1. Set a Goal and a Budget
The first thing you need to do in marketing your small business is to define your final goal and plan your budget. In other words, “what do you want to do with your life besides rock?”
Sorry I digressed a bit there, however, at this point you have to decide what is most important to you:
- Do you want to broaden your reach or enhance local exposure?
- Do you want to increase brand recognition or conversions?
Whatever you decide to do, you need to start prioritizing your goals. What are your most urgent and immediate needs, and what is your most significant long-term goal?
2. Pay to Play
Titus Maccius Plautus, the Roman playwright, is noted for coining the phrase, “You must spend money to make money.” While there are many marketing strategies for small businesses that you can do for free, sometimes it is better to spend a little to make more. Online marketing is no different. Sometimes if you want to show up for things, you will need to invest some of your budget on paid search ads (PPC) and social media ads.
I will not lie to you. It may be frightening for small business owners when we tell them they should consider spending money on PPC. It is especially hard when their mind is racing with questions like, “How do I get started?” “How much does is it going to cost me?” “How do I know whether Facebook Ads or Google Ads even work?” “Are Google Ads Worth It?” Whether you do it yourself or hire someone like Cube Creative Design to help you, it may be well worth it and worth having a conversation with an experienced agency.
3. Capitalize on Google’s Local Offerings
Being the most popular search engine, Google provides a plethora of services that can benefit your small business strategies. According to the BCG Report, The Connected World, businesses with an internet presence expand 40% faster than those without. If you missed the boat or just starting out, now is the chance to jump on board!
You can take control of your small business's information by creating a Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business or GMB), which includes hours of operation, location, phone number, and website. Thanks to the new local search advertisements, your company may now appear on the Google Maps app or website.
Tips to do now:
- Get a Google Business Listing.
- Google your business and check out the information already there, see what you can do to improve it.
4. Champion One Social Channel
For the sake of dating myself, I had a Facebook account in college when you “had to BE IN COLLEGE” to have one, and I will be one of the first to admit that social media is both annoying and challenging. It is tough when you're juggling Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Tick Tock, and the new hot thing that hasn’t come of age yet. How do you know if any or all of them are even working? Having a presence across channels is all well and good, but I have realized that it is better to focus on one channel where your clients are most present than try to be everywhere
For example, suppose your clients frequently tag your location or account in Instagram posts but seldom retweet you on Twitter. In that case, you should devote more attention to Instagram (which is conveniently easy to share on Facebook as well). If you have more of a visual business, such as construction, then you should consider Pinterest.
Tips to do now:
- Look at your current social media presence. Which platforms are you seeing the highest engagement?
- Check out and sign up for social media automation tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer. After you connect your accounts, you can schedule posts for the future when you “have time.” I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, Mention which helps you monitor keywords, and Buzzsumo, will help you analyze the performance of your posts and find matching patterns.
5. Email Marketing
When you own a small business, email marketing is a great way to build customer loyalty. If your customers and prospects provide you with their email addresses, you may use them to send out sales or event announcements. If sales and events aren't your things, consider sending a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter with topics from your blog. People are more inclined to be loyal and connect with a company that shows its humanity. Take the time to introduce new staff, an award, or even major family events.
Tips to do now:
- If you are looking to save money, sign up for HubSpot. They have a free email marketing solution with a variety of options, including pre-designed email templates!
- Optimize your emails by testing subject lines, day of the week, time of day, and the inside or creative part, and always follow best practices.
- Because many clients will read your email on their phones, make sure that your emails are mobile-friendly.
6. Publish a Blog
Blogging is not only entertaining (consider how much time you can now justify spending on memes and including movie quotes and song lyrics in the text), but it is one of the most effective marketing strategies for small businesses for exposure and branding. Your small business blog is a place to show potential clients and the search engines that you're an authority in your area and can be relied on for information and assistance.
Tips to do now:
- Quality will always trump quantity, but consistency is also of equal importance. Try to make a commitment to writing a new blog post at least once a month. However, if you can, once a week may be optimal.
- Make sure your blog content is SEO-optimized so that people can discover it.
7. Do Keyword Research for SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a series of tactics used by digital marketers to get higher positions on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engine results pages (SERPs) in order to increase visitors and qualified traffic to their website. The good news is that it's completely free! The bad news is that it’s difficult.
It takes some time to see benefits from your SEO techniques (usually 6-9 months on average), but it will pay off in the long term. Keyword research is one of the simplest things you can do right now to enhance your search engine traffic over time. Keyword research tools such as SEMrush, Moz or Ahrefs, can tell you which terms and phrases your target audience is most likely to use while looking for information or items that your company can provide. As a small business or newer company, it will be difficult to compete with larger, more established companies for results on highly competitive keywords, so start with long-tail keywords that are more specific and less competitive.
Tips to do now:
- Think of the questions and problems you’re trying to solve for your clients and look at websites and services such as Quora or Reddit to identify what words are being used to talk about it.
- In order to make your content more discoverable, incorporate these keywords within it. Keywords should be included in your title tags, body text, headers, image file names, and meta descriptions so that the search engines can "see" that your content is relevant to the user's searches.
8. Share Your Expertise
As a small business owner, you typically know how to do what you do better than anyone else, or you wouldn’t be in business doing what you do. Why not think about sharing your knowledge and expertise with searchers via your website, social media sites such as YouTube, or at local speaking engagements. You can even repurpose your presentations into a blog post or turn a blog post into a presentation.
9. Network Online and Leverage Your Local Area Offline
LinkedIn used to be where you posted your resume to get a job. While that is still somewhat the case, it can also be an excellent place for businesses to engage with other companies. You can use LinkedIn to connect with individuals in your industry and groups and forums for advice or event invitations.
As you leverage your local area in an offline capacity, think about having a booth at a local festival or sponsoring a few local kids’ sports teams to get your brand printed on the back of a shirt. You can even go old school and run an ad in the local newspaper, magazine, or radio.
10. Survey, Listen, and Learn
Look for feedback because the greatest companies are continually improving. After completing a service, ask your client to provide feedback on their experience. Offer a discount to email subscribers who take a survey, or keep printed surveys and pencils on hand in your shop you're feeling fancy, have a customer complete a survey on her phone or tablet to earn a discount before purchasing. The feedback is beneficial in two ways: it may advise you on your company's best practices, resulting in some valuable testimonials, and it can reveal areas that need improvement.
11. Revisit Your Landing Pages
If you’re doing any kind of email marketing, social media advertising, or PPC, your landing pages are where the rubber meets the road. When someone comes to this page, they have shown enough interest in your offerings and are more likely to convert into a lead or client. A landing page design can have a massive impact on your conversion rates and your ROI.
Take a look at these statistics:
- Companies that increase their number of landing pages from 10 to 15 see a 55% increase in leads (Source: Hubspot)
- The average conversion rate for landing pages is 9.7% (Source: Unbounce)
- Companies with more than 40 landing pages get 12 times more leads than those with 15 landing pages (Source: Hubspot)
Therefore Tips to you can and should do now:
- Examine the current conversion rate of your landing page. If it's low (2 % or less), the design may not be the issue; you may just want a more compelling offer.
- Some things to be sure to test are your headlines, the length of landing page copy, the length of a form, the size and placement of a button, and your call to action.
It goes without saying that you will be better off if you can zig when others are zagging. For example, if your competitors are putting money in traditional media, try more online. If they are focusing on social media ads, look at PPC.
The bottom line is I hope that you can use these top eleven small business tactics to help grow your small business while ultimately saving you money!
If you are interested in discussing some of these topics or want to learn more about how digital marketing can help you grow your business, then contact me. I would be more than happy to speak with you.