The basics of small business marketing
In 2022, every small business needs marketing. That’s true regardless of what industry you’re in or how big your business is. But, marketing isn’t what it used to be.
Back in the day, a small business could thrive on word-of-mouth referrals and an ad in the Yellow Pages. These days, there’s a lot more competition and many more marketing channels small businesses can and should be using to get the word out.
With so many different channels to market your small business, it can be difficult to figure out where to get started. Here’s a quick guide to help you learn the basics.
Develop a modern website
The basis of every effective small business marketing strategy is a beautiful, modern website. That’s because, regardless of where someone finds your business, they’ll visit your website before deciding to do business with you.
As your small business’s main home online, your website needs to send the right message to your visitors. Otherwise, they’ll just click the back button and move on to the next business on the list.
An effective small business website is easy to navigate, attractive and user-friendly — and it looks and functions the same way on any device. If your website isn’t up to par, it’s time to update it or design a new one.
Capture market share with advertising
If you’re new to small business marketing, digital advertising is one of the best channels to start using to get your name out there. That’s because the right paid advertising strategy can lead to fast results.
Search advertising is one of the most effective paid strategies a small business can use because it’s about getting in front of people who are actively searching for keywords related to your business.
Google is just one of the many places your prospective customers spend their time online. With multi-channel advertising, you can capture market share on all of the most popular channels, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Drive organic traffic with SEO and content marketing
Did you know that the majority of searches for local businesses happen on a search engine, like Google or Bing? Search ads are just one way to get in front of people actively searching for what you have to offer. It’s also important to rank organically for those same keywords.
Ranking organically for keywords relevant to your business starts with your website. Use the keywords you want to rank for throughout your website, including the page titles, metadata, content and anywhere else you can do so naturally.
You also need to make it a point to add keyword-rich content to your website and social media profiles on a regular basis. Creating blogs and social posts will not only help your business rank higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages), but it will also help you educate and build trust with your prospective customers.
Be active on social media
Most people spend the majority of their time online on social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you want to get in front of them, your business needs to have a presence on those platforms.
While having a business page on Facebook or Twitter is a good start, it’s just the first step. If you really want to connect with the social media users in your community, you need an active social media presence.
Start by posting on a regular basis on your most important social media profiles. Not sure what to post? Your social posts are perfect for giving updates about your business, sharing helpful tips and information, highlighting industry news, showing off your team and more.
Nurture leads and customers with email marketing
Too often, when small businesses think about marketing, they only think about new customers. But, getting new leads in the door is just half the battle. You also need to nurture new leads and drive repeat business.
When it comes to turning leads into customers, and turning customers into repeat business, there’s no better marketing channel than email marketing. It keeps you top of mind and ensures your business is the first thing people think of when they need you.
The best part about email marketing is that it can be automated, especially when you use the right email marketing software. This allows you to save time while driving results.
Build a strong reputation
Every business claims to be the best at what they do, so much so that it just sounds like white noise to most consumers. What matters a lot more than what you say about yourself is what your customers have to say about you.
That’s why so many people read reviews before deciding to work or shop with a local business. They want to know they’re in good hands, and they need to know that they can trust you. Good reviews and a strong average star rating are critical for building that trust.
The best way to start getting more reviews for your business is to simply start asking for them. Most consumers are more than happy to write reviews when asked. And, when you do get reviews, make it a point to respond to them promptly.
Get found wherever people are looking
From Yelp and Top Rated Local to Google and Facebook, there are so many places people go to look for new brands and businesses. Your success depends on being found wherever people are looking.
Not only is it important to have an optimized profile on any site, app or directory a prospective customer may be looking for your services or products, but you need to make sure your business information on each listing is up to date and accurate.
That can be easier said than done, especially if you have dozens of listings to manage. Look for listings management software that can help you save time and keep all of your listings updated at once.
Monitor and maximize your performance
While the basics of small business marketing apply to every business, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy. To get the most out of your strategy, you need to learn what works for you and what doesn’t.
The best part about modern small business marketing is how measurable it is. By monitoring your marketing performance, you can take the guesswork out of the equation and narrow in on a strategy that drives the results you want and help you reach your goals.
Keep a close eye on your performance over time, and use the data to fine-tune your strategy and do more of what’s working and less of what’s not.
If this all sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. Small business marketing is a full-time job in itself, and it can be nearly impossible to manage on your own.
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