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Developing a Marketing Plan for Your Business
Every business needs a business plan that maps out the process of identifying the target market, attracting interest, gaining customers and retaining them for future sales. A solid marketing plan is an integral part of the overall business plan, as it maps out objectives and the plan for achieving them.
What Does a Marketing Plan Contain?
An effective marketing plan is detailed with concise steps that will accomplish a defined goal. The plan should identify and discuss the target market with information about direct competition in the industry. It should include information about marketing activity used in the past with the effectiveness of these activities. Then, the marketing plan consists of a set of realistic goals with defined objectives along with deadlines for meeting these objectives. The plan must also include budgetary guidelines for the marketing activities as well as a plan for measuring the effectiveness of the activities. It’s important to make the marketing plan easy to maintain and update as a company evolves, too.
Marketing Planning Process
The process of making a marketing plan involves market research to assess trends, profile target customers, identify potential competition, outline products or services, find vendors, calculate costs and brainstorm all positive and negative impacts that could affect the business. The business should create a mission statement that defines the company, its vision and its priorities. Next, the plan needs to focus on specific strategies and methods that will generate sales, including product descriptions, calls to action, promotion and advertising methods and budget, product or service pricing, and a plan to monitor how effective the marketing strategies are performing for the company.
Questions to Ask Yourself
To succeed in any industry, a business needs to set itself apart to attract customers and compete successfully with similar businesses. Questions to ponder include:
- Is this business model unique, and how is it unique? What need does the business meet?
- Who makes up the target market that will buy the service or product?
- What other companies currently exist that will compete for the target market? How can you prevail over this competition?
- What message will you communicate to potential buyers? How will potential buyers find out about your service or product?
- How will you deliver your service or product to your buyers?
Using a Marketing Plan Template
Some small business owners prefer to use a marketing plan template. Free marketing plan templates are available for download from the Internet. You can also use a marketing plan worksheet to help you brainstorm your ideas, goals and objectives. Once you have an outline of your marketing objectives, you can create an effective plan.
How Do I Write a Marketing Plan?
Make sure your marketing plan includes these points:
- Start with a description of the business, including mission statement and overall intent. Include goals, the organization of the business, the products or services provided with branding, and the target market.
- Outline results of market research, including identification of target market, customer demographics and profiles, market influences, economy, competition, customer satisfaction and identification of strengths and weaknesses the business may face.
- Set pricing based on business and manufacturing costs, break-even point, profit analysis, competitive pricing and the amount buyers are willing to pay.
- Include profiles of your target market, including demographics, their habits, qualities valued by customers, potential customers not being currently reached, ways to reach these customers and any changes customers might want.
- Analyze the competition based on talking to their customers, visiting their business and checking out their website. Find out about their products, branding, advertising and marketing. Pinpoint how your product or service differs.
- State goals that create a defined marketing direction. Plan objectives that outline specific actions that will achieve goals. Be as specific and realistic as possible, and describe how you will measure attainment of objectives and goals.
- Make a plan to put objectives in action to attain goals. For example, if your goal is to increase product reorders by 25 percent in the next year, make an objective to contact clients by phone or email within one month of sales, offering a return-order discount.
- Define your company’s distribution method such as direct sales, wholesale, print mail, telemarketing, advertising, networking, Internet marketing or a direct sales force.
- Create a marketing budget, such as a specific percentage of revenue or a particular portion of your annual budget. Every product or service needs a budget. Determine how many products or services you will need to sell to make a profit.
- Analyze the success of marketing efforts to determine what’s working and what’s not working. How many sales occurred? Are buyers happy? How many sales calls were necessary to make sales?
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12 Small Business Digital Marketing Strategies
Discover scalability through marketing experimentation.
With this marketing guide for small businesses, startups, and even larger corporations to experiment before scaling, you can discover new strategies you can try out.
You will get the most out of these low-cost digital marketing strategies by implementing them yourself or a small team within your company.
When correctly used, you can achieve the first steps of growth, enabling you to grow your business faster to the next level.
Every strategy in this list is scalable, which means, if you find even a little win through one or two methods, in most cases, you can invest back into growing with the winning strategies.
The costs are scalable as well, so you need to consider that.
