It’s tough running a small business. Not only is the competition stiff, but you also have to consider that you have limited resources to contend with. While tough, the one thing you should keep in mind at all times is that all corporations started small. This means that if they can rise from the depths of entrepreneurship, so can any other small business.
One of the most challenging parts of running a small business is knowing what you can do with marketing while on a limited budget. You don’t have to organize massive marketing campaigns or complex strategies as a small business.
All you really need is smart marketing and it’s the form of marketing that’s becoming more popular with business owners.
There’s no exact definition of what smart marketing is. To put it simply, it’s just any marketing practice that’s both cost-efficient and effective. It takes into consideration a small business’s lack of a large marketing budget and their limited internal and external resources. The key to proper smart business marketing is essentially knowing which practices yield the best results.
Smart marketing also means utilizing various tools and platforms at the disposal of smart businesses. These include specific business software, social media platforms, and even traditional forms of marketing. If small business owners do it right, smart marketing can earn them a ton of leads and engagement.
Here are a few smart marketing strategies that can help small business owners rise to their full potential.
Take Advantage Of SEO
The common misconception is that it’s enough to have a website for your business. Consider that there are already billions of websites in existence and countless more are created each day. At least thousands of those are going to be in competition with your business.
The best way to stand out with your website is by taking advantage of SEO or search engine optimization. It is basically the practice of using various tools and techniques to ensure that your web pages rank high on the results pages of Google and other search engines.
The higher your website ranks, the better it is for you. Put yourself in the shoes of a regular consumer. If you’re looking for the best plumbers in Ohio and the results come up, which website are YOU going to pick? The first link, the second link, or the third link?
The answer should be pretty obvious. Even today’s top websites actually benefit from SEO and you should too.
There are various ways you can increase your website’s SEO. It’s not just about keywords and tags. The current state of SEO demands great and informative content coming from your website. The better and more concise your content is, the better it is for your SEO.
You should also consider the SEO you’ll put in your images and videos. These can affect your website’s ranking. You should incorporate the right captions and alternative text so that Google’s algorithm treats your content better than most. Don’t get lazy with the little things!
Understandably, SEO can be a tough beast to tackle. It’s constantly changing and it can be hard to keep up with all of the algorithm updates. One way to better manage your SEO is by having the pros do the work for you.
Hiring SEO specialists is common practice given how complex SEO has become in the last couple of years. With the right specialists by your side, you can rise through the ranks of Google effectively and this, in turn, can increase your leads and engagements by a huge margin.
Let The Media Do The Marketing For You
Press releases are a great way to get the word out about your businesses’ next event or product launch. Simply put, press releases are brief announcements that you can send to media outlets which in turn, they’ll publish for you should they deem it good for their platform.
This is an effective means of smart marketing as you can take advantage of an outlet’s following to increase yours. Press releases like this are great at keeping people up to date about the latest happenings related to your business. However, do keep in mind that making an effective press release is not as easy as it sounds.
Media outlets are very discerning with regards to the stories they publish so it’s very likely that you’ll have to create a good press release if you want yours noticed. Here are a few tips to consider.
- One of the first things people will see in the press release is the headline. Make sure it is catchy but not too creative as press releases are serious and not creative pieces. There should be enough information to tell the readers what’s up without having to give them the entire details.
- When writing a press release, keep in mind that you aren’t writing for the audience, you are writing for media outlets. Make sure that the overall tone of the piece is serious and direct to the point.
- Keep the important details on top of the article and then let the supporting details flow below. It’s a pyramid structure of writing so the most important information stays up.
- If possible, try to send supporting media like videos and images to the press release. This will make it more enticing for the media outlets to publish your story as they have the right materials to go along with your article. It also helps future readers understand what the piece is about.
- If you have a particular media outlet you want your story published to, then it’s a must to write the press release in their style as well. It will increase the press release’s chances of getting published as the media outlet will see that there’s not much change to be added.
Press releases may be brief and short but they are in every way effective when it comes to getting the attention of potential customers. So long as you know what you are doing, you can do wonders with a well-written press release.
