13 Small Business Marketing Ideas
What Marketing Can You Do For Your Small Business?
Marketing today is more than posting on social media and hoping the right person sees it. It involves a strategic web of platforms, tools, and ideas. We’ve compiled our top small business marketing ideas
Start with a Marketing Plan You Can Follow
We all know those moments. You have a great idea, you make a plan… and then don’t reach the end of it. To succeed online, make sure your marketing plan includes social networks, email marketing, content marketing strategies, search engine advertising, and SEO.
In order to do it well, though, you need to create one you can follow. It’s okay to start small, even if that means writing two fewer blogs a month or only sending one email newsletter every three weeks instead of each week.
Let’s dig into our 13 small business marketing ideas to see how each of those elements incorporate into your plan.
Email Marketing Will Drive Your ROI
In 2019, Hubspot reported that email marketing was responsible for generating $38 for every $1 spent
If you sell a product, make sure that you have follow-up emails promoting other products in your line, additional sales, and other valuable product information. If you’re a service-based small business, use email marketing in a similar way. Highlight different offerings and promote sales while building a relationship with your email list.
You own the email addresses customers and potential customers provide you, and you don’t own their follow on social media. Make it count with the technique that will also drive your return on investment.
Privacy Will Be (Even More) Paramount
2020 marks two years since GDPR went into effect. 2020 is also the year that the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) goes into effect. While the CCPA only applies to companies with more than $25 million in revenue or 50,000 website visits a month, it could change in the future and privacy is always a good focus in today’s business landscape.
Companies Who Collaborate, Will Grow
In 2020, we’ve seen an increase in product collaborations with influencers, company partnerships within industries (and beyond), and simply providing support will all continue to grow. And while Mailchimp’s report focused on in-person collaborations, we believe digitally-built collaborations will add value for companies and consumers as well.
In a world changed by the Coronavirus, networking and word of mouth has gone digital. This isn’t a time to stop these efforts! It’s time to pivot your marketing strategy. Building a community online, especially on social media, can increase brand awareness. Increased brand awareness, over time, means increased sales.
Posting on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest isn’t enough. Seek out potential customers and brands through hashtags, location tags, and followers, then engage. Focus on value, not selling. Over time, you’ll grow relationships with these users and brands that will be mutually beneficial.
Users may become customers, and brands can become partnerships to increase awareness across both companies. Be sure to partner with brands that have a similar audience to increase effectiveness. Cross-pollination may look different right now, but there’s no reason to stop now when we’re living in the digital age!
Marketing Technology Will Be More Accessible
We’re calling it. 2020 will be the year where previously out-of-reach technology will be accessible to small business owners. Tools like Mailchimp offer automation at a lower cost than other platforms were offering it even five years ago, and social media scheduling tools are no longer just accessible to agencies and larger corporations. Platforms like Buffer offer a low-cost solution to staying consistent on social media.
There’s a free tool as well that gives you a look into what is and isn’t working in your marketing and your website: Google Analytics. This platform connects to your website with a piece of code, and from that tells you where people visit your website from (like Google, YouTube, or Facebook), how long they spend on your page, and how many pages they visit. You can also connect it to your Google Ads (AdWords) account to gain more insights into your pay-per-click marketing campaigns.
As a business owner, you need to weigh what marketing technology you need and what you don’t. At the very least, we recommend an email service provider like Mailchimp so you can focus instead on other business tasks rather than making sure your email sends at the right time, as well as implementing Google Analytics so you can determine what social media outlets are performing best and how people are finding your website.
CRMs Will Become Widely Used
CRMs, or Customer Relationships Management systems, are platforms that help you track interactions with current, potential, and past customers. It also helps you analyze how they react to your marketing funnel, giving you a peek inside their minds.
CRMs are an investment, but options like Hubspot help you better manage your customer relationships so you can close (then keep!) more business. Hubspot also offers sales and service tools so you can have a one-stop-shop to charge up your marketing this year.
And while CRMs like Hubspot are definitely an investment, we see that many companies see a significant improvement in revenue when they fully implement these tools, making it a worthwhile investment.
Companies Will Explore Beyond Facebook & Instagram
Most small businesses are on Facebook and Instagram. It’s what they do. It’s where a bulk of people live online. Or is it? This year, small businesses will need to explore beyond Facebook and Instagram to meet consumers where they’ve migrated.
Platforms like Tik Tok have taken Gen Z almost completely off of other platforms, and is a growing opportunity for brands as the platform releases advertising options and influencers continue to support brand recognition.
And while Pinterest and Snapchat may not be new to the market, they do deserve a mention. Small businesses tend to forget anything non-Facebook and Instagram, which could be hurting how they engage with current and potential customers. This year, reconsider where you spend your content and your time based on your marketing personas’ demographics and psychographics to ensure you’re on the right platform.
We’ll See the Rise of Social Proof
Social proof is just that: showing proof your product works on social media. Whatever platforms you choose, from Facebook to Snapchat, social proof will help you sell more products. As increased social sharing and influencer marketing continues to grow, more companies will focus on this strategy to grow their brand.
One way that you can increase social proof is by re-sharing posts that you’re tagged in. This not only shows that you’re seeing posts customers share but also lets someone else do the selling. You’re simply resharing!
