Improve your success levels with a small business marketing strategy that covers all the basics and beyond. Even if you have a brick-and-mortar establishment, online marketing efforts can make or break your small business simply due to how modern consumers search for products and services. For example, potential customers might drive by local businesses every day without a second thought, but then decide to take a closer look when they see more details on social media platforms or view a pay-per-click advertisement on Google. This means small business owners must change the way they look at advertising and find new and original ways to reach their target market.
How to Improve Your Strategy
If you’re looking for ways to take your small business marketing strategy to the next level, consider these 10 tips for marketing a small business online. A top-notch marketing agency like Online Marketing Standard can help when you’re unsure how to bring your marketing ideas to life or simply don’t have time to do the legwork. To find out more about how an OMS marketing consultant can help your small business develop an effective marketing plan, contact us today for a free consultation.
1. Focus on Your Target Audience
The term target audience refers to the main consumers of your small business’s products or services. Since these are the people you want to view your online marketing efforts, understanding who composes your target audience is vital to every small business owner.
Identify Your Target Audience
To focus on your target audience, you must first learn who they are. For example, if your business sells clothing for everyone, your target audience consists of men, women and children. A small business that focuses on children’s clothing still has a broad customer base, but a company that sells children’s formal wear has a much smaller niche of new customers to reach with its marketing strategy.
Learn Who Isn’t Your Demographic
Just as small business owners should know who composes their existing customer base, they should also know who isn’t in their demographic. Displaying your advertising or content to people who aren’t interested in your product or service just wastes their time and your money. For example, if you sell meat, you probably don’t want to advertise to vegans.
Conduct Market Research
Now that you know who your target audience is and isn’t, conduct market research to further hone your marketing strategy. One passive way to do this is to scope out your competition to see what they have to offer that you don’t. You can also survey your existing customers to see what you’re already doing right and where your small business marketing plan has room for improvement.
2. Create a Cohesive Brand Presence
Things like a professional-looking website with a uniform color scheme and logos give your small business a cohesive brand presence. This integrated experience encourages buyers to associate a certain vibe with your brand and aids in developing customer loyalty over time.
Define Your Brand Values Proposition
The starting point for creating your brand presence is its values proposition. This is a simple statement that lays out what your brand is about, what makes it unique and how it differs from the competition. This statement typically serves as a common thread running through your marketing messages to help your business maintain cohesive branding.
Maintain a Consistent Look and Voice
Like the brand values proposition, consistency matters when it comes to the look and voice of your marketing materials. Developing a framework for content creation that centers around keeping communications templates and promotional materials on point and advertising visuals uniform helps your brand build trust with its target audience.
Understand What to Avoid
Customers don’t like mixed marketing messages, so it’s best to keep things consistent for your brand whether you’re focusing marketing efforts online or offline. And while it’s appropriate to check out what your competition is doing to make their marketing memorable, you shouldn’t copy them. Instead, look for new and novel ways to improve on their basic marketing ideas and make them your own.
3. Build a Clean, Attractive Website
Your company’s website is the first thing potential customers see when they check out your internet presence, and a clean, attractive website helps build your online reputation. Keep in mind that new and existing customers alike are probably using different screen sizes and devices. This means you want your website to load quickly and function properly, no matter if your customers are browsing with a desktop PC, laptop or mobile device.
Get a Domain Name and Secure Web Hosting
One of the best marketing tips for creating your online presence is to use a memorable domain name for your website. A memorable name, preferably on a .com domain, helps new customers find your web pages easily and keeps existing customers in touch. Also, find secure web hosting for your website, and aim for a reliable company that offers 24/7 support and data analytics tools to make the most of your investment.
Focus Design on Defined Brand Presence
Use the consistent voice and design you created for your brand presence to build your website. Make sure the colors and logos match your brand presence, and maintain content that’s similar to your offline advertising. By keeping things consistent, you avoid confusing customers so they always know your brand is your brand.
Optimize Website for Engagement and SEO
Once the build is complete, the next step is using search engine optimization (SEO) to attract website traffic. The research you did while discovering your target audience probably left you with a list of specific keywords that describe your core customers, so use that research to find niche-specific keywords to focus your SEO on rather than broad ones that don’t narrowly define your demographic.