But if you have a tangible product, service, and a sales funnel to facilitate an increased traffic count to your websites and landing pages , then these strategies offer:
- A place to start
- And a place to keep growing.
We recommend small business founders to learn digital marketing to the best of their capabilities first before outsourcing.
We understand that many founders won’t have the necessary skills to use every strategy, but by doing yourself, you’ll learn, for example:
- What works for your company the best
- Learn about your target audiences
- The best marketing channels to use
When you know which of the digital marketing strategies work, you can easily outsource the scaling.
But you would have a better grasp of what is going on and how these strategies work.
And for low budget strategies, there are not many barriers to entry. When you take your time to experiment with the strategies, you’ll learn the skills to grow your business sustainably to new heights in the long-term.
Learn more about digital marketing.
Learn 6 B2B Marketing strategies.
Learn how to gain a marketing edge.
The List of Small Business Digital Marketing Strategies
Let’s look at the small business digital marketing strategies and how to start and scale with them.
But first a couple of assumptions:
You will need either a business website, landing page, or a social media profile to use these strategies.
And you will need some starting funds for most strategies. Or at least the time to learn them, which costs too.
But here are the strategies you will discover from reading this article:
- Content Marketing
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Advertising
Social Media Advertising
Remarketing, videos for youtube, email marketing.
- Affiliate Marketing
And other business partnerships.
And for most of them, you can keep learning about their specific benefits and what they are in-depth through the provided links.
There are more marketing channels with varying degrees of costs and skills you need, but you can learn the 19 marketing channels businesses use to grow here.
Content marketing should be the very first strategy in every small business owner’s mind.
Through content, we tell the world about our businesses, product, and services, and importantly share our brand with the world.
And content in marketing is essential. It’s the basis of where all the other strategies evolve.
Think about it like this: every ad you create, every social media post you publish, every product description you make, all are content.
Investing time and resources in better content creation around your brand will essentially make all the other strategies:
- More unique
- Discover more opportunities as you share more content
Creating a content distribution strategy fit for a small business that provides its goals and scope will drive more engagement, sales, and brand awareness.
Outsourcing content marketing can be expensive, and the results from it are not always as clear compared to other digital marketing strategies.
Therefore, it’s a great idea to learn to express your brand in-house by yourself or through a team to benefit from it.
Learn the benefits of content marketing .
Analytics is high on this list for a reason.
Without analytics, you won’t any digital marketing campaign results, whether you’re a small business or a larger one.
But that’s the beauty of web analytics in a nutshell.
Web analytics for small businesses is free. You will get all the necessary data and tools for developing your plans and methods freely. And only when you need to scale your advertising on the next level is when you need to invest in more sophisticated web analytics tools.
Every website should have Google Analytics installed. And as an alternative also installing the Facebook Pixel for the use of Facebook Analytics is highly recommended.
With only those two tools, you will understand how your customers engage with your online presence and learn who uses your websites.
Even with a basic understanding of web analytics, you can track key metrics and your used marketing strategies’ concrete performance.
From a business management perspective, web analytics should be as crucial to your business as every other metric you use to run it.
Learn more about web analytics.
If you want to get more organic or free traffic to your websites through search engines like Google, Bing, or other alternatives , SEO is the only way.
In SEO, you optimize your website through keywords, content creation, guest posting , and optimizing website performance. And that’s just scratching the surface.
Small business SEO or low-budget Startup SEO is either niche SEO, where you would target a specific type of niche and the keywords related to the said niche. Or optimizing for local search, in which you target an area specifically near your business instead nationally competing.
Both strategies work, and which to choose depends on what you want to achieve.
Small business SEO is easy to get started with, and you can get accustomed to implementing basic small business SEO strategies rather quickly.
SEO is highly scalable.
In the beginning, you might only have a couple of website pages or starting with a business blog you need to optimize, but as your business grows and its products mature, so will your website content and need for more optimization.
And if you want to grow more through search engines, especially competing with highly contested keyword positions on Google (SERPS), on-page SEO won’t be enough.
Most importantly, SEO is beginner-friendly, and businesses running their websites will better grasp it sooner rather than later.
Learn more about ecommerce SEO or What is SEO?
Let’s look at local SEO impacts for a small business or startup.
Depending on your business, its goals, and scope, local SEO is probably a better strategy as we advance.
