Learn about ways to enhance your small business marketing strategies.
Whether your business is a one-person shop or a larger operation, marketing is important for success. However, when a small business owner hears the word "marketing," their head may spin. What types of marketing initiatives work best? What should small businesses be focusing on when it comes to establishing a marketing plan for 2021?
1. Optimize Your Website
If you have a website, take time to review it. Is it up to date? If you don’t have one—now is the time to get one. Your site is the hub of all your marketing efforts. If you’re counting on a Facebook page to do the job, it’s time to reconsider. 81% of consumers go online before making a purchase, meaning that they're looking for reasons to buy from you versus a competitor. If you don't offer content on your site to help them do their research, they may go elsewhere.
If you need help building a site on a budget, seek out a consultant or an agency, or you can do it yourself with solutions like Wix or Squarespace.
2. Take Advantage of Social Media
Social media use continues to grow. 47% of internet users ages 16 to 64 spent more time on social media in 2020 than they did in 2019.
If you're already active on social media, take some time to see which platforms are driving the most traffic to your site. Look to see where you're getting the most engagement. One mistake small business can make when it comes to social media is trying to be on every platform. Not only will that overwhelm you, but it isn't necessary. If you know where your customers and prospects are spending the most time, those are the channels to focus on.
If you're short on time, use one of the many tools available to schedule your posts in advance. Yes, you still need to check to see who's engaging with your posts and respond to questions or comments, but a tool will save you some time and can also post on your behalf when you may be away from the office.
3. Try Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to market your business. Research says that the average return is $42 on every dollar spent, higher than any other form of marketing. Further, 59% of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions.
If you're just getting started—or thinking about getting started—with email marketing, one of the first things to do is build your email list. Mailchimp provides free services if your list is under 2,000 subscribers. It also offers a free pop-up subscription form you can add to your site to grow your list.
Email marketing campaigns can be one way to reach your subscribers. From there, you can start a newsletter to keep your audience engaged.
4. Leverage Happy Customers and Reviews
Are you asking your customers to tell you about their experiences with you? Positive reviews can be used for marketing. You can include customer testimonials on your web site and feature them on social media.
If you run into an unhappy customer, negative feedback can also be valuable, as it may help you make any needed changes to your products or services.
5. Focus on Customer Service
Speaking of happy customers, have you reviewed your customer service practices lately? How will you go above and beyond to keep the customers you do have singing your praises? Customers who are fans of your business can help you spread the word to potential new customers.
When considering customer service practices, don't forget that you should be easy to reach – that means via social media, phone and email. And be responsive. The quicker you can respond to your customers, the better.
6. Consider Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You may have heard SEO, search engine optimization, can be expensive. A pricey SEO strategy may not be practical for a small business on a budget. But, there are some common sense ways you can address SEO for your small business. Some online resources to help you get up to speed on SEO include:
Hire a consultant to help, if needed, which can be cost-effective.
7. Utilize PR to Get the Word Out
The term PR—or public relations—can cause small business owners to see dollar signs. But there are some lower-cost ways to address this effective way to get the word out about your business, products and services.
If you want to try your hand at PR, one of the first things to consider is what news and stories you may have to share. Has your company forged a new partnership or won a major new customer? Has your business experienced significant growth, even during the pandemic? Is there an angle tied to a current news story that you may be able to leverage?
Then, think about media outlets that may be interested. Local media is always a good way to start, but perhaps your story might appeal to a publication in your industry. Once you have a few media outlets in mind, you can check their web sites for contact information to pitch your story. Be sure to follow up in a few days or a week, if you don't receive a response to your first attempt.
If you're able to secure media coverage, you can then share that on social media, in your newsletter, and on your site. Be sure to repurpose it in as many ways as possible.