The other way to improve social proof is through influencer marketing. And while some macro-influencers (accounts with over 100k followers) charge thousands of dollars for a post, micro-influencers with 2,000 to 10,000 followers often post in exchange for free product.
For the cost of the product(s) and shipping, you can get social proof on another account. This is also content you can use in your own social media marketing so you can feature more lifestyle content instead of studio photos. Just be sure to include their username for credit in the posts!
Marketing Personalization Will Drive Sales & Customer Engagement
One blog post for all of your personas will no longer contribute significant results from your marketing plan. Personalization is the process by which companies create content and deliver it to the right people at the right time.
The best example of this is email segmentation. Email marketing, as we’ve established, is one of the best revenue sources. Segmented emails, then, can help improve that ROI by focusing on relevant content and product or service offerings By segmenting your email list by product or service purchased, as well as when they joined, you can deliver perfectly timed emails along the customer journey. If you’re selling a product to new parents, for example, time the emails based on their baby’s age.
Parents with a newborn have different needs than those with a six-month-old, and personalization will help you deliver the products they need at the right time so they’re more likely to purchase through not just email marketing, but also social media advertising.
Personalization through social media advertising uses interest-based targeting to deliver your ad to the people who are most likely to need your product or service. Those parents who are your target audience for email? They’re likely also scrolling at 2 am while feeding their baby, which means you should personalize your ads to their experience.
The last way you can also personalize your customer’s experience is through strategic targeting on Google Ads (AdWords). By choosing the right blend of keywords, negative keywords, and text for the ad, you can entice them to click and purchase when they have a high intent to purchase.
And always include a call-to-action in your ads that relates to their experience. This can be the final step before they purchase, and you want to make it as easy as possible for them to say “yes”.
High-Quality Design Won’t be Optional
Social media used to be a land of quick snapshots. Today, it’s a feed of carefully curated images. While we see value in not curating too heavily, it’s also important to make sure your content measures up.
High-quality design, then, is an essential part of showcasing your business on social media. This can include sharing product tips, customer testimonials, and quotes that relate to your business.
If you have a graphic designer on your team, great! They can create these designs for you. If you don’t, this might be stressing you out. Cut that stress out with Canva. This is a tool we love to recommend to small businesses. They offer both free and paid memberships, but, frankly, you can get a lot done with just the free plan.
They offer templates for social media posts, ebooks, invitations, and just about anything else you could need.
Canva won’t completely replace a skilled designer, but it’s a valuable tool for many small businesses that don’t have the budget for a full-time or freelance designer.
Snippets Will Continue to Rule SEO
2019 saw the rise of “snippets”, or answers to search queries on Google that don’t require the user to visit a web page.
This has already led to decreased traffic
To maximize your SEO make sure you’re writing thorough, well-composed pieces based on your keyword research. This in addition to a well-planned SEO strategy will increase the likelihood that Google will use your piece for snippets.
Build your snippet-worthy web pages through content marketing that answers questions your target audience has. Consider what you specialize in and how that benefits your audience to build content worthy of their time.
Focus on a few core keywords that relate to your business, and craft well-written content that answers those core questions. Let’s revisit the parents from above. If you’re selling baby toys, then content could include:
– How to Choose the Right Toy for My 6-Month-Old
– Why X Toy Supports Your Child’s Development
– The 3 Essentials Your Baby Needs in Their First Month
Great SEO and content marketing takes time, but it’s well worth the wait so you can build a strong foundation and grab those coveted snippets for your business to better reach your target market.
SMS Will Be the New Email Marketing
We’re now seeing more small businesses harnessing what has typically been reserved for corporations with extensive marketing budgets. Great SMS marketing strategies include order upsells and sales notifications on a limited basis. SMS is ripe for overuse and can damage a strategy. Focus on quality over quantity so you aren’t irritating users.
From user-generated content to SMS strategy and everything in between, we’re predicting more companies will focus on their own platforms, like email and SMS, while dedicating some resources to growing on new platforms like Tik Tok. Are your goals aligned with these trends?
Webinars Will Build Your Business Online
Webinars share valuable information while building a connection between you, your team, and current and potential customers. The biggest benefit of webinars is increasing brand awareness among your target audience, though establishing stronger thought leadership and lead generations through signups are also excellent benefits.
Platforms like Zoom can help you manage the stream and take questions. Be sure to record it so you can upload it to YouTube later! This is not only an additional asset for your content marketing plan, but it’s also going to help your company’s SEO. This is because YouTube videos appear in search results and it’s the second-largest search engine on the web.
Be sure to promote your webinar through email marketing and social media, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Wherever your target market lives online, you should share. Include a call-to-action to register in every post, and make it easy. A custom landing page with a simple name and email address-based form will ensure you have as many people complete registration as possible.
After the broadcast, upload to YouTube and Facebook. You can also edit clips of the best sections to share on Instagram and IGTV to reach your customer base.
Now is the Time to Apply These 13 Tips
Creating and managing a thorough marketing plan for your business doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you’re looking for a team to help you apply these small business digital marketing ideas, let’s chat.
Or maybe you are not sure if we’re the right fit? Read our case studies and see how we have helped other businesses like yours.
By Marc Apple
Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.
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