4. Establish a Clear-Cut Marketing Strategy
Planning is half the battle when it comes to content marketing efforts online. This means doing your research, sussing out the needs of your customer base and figuring out how to reach them in an effective, economical manner with your marketing ideas.
Lay Out an Effective Marketing Plan
Marketing strategies require laying out all the resources you need for marketing your business, setting achievable goals for your efforts and taking the actions necessary to make the marketing magic happen. This means setting a budget and identifying avenues for marketing initiatives that are in line with your business’s stated goals.
Select All the Tools You Need
When you run a small business with a streamlined staff, you may not have the time or resources to implement your marketing ideas yourself. That’s where OMS comes in with marketing consultants who know how to take your company vision to the next level. We have the tools necessary to promote your business in a variety of ways, so you can spend more time making excellent products or providing top-notch services.
5. Create Organic SEO Content
Nothing beats organic content when you’re promoting your business online. Whether you’re a new business or an established company, high-quality content can aid with customer retention and draw new customers to your web pages with valuable information. Additionally, organic content helps with SEO by letting you naturally integrate finely honed keywords into marketing messages.
Do In-Depth Keyword Research
Google Analytics can help you discover both broad and focused keywords that pertain to your business. Though it might seem like a good idea to shoot for the most searched terms, that’s not always the case. Niche-specific keywords go further when you want to attract the ideal customer, and this means looking for terms without much competition when it comes to search engine ranking. For instance, instead of using clothing or women’s clothing, you might try terms like women’s workout clothing or women’s formal clothing to better describe your product offerings.
Craft High-Value Content for Local SEO
If you have a brick-and-mortar location where you sell your products or consult about your services, local SEO is necessary to hit your target market. Companies that only sell online have less to worry about in this regard, but if you want to reach local customers without relying completely on word of mouth, those potential customers need to see your ads when they look for your offerings on search engines. You can do this by adding the name of the towns, regions and states where you operate to the content you create alongside the keywords you decide upon.
Optimize Google Business Profile
An optimized Google Business Profile provides local customers with the information they need to easily navigate your offerings. This Google feature showcases your business address, hours of operation and category plus displaying a map so customers can easily find your location. Additionally, this profile has room for customer reviews. In the space where you describe your business during setup, be sure to use the keywords you selected and add photos to attract more visual customers.
6. Exchange Links With Supporting Sites
Shotgun-style link exchanges that worked a decade ago will see your web pages getting dinged by Google in the current year. Instead, your business needs to focus on thoughtful, informative reciprocal links that benefit both you and the website you exchange links with.
Find Relevant Noncompetitive Sites
When you’re picking out a partner for a link exchange, you want a business that’s in a related field but not a direct competitor. For instance, if you sell formal wear for women, you might exchange links with a retailer that sells high-end women’s shoes.
Consider Guest Blog Post Options
Since organic content marketing reigns supreme as a marketing tactic, reaching out to influential bloggers that are relevant to your products and services is one of the best ways to increase your link popularity score in the eyes of Google.
Use Editorial Links, Not Link Pages
Be sure to consider how you’re building links when you find compatible sites. Editorial links, or links embedded naturally within web pages, typically appeal to search engines more than lists of links on a sidebar. This means adding links within organic content like blog posts that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the text and distract the potential customer from the content.
7. Utilize Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with existing customers and tempt new ones to purchase your product or service. Since the recipient has already been exposed to your product and service and has provided their email, you have a better chance at converting them to a paying customer than with random visitors to your web pages.
Create Drip Campaigns for Top-of-Mind Awareness
Drip campaigns are automated sets of emails that are sent to potential customers either on a timeline after sign-up or in response to actions they perform. For instance, you might send out a welcome email to those who sign up, then a follow-up email marketing message a few days later to arouse their interest.
Offer Exclusive Sales or Offers via Email
In addition to drip campaigns, businesses can also use their email marketing lists to offer special sales or offers. For instance, a home decor retailer might email about a special sale when it wants to clear out seasonal goods. Likewise, retailers might send out flash email offers that offer a set discount for a specific time.
