchase decision.
Email marketing is an important part of your marketing toolkit. In fact, 73 percent of millennials prefer corporate communication via email.
This strategy is an easy, free, and scalable way to communicate with new and existing customers.
If you have an email marketing tool (many are inexpensive or even free), experiment with sending out newsletters via email (with your sleek new blog posts) and other promotions for your database. We know that small business owners don’t have much free time to devote to digital marketing. So use marketing automation to make this process even easier for you.
Read this guide and template from HubSpot to get started planning your email marketing strategy.
14. Manage relationships with a CRM.
Email marketing works best when you send personalized, targeted emails. This starts with a customer database or a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.
Your CRM stores information about your leads, prospects, and customers so you can track customer interactions and identify sales opportunities more effectively.
HubSpot has one of the best CRMs (and best of all, it’s completely free).
15. Lean into word of mouth as an advertising channel.
As mentioned earlier, customer enjoyment can have a huge impact on your business, especially with repeat purchases and word of mouth. When you deliver a great experience, your customers are more likely to leave reviews, testimonials, and tell their friends about you.
So it’s a good idea to measure customer satisfaction and encourage customers to get the word out.
Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
- Determine the identity of your brand.
- Identify your buyer personality.
- Design a logo and other elements.
- Build your website with a CMS template.
- Track your website with analytics tools.
- Contact agencies and freelancers for help with web design.
- Increase your Google ranking with SEO.
- Research keyword opportunities.
- Optimize your website for mobile devices.
- Write optimized blog posts.
- Experiment with photo and video content.
- Hire a freelancer to help you scale your content.
- Launch business pages on Facebook and Yelp.
- Build your social media strategy.
- Use social media for customer service.
- Create interesting landing pages.
- Plan an email marketing strategy.
- Offer coupons in newsletters or on landing pages.
- Share your sales channels on your website.
- Offer a free webinar.
- Consider PPC advertising.
- Advertising on social media.
- Try co-marketing.
- Create a go-to-market strategy.
- Encourage satisfied customers to share their experiences.
- Try marketing experiments.
1. Determine the identity of your brand.
Having a consistent brand identity to promote your business makes you look more professional and helps you attract new customers. According to a 2020 study, almost 9 out of 10 people are brand loyal, almost 25% of them climbing to be more brand loyal in 2020 than in 2019.
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, described branding a company as “what other people say about you when you are not in the room”. In other words, your brand is the feel and emotions people have when they hear your company name. It’s a combination of the brand name, logo, aesthetic and design of all of your assets.
2. Identify your buyer personality.
How do customers introduce themselves who are looking for your product or service? What are their pain points? What’s your job? When you create a buyer personality who tells the story of your ideal customer, you can create a website that is optimized for them.
By learning more about your target customer by creating a buyer personality, you can better find out what kinds of things they are looking for so that you can include those terms on your website.
3. Design a logo and other elements.
Keep your color scheme in mind and read the palettes with Adobe Color or Coolors to get the creative juices flowing. You can create your own or look through pre-made or customized color palettes.
To create a logo, I recommend Upwork or Freelancer. There are free and cheaper ways to design your own logo online. However, using a freelancer or agency can provide you with a higher quality product and connect you with a designer who can change and update your brand values as your business grows.
4. Create your website with a CMS template.
If you are a tech-savvy small business owner, you will likely want to create your own website. A CMS (Content Management System) simplifies the process.
Most CMS have customizable templates for your website that you can get for free or for a small fee. There are templates for different levels of difficulty – from beginners to advanced.
Once you’ve created your website, most CMS platforms offer plugins that you can use to optimize your content for search (look for SEO plugins). This will help you rank better on Google – which we’ll get into in a moment.
5. Track your website with analytics tools.
If you’ve never built a website before and are not entirely familiar with the technical elements, there are a variety of free tools and services to get you started. When building your website, make sure you implement Google Analytics or HubSpot Marketing Free (both free products) so you can easily keep track of who is viewing your website.
6. Contact agencies or freelancers for help with web design.
If you’re not on the technical side and want to create a website for your small business, you can use a freelance or marketing agency that specializes in web design. This is a great option for companies that already have a website but need to update and revise it for SEO (search engine optimization) to improve your Google ranking.
To find a freelancer or marketing consultant near you, you can use Upwork (filter by design / creative), Codeable (for WordPress experts), or Freelancer.
