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The Ultimate Guide to Small Business Marketing

Introduction

Every successful business today was once small, and most Silicon Valley giants were once operating from their garage. But what propelled them towards growth was a quick adaptation to the changing times. So, if you are just starting out or have been operating for some time now, here are some small business marketing strategies to help you move forward.

Small business marketing often aims at creating a virtual space for small companies and leveraging the power of social media for growth. It all comes down to improving their reach and building better customer relationships for repeat sales. This blog will talk about some digital marketing strategies that can help small businesses reach a wider audience. We will discuss traditional and digital tools and some tried and tested strategies for a broader outreach.

What is Small Business Marketing

Small business marketing is all about growing your presence across the web. It typically involves identifying your target audience and finding the best means to reach them. Small business marketing strategies include not just advertising and selling but it involves leveraging all the social media platforms to create awareness and promote one’s products. Small business marketing can eventually increase the customer base and drive sales. Unlike sales, marketing is typically a hit and trial approach that can be tricky at times. It is usually expensive and time-consuming, especially during the initial stages.

Despite all these factors, marketing is no longer a choice but a necessity for brands. Gone are the days when businesses could just rely on word-of-mouth publicity and occasional magazine advertisements. Given the numerous social platforms, brands are forced to create their social media presence and push content across all these platforms. This helps them be in sight and in mind of their audience.

Types of Small Business Marketing

Let us now introduce you to different types of small business marketing. Even though these types may feel overwhelming for some, they offer a great way to engage your target audience. However, before you start, we suggest you do some research to find the best marketing choices for your business and industry. This will help you understand the reach of these platforms for your business:

Online Marketing

Email Marketing: Emails have been around for a long time, but email marketing gained popularity in the mid 1990s. This is when people started checking their emails regularly. It is still a widely used source that comes at a very low-price tag.

Social Media Marketing: Another widespread source of marketing for small businesses is Social media. It has gained a lot of hype in the last few years. SMM uses an omni-channel approach by leveraging platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, X, LinkedIn etc. It not only brings more brand engagement from existing customers but also attracts new customers.

If you are someone who is just getting started, then research which channel will work best for you. Then start posting engaging content to harness its full potential.

Content Marketing: Content is the king (or queen) that helps you get noticed in the overcrowded digital space! Start posting relevant, educational and informational content that resonates with your target audience. This will not just help people learn more about your brand and offerings but will also help you establish your presence. If done right, content marketing can help you target your customers at every stage of their journey. You can keep them engaged right from their very first brand interaction.

Influencer Marketing: Influencers are generally individuals with a large social media following. Small businesses can collaborate with these individuals for increased brand exposure. Influencers can promote your product or services on their social media handles to boost your brand. Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool for trust building amongst your target audience.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Marketing: This entails using the power of SEO to rank your websites higher on Google and other search engines. It all starts with keyword research and then focuses on the keywords that your target audience is searching for. SEO marketing fundamentally uses keyword research, competitive analysis, creating internal links and image optimization. Taking these calculated steps can help businesses improve their Google rankings.

Mobile Marketing: Mobiles have become an excellent source of garnering people’s attention, given their usage. With the help of location tracking and past searches, small businesses can find their ideal audience and engage with them.

Mobile marketing is also simple to set-up. The first step is to ensure that your website is mobile friendly. Once that is done, reach your audience using SMS and in-app promotions.

Social Engine Marketing (SEM): Looking to improve the visibility of your website in Google searches? SEM can be crucial in improving your organic searches and increasing your company’s reach. Companies often use the PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns to reach their target audience during the discovery/initial phase.

Google My Business (GMB) Listing: Small businesses can make a Google business profile to appear in their area’s local searches. This involves adding the location of your business in Google Maps so your customers can locate your store. With GMB listings businesses can also add other business information on Google like their opening/closing times, website links, contact details, etc.

Offline Marketing

Traditional Marketing: While digital marketing is great for small business, one can also occasionally put some hoardings, billboards or magazine ads to engage with not so tech-savvy audience. Despite the widespread popularity of digital marketing channels, these platforms remain equally relevant.

