Marketing a Small Business
With all of the options in marketing these days it can be difficult to determine the best method for marketing a small business. Small businesses with a tight budget need to make every marketing dollar count. Here we will discuss some of the best ways to drive strong ROI marketing a small business.
Realize Time is Money
Many small business owners have a DIY (Do It Yourself) attitude. In fact, that is usually what drove them to be able to start a company in the first place. Although that is a great attitude, when it comes to marketing a small business a company needs to scale. Marketing efforts should be automated as much as possible. Automation allows teams to focus on other key areas of the business such as pleasing their customers/clients.
In person events like trade shows and meetups can be valuable, but they do not scale. That is why we recommend choosing events wisely. Digital marketing should be utilized to drive the bulk of the marketing effort.
Social Media for Small Business Marketing
Each business is unique and brings its own set of challenges. There is no one size fits all to small business marketing. With that said more often than not we find social media marketing is a great place to start. As we discussed in our article How to Launch eCommerce products successfully, social media provides a great opportunity to get in front of your target market. With all of the targeting options available within social media, you can go straight to the people your product or service is designed to help. While doing this you will also uncover insights on new audiences that may not have been considered when initially planning your marketing efforts.
The benefits of social media marketing are twofold. First, you should be able to drive sales at a strong ROI assuming your targeting, messaging and offer are strong Second, the data gained from social media campaigns shines a light on how the market responds to your company. This data can be used to improve marketing tactics, product/service offering, company messaging and more.
The only caution here is social media marketing is complicated. If not executed properly it will be very expensive and not drive results. Targeting, messaging and AD format need to be set up properly. If they are not, the results will be a lot of money wasted with little or nothing to show for it. Therefore, it is worth bringing in an agency partner or expert in social media marketing to run the campaigns.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a long-term, ongoing marketing strategy that all businesses should be involved in. Organic traffic is consistently the most valuable for companies in all industries. Since SEO can take a while to produce results it should be started as soon as possible. In fact, when we work with startups, we always recommend starting SEO right away.
For small businesses focused on their local market SEO is even more important. Google gives preference to local companies. That is why you see local search results and a map show up first in most search results. Proper SEO can ensure you show up above your local competitors for potential customers searching for what you offer.
Paid Search for Small Businesses
Paid search is a good way to get on top of search results immediately. An effective paid search strategy will drive strong results for most small businesses. Some of the key areas to focus on in paid search are using an audience first approach. Unfortunately, a lot of companies simply focus on keywords without defining an audience. When this is done ads show up for anyone searching for those specific keywords and budget tends to run out fast. When audience is factored in the ads will only show up when searchers in the defined audience search for a particular keyword. This results in a better return on investment.
Timing is also extremely important in paid search. After ads have been running for a few weeks and data has been collected, timing should be analyzed and enhanced. This means adjusting bids to increase on days/times where the ads are getting better results. Also, lowering bids on underperforming days/times will help to ensure the highest ROI for the media spend.
Remarketing is generally the best performing form of digital paid media. This involves targeting people who have visited your website and/or taken a specific action. Remarketing can be done across several channels such as social media, search and display.
An effective remarketing strategy does not simply target people who have visited the website. It is important to target based on actions taken on the website. For example, if an eCommerce company had a website visitor add an item to a cart but never check out they would want to remarket to them with reminders to purchase the item. They could even offer them a discount off that item. On the other hand, if a website visitor looked at the locations they ship to and then left the site they may not want to remarket to them. The reason being they are likely in an area the company does not offer shipping.
There are many different ways to segment website visitors and remarket to them. As long as there is sufficient data, we always recommend testing different methods to find the one that works best.
Marketing a small business can be complicated and overwhelming. With a limited budget it is imperative to make every dollar count. Without proper marketing expertise, small businesses should seek the help of an agency partner that specializes in small business marketing. Every business is different. Channels that may work best for one company will not necessarily be a great fit for another. Small business owners should talk with an agency that can create and execute an effective strategy that encompasses at least one of the main channels listed above.