More From Forbes
Eight marketing strategies every startup or small business can afford.
- Share to Facebook
- Share to Twitter
- Share to Linkedin
Roshni is the CMO of Foxquilt Insurance and Founder of Prosh Marketing, specializing in Go-To-Market strategies for technology startups.
As the founder of a marketing company that helps startups and small businesses, people often ask me, “How can we effectively market and scale with a tight budget?” It can be challenging to decide where to invest your time and limited resources in marketing. Should you invest in the top of the funnel or the bottom?
In my experience, a full-funnel approach is usually the most sustainable over time. That said, certain strategies are just out of reach and do not make sense for smaller companies — like, for example, TV advertising. Here are eight tried-and-tested marketing strategies I recommend every startup or small business consider:
1. Earned Media/PR
The value of a credible third party touting your praises cannot be underestimated. Not only do press articles and earned media gain you trust, but you can also benefit from a wider distribution by leveraging their existing audiences. Influencers and bloggers can fall into this category and can share your company with their followers, which gains you an endorsement with potentially exponential reach. Stunts can also be a creative (and low-cost, if done right) way to garner media attention or that of your target market.
2. Content Marketing
Creating content that’s relevant and interesting to your target audience can help you generate new leads by capturing their interest and building trust. It can also help increase your close ratio by building your brand, answering customer questions and providing reasons why prospects should choose you. From articles to infographics to eBooks and even videos, you should showcase your expertise, differentiation and brand values to attract potential customers and help those who are already considering you to make that purchase decision. Great content also often gets featured and backlinked, so you can increase your domain authority by placing it on your website.
Best Travel Insurance Companies
Best covid-19 travel insurance plans.
3. Partner Marketing
Partnering with another company or organization that has a similar target customer can help you both increase your reach and marketing abilities if you pool your resources together to build your brands. Complimentary products and services can be a great place to start. By sharing email lists, exchanging blogs, bundling offerings or even co-branding programs, ads or sponsorships, you can create win-win situations for both partners.
4. Social Media
Having your own social channels not only allows you to control your message and share updates freely, but also allows you to build a community around your brand, company and product. As a free channel to activate, social media can be a great place to build user-generated content, get feedback or even address customer service concerns. Many customers also look to social channels to see if they can trust the brand or company or to check out their reviews, so maintaining a presence can actually help conversion rates.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Most people search for information online, and organic search can account for the majority of a website’s traffic. This makes optimizing your website for SEO extremely important. Through strategic SEO, you can introduce yourself to leads with a high need state or purchase intent, which can make this kind of business easier to close. Furthermore, if a customer searches for help with a problem and your website comes up, this helps position you as a credible, trustworthy source to help them.
6. Email Marketing
If you’ve built your email list right, you’ve gathered a group of people who have expressed some interest in your company or product. By segmenting this group based on different characteristics and then emailing them with the right content and offers at the right time in their customer journey, you can influence a purchase decision successfully with no added impact to your marketing budget.
7. Affiliate Programs
Affiliates are a cost-effective way to build sales without adding large fixed marketing costs like advertising. Because they have skin in the game, affiliates are properly incentivized to promote your products or services and are only rewarded if they are successful. These affiliates can take the form of influencers, content publishers and review or coupon sites, and you can structure the partnerships to pay out based on clicks, leads or sales.
8. Referral Marketing
Tapping into the goodwill of happy, existing customers is one of the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective ways to grow. Mobilize your customers to spread the word about your products or services by reminding them to share their experiences and incentivizing them to bring new business to you. You’ll likely get highly qualified leads at a lower overall cost of acquisition than if you had to find them on your own.
Even with a modest budget, there are many options available to you to create a solid marketing plan as a startup or small business. By employing a number of different affordable strategies that address the entire marketing funnel, from awareness through conversion and advocacy, you can strategically, creatively and tactfully garner customers and build revenues to eventually reinvest in your marketing efforts and speed up your growth.
Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
- Editorial Standards
- Reprints & Permissions
- Content Marketing Platform
- Content Management System
- Digital Asset Management
- Content Recommendations
- Feature Experimentation
- Web Experimentation
- Advanced Personalization
- Program Management
- Customized Commerce
- Configured Commerce
- Product Information Management
- Product Recommendations
Be inspired to create digital experiences with the latest customer stories, articles, reports and more on content, commerce and optimization
- Customer stories
- Optimization glossary
- Events and webinars
- Sample size calculator
- Slack community
What is marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy is a long-term plan for achieving a company's goals by understanding the needs of customers and creating a distinct and sustainable competitive advantage. It encompasses everything from determining who your customers are to deciding what channels you use to reach those customers.
With a marketing strategy, you can define how your company positions itself in the marketplace, the types of products you produce, the strategic partners you make, and the type of advertising and promotion you undertake.
Having a marketing plan is essential to the success of any business. Read on to learn how to create a successful marketing strategy for your company.
Marketing is more than just advertising and promotion – it's all about connecting with the customer.
A marketing strategy sets the direction for all your product and marketing-related activities.
Having a marketing strategy helps keep all your activities on track.
Developing a marketing strategy involves setting goals, researching the market, developing product plans, defining your marketing initiatives, and following the "7 P's."
Before we dive into the ins and outs of marketing strategy, you need to have a firm grasp of what exactly marketing is – and what it isn't.
What is marketing?
Marketing is about connecting your company with potential customers and connecting those customers with your products. It involves understanding customer needs, translating those needs into products and services, packing and pricing those products and services, and then convincing customers that they need to buy those products and services.
To put it simply, marketing is the entire cycle from identifying potential customers to satisfying those customers' needs with the products you produce.
Image Source: Optimizely
What marketing isn't
Marketing isn't just advertising, public relations or putting together a website or email campaign. It's also about everything leading up to those activities to support both your customers and your sales team. It, ideally, drives your entire business and determines what products you produce and how you distribute them.
What is included in a marketing strategy?
In essence, a marketing strategy determines the general direction – but not the specific details – for a variety of marketing-related activities. Ideally, your marketing strategy should help you define the following for your company:
In the following video, marketing legend Philip Kotler shares his insights about marketing strategy:
Why is having a marketing strategy important?
Creating – and following – a marketing strategy is essential to setting the direction not just for your marketing-related activities but also for your entire business. Your marketing strategy helps you stay in sync with your customer base, develop the right products for them and determine how you communicate information about those products.
Without a defined strategy you won't know who your customers are, you won't develop the right products, and you'll waste money promoting them.
In short, having a defined marketing plan makes you more successful. According to a CoSchedule survey, companies who have a documented marketing strategy are 313% more likely to be successful than those who don't.
How to create a successful marketing strategy
There are several steps you need to take to create a robust marketing strategy for your business.
Set definable business goals
Your company's vision and objectives are the driving factors behind your marketing strategy. These overall objectives help determine your marketing goals, which your marketing strategy is in service of.
Your marketing goals build on your company's goals. You might set a goal to achieve a specific market share, dominate a particular channel or reach a certain percentage of a certain type of consumer. Your goals should be reachable and measurable.
Identify and research the target market
The goals you set help you define the target market to pursue. This requires you to get familiar with the customers in this market, which requires some degree of market research and analysis. You need to determine the following about the target market and its customers:
Market size and growth potential
Geographic and demographic characteristics
Focus on the 7 P's
Image Source: Author
As you develop your marketing strategy, you should focus on the traditional 7 P’s of marketing:
Product – how you satisfy customer needs
Price – how much customers are willing to pay for your product
Promotion – which channels you use to tell customers about your product
Place – where you sell your product
People – individuals who help sell your product to customers
Packaging – how you present your product to the customer
Process – how you deliver your product to customers
Develop product plans
Once you understand your target customers, you can determine what products best serve those customers' needs. When you know what a customer wants, you can build the right product for that customer.
Developing the product falls outside the parameters of the marketing department, of course, as does producing the product. But marketing should have a prominent and vocal role in determining the product's features, pricing and packaging, as determined by customer needs and metrics.
Identify the key benefits
Savvy marketers know that new customers don't make decisions based on a new product's features but rather on how that product benefits them. It's essential to identify the key benefits of the products you develop – how that product best serves the customers' wants or needs.
Unsuccessful products often have attractive features but unless those features translate into benefits, customers simply don't care. It's not a matter of "if you build it, they will come," it's a matter of meeting your customers' needs.
Craft your positioning and messaging
Product positioning should build on a product's benefits and how the product meets the needs of the target audience. You have to deeply understand what your customers value and then position your product accordingly.
This follows through into all messaging surrounding the product. The product position may be that it's the best for meeting a particular need – the messaging communicates that positioning in a clear, concise and attention-getting fashion.
Define your marketing mix
Finally, your marketing strategy should determine how you reach your target audience – what channels and activities you include in your marketing mix. This can include traditional channels like print, radio and television, as well as digital channels , social media and mobile apps.
Make Optimizely part of your marketing strategy
Optimizely's digital experience platform and cloud-based CMS solutions should be part of your company's marketing strategy. Optimizely's online solutions help you better manage your digital assets, optimize the customer experience, and enhance your company's ecommerce efforts, improving the effectiveness of your evolving marketing strategy.
Contact Optimizely today to learn how our online marketing solutions can be part of your marketing strategy.
- Corporate Finance
- Mutual Funds
- Investing Essentials
- Fundamental Analysis
- Portfolio Management
- Trading Essentials
- Technical Analysis
- Risk Management
- Company News
- Markets News
- Cryptocurrency News
- Personal Finance News
- Economic News
- Government News
- Wealth Management
- Credit Cards
- Home Ownership
- Retirement Planning
- Best Online Brokers
- Best Savings Accounts
- Best Home Warranties
- Best Credit Cards
- Best Personal Loans
- Best Student Loans
- Best Life Insurance
- Best Auto Insurance
- Practice Management
- Financial Advisor Careers
- Investopedia 100
- Portfolio Construction
- Financial Planning
- Investing for Beginners
- Become a Day Trader
- Trading for Beginners
- All Courses
- Trading Courses
- Investing Courses
- Financial Professional Courses
What Is a Marketing Strategy?
- How It Works
- Strategies vs. Plans
How to Create a Marketing Strategy
- Marketing Strategy FAQs
- Marketing Essentials
Marketing Strategy: What It Is, How It Works, How To Create One
Investopedia / Daniel Fishel
A marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services. A marketing strategy contains the company’s value proposition , key brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and other high-level elements.
A thorough marketing strategy covers the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.
- A marketing strategy is a business’s game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services.
- Marketing strategies should revolve around a company’s value proposition.
- The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies.
Understanding Marketing Strategies
A clear marketing strategy should revolve around the company’s value proposition, which communicates to consumers what the company stands for, how it operates, and why it deserves their business.
This provides marketing teams with a template that should inform their initiatives across all of the company’s products and services. For example, Walmart ( WMT ) is widely known as a discount retailer with “everyday low prices,” whose business operations and marketing efforts are rooted in that idea.
Marketing Strategies vs. Marketing Plans
The marketing strategy is outlined in the marketing plan —a document that details the specific types of marketing activities that a company conducts and contains timetables for rolling out various marketing initiatives.
Marketing strategies should ideally have longer life spans than individual marketing plans because they contain value propositions and other key elements of a company’s brand, which generally hold constant over the long haul. In other words, marketing strategies cover big-picture messaging, while marketing plans delineate the logistical details of specific campaigns.
For example, a marketing strategy might say that a company aims to increase authority in niche circles where their clients visit. The marketing plan puts that in action by commissioning thought leadership pieces on LinkedIn.
Benefits of a Marketing Strategy
The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies by understanding the needs and wants of its consumers. Whether it’s a print ad design, mass customization , or a social media campaign, a marketing asset can be judged based on how effectively it communicates a company’s core value proposition.
Market research can help chart the efficacy of a given campaign and can help identify untapped audiences to achieve bottom-line goals and increase sales.
Creating a marketing strategy requires a few steps. HubSpot, a digital marketing resource, offers insight into how to create your strategy.
- Identify your goals: While sales are the ultimate goal for every company, you should have more short-term goals such as establishing authority, increasing customer engagement, or generating leads. These smaller goals offer measurable benchmarks for the progress of your marketing plan. Think of strategy as the high-level ideology and planning as how you accomplish your goals.
- Know your clients: Every product or service has an ideal customer, and you should know who they are and where they hang out. If you sell power tools, you’ll choose marketing channels where general contractors may see your messaging. Establish who your client is and how your product will improve their lives.
- Create your message: Now that you know your goals and who you’re pitching to, it’s time to create your messaging. This is your opportunity to show your potential clients how your product or service will benefit them and why you’re the only company that can provide it.
- Define your budget: How you disperse your messaging may depend on how much you can afford. Will you be purchasing advertising? Hoping for a viral moment on social media organically? Sending out press releases to the media to try to gain coverage? Your budget will dictate what you can afford to do.
- Determine your channels: Even the best message needs the appropriate venue. Some companies may find more value in creating blog posts for their website. Others may find success with paid ads on social media channels. Find the most appropriate venue for your content.
- Measure your success: To target your marketing, you need to know whether it is reaching its audience. Determine your metrics and how you’ll judge the success of your marketing efforts.
Why does my company need a marketing strategy?
A marketing strategy helps a company direct its advertising dollars to where it will have the most impact. Compared with the data from 2018, the correlation between organization and success in marketers jumped from being almost four times more likely to almost seven times more likely in 2022.
What do the four Ps mean in a marketing strategy?
The four Ps are product, price, promotion, and place. These are the key factors that are involved in the marketing of a good or service. The four Ps can be used when planning a new business venture, evaluating an existing offer, or trying to optimize sales with a target audience. It also can be used to test a current marketing strategy on a new audience.
What does a marketing strategy look like?
A marketing strategy will detail the advertising, outreach, and public relations campaigns to be carried out by a firm, including how the company will measure the effect of these initiatives. They will typically follow the four Ps. The functions and components of a marketing plan include market research to support pricing decisions and new market entries, tailored messaging that targets certain demographics and geographic areas, and platform selection for product and service promotion—digital, radio, internet, trade magazines, and the mix of those platforms for each campaign, and metrics that measure the results of marketing efforts and their reporting timelines.
Is a marketing strategy the same as a marketing plan?
The terms “marketing plan” and “marketing strategy” are often used interchangeably because a marketing plan is developed based on an overarching strategic framework. In some cases, the strategy and the plan may be incorporated into one document, particularly for smaller companies that may only run one or two major campaigns in a year. The plan outlines marketing activities on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, while the marketing strategy outlines the overall value proposition.
Walmart Corporate. “ About .”
HubSpot Blog. “ 7 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2022 .”
i7 Marketing. “ 6 Steps to Develop a Winning Marketing Campaign .”
CoSchedule. “ Trend Report: Marketing Strategy 2022 .”
Socially Responsible Investing
How to Start a Business
- Editorial Policy
- Do Not Sell My Personal Information
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
- Hubspot Blog
Oh no! We couldn't find anything like that.
Try another search, and we'll give it our best shot.