In-person Events: Though not very popular, in-person events can be effective in building brand awareness for small businesses. These could be anything from an event held in the conference room of a hotel or a sponsored event at any popular mall or bookstore.

Selling Through Retail Spaces: While e-commerce is great, small businesses can also use the traditional brick and mortar stores to attract their target audience. Positioning your products at some attention spots in malls or putting your brand hoarding at some local kiosks can be helpful. You can also conduct in-person surveys at these places to gather insightful customer data. You can then add this data to CRM to create detailed customer profiles based on their interaction history and buying behavior.

Leverage Business Associations: Join trade associations that are relevant to your field of business. These associations can provide much-needed support by offering meaningful advice and resources.

Tools for Small Business Marketing

Making their customers familiar with their brand is often the primary objective of any business marketing strategy.
Here are some tools that can help small businesses excel in their marketing efforts:

Tools for Email Marketing

Businesses can try tools like MailChimp, Zoho Campaigns or Mailer Lite to start their email marketing campaigns for free. Both MailChimp and Zoho Campaigns have a free version for businesses with up to 2000 subscribers. However, for businesses interested in content and email marketing Mailer Lite can be a more viable choice. Mailer Lite helps you sell e-content like newsletters etc. to your prospective and existing customers.

SEO Marketing Tools

These tools can help improve the visibility for small businesses

Google Analytics: It is a free, yet fantastic tool used by marketers to gain useful insights into their customers. If statistics are to be believed 99% of marketers will be using their company’s website to market their products and services within the next 12 months. In such cases, google analytics can help them understand their customer engagement on their sites.

Google Search Console: This is a small business SEO tool to help businesses monitor their website performance and search engine rankings. It also offers insights as to how often your website ranks in the search results, which keywords it ranks for and how often do searchers click on your website.

Uber Suggest: This tool specializes in generating new keyword ideas. Small businesses can use this extension to get data around their keywords on Google, YouTube and Amazon. One can also get SEO insights like their monthly search volume on mobile and desktop for a particular keyword.

SEMrush: This SEO tool can help businesses boost their organic search rankings by helping them optimize their website. Their Keyword Magic Tool is the most extensive keyword research tool with database of over 25.5 billion keywords. It also offers a streamlined interface for research.

CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a software that offers centralized and organized hub for small businesses. It helps businesses manage, track, organize and automate their key tasks. Small businesses can use CRM to store their customer data and use the information for developing sales and marketing processes.

Canva for Design

Hubspot reports that 49% of marketers regard visual marketing as a crucial component of their overall marketing strategy. Nevertheless, over 23% of them identify design and visual marketing as significant hurdles. But fortunately, Canva has a free plan that can be helpful in small business marketing. One can access over 250,000 free templates and 100+ designs to create photos, videos and a lot more.

Market Research Tools for Small Businesses

There are numerous market research software that can help small businesses gather information for better data-driven decisions. Let us talk about some such tools:

SimilarWeb: It helps you understand the traffic and engagement of your website. Small businesses can also use it to analyze and compare their metrics to those of their competitors. Try this tool and analyze your traffic by location and demographics.

Glimpse: Want some real time business insights? Try Glimpse. This easy-to-use tool can help you design and launch short surveys for real-time customer data.

BuzzSumo: Need a content marketing strategy that works for your business? Try BuzzSumo for content creation strategies and some new blog topics around any selected keywords. This is an awesome tool for content strategists and creators and can provide them with meaningful industry insights to excel in their content game.

Small businesses can also use tools like Answer the public, GrowthBar SEO, Tableau and Statista for top notch research and their industry insights.

Preparations for Marketing Your Small Business

Now that we have discussed the basics of small business marketing, let us understand how we can prepare our business for marketing. The first step is to identify your audience and the message you want to deliver.