7. Increase your Google ranking with SEO.
If you already have a business, have you ever searched for yourself or your product / service online? If so, did you think, “Why isn’t my website showing up on Google?” If so, you probably thought, “How do I rank on Google?” or “How can I improve my Google ranking?”
There are many factors that are responsible for why a particular website or page appears at the top of Google (or any other search engine) search engine results page (SERP). Backlinko reports some of the most important factors from Google, including relevant keywords (and how they are placed on your website), the length of your content, quality content, the speed your page loads, how often you post content, and much more.
If all goes well, Google is essentially trying to find the best content that can be presented to the person searching. For example, if I was looking for the best salon in Newport, Rhode Island, it would not be helpful to me to find a website for a salon that has closed and is located in Newport, Kentucky. However, it would be helpful for me to find a salon near me with great Yelp reviews, an easy to navigate website, and contact information available. Google always wants to display the most relevant, high quality content.
To rank higher on Google, you can take advantage of the power of SEO or search engine optimization. Read the Ultimate Guide to SEO to learn all about this marketing tactic.
HubSpot explains SEO as “techniques that will help your website rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). This will make your website more visible to people looking for solutions that your brand, product or service will be promoted through search engines like Google . Yahoo! and Bing. “In other words, the basic concept is to structure your website and blog posts so that they are in the best shape to appear on search engines first.
SEO strategy usually consists of a few things. This includes buyer persona research, keyword research, and on-page SEO research. These three areas can help you learn how your target market is searching online and position your business so that it will be discovered by the right people.
8. Research opportunities for keywords.
Keyword research is an extension of buyer persona research. You can use the personas you create to search for the best keywords for your brand, then use a tool like KW Finder to find related keywords for your target audience.
You can then do on-page SEO research and optimization. This is where you put those keywords in the right places on your website – like in the meta description, page titles and H1 tags.
9. Optimize your website for mobile devices.
Most Google searches are done on mobile devices. Hence, it is important that a website is clean and easy to navigate when someone is typing it on their smartphone. A mobile website can also be beneficial for search engine optimization. Search engines like Google will reward you with a higher rank if you have a mobile website.
You don’t have to be a tech professional to create a website that looks great on mobile. In fact, most CMS platforms like HubSpot already offer templates that are optimized for mobile devices.
10. Write optimized blog posts.
Content and blogging are extremely important when it comes to your search engine ranking. The more times your desired keywords appear in your high quality and helpful content, the more likely they are to appear in search results. A great way to become an authority on your topic, product, or service is through blogging.
Make sure you write with SEO in mind – use this blogger SEO checklist or a WordPress plugin like Yoast.
11. Experiment with photo and video content.
According to HubSpot Research, more than 50% of consumers want to see branded videos. In addition, most social media apps like Facebook and Instagram offer more visual layouts. To keep up with these trends, it’s a good idea to create a few marketing videos. If you use these tips, some less can be inexpensive to manufacture.
12. Hire a freelancer to help you scale your content.
If you need help creating regular blogs or promotional content, consider hiring a freelancer who invests in a full-time employee. For a freelance blogger, videographer, or photographer, try Upwork. You can also hire a marketing agency for a larger project.
13. Launch business pages on Facebook and Yelp.
If your business is focused on a local area, then Facebook, Yelp, and Google’s business function are the most important accounts for you. High Yelp ratings improve your online authority and help your search ranking. Claim your business on Yelp for free, customize your profile, add pictures, and ask for reviews.
The same goes for registering your Google business page. You can register your company (for free) on Google and add images. (If you’ve ever searched for your business on Google Maps and were disappointed not to see it, you haven’t claimed it yet!)
On Facebook, you can create a Facebook business page so that people can find your location and opening hours.
For any business, having up-to-date social media accounts helps you find and connect with potential customers. Create a Twitter account, Facebook page, learn how to use Instagram, create a Pinterest page (if relevant) and use it to discover new customers.
14. Build your social media strategy.
While Facebook and Yelp are great tools for local searches and reviews, platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter offer even more ways to share your reviews, content, and promotions.
If your customers can buy your products or services online, these platforms also offer them another way to find you.
Make sure you don’t spread yourself too thin by connecting too many platforms at the same time. To make strategy development easier, here is a guide to the five types of social media platforms and their advantages and disadvantages.
