small business marketing guide
When running a small business, getting the word out about your products or services can be challenging. However, there are key steps you can take to ensure your small business’s marketing strategy is effective.
Whether you have just started, or run an established business, a strong online presence and an optimised digital marketing strategy is a must. For local small business, digital marketing offers great value and flexibility in how you promote your brand online – contributing to the overall success of your business.
In this guide, we’ll outline our top tips to help build and optimize your digital marketing strategy, ensuring your small business is set up to attract new clients and ultimately grow your business.
1. Strengthen your brand identity
A strong brand identity is foundational to your small business’s marketing success. As the number of small businesses continues to grow and with the growing competition within your industry, businesses often run into the issue of brand parity – which occurs when your target audience cannot highlight distinct differences between your business and your competitors.
This highlights the importance of strong and memorable brand identity.
Brand identity is a reflection of the feelings and emotions people associate with your business – these feelings are created through a combination of your brand name, logo, visual aesthetic, messaging and the design of your various business assets and marketing collateral.
As brands can’t be everything to everyone, it’s important to really consider what your key point of difference is to your competitors, a highlight that within your brand identity. Promoting your business with a unique and consistent brand identity will make your business look more professional, instil trust in your brand and ensure that your audience will remember who to call when they require your services.
We suggest employing a freelancer or a marketing agency who can dig deep into your brand and create high-quality branding that reflects your unique brand identity. Looking for one? You’ve found us!
2. Really.. Really understand your customers
Think about your average customer who is searching for your service. What are they like? You might have a bit of an idea… someone within your area who requires your services. But in order to market more effectively, we need to dig a bit deeper.
Through the creation of a buyer persona, you will learn more about your target customer and better figure out what types of things they may be searching for, so you can highlight specific details in your marketing channels.
Creating a buyer persona through a series of questions will help paint a picture of your ideal customer and map out our their interests, needs and behaviours.
Great questions to ask yourself to build a buyer persona:
Who are they? Demographics such as gender, age, and education.
What is their job? Data such as title, company size, industry, and general job responsibilities.
What is a day in their life like? Describe what an average day is like for them, who they are dealing with, and what decisions they are making.
What are their primary pain points? Describe the primary challenges they are trying to overcome that relate to your products and services.
What do they value most and what are their goals? Explain what they value most in making a purchase decision (price, support, etc.), what they are trying to accomplish in each application.
Where do they go for information? Identify the primary sources they use to gather information in their research and purchase decision process.
What’s important to them in selecting a vendor? List what is most important, such as being a technology leader, having proven experience, being a domain expert, etc.
What are their most common objections? List the reasons you hear most often for why your solutions won’t meet their needs.
3. Get more out of your website
In our digital age, a professional-looking and functional website is one of the most important assets you can have for your small business. Your website can show off your brand identity, highlight the services you offer, where you are located, and provide and easy way for customers to get in contact.
A website is a marketing channel you will always own and has the ability to generate ongoing traffic and leads with little-to-no effort. Taking things one step further, smart configuration of your website’s back end can give you the capability of a 24-7 salesperson, by automating marketing emails and responding to customer queries.
Make sure it’s mobile optimised!
These days, Most Google searches are done on mobile devices, so it’s important to ensure your site presents well on smartphones. Additionally, search engines are now considering mobile optimisation in their ranking systems. This means that a website that is mobile optimised will rank higher than a website that isn’t.
If you aren’t so technically inclined, and want a website built for your small business, have a chat to us today about how we can help.
4. Keep your listings up to date
If your small business services a particular local area, some of the most important listings to effectively manage are your google business listing, your facebook page, and your HiPages directory. Best of all, these are all free to set up!
These listings are a great way to show your opening hours, your business location and your reviews from happy customers.
For any business, having up-to-date online listings will help you be found and engage with prospects.
5. Improve your online discoverability through SEO
This is a great option for businesses that already have a website but are struggling to receive enough traffic and online leads. Here we are talking about revamping your content for SEO (search engine optimization) to help improve your Google ranking. SEO makes your website more visible to users who are searching for solutions that your business’s, products or services can provide via search engines.