46 Ideas for Your 2022 Small Business Marketing Strategy
Updated: August 04, 2022
Published: June 17, 2022
Whether you're in the process of launching a new business or already have one, having a strong online presence for your brand is extremely important.
In fact, consumers learn about local businesses online more than anywhere else, with Statista predicting the number of ecommerce users to grow to nearly 274 million by 2025 .
If you're a small business owner with little experience in online marketing, creating a strategy to boost your online presence may feel overwhelming. Have no fear — we've got you covered.
In this post, we'll help you build and optimize your small business marketing strategy using inbound marketing , setting you up to attract new clients and ultimately grow your business.
Small Business Marketing
Marketing is meant to raise brand awareness and build a pipeline of qualified leads that turn into sales. With a small business, getting the word out can be challenging due to less visibility and lack of resources (like budget or time). However, there are key strategies that can help you scale your small business's marketing efforts.
Whether you're struggling with a limited budget, the time restraints caused by having a smaller team, or even a lack of direction, a marketing plan that's appropriate for your business can provide guidance as you scale.
Small Business Marketing Strategies
- Know your audience.
- Emphasize your value proposition.
- Stay focused on singular goals and objectives.
- Capitalize on short-term plays.
- Double-down on what works.
- Understand the power of existing customers.
- Use free promotional tools.
- Create a website to own your online presence.
- Consider blogging to attract prospects for your website.
- Promote yourself on social media.
- Invest in ads.
- Make sure you're capturing web prospects' information.
- Use email marketing to nurture leads.
- Manage relationships with a CRM.
- Lean into word of mouth as a promotion channel.
These strategies are fundamental as you generate awareness and revenue for your organization:
1. Know your audience.
A key mistake is thinking that "anyone" is your buyer. Larger companies may be able to appeal to a wide market, but they say, "the riches are in the niches" for a reason. A niche is where you'll have the most leverage as a small business. And to develop a niche and appeal to buyers within the niche, you must understand their pains, problems, triggering events, and priorities.
What is pushing them to make a purchasing decision? What does it look like if they succeed? Knowing these things will help you craft messaging that resonates and makes a compelling case for your solution.
Start by thinking about your existing customers and who you'd like to work with. Then, create a buyer persona to start the process of getting into the head of your ideal client.
Download Free Buyer Persona Templates
2. Emphasize your value proposition.
If there's no difference between you and your competition, there's no reason why a buyer would be compelled to work with you. Your value proposition is what will differentiate you from others in your space and make up your prospects' minds that you're the provider to go with. What do you do better than anyone in the industry? Conveying this makes a compelling argument.
3. Stay focused on singular goals and objectives.
If you're exploring the world of marketing, you may have noticed that there are a gazillion directions you can go in. It's tempting to do it all at once and craft a complicated machine in hopes that you covered all your bases, and it's easy to take on too much.
Instead, identify where the biggest impact will be. Where is the biggest blind spot in your marketing that's prohibiting your growth? Set a performance goal around that one key area and focus your resources on the activities and tactics that will achieve that one performance goal. You can expand your efforts or pivot to other initiatives when you've made more progress toward that singular goal.
4. Capitalize on short-term plays.
Start scrappy. As you scale, it's critical to see ROI sooner. This will give you the momentum and cash flow to put toward larger projects, long-term plays, and more sustainable growth models.
Tactics that take time to build (such as SEO) are poor fits for your primary initiatives because you won't see a return soon enough for your liking. If you have enough resources to start there, great, but don't put all your eggs in that basket.
If you have evidence that people are taking to Google with purchasing intent for your particular solution, you may find that paid ads will give you that short-term ROI.
5. Double-down on what works.
Once you have your initiatives running and you've experimented with a few things, pay attention to the data. This can inform you of what's working. As you scale, it's a good idea to double-down on proven methods of generating revenue.
6. Understand the power of existing customers.
On average it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than close an existing one. This means you shouldn't stop marketing once they've made a purchase.
Identify your opportunities for repeat purchasing, upselling, and cross-selling. Because your existing customers have already made a purchase, they already know, like, and trust you. If you've provided a good experience, you've given them a reason to do business with you again should the need ever arise.
Even if the need doesn't arise (in cases where it's a one-and-done purchase with no upsell opportunities), you should still delight your customers. Word of mouth is a powerful (and free) promotional tool.
7. Use free promotional tools.
Speaking of free promotional tools, it's important to note that since you've committed to a limited goal and scope, there's no need to inflate your overhead with gadgets. Use free promotional tools where possible, and only commit to paid tools if you know they will drastically improve existing operations or performance. Here's a helpful list of marketing tools (some free and paid).
8. Create a website to own your online presence.
Having a professional-looking website is one of the most important assets you will create for your small business. This is where you will show who you are, what you offer, where you are, and how a potential customer can get in touch with you.
It is a channel you will always own (unlike other platforms which may change policies or go in and out of style), and it has the capability of generating organic traffic in addition to being a place to send traffic from advertising and other marketing initiatives.
Your website isn't just a simple brochure, either. You have the capability of turning it into a 24-7 salesperson by understanding how to convert traffic and turn them into leads (more on that later).
For one of the best website tools, check out HubSpot's CMS .
9. Consider blogging to attract prospects for your website.
Blogging is a great way to generate organic traffic, particularly for those prospects who have not reached a purchasing decision yet . In addition, it can establish credibility in your space and position you as a thought leader.
To start a blog, you can use an inexpensive or free website tool to make a free site and use one of their templates. Even if you only publish once a week, it will improve your website's visibility online and help educate your potential customers on why they should trust your company. If you're planning to write your posts yourself, check out this beginner's guide to writing .
Once you start writing, you can add a call-to-action on your posts for visitors to subscribe to your blog and receive emails This is a great way to start collecting leads and offering potential customers a way to get information if they aren't ready to buy anything from you yet.
Download Free Blog Post Templates
10. Promote yourself on social media.
With billions of potential customers using various platforms daily, social media is a powerful business tool. Social media marketing can help you engage with potential customers, build brand awareness, and promote your products. Why wouldn't you want to be seen where your potential customers spend their time?
Download the Free Social Media Content Calendar Template
11. Invest in ads.
Organic traffic takes a while to build, and as a small business, you want to invest in short-term plays. Pay-to-play tactics that target buyers with high intent are great for short-term wins to jump-start other objectives.
Google Ads are perfect if you know that your target audience is searching the web for your product or solution. If they aren't, you might consider social media ads instead. Individuals on social media have less buying intent, but with highly targeted ads and enough impressions, you'll gain the interest of your audience.
Download the Free Advertising Planning Kit
12. Make sure you're capturing web prospects' information.
We've been talking a lot about visibility and traffic but haven't really covered how these will help drive revenue yet. One simple way to start generating leads or customers from your website is to implement a conversion tool.
A simple, free option is HubSpot Marketing Free . By using this tool to add a pop-up widget to your website , you can start collecting the email addresses of potential customers. From there, you can send out promotions and offers and convert them into paying customers. You can also implement any of these 24 conversion tools to help you optimize your website and use it to drive leads.
13. Use email marketing to nurture leads.
Just because you've converted website traffic into leads doesn't mean those leads are ready to buy yet. It's important to stay top of mind and move them closer to a purchasing decision.
Email marketing is a critical part of your marketing toolkit. In fact, 73 percent of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email.
This strategy is an easy, free, and scalable way to communicate with both new and existing customers.
Once you have an email marketing tool in place (many are inexpensive or even free), experiment with emailing out newsletters (with your sleek new blog posts), and other promotions to your database. We know small business owners don't have tons of free time to devote to digital marketing, so consider using marketing automation to make this process even easier for yourself.
To get started planning your email marketing strategy, check out this guide and template from HubSpot .
14. Manage relationships with a CRM.
Email marketing works best when you're sending personalized, targeted emails. This begins with a customer database or customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Your CRM stores information about your leads, prospects, and customers so that you can keep track of customer interactions and identify sales opportunities more effectively.
HubSpot has one of the best CRMs (and best of all, it's totally free).
15. Lean into word of mouth as a promotion channel.
As mentioned previously, delighting customers can have a big impact on your business, primarily in repeat purchases and word of mouth. If you provide a great experience, your customers will be more inclined to leave reviews, give testimonials, and tell their friends about you.
That's why it's a good idea to measure customer satisfaction and encourage customers to spread the word .
Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
- Determine your brand's identity.
- Identify your buyer persona.
- Design a logo and other assets.
- Build your website with a CMS template.
- Draw up a go-to-market strategy.
- Hire a freelancer to help you scale your content.
- Consult agencies and freelancers for web design help.
- Track your site with analytics tools.
- Boost your Google ranking with SEO.
- Research keyword opportunities.
- Optimize your website for mobile devices.
- Write optimized blog posts.
- Experiment with photo and video content.
- Launch business pages on Facebook and Yelp.
- Build out your social media strategy.
- Use social media for customer service.
- Build interesting landing pages.
- Plan an email marketing strategy.
- Offer coupons in newsletters or on landing pages.
- Share your distribution channels on your website.
- Offer a free webinar.
- Try co-marketing.
- Encourage happy customers to share their experiences.
- Try out marketing experiments.
1. Determine your brand's identity.
Having a consistent brand identity to promote your business will make you look more professional and help you attract new customers. According to a 2020 study, nearly 9 out of 10 people are brand loyal with nearly 25% of them climbing to be more brand loyal in 2020 compared to 2019.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has described a company's branding as "what other people say about you when you're not in the room." In other words, your brand is the feelings and emotions people have when hearing your company name. It's is a combination of your brand name, logo, aesthetic, and the design of all your assets.
2. Identify your buyer persona.
When you imagine a customer searching for your product or service, what are they like? What are their pain points? What is their job? Creating a buyer persona that tells a story of your ideal customer can help you make a website that's optimized for them.
By learning more about your target customer through creating a buyer persona , you can better figure out what types of things they may be searching for so you can include those terms on your website.
3. Design a logo and other assets.
To start getting the creative juices flowing, consider your color scheme and peruse palettes with Adobe Color or Coolors . You can create your own or look through pre-made or customized color palettes.
To create a logo, I'd recommend checking out Upwork or Freelancer . There are free and less expensive options for designing your own logo online, although using a freelancer or agency can give you a higher quality product and connect you with a designer who can change and update your brand assets as your company grows.
4. Build your website with a CMS template.
If you're a fairly tech-savvy small business owner, you'll probably want to build your own website. A CMS (content management system) makes the process simple.
Most CMSs offer customizable templates for your site that you can get for free or a small fee. There are templates for various skill levels — from beginner all the way to advanced.
Once you've created your website, most CMS platforms offer plugins to help you optimize your content for search (look for SEO plugins). This will help you rank better in Google — which we'll discuss more in-depth in a bit.
5. Draw up a go-to-market strategy.
Once you've activated all the tools you need to promote your product or service, you'll need to create a promotional plan that aligns with the customer journey. Consider which content will attract, engage, and delight your prospects and how you will convert them into a customer.
To help you plan out this process, use this template.
6. Hire a freelancer to help you scale your content.
If you need some help creating regular blogs or promotional content, consider hiring a freelancer over investing in a full-timer. Try Upwork for a freelance blogger, videographer, or photographer. You could also consider hiring a marketing agency for a larger project.
7. Consult agencies or freelancers for web design help.
If you aren't on the technical side and want a website built for your small business, you can use a freelancer or a marketing agency that specializes in web design. This is a great option for businesses that already have a website but need it to be updated and revamped for SEO (search engine optimization) to help improve your Google ranking.
To find a freelancer or marketing consultant in your area, you can use Upwork (filtering by design/creative), Codeable (for WordPress experts) or Freelancer .
8. Track your site with analytics tools.
If you've never made a website before and aren't entirely comfortable with the technical elements, there are a variety of free tools and services to help you get started. When you create your website, make sure you implement Google Analytics or HubSpot Marketing Free (both of which are free products) so you can easily track who's looking at your site.
Online Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
9. boost your google ranking with seo..
If you already have a business, have you ever searched for yourself or your product/service online? If so, did you think, "Why isn't my website showing up on Google?" If so, you probably thought, "How do I rank on Google?" or "How can I improve my Google ranking?"
There are a lot of factors that play into why a certain site or page appears in the top spots on the Google (or another search engine) search engine results page ( SERP ). Backlinko reports some of Google's top factors, which include having relevant keywords (and their placement on your site), the length of your content, having high-quality content, how fast your page loads, how often you post content, and more.
When it all boils down, Google essentially tries to find the best piece of content to present to the person searching. For example, if I'm searching for the best salon in Newport, Rhode Island, it wouldn't be helpful for me to find a web page of a salon that has closed down and is located in Newport, Kentucky. It would, however, be helpful for me to find a salon in my area with great Yelp reviews, an easy-to-navigate website, and contact information readily available. Google always wants to surface the most relevant, highest-quality piece of content.
To rank higher on Google, you can leverage the power of SEO , or search engine optimization. To start learning everything there is to know about this powerhouse marketing tactic, check out The Ultimate Guide to SEO.
HubSpot explains SEO as "techniques that help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This makes your website more visible to people who are looking for solutions that your brand, product, or service can provide via search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing." In other words, it's the basic concept of structuring your website and blog posts to be in the best shape for appearing first on search engines.
SEO strategy usually consists of a few things. These include buyer persona research , keyword research, and on-page SEO research. These three areas can help you learn how your target market is searching online, and position your business to get discovered by the right people.
10. Research keywords opportunities.
Keyword research is an extension of buyer persona research. You can use the personas you've created to search for the best keywords for your brand, then use a tool like KW Finder to find related keywords for your target audience.
Then, you can do some on-page SEO research and optimization. This is where you put those keywords in the correct places on your website — like in the meta-description, page titles, and H1 tags.
11. Optimize your website for mobile devices.
Most Google searches are done on mobile devices , so it's important to have a site that looks clean and easy to navigate when someone enters it on their smartphone. A mobile site can also be beneficial for SEO, with search engines like Google which rewards you with a higher ranking if you have a mobile site.
You don't have to be a tech expert to build a site that looks good on mobile. In fact, most CMS platforms like HubSpot already offer mobile-optimized templates.
12. Write optimized blog posts.
Content and blogging are extremely important when it comes to your search engine ranking. The more often your desired keywords appear in your high-quality and helpful content, the more likely you are to appear in search results. A great way to become an authority on your topic, product, or service is to blog.
Make sure you're writing with SEO in mind — use this SEO checklist for bloggers , or a WordPress plugin like Yoast .
13. Experiment with photo and video content.
According to HubSpot Research , more than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands. Additionally, most social media apps, like Facebook and Instagram are embracing more visual layouts. To keep up with these trends, it's a good idea to make a few marketing videos. If you use these tips , producing a few can be quite inexpensive.
14. Launch business pages on Facebook and Yelp.
If your business is focused on a local area, the most important accounts for you are Facebook, Yelp, and Google's business feature. Having high Yelp reviews improves your authority online and helps your search ranking. You can claim your business on Yelp for free, customize your profile and add pictures, and start asking for reviews.