If your business relies solely on local traffic or you’re offering services locally, local SEO would become an essential small business digital marketing strategy you need to understand.
Many businesses can achieve better organic traffic from local searches. Local search is a search made by a user from your company’s immediate vicinity.
Say you’re a specialty store or a maintenance service company, in most cases, most of your business is local by default.
Taking the time to optimize locally, you make sure your customers find your business when they google relevant keywords to your business when they are near it.
Google wants to show the most relevant results for these local users. Therefore it would always prefer to offer a local company instead of a national or international company.
And if you want your customers to find you on Google Maps , local SEO is the way.
To start implementing local SEO, you need to have an optimized Google My Business profile to get the most out of it.
Learn more about Google My Business (GMB) here.
Search Advertising Strategy (Or SEM Strategy)
Using search engine marketing (SEM) or paid search ads to grow your presence on any of the available search engines, you make sure you’ve seen on the keywords that matter to you.
Paid search ads also help you grow your SEO and Local SEO efforts by learning the keywords your customers use, and through increased activity on your website, you can even rank higher on search engines.
But by itself, search ads are a powerful and cost-effective form of advertising results-wise.
And for example, you can start on Google Ads for almost any budget you might have available and start getting results right away.
Google Ads and search ads, in general, are also highly scalable to a certain point. If you discover the perfect combination of keywords and matching ads that bring sales, you can increase these campaigns’ budgets as you go forward.
But what do we mean you can scale it to a certain point then?
As you start spending more on Google Ads, you might notice that you have a leftover budget, or the results are not good enough. It might just mean that the scope of your chosen keywords and campaigns isn’t broad enough. In that case, considering other advertising options might be a good idea.
But in the end, search ads are great for growing a small business or a startup as it offers a lot of control and flexibility.
Learn more about Google Ads.
Or learn about the common mistakes entrepreneurs and marketers make when it comes to Google Ads.
Gaining visibility or traction through organic social media marketing is increasingly harder every day.
Though not impossible, to get a following for your business, especially local companies, tend to have a better chance of gaining local customers as followers, and that’s great.
But achieving more through organic social media for other businesses might be more challenging or not worth it.
Luckily, using ads on social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn in your digital marketing strategy can offer many benefits and results.
By default, social media ads are highly scalable, and like with search ads, you can start with a low budget and increase it after discovering winning campaigns.
You can learn more about the differences in social media ads and search ads here.
While it’s easy to start advertising on Facebook, for example, it might not be as beginner-friendly to achieve results with it. It might have a longer learning curve, but you can accomplish a lot with it by learning to use it in your strategy.
For example, running effective conversion-based campaigns instead of boosting posts.
Social ads use a lot of data that you can use to target your core audiences every time, or you can target with raw demographic data and locations.
Learn more about the benefits of Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads.
Remarketing, in a nutshell, is marketing to your existing audience. It can either show ads for previous customers or action-based ads, for a customer who reacted to your ads earlier or visited your website.
If you’re using any of the online ad platforms available on this list, to increase the performance, you should consider using retargeting ad campaigns to boost said performance.
But remarketing can work as a standalone digital marketing strategy as well.
Say you’re not sure who your target audience is and you don’t want to advertise blindly, remarketing can be very useful for you.
The only problem in remarketing is that you will need data first. You can’t retarget people if they haven’t interacted with your websites.
But say that you’re getting a reasonable amount of organic traffic from Google to your website. You can use retargeting ads to keep those organic visitors engaged with your business regularly.
Learning how remarketing works on every ad platform is crucial for long-term marketing success.
Most ad platforms will have campaign types based on data that you can use for remarketing.
For example, in Google Ads, you would use Display Ads, and in Facebook Ads, you use the pixel data to create custom audiences from website visitors.
Growing a business with YouTube videos is an excellent strategy if you can create video content around your products and services.
As content consumption is every day more and more about videos, YouTube is a logical place to share the video content for marketing purposes.
If you can produce quality and engaging videos that serve your customers’ purpose, you will find that you can achieve a lot of organic awareness of your brand and organic traffic to websites.
Check out our guide on YouTube SEO to help you grow your views organically.
And the skills you learn by doing videos help you become a better content creator for all marketing types.