Define your target audience

Defining the target audience is crucial for any business. Start by defining the demographics and psychographics of your target customer. Next, understand their pain points and define the problem that you are solving. Next research about their buying behavoiurs, how and where they buy. This will help you identify your right marketing channels and customize your messaging as per their needs. Remember to continuously analyze and adapt with every meaningful insight and feedback.

Identify your value preposition

Instead of talking about your product features, tell your audience about what problem you are solving. Talk more about your USPs (unique selling prepositions) and try collecting firsthand buyer/user information. Conduct surveys to understand your customer feedback and turn this feedback into testimonials for your website.

Make your brand messaging framework

Every small business must focus on clear brand messaging that can be easily remembered by its audience. Then make a brand promise in 1-2 short and crisp sentences that can help you build customer trust. Determine a tone in which you would want to communicate with your target audience. Will your tone be casual and fun, or will it be formal and professional?

Create goals

Every small business must set their business goals against which they can measure their performance and success. Make SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based) and aligned goals for your business. It is also vital to course-correct your goals as and when needed.

Have a vision for your brand

Have a vision that clearly defines your future goals. Visions help brands move forward, they tell you what steps you must take in the present to reach the future that your aspire for. Also develop a customer-centric mission for your company that can help you make a framework for all your future endeavors. A brand’s mission and vision statement help in crystallizing its core values to help them move forward.

Marketing Your Business

Now that you have all the processes in place, it’s time for execution. The first step is to create a website to reach your customers:

Create Your Website

Your website acts as your real estate in the virtual world. It is an address where people can find you, i.e. your products and services. Every small business must choose a web domain name (preferably a .com domain) for their website. If the .com domain is already taken, you can go with your country domain. Like an Indian firm can have .in as a domain. Companies can also try to snag a .co domain and educational institutions can get .edu domain.

Find the best domain as per your preference and purchase a hosting package, so that domain can go up the web. The next step is to design your website and make it both desktop and mobile friendly. You can either do this task yourself or outsource it to a digital agency who are specialists in designing and developing websites.

Design Your Brand Logo

Simply put, a logo is your brand initial that helps people recognize your brand. The virtual space is overly crowded, and there can be brands with names like yours. Create a unique logo, that can be in the form of a graphic, symbol or calligraphy of your brand name. Businesses always have an option to outsource their logo design process to a creative agency. However, if you are someone with a knack for artistic details, you can make one yourself. Remember that this logo will be a part of all your virtual and official documents including the letter heads, social media, invoices, e-book and a lot more.

Content and SEO

The next step is to devise a content and SEO strategy for your website. Create relevant and keyword rich content for all your website pages following the best SEO practices. A well-executed content and SEO strategy can elevate your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). Research by SISTRIX indicates that getting the top spot on the first page of Google can secure about 29% of user clicks for your website. Similarly, websites at second and third position garner 16% and 11% of total clicks respectively.

So, try coming up with a content marketing strategy that works well for your website. It is also important to continuously update, publish and promote your content across different social media channels. This will help you reach a wider audience while also improving your search results.

Handling Small Business Marketing: Do It In-House or Hire a Digital Marketer?

As a small business owner, here are some questions you must ask yourself before making some crucial marketing strategies.

  • What do your goals look like?
  • Do you have the required expertise for in-house marketing?
  • If not, what’s your marketing budget?

If you have the required expertise for in-house marketing, which includes a marketing and content team, then you may choose to do it in-house. However, if you are looking for faster growth and need some outside expertise to propel you faster towards your goals then hiring a digital marketing agency will be a wiser choice.

How Can ABK Digital Help?

Whether you are a billion-dollar business or a small startup just starting out, digital marketing can help you navigate this complex digital landscape.

We at ABK Digital are a team of marketing masterminds who can help small businesses achieve their marketing goals. From improving your SERP rankings to lead generation, ABK Digital will help you create an impact and make a lasting impression in today’s digital world. We help you stay ahead of the curve with our proven digital marketing strategies. For marketing consulting, you can contact us on +91 989 821 6968 or email us at connect@abkdigital.com.

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