The same thing goes for registering your Google business page. You can register your business with Google (for free) and add pictures. (If you've ever searched for your business in Google Maps and been disappointed not to see it, it's because you haven't claimed it yet!)
On Facebook, you can create a Facebook business page so that people can find your location and hours.
For any business, having up-to-date social media accounts will help you be found and engage with prospects. Create a Twitter account , Facebook page , learn how to use Instagram , create a Pinterest page (if relevant), and use them as a way to discover new clients.
15. Build out your social media strategy.
While Facebook and Yelp will be great tools for local searches and reviews, platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter will offer you even more opportunities to share your posts, content, and promotions.
If your customers can purchase your products or services online, these platforms will also give them another way to find you.
Be sure not to spread yourself too thin by joining too many platforms at once. To make strategizing easier, here's a guide to the five types of social media platforms and the pros and cons of each.
16. Use social media for customer service.
Once you're on your chosen platforms, be sure to answer customer or follower questions when they ask them through post comments or direct messages. This will make your company look responsive and credible. Here are some great examples of how brands have used Twitter for customer service.
If you have the means, consider hiring a social media manager with community management experience. On top of posting content on a regular schedule, community managers are charged with responding to questions or concerns of followers. Interested? We published a guide on what it takes to be a great social media community manager.
17. Build interesting landing pages.
A landing page offers your potential customers a free resource in exchange for filling out a short form of contact information. When they receive the resource, they might be even more pleased by your company and more interested in buying the full product.
Because landing pages raise your chances of customer conversion, you want yours to look enticing. To get started, read this landing page guide to learn more about what makes this strategy successful. Then check out these free and professionally designed templates .
18. Plan an email marketing strategy.
Once you start creating regular content and building out landing pages, you'll want to share them with the prospects who seem most interested in learning more about your product. For this reason, we suggest building an email marketing strategy .
While you want to be careful not to bombard those who sign up for your email list with too many emails, you want to send just enough to keep your prospects informed and engaged. Here's how our metrics improved when we streamlined our email marketing strategy.
If you've never sent regular newsletters before, you can use HubSpot or a number of other affordable tools to create and send an email with a professionally designed template. Many email tools also offer basic analytics that allow you to track open and click rates.
19. Offer coupons in newsletters or on landing pages.
Placing a coupon in your marketing emails can engage and delight your audience. After buying a product or service at a discounted rate, they also might be more willing to pay for it in full price. If you have a subscription service, it can also be helpful to offer prospects a code for a free trial so they can test it out.
20. Share your distribution channels on your website.
Once you have a few social media accounts and can allow people to sign up for your newsletter, highlight this on your website so your visitors can follow you. One way companies do this is to display all of their linked social icons and a newsletter sign-up call to action on all pages of your website. A good place to include these is on the top right corner or on the footer of each page. This way they are visible but aren't distracting from any content.
21. Offer a free webinar.
A webinar allows potential customers to sign up for a short online course hosted by you. These courses are usually between 30 minutes to an hour and allow you to give tips and answer questions related to a topic your brand is familiar with. While this strategy can help you boost your credibility in your field, it can also offer you potential leads and sales opportunities .
22. Try co-marketing.
Is there a local business in your area that isn't a direct competitor but offers a product or service to a similar target audience? Consider working with them on a cobranded campaign where you promote each other on social media, via email, or in your blog. While you'll give your partnering company added promotion, it will also allow their fanbase to learn more about you.
23. Encourage happy customers to share their experiences.
When a happy customer talks about how great your company is on social media or a review site, your product or service looks like a good investment. Even on social media, word of mouth is still a huge factor in someone's purchasing decision . If a prospect sees a friend raving about your business on Facebook or if they post a photo of a meal from your restaurant on Instagram, they could be more likely to go. After all, 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase based on social media referrals .
If customers are telling you they love your product, encourage them to share about the experience on Yelp, Google, or social. If you have a physical business, you might also want to place signs up with your account handles so customers know who to tag if they post a picture of your product.
24. Try out marketing experiments.
If there's a new social platform you're interested in or a new marketing trend, don't be afraid to experiment. If an experiment goes well, you could be ahead of the game, and it never hurts to be a thought leader in your industry.
When you experiment with a new marketing strategy, be sure to have a solid hypothesis or question in mind. This will keep you focused on the end goal and reduce the desire to chase the next big thing as it comes along. Also, prepare for what your next steps will be if you get good or bad results. Here's a quick guide to leading a successful marketing experiment.
Small Business Advertising Ideas
Now that we’ve covered some marketing strategy basics, let’s look into how you can put your advertising dollars to work. Below are some ways to tackle adverising for small business.
1. Set up Google My Business.
Creating a free Google My Business profile is a simple first step to helping potential customers find your business. It only takes a few minutes to add your business contact information, business hours, photos, and list your services.
Another perk of having a Google business profile is that you don’t need a storefront to create one. Your profile also comes with analytics that can help you better understand how customes are connecting with your business. Additionally, you can check out and respond to customer reviews and learn what keywords brought them to your business page.
2. Consder PPC ads with Google & Bing.
Using pay-per-click ad programs like Google Adwords or Microsoft Advertising can also help drive customers to your business. If you're working hard on SEO, but are still looking for an extra boost, consider PPC — or pay-per-click advertising.
With this search engine marketing technique, you use Google AdWords or Microsoft Ads to show up as an advertised listing in search results. Before you dive into PPC, you'll want to make sure your landing page is as optimized as possible. If you are paying by the click and those who click on the page don't convert, you will lose advertising dollars.
To help you get started, read this Ultimate Guide to PPC . Then, use this PPC planning template to plan an optimized campaign. You can also use a few handy tools and software to edit, track, and report on your campaigns.
3. Run social media ads.
Most of the major social media platforms offer affordable advertising options that can help you target your posts to a specific audience. While many small businesses have been advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for years, Instagram now allows brands to advertise through its Shoppable tool .
Pinterest is also an excellent option for small businesses to advertise. In fact, Pinterest users say the platform has more influence on their purchasing journey than other platforms. Shopping ads on Pinterst drive three times the conversion of other competting plaforms.
4. Sponsor products on Etsy & Amazon.
If you’ve alreay set up shop on Amazon, you can give your products a boost by participating in their sponsored products program. This cost-per-click ad program generates ads from your product listings and automatcally targets your ads, making it a great option if you’ve never created a campaign before.
If you’re a maker and sell your wares on Etsy, consider using Etsy Ads to advertise your products. Similar to Amazon, this is a cost-per-click model with a default minimum daily budget of one dollar. With Etsy Ads your products will stand out in Etsy Search, category pages and marketing pages.
5. Leverage user-generated content.
Some of the best advertising you can get is from existing customers. Happy customers can vouch for your brand and add social proof to your marketing campaigns. Ask your customers to leave reviews or if they’ve already created content on social media involving your brand, ask permission to share it.
6. Develop a referral program.
Speaking of enlisting the help if your existing customers, you can incentivize them by using a referral program . Offer a discount, free gift, or other perk in exchange for them bringing in new customers.
Referred customers are 18% more loyal than those who aren't and spend 13% more on purchases. Since these new customers will have been referred to you by someone they know, they’re more likely to have a positive customer experience.
7. Advertise with your local chamber of commerce.
If you have a storefront, it may also be a good investment to advertise with yoru local chamber of commerce. Each city is different, but you can typically be featured on their website, their social media channels, and included in their email newsletter for an annual fee.
It’s not only a great way to get your brand out there, but is also an excellent opportunity to network with fellow small business owners.
Start Marketing Your Business Today
Small business owners looking for a way to track ROI and brand awareness need digital marketing. Not only is digital marketing a must-have for promoting your products or services, but optimizing your online assets is also critical to your business' overall success.
You may have a long road ahead to build your online presence, but any steps you can make will have a huge impact on your business.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Don't forget to share this post!
20 Valentine's Day Marketing Campaigns We Love
31 Influencer Marketing Stats to Know in 2023
5 Marketing Trends That Might Not Survive in 2023 [HubSpot Research]
Study Finds Most Marketers Don’t Know Their Audience: Here’s Why and How to Fix It
7 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2023
What is a Marketing Plan & How to Write One [+Examples]
It's Not Just a Marketing Phrase: 3 Ways to Deliver on Being a "Purpose-Driven Brand"
The Top Marketing Channels, And How They’ll Change in 2023 [+Data]
How the Potential Recession is Already Impacting Hiring Plans in Marketing [New Data]
How SKIMMS, Liquid Death, and Other Brands Made Age-Old Products Feel New, Exciting, and Different
Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.
- App Development Platform
- BuildFire Plus
- Buildfire Plus Services
- BuildFire Plus Overview Bring your app idea to life with industry experts.
- Custom App Development Full cycle product development bringing innovative ideas to life.
- App Launch Kit Proceed with confidence with a resilient app strategy.
- Concierge Service Strategies and growth tactics to ensure your app is successful.
- Software Products
- App Development Platform Our easy to use dashboard to build and maintain your app.
- BuildFire Reseller White label the BuildFire platform as your own.
- Industry Solutions
- Ecommerce App Turn your Shopify store into an app to increase sales.
- Employee Communication Communicate with your employees anytime, anywhere.
- Content / Podcasts / Media Take your audience engagement to the next level.
- Schools and Universities Your students are mobile, are you?
- Mobile Apps For Events Create mobile experiences your attendees will love.
- Religious Organizations Engage your congregation in a mobile first world.
- Fitness & Wellness Apps Modern solution for gyms, personal trainers, and health specialists.
- Workflow App Builder Improve efficiencies, cut costs, and save time with a custom mobile app for business workflows.
- Platform Features All the tools you need to rapidly build a mobile app.
- BuildFire Developers Limitless functionality for your app with our SDK.
- Feature Marketplace See all the features you can add in just one click.
- Customer Apps Powering thousands of apps on the BuildFire Platform.
- Technical Questions Everything you need to know from a technical perspective about BuildFire.
- BuildFire Alternatives Is BuildFire right for you? Use this guide to compare it with other app development methods.
- Customer Stories
- Blog Explore hundreds of posts we have on app development.
- E-books Our best content packaged into easy to read e-books.
- Webinars Learn the latest strategies from our app consultants.
- Videos Everything you should know about building an app.
- Help Center Our best content packaged into easy to read e-books.
- How to Make an App The ultimate guide to take your app from idea to reality.
- Learning Hub
- App Design Learn the basics of app design and branding.
- App Development Everything you need to know about app development.
- App Marketing The ultimate mobile app marketing resource.
- App Planning Our best guides for app ideas and market research.
- Outsource App Development Everything about outsourcing your development project.
- App Cost Calculator Find out how much your app would cost with a typical app development agency vs. BuildFire. Calculate Now
- Build an App
19 Awesome Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses
Today, I’m going to show you 19 different marketing strategies that have a proven history of success for small businesses.
Half of these options will probably be viable growth strategies for your unique business.
Four of them are probably worth testing out over the next month.
And one of them has the potential to skyrocket your growth over the next year.
These work really well if you want to find inexpensive ways to promote your mobile app .
Once you’ve achieved product/market fit, your growth is simply a matter of smart marketing on the front end and a good customer retention on the backend. By the end of this article, you will know exactly what to do next with your marketing.
But before we get started, let me share a secret with you.
There Is No Magic Marketing Strategy
There is no magic bullet.
The goal of marketing is to connect your business’ value to the right customer base. It’s a simple concept but it can take on a million different shades.
- What demographics make up your customer base?
- Where do they live?
- Where do they hang out online?
- How do they look for products in your niche?
- Who do the listen when making decisions relative to your product?
The answers to these questions determine which marketing strategies will be viable and which will be a waste of time.
In other words, the key to success for your business is not Facebook Ads.
It’s not SEO.
It’s not conference networking.
There is no magic, universal strategy that will revolutionize your business. I have literally no clue what will work for you, because I don’t know you. I don’t know your business. I don’t know your customers.
But fortunately, you DO know your business! You DO know your customer base!
And after reading this guide, you will have an expanded awareness of viable marketing channels, any of which could hold the key to your future growth.
Eight of the channels we will discuss are strictly digital strategies, which will be conducted online. The other eight are a bit more general, with strategies that can be conducted offline (although many have online applications as well).
Let’s get started.
1. Facebook Advertising
Two million small to medium sized businesses advertise on Facebook; it’s an inexpensive and effective way to market to virtually any audience.
Image Credit: ibisinfotech.com
Facebook ads excel at advanced targeting. They allow you to target a specific audience based on location, interests, age, sex, online behavior, and many other factors.
Creating Facebook ads is very easy. You just need a solid headline, a bit of descriptive copy, one image, and a link.
Promote your app icon here as well.
The Facebook Ads Manager also makes it fairly simple to run and test multiple ad sets, allowing you to hone in on a winning formula and reach profitability without needing advanced technical expertise.
That said, many new users have a lot of difficulty succeeding with their initial campaigns. It takes some persistence, but on the plus side, Facebook’s popularity has produced numerous 3rd party tools that can help you succeed.
If you decide that Facebook is the right channel for you, I’d recommend using a tool like AdEspresso to run your campaigns and speed up your journey to positive ROI.
If you run a business that has a strong visual component, it might be worth trying out Instagram Ads instead. As a subsidiary of Facebook, Instagram Ads benefit from the same data base and targeting options, while allowing you to connect with an audience that is better primed for visual sales.
- Facebook Advertising Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide by Neil Patel
- How to Run App Install Ads On Facebook by Aki Merced
2. Google My Business
Ranking your Google My Business (GMB) listing is one of the most powerful things you can do for your business.
In fact, if you run a local business targeting local clients, I would dare to say it is THE most powerful strategy available to you.
For example, if someone searches for a “Portland contractor”, this is what they see:
What you are seeing here is one paid ad, followed by THREE Google My Business listings before we even see the normal organic search results. If you can rank your GMB listing in these top 3, you can pull in large numbers of highly qualified leads day in and day out without needing to spend a dime on ads.
Google My Business combines all your different Google platforms into one central place, which includes your Google+ profile, Google Maps profile, your Google reviews, access to data on Google Analytics and Google Insights, and more.
If you have a unique brand name, you can even get a large display like this to show when people search for that name:
GMB immediately gives your business credibility and visibility, and as I said before, if you run a local business, it should be #1 on your priority list.
And best of all, ranking your GMB listing is really not that hard. It simply requires you to optimize your profile and then collect reviews and citations.
- How to optimize your Google My Business listing: expert tips by Graham Charlton
- 7 SEO Mistakes That Leak Money From Local Businesses by Jacob McMillen
3. Google Adwords
There are more than 40,000 search queries on Google every second. No other advertising method has the potential to get your business before that many pairs of eyes.
Google Adwords is sort of the godfather of online marketing channels. It’s been around a long time. It’s competitive. It’s expensive. And if you know what you’re doing, it can work very, very well for you.
Despite being a paid channel, Adwords’ goal is still to deliver relevant search results to users, and as a result, it will be less expensive for you when you are utilizing proper on-page SEO .
Google assigns a quality score to your ad, which is dependent on CTR (Click Through Rate), relevance and the landing page your ad sends traffic to. This quality score factors into the bid rate you will need to get an ad displayed, with higher scores lowering the bid cost.