For example, videos in Facebook ads are also compelling.
If you’re using videos in your content strategy, consider also testing out YouTube Ads from Google Ads so that you can increase the number of people seeing your videos.
Learn the benefits of YouTube Ads.
Email marketing is much like attracting organic with traffic SEO; it will not be a method of instantly gaining traffic and sales. Email marketing takes time, as gaining an audience through an email list won’t happen quickly.
Luckily, if you’re running a website or landing page, adding email marketing into the workflow won’t be hard nor expensive.
Through tools or apps such as Mailchimp , you can add all the necessary features to start collecting emails from customers who want to hear more from you.
Using your email lists effectively, but without being too spammy, you can make more sales through the channel.
As a passive digital marketing method, email marketing is an excellent and affordable addition to your overall strategy.
Learn the benefits of email marketing.
Affiliate Marketing For Small Businesses
Through affiliate marketing, you can have affiliates promote your product and services to their audiences in their channels.
For example, like an influencer sharing a link to your store and after someone would buy something from that link, they would get a commission, and you would get a sale.
Therefore, affiliate marketing can be a very effective digital marketing strategy for small businesses and startups equally as it doesn’t require other investments other than time.
But if you have an ecommerce store, you could create coupon codes and use the UTM-builder to build campaign links, and when combined, you will already have an effective method to track sales from affiliates quickly.
And you can set the commission based upon clicks or a percentage of sales. A sales-based commission will probably yield more sales, but a click-based campaign can increase traffic for less depending on the affiliates’ audiences, of course.
A tip to click-based commissions, you can analyze results from Google Ads, Facebook Ads to see a reasonable cost per click you can offer your affiliate.
Or you can join an affiliate program as a seller, which probably would be a good idea if you don’t already have people in line that can promote you.
Just remember to create enticing offers for affiliates, because otherwise, they will not be interested in promoting you.
Learn more about affiliate marketing.
Many small businesses tend to look away from influencers thinking that it may not be for them; influencers are too big and cost too much.
That’s not always the case as there are many influencers for each industry and even local influencers. Influencer’s cost may vary a lot. You’d be surprised by how little you can achieve visibility through them compared to other marketing channels.
The vital thing to note is when planning to use influencers as a small business, you will need to understand the people with whom the influencer targets.
As a small business, you’re not going to achieve much with a broader brand awareness campaign if you can’t facilitate sudden growth spikes.
You can also combine influencers with affiliate marketing to ensure you’re always getting results for your marketing efforts.
The downside is that there are many affiliate marketing opportunities for influencers, which means your offer would have to stand out.
But a little creativity goes a long way when working with influencers, and finding local influencers, for example, can drive traffic to local businesses, and a small and yet significant influencer can drive traffic possibly cheaply towards your websites and landing pages.
Learn different influencer marketing campaigns you could create.
Learn the other benefits of using influencer marketing.
What does small business, startup, or large corporation have in common? All have beneficial business partnerships around them.
And while the type of partnerships may vary depending on industry and type of business, finding new partners to grow your business is essential if you want to grow further and faster.
Through beneficial partnerships, all types of companies can discover new opportunities they might not have known before. When the partnerships are beneficial to both, it’s usually a low-cost marketing strategy.
Discover five methods you can find business partners online .
These were 12 small business digital marketing strategies and ideas you can start to grow your business with online methods.
While online methods are truly effective as a performance marketing method, as in most cases, you can track the results and optimize for further growth .
When using scalable digital marketing strategies, you might find yourself needing a pair of hands to help you navigate for better results and performance.
Look for our guide that helps you through five questions you need to ask yourself before getting a digital marketing consultant or agency services.
Always keep an eye out for specific marketing opportunities that may be around, specifically your business.
That’s the benefit of understanding new methods and tactics so you can implement them in the best way possible according to your goals and environment.
For example, discovering local events or finding cheaper ads from local newspapers or activities or being involved in the local scene.
50 Ideas for Your 2023 Small Business Marketing Strategy
Published: May 19, 2023
Whether you’re launching a new business or already have one, having a small business marketing strategy that includes a strong online presence for your brand is essential.
Consumers learn about local businesses online more than anywhere else, with Statista predicting the number of ecommerce users to grow to nearly 290 million by 2027 .
