As a small business owner, you are always looking for ways to generate new leads and customers. Marketing is one of the most important tools you have to reach your target audience and grow your business. But marketing strategy can be confusing and with so many different marketing channels and marketing strategies out there, it can be difficult to know where to start.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide on effective marketing for small businesses. We’ll cover some of the most important aspects of marketing strategy, including lead generation and ROI. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of how to effectively put together a marketing plan for small businesses that will turn your target customers into loyal customers in no time!
Local marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience. There are a few key strategies you should keep in mind.
First, make sure you are visible online. This means having a strong presence on popular directories and review sites like free tools Yelp and Google My Business, which will get you visible on Google Maps and help your search engine rankings.
Second, focus on building relationships with local influencers. This could mean partnering with a local blog or social media influencer to promote your business.
Finally, don’t forget about traditional marketing methods like print advertising and direct mail to reach your potential clients at their home or business address.
Content marketing is a lead generation strategy that involves creating and sharing valuable content with your target audience. This could include blog posts, ebooks, infographics, or even video marketing. The goal of content marketing is to attract new leads and convert them into customers by first exchanging expertise for data (their email address).
The most important thing to think about here is really understanding your audience, so be sure to do your market research. What are their main challenges, desires and questions that you could help answer? – We are not directly looking for leads with this method, we are building trust and credibility whilst reaching the segment of your target audience that may not be “ready to buy” yet with relevant content.
Whilst this may not sound like a particularly fruitful ROI, in the long run it establishes a great deal of free traffic that can turn in to some fantastic, well nurtured leads.
Search Engine Optimisation
SEO is one of the most recognised online marketing channels online because it generates leads without any media budget. It is the process of creating content that people want to consume and are therefore searching for on search engines such as Google.
In simplistic terms, the more people that read your content, the higher Google ranks your content on their search results page, in turn, encouraging more and more people to view your content.
Search engine optimisation can build awareness, trust and credibility with your audience and is often seen as a longer term strategy because it snowballs, starting off relatively ineffective and then growing in effectiveness over the course of several months and years.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is a marketing strategy that most people are well aware of. What some small business owners do not realise is that the social platforms have reduced the reach of businesses social media posts to their followers, so that as little as 3-5% of their followers see their post. This is to encourage them to spend money on social media advertising, whish has incredibly strong reach and targeting abilities and if done correctly, can be incredibly effective in terms of lead generation and ROI.
Email marketing is fantastic for small business marketing because it is not only completely free, but also because it engages with existing customers who are already aware of your brand. Often email marketing strategy is underutilised by focussing on newsletters, but when done correctly with emotive messaging that drives consumer action, they can can generate paying customers with some of the best ROI available and be one of your most effective marketing efforts.
Google Search (PPC) is a form of paid advertising and is often a “go-to” tool for any Marketing Director. Whilst it can be expensive, the budgets are manageable and if planned correctly, it can be a very cost effective marketing channel for any small business.
To ensure PPC is managed correctly, keyword research is essential in order to identify relevant keywords and drive traffic for your products or services. There should be a messaging consistency between keyword, paid ad and landing page and you can filter out negative keywords by identifying the search terms that you don’t want your ad to be be shown on. This can be managed through a paid tool, or for free through Google Adwords.
For even more power, you can sync your Google Adwords account with your Google Analytics account for improved tracking and visibility.
There are a wider range of marketing strategies available for small businesses but depending on your services, budgets and time available, some marketing strategies may be better suited to your small business than others.
Here’s a summary of why you should or shouldn’t use each channel;
This makes sense to get your business listed on Google Maps and Search Engines if your business is geographically local or regional, but less so if you are national or international.
This is a must have if you have existing customer data, and even if you don’t it’s good practice to have this in place for when you start to build your customer data email lists.
Social Media Marketing
This is only recommended if you have the budget available to pay for paid ads, or if you are willing to spend the time engaging with groups.
It takes time to produce and even more time to pay off. It’s a slow burner that is often seen as a longer term investment in marketing strategy.
Google Search (PPC)
This can deliver immediate results but only targets the relatively small portion (c.3%) of your target audience who are “ready to buy”. It can be highly effective, but if managed incorrectly, it can become expensive.
If you need any help in developing an effective, ROI driven marketing plan for your small business we would be happy to help you with a free consultation.