Unlike many of the channels we will discuss today, Adwords is a remarkably symbiotic channel that can be paired with many other strategies to maximize output. As a paid marketing channel, it also allows you to obtain immediate results and can scale as far as your budget allows.
- The Complete Google AdWords Tutorial by Jerry Banfield
- The Iceberg Effect: How Your AdWords Strategy Is Slowly Drowning by Johnathan Dane
4. Content Marketing
18% of marketers say that content marketing has the greatest commercial impact on their business of any channel in 2016.
Image Credit: SmartInsights
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and drive profitable customer action.
Unlike paid advertising, content marketing focuses more on long-term results. The initial payoff tends to be low, but the long-term, sustainable growth in visitors, leads, and customers can single-handedly carry a business.
Content marketing is not easy, however, and requires every element to be done right:
- Quality content
- Relevant topics
- Optimized for SEO
- Optimized for readers
- Consistent content creation & promotion
Content is not limited to blog posts. It includes videos, podcasts, online courses, and a host of other mediums in which people consume information.
If you are considering this strategy for your own business, make sure you have the time and capital needed to get going with no initial ROI, and then DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Too many businesses these days are just wasting resources creating mediocre content with no payoff, now or ever.
- Getting Started With Content Marketing by Content Marketing Institute
- Why You Need a Growth Model For Your Blog (And How to Create One) by Devesh Khanal
- How to Start a Blog in 2020 (and Make Money): Free Easy Guide to Start Blogging Today by Ryan Robinson
5. Organic Social Media
Using social media for business is really a non-negotiable.
67% of consumers use social media for customer support, and 33% prefer using social media instead of the telephone. If people can’t find your business via social media, they will look for your competitors who ARE present on preferred social channels.
The real question isn’t whether you should have active social media accounts, it’s how much time and resources you should be investing in growing your social audiences.
For some businesses, it makes sense to invest heavily in organic social media growth.
For example, Instagram users that follow fashion influencers are actively looking to purchase new styles. By building an active, fashion-savvy audience, a clothing retailer can build a consistent direct sales channel.
For other businesses, investing in Instagram might not make sense.
The key is identifying where your customers are and how they like to be approached. If social media is the answer to both those questions, it’s the perfect channel for your business.
- 7 Step Beginner’s Guide To Effective Social Media for Small Business by Jamil Velji
- The Ultimate Guide To Creating The Perfect Social Media Calendar by Sandrine Sahakians
6. Coupon Deal Sites
Whether you sell a product or offer a service, you can use coupon deal sites like Groupon to quickly promote your business.
Coupon deal sites amass massive audiences, grouped by location, and then allow local, regional or even national businesses to offer limited-time discounts to their members.
Benefits include mass exposure, targeted local advertising, increased brand awareness, and an influx of new customers. The cost comes in the form of low revenue per sale. In the case of Groupon, you are required to discount your product by at least 50%, and at least half the revenue goes to Groupon.
In other words, unless you are running a 300% markup, you will lose money on your Groupon deal. It’s essentially paid advertising.
The primary purpose for using coupon deal sites is not sales. The more significant your discount, the more popular your deal will be. The goal is to get people in your door or trying your product, and from there, your customer retention strategies kick in.
As an added bonus, many new potential customers will browse your website even if they don’t decide to purchase the deal.
But be warned!
If your deal gains traction, you can quickly be overcome by more customers than you are prepared to handle, and if you don’t do the math correctly, you can lose a lot of money. It’s important to be ready and to have a plan for handling different tiers of new business.
It’s also important to have flawless customer service during the period after running your deal, with the expectation that your coupon-driven customers will be even harder to please than normal customers.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Follow deals going on in your area and see how they play out. If you can, talk with fellow business owners who have run deals and learn from their experience.
And make sure – for the love of all that is good and decent – make sure you do the math.
- Doing The Math On A Groupon Deal by Jay Goltz
- The Real Cost of Groupon and What it Means to Your Marketing Planning by Mana Ionescu
7. Email Marketing
Email marketing is the cornerstone of digital marketing.
Most of the people who visit your site will not buy from you immediately. Capturing contact info for additional marketing and “lead nurturing” is the best way to sell in 2016, and email remains the highest converting channel for interacting with leads.
Email marketing funnels begin with a “lead magnet”. This is something compelling you offer your website visitors in exchange for their email address. Possible options include a free digital download, a free service trial, a “seat” at a webinar, site membership, a coupon, etc.
Here’s an example from HubSpot :
HubSpot offers a reliable and feature-packed email marketing tool that’s suited for growing businesses — for free. The tool allows you to create professional marketing emails that engage and grow your audience. You can start from scratch, with the easy drag-and-drop email builder, or use one of the goal-based templates available.
Other benefits of email marketing include:
- Global reach
- Easy to automate
- Easy to segment
- Immediate communication
- Easy to setup and run
- Easy to track and optimize
There are a lot of marketing channels that are hard. As you may have noticed from the above list, email marketing is one of the few that can be described as “easy”.
- How to Build Your Email List: The (Better Than) Ultimate Guide by Aaron Orendorf
A webinar is essentially a seminar that takes place online. It can be in the form of a presentation, demonstration or discussion.
Image Credit: boss.influxentrepreneur.info
Webinars are often used as lead magnets for email marketing and the right topic can drive a large batch of new subscribers to your list. It can also be used to build credibility with your current subscribers.
Webinars can also be recorded and used as standalone products or even a series of products. They are a great medium for both live and recorded training.
Webinars tend to be more engaging than simple videos, even if they are used in exactly the same way. The actual start time and live Q&A tends to make people feel like they are receiving significantly more value than if they were watching a video with the exact same information.
You will need webinar software to run a webinar that utilizes the following functions:
- 2-Way Audio – the presenter speaks while the viewers are muted, but the presenter can “turn on” individual viewers so everyone can hear their question
- Screenshare – the presenter can share their screen or switch to video for whiteboard teaching or live demonstration
- Polls – the presenter can invite viewers to take a poll or provide feedback in other ways
Webinars work very well in certain niches. You’ll have to test one out to see if it works with your target audience.
- Webinar Marketing: 15 Steps to Revenue Generating Webinars by Georgiana Laudi
- How to grow your business with webinar marketing by Ross Beard
9. Promote A Free Consultation
When it comes to professional services, people want access to expertise.
If you have done a good job of positioning yourself as an expert or authority in your niche, promoting a free consultation is a great way to generate new leads. If you have a good interpersonal sales process in place, it also sets you up to close a large percentage of leads.
A lot of service providers worry about disclosing too much info in a free consultation. They feel like potential clients will just take the info and run.
In reality, the exact opposite is true. While freeloader types might grab and go, they were never going to buy anyway. The type of people interested in paying for quality will be impressed by the value you provide in the consultation.
After all, if you can provide so much value in 30 minutes to an hour, they will believe that your claims are true and that hiring you is the right decision.
This can be used both online and offline. It can be advertised via pamphlets, newspapers, signs, or even word-of-mouth. And it can be prominently displayed on your website and social media channels.
This strategy won’t be ideal for every businesses, but if you offer an expert service or a high-priced service, it is very much worth considering.
- Should You Offer Free Consultations? by Courtney Johnston
- 6 Ways To Make Free Consults Work For You by Laura Simms
10. Offer Staff Incentives
Referrals are one of the best ways to find new customers, and who better suited to obtain referrals than your current staff?
Your employees know your product or service. They know your customer base. Some of them will take initiative without financial motivation, but most won’t, and those you bring in new business should be encourage to repeat the process with financial or otherwise meaningful reward.
Offer incentives to your staff members who refer new clients. Research proves that it doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary; incentives can even come in the form of:
- A sleep-in day: staff get to to sleep in late for a certain period of time.
- Membership to publications (of their choice).
- Vouchers for massages, movie nights, restaurants.
Like any type of compensation, incentives are about matching your business’ goals to the goals of your employees. If you can find out what they want most, you can motivate them to help grow your business.
It’s also important to give them the tools they need, whether that’s a customized landing page, printed coupons, a special discount for employee referred clients, or whatever.
Hold training sessions and teach your staff how to effectively promote your business, but remember that this form of marketing will only work if they genuinely feel good about your business and are properly motivated to pitch it to friends, family, and acquaintances.
- How to Create a Referral Program that Boosts Retention & Rewards Employees by Joe Flores
- Determining The Most Effective Rewards For Employee Referrals by Dr. John Sullivan
11. Advertise In Niche Print Media
While much of the world has moved online, print media still exists, and in some niches, it still thrives.
In fact, as recently as 2014 , retail consumers cited printed materials as the chief sources of information behind their purchasing decisions.
As print media continues to decrease in overall popularity, pricing for ad placement lowers as well. In the right niches, it is now possible to run effective ads at incredibly affordable prices.
That said, print media is rarely effective as a solo marketing strategy. It is best used in conjunction with online marketing strategies, with the two channels arranged to compliment each other and create an engaging experience for potential buyers.
- How To Combine Print And Digital Marketing Campaigns by Jeff Bullas
- Is Print Marketing Really Dead? by Chris Holloway
12. Write A Column
If you are a decent writer, sharing your expertise in the form of weekly or monthly write-ups can do wonders for your brand.
This isn’t usually a situation where you get paid, but it’s also not a situation where you have to pay. These columns give you the opportunity to make consistent contact with an audience, building an actual relationship with the publication’s readers. That audience then begins to think of you when they think of experts in your field.
On the more accessible end, local newspapers or non-profit magazines are often looking for quality contributors. One the more exclusive end, publications like Forbes, Inc, and Fast Company are made up almost exclusively of unpaid expert columns.
But believe me. These experts make bank thanks to their place on these influential platforms.
Make sure that what you write about is valuable to the target audience. This isn’t lowkey advertising. It’s a chance to access and build trust with an audience someone else worked really hard to build.
Plus, even if you don’t land a column, you might be able to land a guest post, which can be incredibly valuable as well.
Some ideas for articles you can write include:
- How-to guides
- Current events commentary
- Interviews with interesting people
- Reporting on trends or events
- How to Secure Guest Posts on Big Publications (WSJ, Forbes & HuffPo) by Sujan Patel
- How I Wrote for Fast Company, Copyblogger,& Entrepreneur by Aaron Orendorff
13. Join Local Business Groups
Joining local business groups will give you the opportunity to meet up with other like-minded people who already share some common ground with you: owning a business. While a lot of more general entrepreneur groups exist, there might also be some niche-specific groups and meetups in your area.
These groups are a great opportunity to bounce ideas off other smart people, share referrals, find talent, and identify new opportunities.
They are also a major catalyst in expanding your network around the city in which you live. Connections tend to multiply, and if your group takes networking seriously, you can leverage your seemingly minor connections into much significant ones.
While these groups are typically best found online, it’s preferable to have in-person meetups for the bulk of your interactions.
Lastly, these groups can lead to joint ventures and profitable partnerships, which we will discuss more in the next section.
- Top 10 Business Networking Groups You Should Join by Brian Morris
- How To Find A Mastermind Group by Pat Flynn
14. Partner With Other Businesses
Teamwork is always more effective than singular effort, and combining resources with another business can help you do things you could never accomplish on your own.
It’s typically best to target companies in your local area, even if your clientele isn’t local. Your goal is to work out a complementary arrangement that provides mutual benefit for both businesses.
Some joint venture examples include:
- A PPC agency could partner with a CRO agency to refer clients to each other.
- A coffee shop could offer free coffee vouchers to a plumbing company’s customers.
- A marketing company could partner with an accounting firm to recommend each other’s services during new client onboarding.
- A beauty therapist could offer free manicures for a hair stylist’s clients.
There is really no limit to what’s possible. Simply identify crossover in your audience and a non-competitor’s audience and then find a way to tap into that crossover in a mutually beneficial way.
- Why Small Businesses Should Partner Up With Other Brands by Web Smith
- 5 Tips To Partnering Alongside A Business For The First Time by Deborah Sweeney
15. Direct Mail Marketing
Like print media, direct mail marketing is not dead.
As online channels become more and more saturated with content, fewer companies look to direct mail, and that means opportunity for you.
Like with any marketing strategy, success comes down to targeted creativity. You can’t just spam people and expect a return on your investment. Just like you need to compel people to click your blog post headline, you need to compel mail recipients to open your letters.
Start with the envelope, which will never be opened if it looks like a run-of-the-mill promo piece. Stand out. Use a colored envelope. Use an unusual shape, size or material. Make it look interesting.
If possible, handwrite the address on every envelope or include something bulky inside to make the envelope lumpy – anything you can do to grab attention
Compare this envelope:
Image Credit: Freelogoservices
With this one. You’re more likely to open the following envelope, right?
Image Credit: KezzysCreations
The next thing to focus on is the content. If you want the best results, your headline has to be enticing, and your copywriting needs to hold the reader’s attention through the duration of your pitch.
Like most offline campaigns in 2016, direct mail is typically run in conjunction with an online marketing funnel.
- How to Create a Direct Marketing Campaign by Entrepreneur.com
- How to Plan Your Direct Mail Marketing Campaign by George Oliveira
16. Speak At Events
In terms of branding and establishing yourself as an authority, few things are more impactful than being a speaker at popular events in your niche.
While invitations to speak at larger events are often extended as a result of accomplishments or visible influence, you can also work your way into these opportunities by becoming a talented speaker and delivering great talks at smaller events.
Or you can simply use it as another marketing channel, by speaking at some of these types of events:
- Local clubs – think Rotary, Lion’s, Chamber of Commerce.
- Business networking groups.
- Specific interest clubs (photography, hiking, sewing, etc.)
- Browse local events on Eventbrite.com and Meetup.com.
- Check events in your local newspaper and magazines.
- Big companies and their employees.
Be prepared, and treat every event like a big deal.
- How To Start Speaking At Events by Chris Brogan
- Why I Get Invited to Speak at Events (And How You Can Too) by Rohit Bhargava
17. Small Business SEO
Small businesses are often tempted to give short shrift to SEO in their overall marketing, perhaps because mega-corporations such as Walmart and Amazon invest millions in dominating the search game. While it’s true that there will always be a competitor out there who has built a better small business SEO operation, it’s also true that today’s small business owner can’t afford to neglect search.
- It works . A well-planned and executed SEO strategy will yield results in terms of increased organic traffic and better positioning.
- It’s cost effective . Compared to pay-per-click, social media marketing, and even purchasing email marketing lists , SEO delivers a respectable return on investment.
- It dominates market share . About 90 percent of consumers search a product or service online prior to making a purchase. They won’t find your business if it doesn’t show up in search.
- Mobile search is exploding . This year, Google announced that mobile search outpaced desktop search for the first time, and in fact, Google Search is the 4th most popular app in the United States.
Of course, if you operate a local business, you really can’t afford to ignore SEO in your marketing plan. Google’s latest algorithm favors local businesses in its search results in an effort to deliver the highly relevant and individualized results today’s consumers demand. This is especially true for consumers who use Google on their smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices.