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 a smaller team, or even a lack of direction, a marketing plan appropriate for your business can guide you 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.
- Collaborate with influencers to create brand awareness.
- Create short-form video content.
- Stick to a social media posting schedule.
- 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.
- Connect with other local businesses.
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.
You’ll have the most leverage as a small business in a niche. And to develop a niche and appeal to buyers within it, 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 get into your ideal client's head.
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.
However, this strategy makes it easy to take on too much.
Instead, identify where the biggest impact will be. Where is the biggest blind spot in your marketing 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. However, 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, acquiring a new customer costs five times more than closing 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, some paid).
8. Create a website to own your online presence.
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 contact you.
It is a channel you will always own, 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 can turn 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 .
Free Marketing Plan Template
Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.
- Pre-Sectioned Template
- Completely Customizable
- Example Prompts
- Professionally Designed
You're all set!
Click this link to access this resource at any time.
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 plan to write your posts yourself, check out this beginner’s guide to writing .
Once you start writing, you can add a call-to-action (CTAs) 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. Collaborate with influencers to create brand awareness.
Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook are top of the list when it comes to social media platforms . But, if your small business is not yet well known on these outlets, consider collaborating with well-established influencers in your niche.
Influencer marketing is currently the top marketing trend. Collaborating with influencers is a surefire way to get your business in front of the eyes of your audience. Influencers understand their (and your!) niche.
Not only do they understand the niche, but influencers have a knack for storytelling — meaning, they’ll be able to effectively tell your business’s story and sell your brand to the appropriate audience.
Consider reaching out to influencers in your niche to add to your small business marketing strategy.
12. Create short-form video content.
Marketers know that a good marketing strategy for your small business should include more than just written content. In fact, in 2022, 44% of social media marketers focused their efforts on creating video content for TikTok.
Adding short-form video content to your marketing strategy is a great idea, as platforms like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook make connecting and engaging with your audience convenient.
Short-form video content is easily shared, meaning you can quickly get your product or service in front of the right audience — and their friends.
13. Stick to a social media posting schedule.
You shouldn’t just post to your social media platforms hoping that something will become a viral post. Instead, you must focus on intentional content creation and posting.
After you find the social media platform that works best for your business, create a social media content calendar and stick to a regular posting schedule.
But, don’t just post every day for the sake of posting. 83% of social media marketers say it’s better to post at a lower frequency with high-quality content than daily posting.
You’ll likely post irrelevant, low-quality content when you post daily.
Take the time to create engaging, thoughtful content and schedule it for the appropriate times to stand out from the competition.
14. 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.
80% of brands use some form of paid advertisement. 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
15. 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.
16. 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, and it is the most effective method of marketing. In fact, 73% 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 .
17. 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).
18. 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 measuring customer satisfaction and encouraging customers to spread the word is a good idea.
19. Connect with other local businesses.
Take your business to the local community and connect with other local business owners in your area. Consider partnering with local businesses to create discounts, deals, or coupons for customers.
Start a live stream with local business owners during a promotional event or coordinate a giveaway.
Connecting with other small businesses is both great for word of mouth and collaboration. If you collaborate with other local businesses, advertise the promotion or sale on your social media outlets.
Online Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are tips for improving whichever marketing strategies you choose.
- 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.
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 .
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 people's feelings and emotions when hearing your company name. It combines your brand name, logo, aesthetic, and the design of all your assets, plus the values you support, which is becoming more important to consumers .
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 the story of your ideal customer can help you optimize a website 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 tech-savvy small business owner, you’ll probably want to build your own website. A content management system (CMS) makes the process simple.
Most CMSs offer customizable templates for your site that you can get for free or for 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 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 technical and want a website built for your small business, you can use a freelancer or a marketing agency specializing in web design.
This is a great option for businesses with an existing website that needs to be updated and revamped for SEO 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 and aren’t entirely comfortable with the technical elements, many free tools and services can help you get started.
When you create your website, implement Google Analytics or HubSpot Marketing Free (both of which are free products) so you can easily track who’s looking at your site.
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 tries to find the best 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 . 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 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 is 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 reward 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 for 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 these SEO tips for bloggers or leverage 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, add pictures, and ask 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 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 contact information form.
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 might also be more willing to pay full price.