15. Use social media for customer service.
Once on the platforms you choose, you will need to answer customer or follower questions when they ask them through post comments or direct messages. This will make your company look responsive and believable. Here are some great examples of how brands have used Twitter for customer service.
If you have the resources, consider hiring a social media manager with community management experience. In addition to posting content on a regular basis, community managers also need to answer questions or concerns from followers. Interested? We published a guide on how to be a great social media community manager.
16. Create interesting landing pages.
A landing page offers your prospects a free resource in exchange for filling out a brief form of contact information. When they get the resource, they may be even happier with your business and more interested in purchasing the full product.
Since landing pages increase your chances of customer conversion, you want yours to look enticing. First, read this landing page guide to learn more about what makes this strategy successful. Then check out these free and professionally designed templates.
17. Plan an email marketing strategy.
Once you have regular content and landing pages, you’ll want to share it with potential customers who seem most interested in learning more about your product. For this reason, we recommend developing an email marketing strategy.
While you want to be careful not to bombard those who sign up for your email list with too many emails, you want to send just enough to keep your prospects informed. So our metrics improved as we tweaked our email marketing strategy.
If you’ve never sent out regular newsletters before, you can use HubSpot or a number of other inexpensive tools to create and send an email using a professionally designed template. Many email tools also offer basic analytics that you can use to keep track of open and click rates.
18. Offer coupons in newsletters or on landing pages.
Placing a coupon in your marketing emails can engage and excite your audience. After purchasing a product or service at a discounted price, they may also be more willing to pay full price for it. If you have a subscription service, it can also be helpful to offer potential customers a free trial code so they can try it out.
19. Share your sales channels on your website.
If you have some social media accounts and people have the opportunity to sign up for your newsletter, mark this on your website so your visitors can follow you. One way businesses are doing this is to display all of the associated social icons and a newsletter sign-up call to action on all of the pages on your website. A good place to include these is in the top right corner or in the footer of every page. This way they are visible, but not distracting from the content.
20. Offer a free webinar.
A webinar allows prospects to sign up for a short online course that you host. These courses typically last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and allow you to share tips and answer questions on a topic your brand is familiar with. This strategy can help you increase your credibility in your field, but it also provides you with potential leads and sales opportunities.
21. Consider PPC advertising.
If you’re working hard on SEO but are still looking for that extra boost, consider PPC or pay-per-click advertising. With this search engine marketing technique, you use Google AdWords or Bing Ads to appear higher. and as an advertised listing in search results. Bevor Sie in PPC eintauchen, sollten Sie sicherstellen, dass Ihre Zielseite so optimiert wie möglich ist. Wenn Sie per Klick bezahlen und diejenigen, die auf die Seite klicken, nicht konvertieren, verlieren Sie Werbedollar.
Lesen Sie diesen ultimativen Leitfaden zu PPC, um Ihnen den Einstieg zu erleichtern. Verwenden Sie dann diese PPC-Planungsvorlage, um eine optimierte Kampagne zu planen. Sie können auch einige praktische Tools und Software verwenden, um Ihre Kampagnen zu bearbeiten, zu verfolgen und Berichte zu erstellen.
22. Werbung in sozialen Medien.
Die meisten großen Social-Media-Plattformen bieten erschwingliche Werbemöglichkeiten, mit denen Sie Ihre Beiträge auf eine bestimmte Zielgruppe ausrichten können. Während viele kleine Unternehmen seit Jahren auf Facebook, Twitter und LinkedIn werben, können Marken mit Instagram jetzt über das Shoppable-Tool werben.
23. Experimentieren Sie mit Influencer Marketing.
Gibt es in Ihrer Region jemanden mit hohen sozialen Medien, der als Experte auf einem Gebiet gilt, auf dem Ihr Unternehmen existiert? Wenn Sie in der Lage sind, sie zu erreichen, prüfen Sie, ob sie bereit sind, ihre Erfahrungen mit Ihrem Produkt oder Ihrer Dienstleistung in sozialen Medien zu teilen. Dadurch wird die Follower-Basis auf Ihr Produkt aufmerksam gemacht. Diese Follower vertrauen Ihrem Produkt möglicherweise auch mehr, weil ein Experte es unterstützt.
Wenn Sie keinen freiwilligen Influencer finden, können Sie auch in Betracht ziehen, einen oder zwei freiberuflich zu bezahlen. Weitere Informationen zu dieser Strategie finden Sie in unserem Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing.