If your business has a mobile app, give yourself kudos for being ahead of the curve for marketing and SEO. The exponential growth in mobile search is a huge boon for businesses who capitalize on the SEO advantages of a mobile app.
Your mobile app helps SEO in two distinct ways:
- Google is now treating as a “universal” result in mobile search. Apps with optimized titles and good ratings and reviews will float to the top, displacing even mobile websites with top organic rankings.
- Google considers “high quality” apps to be a positive factor in ranking mobile search results. This means that deep links between your app and website could improve your mobile search rank.
If your business markets to a highly mobile audience or relies on mobile search for traffic and leads, you might want to consider adding a mobile app to your marketing strategy.
18. Link-Building for Small Businesses
The Google algorithm factors the quality and quantity of sites that link to you in your search rankings. In fact, some SEO consultants even recommend that fledgling businesses actually buy links to boost their ranking. That tactic, however, may do more harm than good.
There is no question that high quality links build authority and credibility, ultimately improving your ranking, but changes in the Google Penguin algorithm actually penalizes sites containing too many low-quality or “spammy” links. The key is building links the old-fashioned way—by creating useful, relevant content that people want to share.
For SMEs, this means investing the money and resources to develop highly shareable, top quality content . Long-form blog posts and in-depth articles, infographics, and video tutorials are examples of high performing content likely to garner links.
19. On-Page Optimization
If keyword research is the foundation of your SEO strategy, on-page optimization undergirds the rest of the search infrastructure. On-page optimization includes everything from optimal keyword density to site load speed that helps Google evaluate and rank your page. Great keywords won’t deliver results without good on-page optimization. Here’s a look at the basics:
Page titles should have an H1 tag (most content management systems do this automatically) and include a keyword and your brand name, if applicable. Limit your title to about 55 or 60 characters, which is all that displays in search results.
- Meta Descriptions
While metas aren’t technically factored into search, they do give the searcher more information, entice them to visit, and often serve as a call to action. Limit them to about 150 characters or so.
- Site Load Speed
Use Google’s Page Insight tool to see how your site stacks up. Aim for a score of 85 or better and make any recommended changes or fixes marked with a red exclamation point. If time and resources allow, make “yellow” fixes, as well.
- Schema Markups
Adding schema markups is one of the most powerful ways to boost your website in the SERPs. Schema tells the search engine what your content means, not just what it says, which changes the way the content is indexed. Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper makes it easy to add schema markups to your site.
- Keyword Density
While there is no “optimum” keyword density percentage, there are some best practices to follow, such as including keywords in the title, meta, and anchor text, and avoiding keyword stuffing on the page. Use natural language and aim to drop the keyword at least once in the first 100 words of copy on a page.
- Social Sharing Icons
Social media has a prime place in small business SEO; Google bots make a direct connection between your website and your social media profile pages . Include relevant social icons on your web pages—it not only improves your search, it adds credibility for visitors who land on your site.
Be sure to look at all your pages, including landing pages, product pages, and your company blog and implement SEO best practices across the board. Don’t forget ALT tags for images on your site; while the impact is small, the cumulative effect could make a difference in your rankings.
Conclusion & Summary
Well, that’s the scoop: 16 proven marketing strategies that have worked for thousands of businesses and can work for you.
Here’s the full list:
- Advertise on Facebook
- Rank your Google My Business listing
- Use Google Adwords
- Invest In content marketing
- Grow your organic social reach
- Run a coupon deal
- Build an email marketing funnel
- Host a webinar
- Offer a free consultation
- Incentivize employees to refer new clients
- Advertise in niche print media
- Write a column
- Join a local business group
- Partner with other businesses
- Launch a direct mail campaign
- Speak at events
- Small Business SEO
- Link Building
- On-Page Optimization
While only half of these are probably worth considering for your unique business, I’m guessing at least four of them are great fits, and as I said at the beginning of the article, one of these channels has the potential to skyrocket your growth this next year.
Evaluate the criteria I talked about at the beginning.
Use the answers to select four viable channels from today’s list of marketing strategies for small businesses, and then run small tests with each strategy to see what fails and what performs.
More from the blog
33 creative ways to promote your app for free (app marketing strategy), the 5 ways to build a mobile app, what to expect from a mobile app development platform, 8 steps you must take before starting mobile app development, how much does mobile app development really cost, 5 hidden costs of software you need to anticipate after you launch, the definitive guide to mobile app design, mobile app download and usage statistics (2021).
Try BuildFire’s app development platform. It’s powerful, easy-to-use, and a fraction of the cost of traditional app development.
Powerful app builder
Ios, android & pwa, unlimited customization.
Part 3 of 7 in the Smart Business Planning Series
Creating a marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy is a business’s overall plan for reaching prospective customers. Usually, a marketing strategy describes a value proposition and key messages, and it has information about who the target market is - where they shop and what drives them to make a purchase.
A good marketing strategy is essential for any business that wants to succeed. Many books have been written on the subject but this short guide will aim to answer three key questions that often get lost in the detail:
Why do I need a marketing strategy?
How do i get the most value from my marketing strategy, what can i leave out of a marketing strategy.
Quite simply, a good marketing strategy helps you to improve your sales in an organised, measurable way. It helps you to grow your business – hopefully gaining an advantage over your competitors. At the same time, a good marketing strategy should help you to clarify who your ideal customers are: what they want, and how you can help them in ways that other businesses can’t. Certainly, the process of creating a marketing strategy may help you to reveal your business’s hidden USPs. Your strategy should focus on meeting potential customers’ needs and developing long-term, profitable relationships with a loyal audience. Bold aspirations may guide short-term product development or the way you offer your services to current customers, but long-term growth and success depends on using insights based on hard facts. That means doing research and creating a marketing strategy. You may need to be flexible, but, by being organised about the way you’re marketing, you’ll also keep your spend to a minimum. A great marketing strategy focuses your resources on activities that should help you to sell more products or services to people who could a) become your advocates, or b) return as repeat customers.
Entire books have been written on the subject of marketing strategy. However, every plan can be broken down into five simple parts. Identifying potential customers, raising awareness of your products, making the most of your USPs, building relationships that improve loyalty, and taking action that could steer potential customers towards your ‘sales funnel’. What makes a good marketing strategy great is the ability to plan ahead. Creating a business marketing strategy is actually a very good way to focus your efforts on what’s important and which resources you’ll need, if you’re to succeed. It means doing three simple things:
Understanding your income, outgoings, and overheads in detail
Recognising the need to involve people with appropriate experience
Being pragmatic about how much you need to sell, when, and how
How much do you want to sell?
The answer to this question depends a lot on the size of your business and the type of commerce you’re in. Many businesses have a relatively narrow product line, for example. And if you’re a sole trader or footfall-focused business, such as a financial adviser or an estate agent, then it may be more useful to raise awareness about the holistic benefits of working with your company – rather than focusing on one aspect of your work. However, if you’re a manufacturer or supplier, then clearly you’ll be thinking about increasing the amount of sales you make – either more units, or higher-priced units, or units that cost less to produce. You can probably answer these simple questions instinctively:
Do you have long-term development goals for your product line, or are you running a business that makes repeat products and wants to increase per-unit revenue?
Can you see yourself appealing to a different set of customers, or does your experience tell you that current customers could buy more units from you?
Is your business seasonal, or does it follow economic and environmental trends? If so, do you need to focus on boosting sales right across your business – or in one specific area?
How much revenue do you need to create, and when?
When you are thinking about a strategy that will make marketing work hard for you, it’s important to make the connection to your business plan and to your overheads. Looking at your operating budgets should highlight any peaks or troughs in existing sales, which may influence your marketing plans.
What are your limitations?
There are three main limitations for most small business owners, all of which are easy to ignore if you’re passionate about your company and hungry for success. Ability, insights, and time.
Are you the best person for the job?
Whether you’re thinking about drafting the words for a brochure, coming up with a catchy new product name, or sketching the outline for an ad you’d like to run in the local newspaper – it pays dividends to hire a professional. You may be capable, and you may enjoy the creative process, but those marketing skill sets probably aren’t your forte.
Do you have the experience to qualify ‘good marketing’?
You know what you like. You probably have a gut feel for what may or may not appeal to your customers too, but you may not be the right person to make final decisions about some aspects of marketing. When it comes to choosing the right channels, or the right creative, trust your support team. If you’ve given them the right data about the potential audience, and they understand why your product should appeal to potential customers, then they’ll be well-equipped to advise you on activities that should deliver the best possible outcomes.
Is there time in your calendar for marketing?
Marketing doesn’t mean you have to be involved in making decisions every day. That said, even in a small team, it’s important to make sure marketing is always on your horizon. Are you feeding marketing insights into your leadership team? Is your business involving your marketers in product development and the business’s roadmap? Two-way communication is essential if you want to have a robust, sustainable and product marketing strategy.
What support do you need to market effectively?
Before you set a marketing budget, it makes sense to get views about it from your team. Ideally, they’ll have been feeding into the process. More likely, a presentation on prospective marketing plans can be a catalyst – introducing new ideas and considerations. Whether it’s an informal discussion with your family or a formal meeting with members of a senior team, collect the feedback. Use it to help you decide which approach to marketing makes the most sense for your business.
Create an internal team
You may decide that having an in-house team works most effectively for you, either financially or operationally. Much depends on how much expertise you need, and the level of marketing you’ll be trying to deliver. Local, low-key plans may need a few regular hours a week from a part-time member of staff; a national marketing strategy needs much more involvement from experienced professionals.
Bring in an external team
Be confident. If you have identified major opportunities, but realise that your operation won’t support you or you don’t have the experience to deliver the level of marketing plans you need, then it’s worth bringing in external help. Either via a marketing agency, perhaps on a project by project basis, or through a marketing consultant, working full or part time for your business.
Work with combined expertise
Many small businesses benefit from surfacing insights internally – staying hands-on with your product development, feedback, and the views of your current customers – but involving an external team in the creative processes of focused marketing campaigns.
Get to know your customers
The first step in building an effective marketing strategy is to take a step back from your products and think about who’ll be buying them.
Get to know your ideal customer. It’s all about getting a clearer picture of your target audience, which should ensure your marketing activity stays focused on responses that can deliver a solid return on investment. The easiest way to do this is to create a ‘buyer persona’ or a description of those people: what their lives are like and the problems they’re trying to overcome. When you can articulate what those customers look like, in detail, you can start building an action plan that highlights all the ways in which your products or services meet their needs – that’s the basis of a sound marketing strategy.
Don’t worry, identifying ideal customers doesn’t mean ignoring other buyers or stopping other people from making purchases. It simply means you can tailor your activity and appeal to the customers who might bring you higher profit margins.
Think about marketing your business as well as your products
Many businesses don’t achieve their targets because they focus on marketing ‘the ultimate product’, or ‘the best product we make’, rather than building credibility in their company first. In simple terms, this means advertising. With a more nuanced approach, it means making details about your business proposition available to the right people at the right time in the right way. Some of the more traditional ways to boost awareness of your business include:
Word of mouth referrals and recommendations
Traffic that visits your website – or your premises
Presence at a trade show, conference, or exhibition
‘Point of sale’ materials such as brochures or samples
Direct marketing with mailshots or targeted email campaigns
And social media – again, tapping into recommendations
However you do it, benchmark your awareness activity. Ask customers how they heard about your business, capture interactions and measure responses to awareness campaigns. This could play an important part in helping you to understand how they feel about your products in more detailed marketing plans.
For many small businesses, the devil is in the detail. Especially if you become excited at what marketing can do for you and if your plans are structured well and executed carefully. The temptation is to invest time, effort, and money in surfacing far too much detail – either in terms of demographic data that could inform your team, or in terms of marketing options. How you market, where you might market, and the creative directions you might take. When you’re developing your first round of marketing strategy, stay focused on the high level outcomes first. Be firm about whose opinion matters when it comes to creative direction. Try not to engage in decision-making by committee. Make a choice about your absolute target audience and focus on selling well to those potential customers first. Expand your potential for sales later.
A good marketing strategy should help you to improve your sales in an organised, measurable way. This should grow your business and give you an advantage over your competitors. A clear marketing strategy can help you to clarify who your ideal customers are: what they want, and how you can help them in ways that other businesses can’t. It’s a strong foundation for a business that has ambitions to grow in capability and scale.
Make sure you start by having a clear view of your resources and operating budgets. This should help you to make the right amount of marketing budget available.
Focus on who you’re selling to first, what they’re looking for and how your products meet their needs. These details are the foundations of a robust marketing strategy.
Define the resources that should support your marketing activity – internal or external. It may be useful to get independent support from people with specialist creative skills.
Involve your team in marketing plans and be sure to make it a two-way conversation, but steer clear of making decisions by committee. Everyone likes to have an opinion.
Review your marketing strategy regularly, measure your return on investment in activity and build those figures into your long-term business plans.
Don’t underestimate the value of asking your customers what they think about your marketing strategy – an open conversation can reveal opportunities that even hard data keeps in the dark.
Tools and templates
Timing and Costs of Marketing Actions
Please note that these guides are provided for information purposes only and not as advice or recommendations. Before deciding to undertake any course of action you may wish to seek independent professional advice.
Starting a Business
- Business Plans
- Real Estate
- Business Models
- Business Ideas
- Side Hustle
Growing a Business
- Business Process
- Operations & Logistics
- Employee Experience & Recruiting
- Business Culture
- Thought Leaders
Science & technology.
- Social Media
- Business Solutions
- Data & Recovery
Money & Finance
- Debt / Loans / Refinancing
- Cryptocurrency / Blockchain
- Buying / Investing in Business
- Personal Finance
- Health & Wellness
- Celebrity Entrepreneurs
- Resumes & Interviewing
- Making a Change
- Franchise Advisors
- Franchise 500 Annual Ranking
- Featured Opportunities
- Find a Franchise
- Franchise Suppliers
- Buy a Franchise
- Grow Your Franchise
- Franchise Your Business
- Franchise News
- Find Success
- How to Go Green
- Latest News
- New Products
Copyright © 2023 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Entrepreneur® and its related marks are registered trademarks of Entrepreneur Media Inc.
10 Small Business Marketing Strategies That Actually Work
Avoid the pitfalls of small business marketing and achieve long-term goals by choosing the right strategies.
By Christian Nwachukwu • Feb 21, 2022
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As a small business owner, you know your vision and plan matter. To start a successful business, you'll need an ironclad business plan that includes financials and a marketing plan.
If you're a small business owner, then you know that marketing can be tough. It seems like everyone is competing for attention, and it's hard to stand out from the crowd.
Related: How To Write A Business Plan | Entrepreneur.com
Whether you handle marketing yourself or you have a marketing department, some strategies can increase visibility to boost awareness for your brand. Ready to learn more? Keep reading for 10 small business marketing strategies that work.