Have you ever searched for yourself or your product/service online? And if so, how high did your brand rank on the google search results? Often enough, business owners find that they aren’t even on the first page and wonder how they can improve their google ranking.
There are so many factors that determine how google ranks your small business’s website, but essentially Google always wants to surface the most relevant, highest-quality piece of content. Some of these factors include:
- Frequency of relevant keywords (and their placement on your site)
- Length and readability of your content
- Page loading speed
- Mobile optimisation
- How often you update your website
For example, if I’m searching for an electrician in Newmarket, Queensland, it would be helpful for me to find an electrician in my area with relevant services, an easy-to-navigate website, and contact information readily available. Therefore, it is important to think about what your target user is searching for, and use that information to underpin your SEO strategy.
6. Harness the power of blogs
Blogging or content marketing are extremely useful for improving search engine ranking. Blogging can work as an extension of SEO, by adding a variety of desired keywords to your site, meaning your brand is more likely to appear in search results.
Blogging is also a great because it gives you an excuse to communicate with your audience on a regular basis, ensuring your brand is always fresh in their mind. Every time you post a new blog, share it via social media or through your email marketing channel to drive more traffic to your website and get customers excited about your product or service.
If you need some help creating blogs or promotional content, or require a platform to post on, consider engaging a freelance writer or marketing agency to create effective marketing content.
7. Plan your email marketing strategy
After you have started writing blog content, newsletters or have a special promotion you would like to promote, it’s time to share this news with prospects who will be interested in learning more. 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.
If you’re new to email marketing and not sure how to manage the process, there are a number free or low-cost platforms that allow you to create and send emails with editable templates – one of the most common being Mailchimp. Many email tools also offer basic analytics that allow you to track open and click rates.
But what if I don’t have an email list?
Of course, an email marketing strategy is only useful if you actually have an audience to reach out to. So, before you can do that, we will need to build your audience.
There are countless ways to build your email list, but my favourite way is through a landing page. The general premise is simple – you provide something of value to your customer in exchange for their contact details. But what is something of value? Some examples could include:
- A free report
- A special discounted offer
- A free e-book
Once you have thought of what you are offering, you can create a simple call-to-action that grabs your audience’s attention and allows them to exchange their details for access to your content.
8. Consider PPC Advertising
We have already talked about the importance of SEO, but if you are looking to really turbo-charge your traffic, consider PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising.
PPC is a search engine marketing technique, where you utilise Google AdWords to show up higher in google rankings (if you do it right, you might even show up as the first result!).
With a little keyword research, you can plan what search terms you want your business to show up for. For example, if you are a plumber in Greenslopes, there might be 50 other plumbers in your area – which means users will have to search through a lot of other competitor websites before they find yours. But through the power of PPC, you can get access to the first result on google for whoever is searching (at a cost).
Just a word of caution – before you try your hand at PPC, you’ll want to make sure your landing page or blog is well-optimized to convert sales and leads. As you are paying by the click, you will need a high-conversion page to improve your return on advertising spend.
9. Advertise on social media
Most of the major social media platforms offer affordable advertising options that can help you target your posts to a specific audience. With highly targeted ads and enough impressions, you’ll gain the interest of your audience.
Remember to consider the relevance of your industry to the social media platform advertising on. Instagram is great for fashion brands, but not so useful for accountants. Linkedin is great for property, but not so strong for retail.
Ready to level up your marketing? Check out our latest package!
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jump-start marketing package
Our jump-start marketing package is designed to make your small business stand out against your competitors and generate buzz around your brand.
Click below to find out what’s included:
Let us craft a visual identity that resonates with your audience and facilitates easy association with your brand’s core business areas.
As a marketing tool, your website will serve as a permanent resource for users searching your services online. Through well-crafted copy and SEO, we will aim to bring in significant organic traffic and impressions.
Through tailored targeting metrics across google and social media, we aim to make waves and drive quality leads with our tailored introductory marketing campaign.