24. Versuchen Sie es mit Co-Marketing.
Gibt es in Ihrer Region ein lokales Unternehmen, das kein direkter Konkurrent ist, sondern einem ähnlichen Zielpublikum ein Produkt oder eine Dienstleistung anbietet? Arbeiten Sie mit ihnen an einer Kampagne mit Cobranding, bei der Sie sich gegenseitig in sozialen Medien, per E-Mail oder in Ihrem Blog bewerben. Während Sie Ihrem Partnerunternehmen zusätzliche Werbung geben, kann seine Fangemeinde dadurch mehr über Sie erfahren.
25. Erstellen Sie eine Markteinführungsstrategie.
Sobald Sie alle Tools aktiviert haben, die Sie zur Bewerbung Ihres Produkts oder Ihrer Dienstleistung benötigen, müssen Sie einen Werbeplan erstellen, der auf die Customer Journey abgestimmt ist. Überlegen Sie, welche Inhalte Ihre potenziellen Kunden anziehen, ansprechen und begeistern und wie Sie sie in einen Kunden umwandeln.
Verwenden Sie diese Vorlage, um diesen Prozess besser planen zu können.
26. Ermutigen Sie zufriedene Kunden, ihre Erfahrungen auszutauschen.
Wenn ein zufriedener Kunde darüber spricht, wie großartig Ihr Unternehmen in sozialen Medien oder auf einer Bewertungsseite ist, scheint Ihr Produkt oder Ihre Dienstleistung eine gute Investition zu sein. Selbst in den sozialen Medien ist Mundpropaganda immer noch ein wichtiger Faktor bei der Kaufentscheidung. Wenn ein Interessent sieht, dass ein Freund auf Facebook von Ihrem Unternehmen schwärmt, oder wenn er ein Foto einer Mahlzeit aus Ihrem Restaurant auf Instagram veröffentlicht, ist die Wahrscheinlichkeit höher, dass er geht. Immerhin kaufen 71% der Verbraucher eher aufgrund von Empfehlungen in sozialen Medien.
Wenn Kunden Ihnen sagen, dass sie Ihr Produkt lieben, ermutigen Sie sie, über die Erfahrungen auf Yelp, Google oder in sozialen Netzwerken zu berichten. Wenn Sie ein physisches Unternehmen haben, möchten Sie möglicherweise auch Anmeldungen bei Ihren Konto-Handles vornehmen, damit Kunden wissen, wen sie markieren müssen, wenn sie ein Bild Ihres Produkts veröffentlichen.
27. Probieren Sie Marketing-Experimente aus.
Wenn es eine neue soziale Plattform gibt, an der Sie interessiert sind, oder einen neuen Marketingtrend, haben Sie keine Angst vor Experimenten. Wenn ein Experiment gut läuft, könnten Sie dem Spiel voraus sein, und es tut nie weh, ein Vordenker in Ihrer Branche zu sein.
Wenn Sie mit einer neuen Marketingstrategie experimentieren, denken Sie unbedingt an eine solide Hypothese oder Frage. So bleiben Sie auf das Endziel konzentriert und können weniger Lust haben, das nächste große Ding zu verfolgen. Bereiten Sie sich auch auf Ihre nächsten Schritte vor, wenn Sie gute oder schlechte Ergebnisse erzielen. Hier finden Sie eine Kurzanleitung zur Durchführung eines erfolgreichen Marketing-Experiments.
Nun, da hast du es. Hier ist eine Zusammenfassung der wichtigsten Erkenntnisse aus diesem Artikel:
Beginnen Sie noch heute mit der Vermarktung Ihres Unternehmens
Sie haben wahrscheinlich einen langen Weg vor sich, um Ihre Online-Präsenz aufzubauen, aber alle Schritte, die Sie unternehmen können, haben enorme Auswirkungen auf Ihr Unternehmen. Einige Dinge wie das Bloggen brauchen definitiv ein paar Monate, um loszulegen und Traffic zu generieren, aber Pay-per-Click-Anzeigen in sozialen Medien können unmittelbare Auswirkungen haben. Wenn Sie sich immer noch nicht sicher sind, welche Richtung perfekt zu Ihrem Unternehmen passt, können Sie Ihre Ideen in dieser Marketingplanvorlage erarbeiten.
Anmerkung des Herausgebers: Dieser Beitrag wurde ursprünglich im September 2020 veröffentlicht und aus Gründen der Vollständigkeit aktualisiert.