1. Know how to target your audience
When it comes to marketing your small business, it's essential to target the right audience. By developing a strategy that focuses on your ideal customer, you'll be able to reach more people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer. So how do you go about doing this? Here are some tips for targeting your audience effectively:
- Know your target market
- Define your niche
- Research your competition
- Create buyer personas
- Use in-depthdemographic data
- Segment your audience
- Tailor your marketing messages
- Don't forget offline marketing
Related: 6 Ways to Market Your Small Business for Less Than $100
2. Leverage cold email marketing
When it comes to small business marketing, cold emailing is one of the most effective strategies. It's a great way to connect with potential customers who may not be familiar with your business. Here are a few tips for using cold email to market your small business:
- Start by creating a list of potential customers.
- Research the companies you want to target and find out who the decision-makers are.
- Draft a personalized email that introduces your business and explains why you think the contact would be a good fit for your products or services.
- Send the email and follow up with phone calls if necessary.
- Keep track of your results and adjust your strategy as needed.
Related: Email Marketing - Entrepreneur
3. Advertise your business online
When it comes to advertising your business, there are several different strategies that you can use. However, not all of these strategies will be effective for your business. To find the best digital marketing strategy for your small business, you need to do some research and try out a few different tactics.
One of the most popular online marketing tactics is social media advertising. This involves using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to promote your business. You can create ads that target specific demographics, or you can simply post about your business on your social media apps.
Since most people are on their mobile devices frequently, using social media posts or Google Ads to promote your brand may be a better marketing idea than using direct mail efforts. The internet also functions as the hub of word-of-mouth marketing, with in-person experiences being reflected on review and referral sites like Yelp.
Related: 4 Free Small Business Marketing Tools
4. Use influencers to build brand awareness
When it comes to marketing your small business, you can't afford to overlook the power of influencers. Influencers are individuals with a large online following who can sway the opinions of their followers. In other words, if an influencer promotes your product or service, their followers are likely to take notice.
There are several ways to work with influencers to build awareness for your small business. One option is to reach out to them directly and ask them to join a marketing campaign to promote your product or service. Another option is to partner with an influencer marketing agency that can connect you with influencers who are a good fit for your brand.
Related: What to Know About Influencer Marketing in 2022
5. Connect with local businesses
One of the best ways to market your small business is to connect with local businesses. When you partner with other businesses in your area, you can share resources and promote each other to your customer base. You can also collaborate on marketing initiatives and events.
To connect with local businesses, start by networking with other business owners in your community. Attend business events and join online forums and groups that focus on local business collaboration. You can also reach out to local businesses directly and offer to collaborate.
6. Offer incentives and discounts
This can be in the form of a percentage off your products or services or even a free item with purchase. You can also offer loyalty programs, which give customers rewards for continued patronage. Whatever incentive or discount you choose to offer, make sure it's something that your customers will find valuable.
7. Build an email list
Building an email list isn't hard. It doesn't take much time or any special skills to do, and once it's done, it saves you a lot of time in the future. Here are some ideas for building your initial newsletter subscribers:
- Offer something valuable (and usually free) like a white paper, eBook, free webinar, or coupon code for joining your mailing list
- Ask people who complete certain forms on your website to opt-in to receive updates from you via email
- Use social media platforms to post about how excited you are about launching your new products/services and share where to sign up for them using links that lead directly to the sign-up form
- Include a sign-up form on all of your website pages and blog posts
8. Automated marketing
Running a small business can often be an all-hands-on-deck situation, especially as you start up. Because you and your employees have so much to juggle, automation might be just what you need to boost efficiency and increase communication consistency.
Automation can also help you and your team take back your time, as it can provide more freedom for job tasks, collaboration, and creativity.
Consider automation platforms for:
- Social media content calendars
- Email marketing (eCommerce shopping carts and abandoned carts, and email list blasts)
- SMS notifications (loyalty program, discounts, and shipping notifications)
9. Invest in search engine optimization ( SEO )
Another popular online marketing strategy is search engine optimization (SEO). This involves optimizing your website so that it appears higher on search engine results pages. By investing in SEO, you can improve your website's ranking in search results and attract more visitors.
There are many different SEO techniques that you can use, and it's important to choose the right ones for your business. If you have a limited budget, you may want to consider using online marketing tools like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads. These tools allow you to target specific audiences with your ads, which can help you save money on advertising costs.
If you have a small marketing budget, check out these five affordable small business SEO softwares:
10. Blog about the latest trends and events related to your business niche
Blogging is a great way to connect with customers and share information about your business. When you blog about the latest trends, news stories, and events related to your business niche, potential customers can learn more about you and what you offer. This can help you attract new customers and build trust with existing customers.
Related: Top Social-Media Marketing Essentials for Small Businesses
Ready to build your small business?
As you continue to grow your small business, your marketing efforts matter. You need to understand your target audience, create multiple marketing channels, maintain consistent content marketing efforts, and follow a messaging system that aligns with your brand's mission.
Visit Entrepreneur today for more marketing tips , customer experience ideas , and how to analyze your marketing platform metrics .
Editor's pick, most popular, 5 types of toxic employees and how to deal with them (infographic).
When it comes to the troublemakers in your organization you have two choices: cut them out or rein them in. Here's how to do the latter, like a boss.
By Kim Lachance Shandrow
Everything to Know About the Murdaugh Family Murders: From Their Legal Legacy to Multiple Unexplained Deaths
The Murdaugh family's 100-year-old legal legacy came crashing down in just months due to lies, deceit, and several deaths.
By Sam Silverman
Why the American Dream is Dead
Rising costs. Increased credit card debt. Wealth disparity is at an all-time high, and the division continues growing. The American dream is dead.
By Solo Ceesay
What Business Leaders Can Learn From ChatGPT's Revolutionary First Few Months
ChatGPT took us all by storm, and it's here to stay. Let's learn from its exponential growth.
By John Winner
The Co-Founder of Terakeet Shares 4 Principles of Business Success
From rejecting hubris in decision-making to reducing your "lens aperture," how this global enterprise guru finds the sweet spot.
By Robert Tuchman
This CES-Featured DIY STEM Kit for Kids is Only $84
Help expand young minds.
By Entrepreneur Store
Successfully copied link
- Marketing /
- Marketing Basics
How to Create Effective Marketing Strategies for Your Business
An effective marketing strategy underlines business growth, and often its very existence. From meeting the target audience’s needs and helping you build brand loyalty to determining the right prices for your products and services, the right strategy maximizes your chances of making it in the business world.
Marketing Strategy Definition
A marketing strategy is a company’s long-term plan of action that aims to promote its products and services, gain a competitive advantage, and meet their business goals.
Don’t confuse marketing strategy with a marketing plan, though. The main goal of a marketing plan is to attract new customers and turn them into loyal buyers. As your marketing plan should be firmly rooted in your company’s value proposition, it helps you to market your products or services to consumers in a more compelling way.
Marketing Strategies vs. Marketing Plans: What’s the Difference?
While marketing strategies and marketing plans both play a crucial part in your business’s success, there are several important distinctions between them to keep in mind.
The main difference between the two concepts is that a marketing strategy is a long-term idea, while a marketing plan typically deals with short-term issues.
Marketing strategies tend to encompass a company’s mission as a whole, including what they stand for and what they hope to achieve in the future. Meanwhile, marketing plans normally cover the various logistics of marketing campaigns, such as specific types of data and market research.
Your company’s overall strategy will help inform your marketing plan , which means it’s crucial to make your strategy as comprehensive as possible.
Understanding Marketing Goals and Planning
Now that you understand the basics of a marketing strategy, you need to start mapping out your business’s marketing goals.
First, take the time to define the following core aspects of your company:
Your company's main purpose or mission
Think of Google. The brand has always been pretty transparent in communicating the key company mission —“to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.” They do this through a powerful search engine, and this global idea underpins every innovation and addition across the company’s products and services.
The way your company operates
This aspect can be tied to your company mission. For instance, Volvo Cars has always been known as a car brand that cares about the environment and safety. Hence, their overall business operations (think of their recent move into direct-to-consumer carsharing) are underlined by the principle of building a circular economy .
Why customers should choose your products or services
If you’ve set your mission and company operation right, you’ll be able to better define your target market and understand why people should choose your product over others. They may want to buy Apple products because they like to be viewed as “thinking differently”, or they might choose a Cos dress because they are environmentally conscious.
Customers today have no shortage of options when they decide to make a purchase, so businesses need to make an effort to set themselves apart from the rest of the crowd. Defining their specific market is key.
Once you’ve defined all of the above aspects of your business, you’ll know what makes your company unique. Your goal now is to communicate that uniqueness to your customers so that they think of your business first.
How to Create an Effective Marketing Strategy
Once you are able to define what is understood by a marketing strategy, it’s time to begin forming a powerful strategy for your business.
The beginning of the strategy-building process can be daunting for many business owners. To help take some of the guesswork out of the process, we've divided the standard marketing strategy into three different components.
Under each, we provide some marketing strategy examples which should help you build an efficient strategy one step at a time. To gather data for these examples, we’ll use Semrush .Trends .
1. Competitive Strategies
The main purpose of a marketing approach is to gain an advantage over your competitors.
As you form your company marketing strategy, be sure to think about how your business can create a competitive advantage in order to succeed.
To gain a deep understanding of your rivals, run a simple 4Ps analysis for competing products. The 4Ps framework is typically used for internal marketing strategy purposes, but you can use it to outline the key features of your competitors: product, price, place, and promotion.
Initially, you have to define:
- The features of the competing product
- Its pricing and, thus, customer segment
- Placement (locations—online and offline—where the product is marketed)
- Promotional tactics (marketing and advertising)
Using the Traffic Analytics Top Pages report, you can dig up a bunch of useful information about competitors’ top products and services. Here’s a look at the top pages report for Adidas.com.
Here, we can uncover some useful information about competitor products. For example:
- At the top of the report, we can view growing, declining, or newly detected pages. Here, we discover that Adidas has partnered with Bad Bunny on a line of shoes.
- We can filter the list of top pages to dig up the most useful information. Here, we entered “shoes” to bring all pages with the keyword in their URL.
- The Adidas line known as “Forum Shoes” is seeing a major uptick in traffic. Continuing with the link, we can look at the page and compare prices.
Once you’ve run this kind of analysis, you’ll have a ton of useful information regarding your market. This will help you set marketing goals, define what types of marketing efforts to use, determine your pricing structure, and more.
Then, see how you stack up against the competition with a quick SWOT analysis. The SWOT analysis is a straightforward process for gaining an understanding of your businesses strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
If you want to evaluate your product’s market stance against the competition, the SWOT framework should do, as you will analyze both the internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) and external ones (opportunities and threats).
- Strengths are those features of your business that give you a competitive edge
- Weaknesses define which aspects of your business weaken your market position
- Opportunities outline data-driven insights that show how you can boost sales, maximize profitability, and grow your market share
- Threats show which elements can potentially hinder your business performance—from the presence of innovative game-changers to slowing economic conditions
Competitive Landscape Analysis
Competitive landscape analysis is the process of examining your market to identify your competitors and figure out where they stand with regard to other players, including you.
You can use the process to analyze and understand a variety of different metrics, such as:
- Market share
- Product offerings and pricing
- Website traffic data
- Positioning and messaging
- Company growth and trajectory
Competitive landscapes change over time, and they may look different depending on what metrics you’re analyzing. Because of this, competitive landscape analysis is usually considered an ongoing process.
In our article about Competitive Landscape Analysis , you can learn about a bunch of tools for landscape analysis. For a quick overview of a market, however, you can begin with the Market Summary in the Market Explorer Overview Report. Here’s a glance at the market for Adidas.
From the Market Summary, we can gather some key information about the condition of the market landscape. For example:
- This market has a low level of Market Consolidation , meaning the market share is divided among a wide range of market players.
- The top three Key Players in the market are Nike, Dicks Sporting Goods, and StockX. Nike owns 33.74% of the market, while Dick’s and StockX own around 8% each.
- The Market Size is large and has room to grow. Total Addressable Market is 1.5B, and the Serviceable Available Market is 817.5M.
Across the Growth Quadrant, we discover competitors and place them in one of four categories based on their traffic growth. This can help you see which players lead the market and which may be changing the game. You can then dive deeper into your competitors’ strategies and formulate your own to take the lead.
2. Growth Strategies
A successful marketing plan will enable you to expand your business in various ways and begin increasing revenue. To directly support this growth, you need to determine how you want your company to grow in the long run. This is where growth strategies come in.
Growth strategies, also known as product-market strategies, aim to increase your market share and persuade more customers to invest in your products or services.
A common example is the Ansoff Matrix, a tool used by many companies to plan and develop their marketing strategies for growth.
The matrix itself takes the form of a grid where you place each market strategy and start your assessment:
- Market Penetration is the least risky move, and involves expanding sales of existing products across existing markets. In this case, think of lowering prices to appeal to a larger audience base, boost your promotion and distribution tactics, or acquire one of your competitors operating within the same niche.
- Product Development comes with the introduction of a new product to an existing market. This approach typically requires an increase in your R&D investment or the purchase of a new technology or brand that can trigger new product development.
- Market Development triggers you to enter new markets with an existing product base. This approach involves either regional or international expansion, or entrance to a new customer segment.
- Diversification , the riskiest approach, focuses on introducing a new product to a brand-new market. Diversification can be related (think of Apple producing laptops and then starting smartphone production) or unrelated (think of global conglomerates like P&G that have both food and personal hygiene products).
Because market development and diversification are riskier and often involve entering new markets, it’s important to do plenty of research before making any investments. As a starting place, the Market Geo Distribution widget and Market Explorer can help.
Selecting the “Top Changes” tab reveals markets that have seen the highest traffic growth rates. For example, in Adidas’s market Kuwait, Turkey, and Mexico might be good locations for deeper research when considering expansion.
STP Marketing Model
Another helpful tool you can use to reinforce your growth strategies is Segmenting, Targeting, and Positioning (STP).
This audience-focused model helps you prioritize propositions and deliver marketing messages that are relevant to your target audience.
The basics of the STP model:
- Segmentation: identify the key audience characteristics that will split your audience into separate segments. This post will uncover how to go about market segmentation.
- Targeting: based on demand analysis, define which customer segments would potentially bring in higher profits, have a longer life cycle, and be more compelled by your product.
- Positioning: identify how to position your product in front of different customer segments. This value/brand proposition will inform your marketing mix, messaging, and brand development. Navigate to this post to learn how to define and implement value-based brand positioning.
Think of shoe brands. Each company has a unique selling point, yet they all have different offers for different audiences. Adidas, with their partnership with artists like Bad Bunny or Kanye West, is generally appealing to a younger audience.
Meanwhile, New Balance, with their focus on comfort over style, typically appeals to an older audience. So, this is how essentially one product can be positioned and perceived as completely different based on the STP Marketing Model.
The Demographics report in Market Explorer is a good place to gather data to complete your STP Marketing Model. Here’s a look at the Demographics report for Adidas.com’s market.
Not only does the report show a breakdown of the market audience’s age and sex, it also shows what social networks they prefer. This additional data around social media can help you later when it’s time to get more specific in your marketing plan.
To further accelerate your business’s growth, consider using the BCG Matrix also. By helping you determine when to invest in products and when to discontinue them, the BCG Matrix lets you optimize your products so that you can retain existing customers and attract new ones.