Take To Social Media
Nearly half of the world is on social media. If you aren’t taking advantage of this, you are missing out on big opportunities. With such a huge percentage of the world’s population now on social media, you should be more active with engaging with your audience on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
When it comes to social media marketing, it’s hard to go wrong. What’s hard though is becoming creative enough that more people actively engage with your accounts more than they do with others.
There are many ways to make waves on social media. If you are on Facebook, you can begin an aggressive marketing campaign by actively posting daily. You shouldn’t just focus on your business and your customers, you should focus more on the products and services that you offer as well.
A good example of this is if you’re running a restaurant that serves only vegan dishes, constantly post about the benefits of meatless products. Not only are you enticing more people to become your customers, but you are also making your business an authority in the industry.
Another way to do this is to rely on user-generated content. The best way to do this is to conduct regular contests that your customers can participate in. This could be in the form of them sending pictures of them using your products. As for the mechanics, the submission with the most likes gets a special gift.
The key to winning with social media marketing is to generate more engagement. It’s not just about the likes and shares that you get, people must see that people are actively engaging with your business account on social media. It may seem like a tiring thing to do but it’s going to work for you in the future.
Don’t be afraid to take new and unique steps when it comes to your approach to your customers on social media. If you remember, Wendy’s Twitter account is very popular for actively engaging in insult wars with other users and other accounts of restaurant chains.
Of course, each business should have its own unique identity. While you are starting up, start to see what your audience likes and check what works for you.
Quality Customer Service Means Quality Business
It’s wrong to focus all of your funds on improving your product or service. You should also improve your business’s customer service. Customers greatly appreciate businesses that are easily accessible and have great response times. This might seem tough to achieve but with the help of technology, it’s more than possible.
Consider investing in chatbots to help your business flourish through better customer service. This isn’t exactly a marketing technique but consider this – marketing is all about putting up a good name and reputation for your business. What better way to have that reputation than by having good customer service.
Another way you can help improve your reputation is by making yourself accessible through various platforms. Aside from social media and your website, make sure that your business can also be contacted through the telephone and email.
The more responsive you are, the better your reputation will be with your audience. In this day and age where people prefer instant responses, your accessibility will be greatly appreciated.
Use Unconventional Marketing Techniques
The problem with most business owners is that they think that only a few digital marketing techniques work. In reality, though, unconventional marketing practices such as PPC advertising and email marketing are still effective in helping you get more attention.
Don’t limit your small business to social media marketing, SEO, and other popular marketing practices. You’ll be surprised at how effective email marketing can be when it comes to generating leads and engagement. Don’t trust what others say, email is far from dying.
In fact, more and more people are using email due to work and other important focuses. The emergence of personalized and automated email has made it easier for marketers to put email marketing to good effect. Your business can still benefit greatly from it as well.
Pay-per-click advertising, on the other hand, is good at helping you take advantage of the popularity of other websites.
Basically, PPC advertising lets you put your links on relevant content on the website of others. If you are just starting up as would most small businesses do, it can be a smart move to ride the momentum of other websites first. Since PPC marketing is output-based, you’ll only have to spend money on leads generated from their content.
Focus On A Smaller Audience
The biggest hindrance that small business owners face is their limited resources. Be it budget or manpower, small businesses can’t keep up with the marketing efforts of larger firms no matter what. Big companies can reach out to a global audience but it’s impossible for smaller businesses to do that.
The best way to make your marketing efforts more effective is by simply thinking small. Smart marketing is and will always be about being more cost-efficient about your marketing efforts. What better way to do that than by making sure that your marketing funds are being used for the right people.
Since you are just starting up, it might be wise to focus your marketing on the local scene first. Try to attract people within your vicinity. Since they are nearby, you’ll have better chances of having them as customers as compared to those who are a bit further.
As you build your reputation with the local scene, you can then begin to grow your reach. Marketing should be taken slowly so there’s no need to go all out in the beginning.
These smart marketing tips and techniques are going to help you increase the attention you are getting for a small business. It’s tough for businesses to start growing their audience and these tips can help you get that much-needed momentum to help increase your audience.