Tempt Cart Abandoners With Special Promos
If customers browse your web pages and load up their carts without buying, don’t fret. You can also set up email promotions that tempt those cart abandoners with special promos. For example, one type of email marketing tool lets you send a customer a special promo code for free shipping if their cart contents don’t already meet the requirements for free shipping.
8. Target Potential Customers Via Social Media Channels
Social media marketing provides your small business with an opportunity to touch base with potential and existing customers. Perfect for answering common product questions, sharing new release information and providing how-to videos, social media platforms enhance your small business’s marketing efforts in a fast, effective and economical fashion. Keep in mind that your business can post for free on these platforms, or you can run social media marketing campaigns with the expert help of OMS.
Engage With Customers on Facebook
Social media apps like Facebook give your business an opportunity to engage with potential buyers and improve customer experience. You can use social media posts on Facebook to add personality to your presentations and products, and you can also set up pages and groups for further opportunities to convert shoppers into paying customers and support customer retention.
Run Ad Campaigns on Twitter
Twitter lets your business share short messages along with photos and videos to get your products or services in front of fresh eyes. The social media platform also offers direct messages, so potential customers can ask questions before they make purchases. Some businesses also use Twitter Communities as an alternative to online forums for promotions.
Share Visual Marketing Content on YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest
Many potential customers are attracted to visual marketing tactics, making YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest great choices for posting photos and videos. For example, video marketing might include the basics on how to use your product or even explain how to put products together that require assembly. These types of marketing ideas aren’t typically salesy, but they do aid in building your online reputation.
9. Purchase Targeted PPC Advertising
While ranking highly in search engines is the goal, the reality is that competition is stiff, especially for popular keywords. One way around that limitation is to purchase pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. This marketing tool lets you hone in on specific keywords, then pay a certain amount for every potential customer who clicks through to your website.
Use Keyword Research to Pick Effective Niches
Again, keyword research is important for PPC advertising, since you only want to attract the ideal customer. You can use the information you gleaned while identifying your target audience and creating high-quality marketing content for your blog or website. Once you know the terms you intend to target, you can further hone your choices when using Google Ads and other PPC advertising options.
Aim Marketing Strategy With Geographic Accuracy
Getting eyes in your local market to your website is the goal of brick-and-mortar establishments, so you want to aim your PPC marketing with geographic accuracy. Be sure you’re only displaying your paid ads to customers within certain boundaries to avoid paying more than you should. If you’re unclear how to handle this aspect of your marketing plan, the experts at OMS can help you create tailored campaigns that convert.
10. Track Results and Adapt Strategy
To get the most bang for your buck on your marketing initiatives, be sure to track how the ads or content did and switch up your marketing strategy accordingly. This process is simpler than you think when you understand how to use Google Analytics to track where traffic is going and which content has the biggest audience.
Create Landing Pages to Gauge Ad Effectiveness
One way to track advertising effectiveness, especially with email marketing and PPC ads, is creating unique landing pages and sending traffic there. These web pages are typically filled with valuable insights into your business along with geographical information, so they’re still providing unique content. Their purpose, however, is for internal tracking so you can see which content makes customers click the most.
Ask Customers for Input and Use Promo Codes
Another way to track ad effectiveness is to ask customers. You might use a pop-up survey on your website after a customer makes a purchase to see where they found you. Likewise, special promo codes embedded in each piece of content you produce can point to which pages attract and convert the best.
Revise Marketing Strategies Based on What Works
When you use these methods to watch for patterns, you begin to see what works and what doesn’t. This lets you focus time, money and marketing efforts on initiatives that provide the best return on investment and customer satisfaction.
Marketing Channels That Work
Creating a small business marketing strategy that drives success and growth is simple when you have the right marketing tips to steer you in the proper direction. By utilizing the plethora of online marketing tools available to even the smallest businesses, you can focus your energy on content marketing initiatives that attract paying customers and ensure you retain happy clients.
While you can do all these things yourself, you may find yourself stretched thin with the day-to-day running of your business when trying to get the most from these marketing tips. Fortunately, OMS can help you stay on top of your game with marketing tactics designed specifically for your small business, from helping your website rank highly on search engine results pages and creating an effective email marketing strategy to juggling social media accounts for your business and aiding you with Google Analytics and PPC ads.