In the process of building a BCG matrix, you’ll organize your product or business portfolio into four categories:
- Pets —items with both a low growth rate and low market share
- Question marks —items with a small market share but with high growth rates
- Stars —items with high market share and a fast rate of growth
- Cash cows —items with high market shares, but lower growth expectations
With your portfolio properly separated, you can make informed decisions about where to place investments and marketing efforts to maximize your success.
This post on building a marketing strategy reveals all the ins and outs of the BCG Matrix, as well as revealing where you can unearth all the necessary data.
3. Attitude Strategies
It isn't enough to simply plan for your company’s growth. The most successful businesses also identify the method of growth, which is determined by attitude strategies.
When determining your company’s method of growth, you have two main options: Growth Method Acquisition and Organic Growth.
Growth Method Acquisition
involves the acquisition of one business by another business. Think of the time when Facebook acquired MSQRD . This app that had advanced visual tech for video was supposed to supercharge Facebook’s other acquisition, Snapchat. This is what Growth Method Acquisition looks like in practice.
on the other hand, does not include any acquisitions. Instead, this growth method refers to an increase in sales that occurs through the company’s own resources. You can trigger this kind of growth by:
- expanding your market and audience share by efficient marketing techniques;
- entering new markets (geo expansion, for instance); or
- adding new products either through horizontal line extension (diversification or expansion to other markets and/or product categories) or vertical line extension (introducing new products within the same category but with other price or quality points).
One great way to expand your market is through an understanding of your competitors’ marketing strategies. The Traffic Analytics tool provides a variety of reports for exploring your rivals’ techniques. For example, the Traffic Journey report reveals how audiences reach your competitors’ websites and what other sites they visit before and after arriving at your rival’s sites.
With data provided by Traffic Analytics, you can make informed decisions about where to place your marketing dollars to best attract your target audience.
Grow Your Business with a Powerful Marketing Strategy
There are numerous ways to help your business grow, but one of the most powerful tools that you can use is an effective marketing strategy. These steps can help you get started on forming a strategy that brings out the best in your company.
And if you’re interested in going deeper and gaining some hands-on experience with the tools demonstrated in this post, be sure to visit the Semrush Academy and check out our new course: “Marketing Analysis: When Theory Meets Practice.”
This free course explores all of the strategies we discussed in this article, and you’ll receive free access to Semrush .Trends so you can gather real data for your market. Through the process of the course and using the strategies outlined in this article, you can expand your customer base, boost your revenue, and steer your business toward lasting success.
10 Effective Marketing Strategies For Business Growth
Do you want to know what marketing strategies can genuinely help you in growing your business? Look no further than this article.
It's not easy to create a business and expand it. First and foremost, you must have a viable concept. Then you'll need to find a lucrative niche. For example, since there is an increasing need for language tutors, setting up a language tutorial service would be a viable concept.
Of course, you must also establish a target demographic and have something valuable to sell. You are getting the word out about your products or services but, without the correct marketing methods to fuel your growth, making a profit and staying afloat is impossible.
Identifying the best marketing strategy for your company is no easy feat, especially when you consider that each business is unique. How can you effectively deliver your message to the right audience? How can you increase awareness and sales while maintaining a profit? There are so many questions to answer. The truth is, whatever took you to this place in your business is unlikely to get you to the next. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs are so preoccupied with working "in" their businesses that they neglect to work "on" them.
So, what are your options? To put it another way, you need to take a step back for a bit and examine the fundamental mechanics of your message, as well as how to reach a broader audience efficiently. In this article, we will tackle just that - the marketing strategies that will genuinely help you grow your business - with no gimmicks or ambiguities.
Here Are 10 Effective Marketing Strategies For Business Growth:
1. utilise social media platforms.
Social networking is impossible to ignore since the majority of people these days are now on social media. A lot of businesses have entirely relied on social media for their success. It may seem daunting at first, but as you gain experience, you'll discover that publishing on social media becomes more accessible and more manageable.
Of course, you can also engage with a social media manager to help you out. However, if you don't, simply be yourself. You can post your ideas in the comments section or start by adding your products to lists. Post anything you think your audience would find interesting or useful in learning more about you and your business.
Social media marketing aims to provide people with valuable material that they want to share throughout their social networks, resulting in increased visibility and traffic. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts are influenced by social media shares of articles, photographs, and videos since they often boost relevance in search results inside social media networks.
You may also use direct messages on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat to connect with other successful businesses or engage with new clients who may be interested in your products or services. And how could we forget about reels? You could also utilise TikTok , a tool that companies can get on board with to showcase their videos about how they manage their business, package their orders, and so on.
2. Get The Most Out of Email Marketing
Email marketing is a powerful tool for nurturing and converting leads. However, whether or not your communication is caught in spam filters is not a game of chance. Email marketing, on the other hand, is a computer-assisted procedure that targets individual prospects and consumers to influence their purchasing decisions. Because open rates and click-through rates are used to determine the effectiveness of email marketing, strategy is essential, especially when it's part of a more extensive internet marketing campaign .
We also recommend that you try email marketing sequences. An email marketing sequence will be a part of any good sales funnel. These are the automatic messages that users receive after subscribing to your mailing list and they can work to build a strong relationship with the subscriber. Even if your emails are automated , we recommend that you make the content genuine and forthright so you retain your human side.
Segment your list based on email responses and clicks. For example, if someone clicks on a specific link, they've clearly expressed an interest in something in particular. Mark that person as a subscriber, so you may market to them later. If someone makes a purchase, mark them as a buyer. Identifying your buyers' and subscribers' interests is critical for segmentation.
Split test your broadcasts when you do send them out. Split test everything, in fact, because you never know what will be the most effective until you pull the trigger and put it to the test. This can help you better understand what your audience responds to, allowing you to communicate more effectively and sell to your customers.
3. Add A Personal Touch to Your Marketing Messages
By looking into statistics and studying demographics, in-market sectors, and affinity groups, internet marketers can tailor each message to their audience data . It's important to use this to your advantage since not every business personalises its messages to its target audience. And, we're not talking about adding first names on your email greetings, but rather delving into the psyche of your prospect to learn their opinions, what they like, dislike or hope for.
Customers should be made to feel valued and heard about their personal stories. With that, automation is also a good option because it allows advertisers to develop ads that vary dynamically depending on who is searching. However, you need to keep in mind that customers still don't want to be flooded with content, especially if it isn't really relevant to them. Thus, timeliness is an important aspect of any plan. To ensure that your consumers gain value from each encounter, all of your content should be relevant and easy to comprehend. Additionally, don’t forget that a key component of any digital marketing plan is transparency and respect for your customers' privacy .
Finally, it should be noted that efforts like behavioural segmentation , which divides audience members into groups based on their activities, such as first-time sales, recurrent purchases, abandoned carts, and page views without conversion, result in effective personalisation.
4. Take Advantage of Co-branding, Affinity, and Cause Marketing
Co-branding is a marketing strategy in which two or more companies collaborate to promote and sell a single product or service. The result is that consumers are often prepared to spend extra because the brands give their collective credibility to raise the impression of the product or service's value. Co-branding may also deter private label manufacturers from duplicating the product or service.
A great example of this is when BMW partnered up with Louis Vuitton to design an exclusive, four piece set of suitcases that fit perfectly into the BMW i8 sports car's back parcel shelf.
Source: Louis Vuitton
Affinity marketing , on the other hand, is a collaboration between a corporation (supply) and an organisation that brings together people who share similar interests, such as a coffee shop that sells goods from a local bakery. There are lots of examples of co-branding partnerships that you can find in the market these days.
Red Bull and GoPro are both associated with high adrenaline adventures, so it seems only fitting that they have a partnership together. The GoPro brand will have access to more than 1800 Red Bull events across more than 100 countries and includes content production, distribution, cross-promotion and product innovation.
C ause marketing leverages and improves brand reputation. Cause marketing is a partnership between a for-profit company and a non-profit organisation aiming to promote and benefit social and other charity causes. It should not be confused with corporate giving, referring to an organisation's specific tax-deductible gifts. Marketing relationships like these give customers the feeling that you share their goal to make the world a better place.
5. Start Blogging For Your Business
Anyone can start a blog , mainly because many blogging platforms offer free memberships for those who don't yet want to go premium. In fact, many people are starting blogging to make money online .
As someone managing a business , you should start a blog for your company right away if you don't already have one. However, remember that you are not limited to blogging on your blog, you can also guest post on other, more established, sites.
The majority of people find blogging tedious due to a lack of visibility. The truth is that unless you know what you're doing, your site will just be another blog site on the internet that won't get attention.
This isn't just about putting your thoughts on your site, though. You should start blogging as an authority figure. Post your articles on networks like Medium. You can also respond to questions that you know you are knowledgeable about on Reddit and Quora. In turn, you can promote your blog using LinkedIn's publishing tool. These are all authority domains where anyone may publish and have large audiences, allowing you to reach out to many people.
If you're going to blog, be sure you're blogging effectively. Consider how you can add value. Give people so much worth that they regard you as a thought leader in your industry. This is one of the most effective marketing methods for any company.
6. Use Videos as Marketing Tools
Video is a quick and effective way to get your message through to your audience. It demonstrates to your customers exactly what your product can achieve for their company. According to Aberdeen Group research, organisations that use video as part of their marketing plan see a 49% increase in income annually than those that don't. Your company should take advantage of video as it becomes an increasingly important part of content marketing strategy.
Furthermore, creating video tutorials is one of the most effective ways to spread the news about your company. Aside from video tutorials, you can also offer free live webinars to explain how your products/services will make their lives better. People will learn something helpful if you teach them something. Take them through the process. Step-by-step instructions are all the rage these days. The better you are at it and the more value you provide, the faster you will be able to increase your visibility and, as a result, your sales.
YouTube is now the world's second-largest search engine, after only Google. People head to YouTube if they want to learn about something visually. You've probably done it a hundred times before. So, consider what you could teach in your business to assist customers in resolving a problem.
What's the most challenging part? Hearing your voice and, perhaps, seeing your face. You don't have to be on camera now, but you will almost certainly need to be heard. Over time, you become accustomed to it. However, you can't ignore YouTube's visibility and reach, so get out there and start generating real, valuable videos right now. If you’re unsure about this strategy, you can always look for creative ideas online and come up with your unique approach. Not only will this help to market your business and establish a great social presence but also help you generate revenue through YouTube. Once you’ve started with this strategy, you can diversify further and add content to various platforms so that you can market as well as monetize your videos even without YouTube and are not dependent on any specific platform.
7. Start Doing Podcasts and Be A Great Storyteller
Podcasts are an excellent approach to acquire insight into marketing methods and disseminate information about your company's products or to promote yourself as a thought leader. A podcast featuring content created by you or a business representative is another approach to discuss the solutions you offer. The most excellent aspect of participating in a podcast is selling your company to other people's audiences while doing so.
Aside from doing podcasts, you can also create conferences and live streams for your target customers. We strongly advise you to engage in brand storytelling, a well-known communication structure to engage customers emotionally. Rather than simply regurgitating statistics and data, storytelling allows you to tell a compelling story about your business, what it does, what it values, what you value as a business leader, how you engage and contribute to your community, and how you resolve issues and problems. Adding that humane impact on your brand stories will emotionally affect your target audience, which will eventually help you make them engage with your business.
8. Understand the Power of SEO
SEO might be intimidating, but it can also be effective. And when you know how to master SEO properly or you have the help of an SEO agency , the sky truly is the limit.
Some companies educate you on how to "trick" Google with dubious PBNs and other link schemes. It may produce short-term results, but it will get you in hot water in the long run. When it comes to SEO, there are no short routes. If you want to see results, you must put in the effort and time, just like in business.
Some pointers on how to go about it properly? Don't overuse terms - this is one of the most common blunders people make. Create material that is both human-friendly and search engine-friendly. But, more importantly, be sure that whatever you're saying is entertaining, informative, unique and that it delivers value to your audience.
Remember that search engines will direct your content to a user's search result page if you optimise the content you offer on your website, blog, or YouTube channel. SEO allows you to increase organic traffic to your website and improve your ranking in search results.
9. Leverage the Help of Influencers
Want to get the word out and increase your social media awareness without having to wait years to create an audience? Then you should use influencers . However, finding the proper influencer is crucial. You are not obligated to work with influencers who have millions of followers. Micro-influencers with tens of thousands or even a hundred thousand followers are an option. Micro-influencers can often have just as big an impact as the influencers with millions of followers. This is in part due to their highly engaged and loyal communities. In 2021, the micro-influencer market grew from 89% to 91% , so it's definitely one to consider.
So that you're targeting the right audience, find the perfect influencer in your niche. For example, if your target audience is senior citizens , you should tap someone who is also in that category and, at the same time, influential enough. It isn't simply about getting your message out there. It's all about getting your message out to the proper people. When you consider the possible reward, you can likely reach a large audience for a relatively small investment if you can accomplish that correctly.
This makes sense if your sales systems and products are in place. This is arguably the best marketing technique for you right now if you have a converting offer and all you need is more awareness. Evaluate the problem and contact influencers to determine their pricing. Start with tiny tests to discover what works, then expand.
10. Get The Best Out of Sales Productivity Tools
Marketing works hand-in-hand with sales productivity solutions that can reduce downtime and boost efficiency. Different tools enable video conversations, webinars, conferencing, lead creation, CRM, and email marketing. Salesforce is an example of a sales engagement platform (SEP), which is essential for email monitoring and CRM.
Optimising your sales productivity tools should be accompanied by precise calculations. A sales productivity formula can help you achieve this. Though there is no one-size-fits-all method for calculating sales productivity, there are a few indicators you can use to see if your B2B marketing methods are effective.
Conversion rates, for example, are a fantastic indicator of your sales productivity formula. Knowing your conversion rates can help you discover which marketing methods produce the most leads and which need to be tweaked or abandoned. Finally, remember to concentrate on salesforce forecasting while estimating future sales. The most excellent sales forecasting software will assist you in rerouting future resources to increase income.
There are many marketing strategies out there and a way to learn and pick which one is best for your business is by taking up digital marketing courses. But a more cost-effective way to know which of these strategies work well for your business is to simply assess yourself and your business as a whole.
Find what your business needs right now. For instance, perhaps your business needs omnichannel marketing software that will help you do it all. You must also figure out where you see your business in the coming months and years. Reflect on it and forecast the potential growth of your business. Overall, always remember that you can do many of these marketing strategies at one time, but you may also do them one at a time and see which works best for you. After that, stick to what works and don't forget to try new things.
Author: Burkhard Bergur Bio: Burkhard Berger is the founder of awesomex™. You can follow him on his journey from 0 to 100,000 monthly visitors on www.awesomex.com . His articles include some of the best growth hacking strategies and digital scaling tactics that he has learned from his own successes and failures
You May Also Like
These Related Stories
How to Decrease Inactive Users with Email Marketing
How to Use Social Media for App Marketing Strategies
[Infographic] How to use Social Media to Market Your App
Get email notifications.
29 Marketing Strategies for Business
- Business Ideas & Tips
- Finance Your Business
- Market Your Business
- Keep Your Business Compliant
What are the best small business marketing strategies? What type of marketing tactics should you be using in your business now? Here are 29 strategies that work for small businesses.