If you have a subscription service, offering prospects a code for a free trial can also be helpful so they can test it out.
20. Share your distribution channels on your website.
Once you have a few social media accounts and a newsletter, connect them to 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 CTA on all pages of your website. A good place to include these is on the top right corner or the footer of each page.
This way, they’re 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 might be more likely to go.
After all, 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase based on social media referrals .
If customers tell you they love your product, encourage them to share the experience on Yelp, Google, or social.
If you have a physical business, you should 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 you’re interested in a new social platform 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, 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 your next steps 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 advertising for small businesses.
- Set up Google My Business.
- Consider PPC ads with Google & Bing.
- Run social media ads.
- Sponsor products on Etsy & Amazon.
- Leverage user-generated content.
- Develop a referral program.
- Advertise with your local chamber of commerce.
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 a list of 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 customers 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. Consider PPC ads with Google & Bing.
Using pay-per-click (PPC) 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 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 create 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 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 competing platforms.
4. Sponsor products on Etsy & Amazon.
If you’ve already set up shop on Amazon, you can boost your products by participating in their sponsored products program.
This cost-per-click ad program generates ads from your product listings and automatically 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 of 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, advertise with your local chamber of commerce.
Each city is different, but you can typically be featured on their website, promoted on their social media channels, and included in their email newsletter for an annual fee.
It’s a great way to get your brand out there and 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.
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Home › Marketing › Marketing Strategy
7 powerful digital marketing strategies for your small business
Need effective digital marketing strategies for small business owners to grow their business? Read this post to find 7 effective tactics you can implement immediately.
By Gaurav Sharma Published: March 28, 2022
Digital marketing is an ever changing and evolving landscape. The past two years have showed us how quickly it can evolve. While we have seen several new marketing trends, it may not be possible to adopt all these marketing strategies for your small business.
Your limited budget and resources may hold you back from trying some of the bold marketing trends. That being said, we can confidently tell you that there are plenty of marketing strategies you can use to effectively build your brand and grow your small business.
In this post, we will discuss the seven marketing strategies for a small business that can provide fantastic results.
1. Personalized email marketing
Customers crave personal attention and email marketing has the perfect solution. As one of the most used marketing strategies for a small business, email marketing is one of the preferred tactics for customer acquisition and retention.
Personalized emails go a long way in building a bond with your customers. Drip email campaigns using tools for email list management can be used to nurture leads at various stages and make their purchase journey as enjoyable as possible.
Personalized email makes your brand more genuine to the customers. Taking personalization a step further, you can offer customized deals and coupons to your loyal customers based on their previous purchases and preference.
2. Marketing automation
Automation helps you to streamline many of your business processes. For a small business, it is imperative to automate your marketing processes to save time and make your staff more efficient. Automation is one of the must-have marketing strategies for your business if you want to work smart and grow.
Top-notch automation tools are available for email marketing, lead scoring and nurturing, systematic content publishing, social media management, referral marketing and much more. Automation can not only boost your team’s productivity but also supercharge your conversion rate.
3. Brand story
Gone are the days of hard-hitting sales. In 2022, it’s all about telling a story to market your products and services. Content marketing is still one of the best marketing strategies for your small business but with a brand new approach.
Instead of telling your target audience how fantastic your product is, invest in creating custom content . Explain to your potential buyers how your product has helped solve a particular problem for your customers.
Has your product been instrumental in helping your customers reach a specific goal faster? Showcase it with real-life examples and data. To increase the SEO value of your content you can rely on top tools such as Semrush .
4. Influencer marketing
Did you think that influencer marketing is beneficial only for the bigger brands?
That’s not the case. Influencer marketing can be one of the powerful marketing strategies for a small business to build brand awareness and generate quality leads.
Influencers have their own loyal fan base on social platforms like Instagram and TikTok who interact with them and look up to them for personal recommendations. A high engagement rate makes this one of the best marketing strategies for your small business. You can select and do an influencer contract with influencers working in your niche and your location to endorse your brand in an authentic style.
Let’s say your business is built around the plant-based movement , you can partner with influencers advocating a dairy-free or vegan lifestyle. With little investment, you can reach out to a high potential target audience.
5. Google My Business listing
Google My Business (GMB) listing is a must for every small business to strengthen its online presence.
