“Small businesses are the economy.” This quote isn't outrageous when you realize that small businesses generate 44 percent of all economic activity in the US alone.
This number is down from 48 percent. One factor responsible is business dynamism. Business dynamism is the rate at which firms enter, grow, or leave a market.
Marketing directly affects business dynamism. If no one knows about your business, you can’t grow. It’s safe to say that if small businesses are the backbone of the economy, then marketing is the backbone of small businesses.
Marketing is life for a small business
Given the importance of marketing as a small business owner, you’d better get it right. It has the potential to increase sales and revenues, grow your customer base, and put your brand out there. So, what are the best marketing strategies for small businesses?
Here are a few we think will take your small business to the next level.
1. Know your business and your customers
Your marketing efforts have to start somewhere. You need to scrap everything down to the basics: decide what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to.
If you, of all people, aren’t clear about what your product or service is, how do you intend to sell it to your customers? If you don’t know your ideal customers, who are you in business for?
Some recommendations for pinpointing these:
To understand your business better, there is a question you want to ask yourself:
What’s your Unique Selling Point (i.e., why would your customers choose your product over your competitors’)?
Set up metrics, collect data, and use it to gain important insights about your business. What’s making you money? What’s draining resources? What are the industry standards? Do some research.
Now, get a better sense of who your customers are.
Do some market research. Who you think are your customers may not be who they are. This way, you avoid spending money targeting the wrong people.
2. Get the word out there with email marketing
Speaking of targeting, did you know that email marketing remains one of the most effective ways of finding new customers and retaining current ones?
It’s cheaper to retain customers than to source new ones, and email marketing is one of the best marketing strategies for small businesses. Customer trails that have gone cold can be warmed with a timely re-engagement email or an exclusive offer.
Don’t forget, though, that new customers are the lifeblood of the business. You want them to opt-in to your emails when they visit your website or blog.
The chance that you’ll gain new customers is good, too. According to research by the Direct Marketing Association, 66 percent of people who eventually make a purchase said they were prompted to do so by an email.
If needed, you can also use one of YAMM’s attractive templates to craft emails that catch your target’s attention.
3. Make some noise with your online presence
Emails aren’t the only way to get eyes on your business. There’s social media. There’s your website. And there’s your blog.
Each provides specific advantages to your business. Each contributes to building your online presence in their way.
Social media is a great way to get close and personal with your customers. It gives your small business a personality and taps into the “word-of-mouth” factor.
Potential customers can see what your current customers are saying about your business. If the word is good, you’ll experience a bump in sales and revenues.
Social media is one of the top ways to increase exposure and generate leads.
Let’s not forget your website and blog. You might be in trouble if you don’t have a website, a blog, or both as a small business in 2022.
You could have gotten away with not having a website a decade ago; however, now that everyone is online—including your competitors—you need to be, too. A website gives your brand credibility while increasing its visibility.
Why stop there, though? If you want to become a small business that knows everything about its niche, let the world know what you do with a blog.
This is going to build your authority as a brand. It’ll put you at the top of a prospect’s mind when looking for a product or service.
4. Get yourself to the top with SEO
Did you know that 75 percent of search engine users never make it past the first page of search results?
Getting those coveted top spots takes knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO makes your link more popular by taking into account popular searches. When your website is optimized, potential customers find you faster because your listing is in a more visible spot.
SEO is technical; a small business owner may benefit from turning this one over to an expert.
If this is outside of your budget, there are a few general principles you can use to get yourself higher rankings:
Take advantage of Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile is free. It allows you to set up a business profile with your name, address, and contact information. You can list your business on Google Maps and even include photos. The more complete your profile, the better your rank will be.
Fix technical issues with your site
Search engines like Google “crawl” your website, meaning an automated process checks off its list of criteria. If your site has too many technical issues—broken links or 404 pages—it’ll rank lower.
Increase on-page optimization
Some work can be done on your pages. What’ll help is using the correct headings with popular keywords and breaking up large chunks of text with white space to create a more visually appealing page.
5. Harness the power of the Influencer
Fifteen years ago, who’d have thought there would be anything like the Influencer Marketer?
Influencers are a powerful tool and one of the best marketing strategies for small businesses. That’s because they come with a built-in audience. If an influencer mentions your product or service to their audience, their word is as good as gold to that niche.
Influencers can make a difference in a local business environment, especially if they’re a popular figures in your local area.
They’re a cost-effective marketing solution as well. An influencer's potential return on investment is between $5.78 and $18.00 for every dollar spent.
6. For goodness sake, advertise your business
Don’t immediately shrug off ads because of cost; it’s significantly lower due to digital marketing and social media. The average cost of advertising a business is ~1 percent of revenues.
If your revenue is $100,000 annually, that’s only $1,000.
Therefore, even if you’re working on the other areas mentioned here, you must still make efforts to promote your business with advertising.
Advertising helps you build a customer base. It adds to your credibility as a small business. Also, it increases visits to your website, which increases the potential for an increase in sales.
7. Measure results and build on what works
All of this comes to nothing if you don’t analyze how your marketing efforts are doing.
The good news is with the technology and tools available, this has become easy for small businesses. Mail merge software, like YAMM, allows you to mass email your customers and track your email’s performance.
See who clicks on your emails in real-time and track where your emails are bouncing. That'll let you know what addresses you should remove from your contacts’ list; in the end, that’ll help you maintain your sender reputation.
Strategize with a story
Modern marketing is all about the story you tell. The best marketing strategies for small businesses are built on you selling your story in the best possible way.
To do that, you need all the help you can get. Use the above strategies to guide you along the way. Don’t forget all the tools to help you do this as well.
YAMM, an official Recommended for Google Workspace app, is a great tool.