Finding the best marketing strategies has always been challenging for small business owners. The many marketing channels available to businesses make it difficult to decide on the optimal way to market to potential customers.
Should you be blogging? Should you be networking? How about traditional advertising? Should you focus on social media? Text messaging? What about using SEO and other digital marketing strategies?
The business owner who’s searching the web for the best price on printing business cards may never see your ad in the local newspaper. And, the woman who gets a text message at 11:15 am from a nearby deli telling her about today’s lunch special may never see the lunch coupons your bagel shop mails out.
Plan Your Marketing Strategy
There’s no one push-button marketing idea that will send a steady stream of customers to your door. Whether you sell products or services, you must use multiple marketing strategies to attract and keep customers.
The list below presents a variety of marketing strategies. Pay particular attention to the first five, even if you’ve been in business for years. Markets change, and it’s essential to consider whether what you’re selling and how you’re selling it matches what business and consumers want to buy now.
If you’ve been in business for a long time and haven’t changed your marketing methods over the years, look closely and the marketing methods that involve the Internet and digital marketing. No matter how your existing customers found you, businesses and consumers today regularly turn to digital media to gather information about their needs and research service providers before deciding which service provider they’ll use. You want them to find your company.
1. Define your marketing goals
Before you can choose the right business marketing strategies you need to consider your goals. Do you need to build brand awareness for your business? Be seen as an expert in your field? Are you adding a new service or product to what you already sell? Do you want to bring in more business at lunchtime or dinner time? Do you want to increase the order size (ie, sell 10 of something at once instead of 1)?
Different goals often require different strategies to achieve. For instance, if you are that bagel shop mentioned above and want to increase foot traffic and indivdual purchase at lunchtime, you might want to consider a text messaging strategy. But if tyou want to build up your catering business or sell bagels in bulk to nearby restaurants and stores, you’ll need to use a different strategy.
2. Describe what makes your products or service different
To win customers, you’ll will need to distinguish yourself from the competition in some real or perceived way. How you do that is called a unique selling proposition (USP), and it is an important part of your overall marketing strategy. Lower cost, better quality, the hours of the day or evening that you’re open, years of experience and speed of service are just a few possible differences that could attract customers. To decide on your USP, start by looking for reviews for products and services like yours and noting comments left by reviewers to see what’s important to them. Next, list the features and benefits of what you sell, then make another list indicating what your customers are most interested in or pleased about. Summarize your notes in a sentence that let’s people know why they should choose your company over your competitors.
3. Define your target market
Create a profile of your ideal customer. What type of person buys this service most frequently today? Don’t fall into the trap of believing “everyone” or everyone in a certain demographic is your customer. Even if it’s true, “everyone” isn’t a market you can reach effectively on a small business budget. Neither is “all women over 40” or similarly large demographic groups. You need to narrow your target and focus on the most likely prospects that you can afford to reach.
Do that by digging deeper. Why do they need and strongly desire this service? What is their job function? If it’s a consumer product, where do they live? How old are they? How much money do they earn? What other factors make them a likely customer? Where are they most likely to look for the service or hear about it? How much would your ideal customer spend? How frequently would they reorder? Who might they ask for a referral?
Once you answer those questions, ask yourself one more: “Where should I be networking or what should I be doing to make myself known to that potential customer or to people who give the prospect referrals.” After you’ve answered the questions, act on them.
4. Understand what the customer wants to buy
Customers don’t necessarily want to buy what you want to sell. They don’t really want the service you perform. They want the solution to a problem or benefit your service provides. Think about it. A plumber’s customers aren’t really interested in plumbing. They want a leaky pipe fixed. A web developers’ customers don’t want a database or design. They want a website that will make them look good, get found in search engines, and help them get new customers. If you need help figuring out what your customers are really buying, ask them. You’ll get better results from your marketing by re-focusing on the solutions and benefits the customer wants to buy instead of the product you want to sell.
5. Learn the best time, place and format to reach your target market
Once you have identified your target market, ask yourself where and when would that customer want to learn about the product and/or buy it. If you don’t know, ask potential customers how they discover and choose your type of product or service. Their answers can help you decide how much time and effort to put into social media, networking, getting referrals, content marketing, and other tactics to bring in business. After you’ve answered the questions, act on them. Put your business and promotional materials where likely customers will find them.
Related: How to create marketing strategies
6. Make yourself a trusted resource to prospects and customers
People like to buy from people they know and trust. They also don’t like to have anything “sold” to them. Become a trusted resource to your prospects by providing information that will help them make a good choice.
7. Make yourself a resource for the media
Members of the press are always looking for authoritative sources to quote . Keep in touch with local media through online and offline network groups and subscribe to HARO to receive inquiries from media who are looking for interview subjects for stories.
8. Set up professional social media profiles
You need to have social media presences for yourself and your business on all the social media channels that are important (ie, used by) your customers. Among them: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. Be sure each of your profiles is professional and has a link to your website. If you meet a prospect and they lose your business card, they might type your name into the search engine to try to find you. Having a profile on the biggest social media sites will allow them to find you and the link to your website.
9. Claim your place on Google Business and Bing Places for Business
Google Business listings and Bing Places for Business aren’t just for fast food establishments or retail stores. You can search for any type of service by location, and Google will show a list of companies that match the service you searched for in the location you specified. If you live in a big city, there’s no guarantee your places profile will show up on that first page listing. But having a profile gives you an edge.
10. Participate in social media discussions groups
Participating in the social media discussions that attract your target customers can be beneficial if your goal is to get known, gain credibility, or get seen as an expert. They can also help give you understand your customer better. Depending on what you sell, look for topic-specific groups and/or location-based discussion groups. Set aside a few minutes a day to read the conversations. Listen to what people are asking about and what complaints they have about the type of goods you sell. This will give you insight into what people actually want to acquire (as opposed to features or products you want to sell.) Pay attention to the group dynamics and gradually start making informative comments or posting useful resources. If you don’t have time to do this, hire a freelancer or an employee help by scouting out conversations that you may want to participate in.
11. Develop a content marketing strategy
If your product or service is one that customers tend to research before they buy, you need a content marketing strategy. The same is true if being recognized as an expert in your industry is important to reaching your marketing goal.
Among the tactics you’ll use is writing articles related to the service you provide. You’ll most likely want content that answers questions customers have at each stage of the buying cycle. Put some of the articles on your own site and distribute others to other sites that reach your audience. Be sure to include an “about the author” resources box with a link to your website. (For more tips on article marketing, read Article Marketing Do’s and Don’ts .) The articles will help get yourself and your company is known, and help establish your credibility. Other related tactics to implement this content marketing strategy include using white papers and other giveaways to generate leads, and creating and distributing infographics.
12. Print up flyers or brochures
Even though we live in a digital age, print marketing is still important. Print up flyers, brochures, or other handouts and distribute them at membership groups you belong to if allowed. You can get free templates from HP and Microsoft you can use to create your own. Print small quantities of flyers or product sheets yourself on a color printer. (Be sure to use good quality paper – something heavier than standard copier paper.) When you know you’ll need a hundred or more copies at a time, compare the cost of having them printed to the cost of printing your own. Be sure to allow enough time to have the printing delivered to you.
13. Volunteer to speak at local business groups
If your marketing goal is to get known or get seen as an expert, speaking at local or other business events can be advantageous. Business groups often need interesting speakers to attract members to meetings. Your talk should be about some area of your specialty but should focus on the audience’s informational needs and the problems they want to solve.
14. Submit proposals to speak at industry group conferences
Local, regional and national group conferences need speakers, too. If you are an expert in your field, submit proposals to speak at such events. If you don’t have a lot of experience speaking, see if you can get on a panel, instead of giving a solo speech. Be sure to promote your participation in the panel before the event, and link to any videos or other after-event promo the conference planner has posted.
15. Seek referrals and recommendations
Constantly be on the lookout for ways to get customers and acquaintances to recommend you to their friends. Such recommendations bring ready-to-buy customers to your doorstep, customers who already trust you (because of the recommendation), and are therefore easier to get to buy from you. Some recommendations and referrals happen on their own, but you can increase referrals by being proactive at acquiring them.
16. Refer business to other businesses in your networks
Giving referrals is as important a networking tool as getting them. People recommend people they like….and business people usually like other business people who send them business.
17. Co-market your business with another business
Make arrangements with another business that reaches the same customer base that you do, but sells a different product. Share mailings, give away coupons for each other and refer business to one another.
18. Tweet, mention, and link to other people’s articles and posts
You can provide interesting content and establish your own authority by helping your social media followers find good content posted by other people. Besides providing good material for your followers, it’s a good way to win social media friends, expand your network, and get your name and specialty known.
19. Build an email list and send informative mailings to it on a regular basis
Your mailing list should be made up of people who have asked to be on it. (Having a newsletter signup box on your web page is one good way to get people to “ask” to be on your mailing list.)
20. Be proactive about networking
Don’t just join networking groups, show up at some of them on a regular basis. Choose the ones that are most likely to attract your type of customers, and try one or two leads groups as well. The best source of business for the majority of small service businesses is referrals. The more often you’re seen and participate in groups, the more likely you are to be remembered when a member is asked for a referral.
21. Use postcard mailings
Postcard mailings are great for keeping in touch with potential customers and existing customers. The person who doesn’t have time to talk to you today may need your services (or know someone else who does) a month or 6 months from now. Keep your name fresh with regular mailings.
22. Ask for referrals
Besides asking existing clients if they know anyone else who can use your services, consider what other professionals you know who could refer business to you – and vice versa. If you’re an electrician, talk to local builders and remodeling contractors, plumbers, and people who lay tile. If you are a graphic designer talk to web designers and ad agencies, about referring work.
23. Pick up the phone and call likely prospects
Cold calling is hard and you have to be able to deal with rejection. But it does work. If you are fearful about trying it, check out this article about making cold calls easier.
24. Canvas neighborhoods
If you provide services to homeowners, knock on doors, and talk to neighbors of your customers. Have handouts and door hangers with you. Neighbors are usually curious when they see a homeowner having work done, and you may get additional sales as a result.
25. Don’t be too quick to discourage tire kickers
It’s hard to know where to draw the line with people who keep asking questions without any indication they plan to make a purchase, but sometimes those questions are used as much to size you or your business up as they are to gain information.
26. Have a website and publicize it
It amazes me, but there are still businesses that don’t have a website. I was at a Chamber of Commerce meeting a few months ago and met someone who said he was a copywriter. I asked for a business card, and his card didn’t include his website, so I asked for his website URL. Amazingly, the person who had just tried to convince me he could write copy for the web didn’t have a website.
No matter how much in-person networking you do or how much social media networking you do, you still need a website. Your prospects will want to see samples of your work, get more information about you, and if you’re a consultant or other expert, they’re probably going to want to read things you’ve written about your area of expertise. You can control what they see on your own website. You can’t control what ads show up next to your posts or what the rules are on social media sites.
If you can’t afford to pay a web developer, set up at least a simple website using free or low-cost website hosting and design tools such as Weebly or GoDaddy . Once you have a website, be sure it’s listed on all your sales literature, your business card, association member directories, and as many places as you can get listings.
27. Have a fully functioning website
Another circumstance I find amazing is the number of small businesses that join local business networking groups and have non-working websites listed in the group’s membership directory. Occasionally it’s because the directory listing was published with a typo in the domain name. But often, it appears the business that owned the domain name let it lapse – or never finished setting up the website. Don’t let that happen to you. Be sure you register the domain name yourself (instead of letting the web developer do it) and be sure that you keep your credit card information up-to-date at the domain registrar. Double-check your association directory listing after it’s published to be sure there are no typos and the link works. Check each page on your site to be sure you didn’t leave up any links going to blank pages or to “under construction pages.”
28. Be Creative
Sometimes you need to think outside the box to create the best marketing strategy for your small business. Consider whether you can grow your business by marketing to a different demographic or a different industry. Or perhaps you need a new look, or a new angle to promote. Check out these creative suggestions for finding a strategy that works.
29. Don’t stop marketing
Once business starts coming in on a regular basis it’s tempting to ease off on some of the marketing and networking you do. But that’s a mistake. You need to market continually to keep business coming in regularly.
Animation and music source: Doodly
About the Author: Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets. Follow Janet on Twitter and on LinkedIn
Ready to get started?
Get the expert support you need
7 social media mistakes that kill roi – and how to fix them.
by Anthony Sills, on July 20, 2022
5 Tips for Amazing Webinars and Web Meetings
by Mike Song, Tim Burress, and Vicki Halsey, on July 20, 2022
Developing A Media Kit Built To Sell
by Karon Thackston, on July 20, 2022
Create Content: 6 Ways to Generate New Ideas
by Dr. Rachna D. Jain, on July 20, 2022
Using Facebook Lead Ads to Grow Your Mailing List
by Kim Dushinski, on July 20, 2022
Help Your Business Grow by Using Social Media
by Team ZenBusiness, on July 20, 2022
- Formation Services
- Registered Agent
- Worry-Free Compliance
- Operating Agreement
- Annual Reports
- New York Publication
- Refer friends, get $25
- Compare ZenBusiness
- Public Benefit Corporation
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Help Center
- Partner Program
- Affiliate Program
Made with 🌮 remotely by ZenBusiness INC © 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Did you know that 81% of retail consumers conduct online research before buying? So, retail marketers are spending more on digital marketing to get more customers. In the U.S, for example, retailers are expected to spend $35.48 billion on o...
The capital market revolves around capital. Capital is more or less another word for money — usually money that businesses need to produce the goods or services they sell. Capital markets are one of the foundations of free-market economies ...
A business market is the specific group or industry a company focuses on when trying to sell products and services. These audiences are often dictated by the kind of materials an organization deals in and the kinds of competition these busi...
Eight Marketing Strategies Every Startup Or Small Business Can Afford · 1. Earned Media/PR. The value of a credible third party touting your
A marketing strategy is a long-term plan for achieving a company's goals by understanding the needs of customers and creating a distinct and sustainable
A marketing strategy refers to a business's overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or
Small Business Marketing Strategies. Know your audience. Emphasize your value proposition. Stay focused on singular goals and objectives.
Social media has a prime place in small business SEO; Google bots make a direct connection between your website and your social media profile pages. Include
A marketing strategy is a business's overall plan for reaching prospective customers. Usually, a marketing strategy describes a value proposition and key
10 Marketing Strategies to Fuel Your Business Growth · 1. Use social media. · 2. Create video tutorials. · 3. Start blogging now. · 4. Understand
1. Know how to target your audience · 2. Leverage cold email marketing · 3. Advertise your business online · 4. Use influencers to build brand
A marketing strategy is a company's long-term plan of action that aims to promote its products and services, gain a competitive advantage
10 Effective Marketing Strategies For Business Growth · 1. Utilise Social Media Platforms · 2. Get The Most Out of Email Marketing · 3. Add A
29 Marketing Strategies for Business · 9. Claim your place on · 12. Print up flyers or brochures · 13. Volunteer to speak at local business groups.