Why is it so vital?
Because people visit 1.5 billion destinations every month based on their Google searches and 76% of those who search for something nearby visit the store within one day.
When your potential customers are looking for you online, it is imperative that you work towards building a strong online presence for your business.
Google My Business listing can give your business the extensive visibility and credibility you are craving. That’s why it should be one of the top marketing strategies for your small business.
6. Digital event marketing
The popularity of digital events has grown exponentially in recent years. Webinars, online conferences, live discussions and podcasts are powerful tools for brands to generate quality leads online.
What’s more, these online events present an opportunity for brands to gather audience data and to market to them directly.
As a small business owner, you can either attend or host online events to get your audience acquainted with your products and how they offer solutions to specific challenges. Interacting with your audience through surveys and polls will also help you understand their preferences and accordingly tweak your marketing strategies.
7. Referral marketing
One of the most effective marketing strategies for your small business is to leverage the goodwill of a satisfied customer using different types of referral programs . When your buyers are happy with your brand, ask them to spread the word about the products they love.
Let’s take the food industry for example, when you learn to satisfy the comfort and convenience-centric customers the chances of them recommending you to their connections multiply. You can gently nudge these customers to recommend your products to their friends and incentivize them for bringing you qualified leads.
Choosing your small-business marketing strategies
Your business is unique and so should be the marketing strategies that you choose. However, you should not miss the point here that conventional marketing methods like advertising posters and flyers are still relevant and useful for some small businesses.
From referral marketing to using automated tools and local SEO, these digital marketing strategies can help grow your small business. Give them a try and set your business up for success.
Gaurav Sharma is the founder of Attrock , a digital marketing company. He works closely with top marketing influencers and has helped numerous brands, e-commerce firms and SaaS companies grow. He is also a certified Google Analytics and Google Adwords specialist and regularly contributes to reputable publications like HuffPost, TechCrunch and many more.
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14 Digital Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
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Whether you run an e-commerce business or a traditional brick-and-mortar store, investing in digital marketing can be essential in promoting your brand and remaining competitive in the marketplace. Digital marketing typically involves online marketing methods, but it can also include local marketing options.
Here are 14 digital marketing tips to consider when developing your marketing strategy .
1. Optimize your website for mobile
With more consumers browsing and making purchases using their smartphones and tablets, using a responsive design for your website will allow it to display correctly on mobile devices, as well as desktops. This is especially important for e-commerce businesses looking to drive sales.
Website builders such as Squarespace and Wix, as well as dedicated e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce, typically offer mobile-friendly templates and features. As you design your website, check to see how it looks and functions on a mobile device and make any necessary adjustments.
2. Create business profiles
A free advertising strategy and an easy way to improve search rank for your business is to claim and update your business profiles on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other popular search platforms. Your business profile is a useful way to provide current and potential customers with essential information about your business, such as address, phone number and store hours. Also, adding images, photos and logos can be helpful when engaging potential customers.
The Better Business Bureau, Yelp for Business and Nextdoor are other platforms where details about your business can gain the attention of local customers.
3. Understand your target audience
Knowing your target audience, the consumers who are likely to buy your products and services, allows you to customize your digital marketing strategy for different segments of your customer base. For example, if you own a coffee shop and want to sell bags of your specialty blends to customers outside your local area, your digital marketing strategy would typically be different than the one you use for walk-in customers.
Identifying different groups in your target audience allows you to customize the digital marketing strategies you use to engage them — whether it’s through social platforms, local listings, email or another method.
4. Invest in local marketing
If your business operates in a local market, you’ll want to take advantage of the digital marketing strategies that specifically appeal and relate to that audience. Some local marketing strategies to consider include:
Local TV and radio ads.
Digital billboards, signs and displays in high-traffic locations.
Direct mail campaigns in your local area.
Hosting or participating in community events.
With these strategies, you can easily include your business's website and social media handles on any materials or information you distribute in your local community.
5. Start a blog as part of your content marketing strategy
Blog articles, one of the simplest ways to get involved in content marketing , can have a significant impact on your ability to attract customers and drive sales. Articles as well as newsletters, videos, infographics, e-books and other materials can be shared on your website and through email and social media posts.
