The right marketing strategies can turn a small business into a large one. Many small business owners think that having a Facebook page and a website that lists their products is all that’s necessary. This is a mistake that needs to be avoided if you want your small business to grow. Marketing a small business does mean spending some time on learning some of the basics and will require regular monitoring to ensure that it is always working at the highest level.
However, with the right focus and approach, the digital marketing options available to you could be the key to higher profits and significantly faster growth.
Step One: Know Your Target Audience.
One of the biggest mistakes that new entrepreneurs make is to try and sell their products or services to everyone. While this is easier for larger corporations, small businesses need to narrow their focus. The goal is to find your niche and hyperfocus on it, and that means learning all that you can about your potential audience. You’ll need to understand their:
- Pain points
- Triggering events
What you want to identify are the actions and events that lead them to a buying decision. This can help you build and create the content that will drag them from search engine result pages to your website. Ensure that you know how to create a buyer persona, and that you know the best tools to use for more in-depth customer research.
Step Two: Know Your Value Proposition.
If you and your competitors deliver the same service and products, then there’s nothing that’s going to differentiate you. Buyers will have options, and they may not always choose you. The aim here is to identify exactly what makes you stand out from those competitors. Your prices could be lower, your product better, your business practices are greener, and your supply chains are more transparent.
Identify exactly what you are doing that is better than your competitors, and you have a marketing angle that can be exploited for massive gains. The more key points you have in your value proposition, the more options you have regarding marketing.
Step Three: Monitoring.
It’s vital that you don’t launch a new digital marketing strategy and then sit back and relax. As a business owner, you have access to vast amounts of data, and you need to be using it. You need to know which pages of your content are attracting site visitors, which are causing visitors to bounce elsewhere, and which of your product pages are making conversions.
The more you can collect and report on the analytics you have access to, the easier it will be to identify what’s working positively and what’s costing you. There are free resources like Google Search Console available, but there are more data monitoring platforms and tools available than ever.
Step Four: Content.
It’s been mentioned already, but the foundation of all digital marketing is content. From your product pages to your home page, you need the text, images, and videos to keep people on your site for longer. Using your buyer personas and your understanding of what your target audience is looking for, you should be able to clarify the best topics for your blog, and the tone of voice needed on your product descriptions. You will need to conduct comprehensive keyword research while avoiding the temptation to create content that is aimed more at pleasing algorithms than people.
Content creation can be a huge task, which is why it’s becoming increasingly common to outsource it. However, if you have the time and the skills, creating your own content is one of the most high-value options to consider when it comes to marketing a small business. Remember to monitor every new piece of content that you post on your website or share on social media and identify those content pieces that result in sales or other calls to action.
Step Five: Email Marketing.
For a few years, email marketing dropped in terms of the number of businesses using it. Those businesses stopped collecting emails and instead focused solely on social media for their digital marketing. This was a huge mistake, and some brands are still trying to regain what they have lost. Email marketing is more potent than ever and can be a key strategy that informs your entire digital marketing toolkit. Having the email address of a member of your target audience means having a direct line to their inbox, and that’s marketing real estate that’s become invaluable. You’ll need to find the right balance in terms of how regularly to reach out, and you’ll need to conduct rigorous A/B testing to identify the types of emails that you send. Email marketing is something that no small business owner should overlook.
Step Six: Social Media Influencers.
It’s easy to overlook social media influencers, but small business owners should be taking them a lot more seriously. That’s because social media influencers, especially those with lower follower numbers, can be a quick and easy way to reach new customers. Those micro and nano influencers come with an inbuilt authenticity that the big names always fail to earn. That means aligning your brand with the right influencer can be the key to steady and consistent audience growth.
It’s not just social media, either. The rise of Pinterest influencer marketing has been well-documented. Take the time to choose the perfect influencers and fine-tune your outreach process. Aligning yourself with the right people can have a massive impact on your ability to grow.
Step Seven: Have a Brand.
Branding is a very misunderstood concept, but it’s never been easier to create a small business brand. The right branding can make your business more memorable, more trustworthy, and more resonant with your target audience. Too many entrepreneurs understand the importance of branding but assume that it’s a business concept that’s only applicable to globe-spanning corporations. The fact is that even the smallest business can benefit greatly from a more honed brand, and all you have to do is:
- Know your target audience
- Have a focus and a brand personality that matches your target audience
- Have a business name that reflects your personality, sector, and audience
- Create a slogan that reflects your branding
- Choose the colors and fonts that you will use in all of your brandings, and stay consistent (have a brand guidelines document available to all of the members of your team)
- Have a relevant logo (you can use sites like Fiverr to find low-cost logo designers)
- Makes sure that your branding is applied across your entire business
From branded pens and notebooks to clothing and electrical accessories, the more that you can prioritize branding, the better.
Step Eight: Fine Tuning.
Once you have your foundations in place, you need to start using your analytics to fine-tune. Every element of your SEO needs to be perfect, even in the face of sudden algorithm updates from Google. Your local and global SEO needs to be closely monitored, and your Google My Business listing has to be monitored and added to as Google adds more features to it.
Your technical SEO, which is often overlooked, needs to be a streamlined and monitored asset, as it can often be the dividing line between performing well on page one of a search engine query and appearing on the hidden and dark depths of page two. From your website loading times to your content to your use of the right keywords, fine-tuning your digital presence should be a continuous process.
No matter how thoroughly you have already implemented your SEO strategies and plans, this should be a constantly evolving aspect of your business management. Again, you may not have the time or the skills to constantly monitor and adjust your SEO, which is why building the right team is vital.
Step Nine: Using Technology.
Modern entrepreneurs have access to such a wide range of tools and resources that it’s almost too overwhelming. Everything from accounting to billing can be automated using the right technologies. When it comes to digital marketing, there are more resources available than you could ever possibly use, so it’s important to know where and how to apply the latest tech solutions for small businesses. For example, customer engagement is a key element of digital marketing, but it can be hard to communicate when your store is only open from 9-5. Using automated, AI-powered chatbots means that potential customers can ask questions at any time of the day and get the answers that they need. That means you get to carry on making sales, upselling and cross-selling products, all without you having to lift a finger. Consider every area of your business and every stage of your digital marketing. There is a tool out there that you should be using.
Marketing a small business does take time, but when you do it right, you give your business a higher chance of survival. Marketing is all about reaching out to more potential customers, and going digital gives you access to vast audience numbers. Take your time to get your digital marketing right, and it will be the key to more rapid growth, higher sales numbers, and improved profit margins.