Writing about topics related to your business, showing your expertise and providing helpful information can drive more traffic to your website and help improve search rankings for your business.
» MORE: Best content marketing software
6. Engage on social media platforms that suit your business
Just like content marketing, social media marketing is another type of digital marketing. Many consumers rely on social media marketing to guide purchasing decisions. However, instead of trying to excel on all social media platforms, determine which platforms are best for your business and focus your energy there.
For example, if you’re starting an online boutique, you might find that platforms with an emphasis on images, such as Pinterest and Instagram, match your digital marketing strategies better than others.
Zeroing in on a few platforms can make it easier to stay active and respond quickly to customer interactions.
7. Build your contact list to maximize email marketing
Using customer relationship management with email marketing is an effective digital marketing tactic that’s often used to build loyalty and engage new customers. CRM software can help you collect and store information about your contacts — your existing customers and potential customers who have interacted with your business in some way.
Your contact list can be used to share newsletters, special offers, announcements, discounts and other information about your business and products. Also, information such as a contact’s first name and location can autopopulate to personalize outgoing emails.
» MORE: Best email marketing software
8. Encourage customers to leave online reviews
Customer reviews can be personally rewarding and strengthen the reputation of your business. Reviews can also be helpful in building rapport with existing customers and influencing others to visit your website. You can place signs at your location, in addition to including links on your website and in emails, to encourage customers to write reviews of your business.
You’ll want to monitor your reviews for any negative feedback as well, so you can quickly work to resolve the issue. Meeting bad reviews head-on can help you improve your products and processes and can give you the opportunity to strengthen your relationship with customers.
9. Use digital ads to reach your target audience
If it’s within your marketing budget, placing digital ads on Google and social media platforms can help get your business in front of your target audience. Digital ads generally give you the ability to choose keywords, target your specific audience and engage prospective customers who are likely to want your product or service. Digital advertising can be used to target customers in your local area, in a specific age range and in a niche market.
Retargeting tools are also offered by many of these platforms and allow you to show your ads specifically to customers who have already interacted with your business website and shown an interest in your products.
» MORE: Best places to advertise your business online
10. Explore influencer marketing opportunities
You may want to consider adding influencer marketing to your social media marketing efforts. Influencers have a sizable number of followers on social media, and their reviews and promotion of products can affect the buying decisions of their audience.
A nano-influencer may be an especially good choice for small businesses. Because they have less than 10,000 followers, they often have strong engagement with their community and can be less expensive than influencers with higher follower counts. When selecting an influencer, it’s important that their audience be similar to your target audience and that you thoroughly review them and their platforms.
11. Use SMS marketing to build customer loyalty
Short Message Service (SMS) marketing is a fairly cost-effective way to promote your business through text messages. You can use SMS to regularly engage existing customers with information about special offers, discounts, store events and other promotions. Like email marketing, you’ll want to get permission before sending texts to your contact list.
SMS marketing software can automate the process of sending text messages to existing and potential customers. Also, Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) messages can be used when you want to share photos, images, videos, audio files and other content with your contact list.
12. Respond to online feedback
Customer service can be a determining factor in attracting and retaining customers. You can extend your in-person customer service practices to your business website. A good place to start is to create a contact page on your website with information on how customers can contact you and then respond promptly to requests, questions and comments you receive.
You might also consider investing in a chatbot service for extended 24/7 customer support hours. Chatbots can provide answers to frequently asked questions and can be a particularly useful tool for e-commerce businesses.
13. Monitor your campaigns and adjust your strategy
Monitor your digital marketing strategies to determine what’s working well and what can be changed. It’s important to remember that not all of your strategies will be successful. A large part of your digital marketing efforts will involve testing and trying new things to determine the best methods for your business.
» MORE: What is online marketing? Strategy and tips
For example, if a Facebook ads campaign for a new product doesn’t meet your expectations, you can adjust your strategy by changing the ads in the campaign, picking another social media platform or using a different digital marketing method.
14. Spend within your marketing budget
Although marketing is necessary for attracting customers, it can be difficult to devote a large budget to these efforts. That's why creating a marketing budget is essential. As you consider how to allocate funds, you may want to lock in the “basics” to establish your digital presence — launching and optimizing your business website, setting up your social media profiles and building an email list. Then, you can branch out and investigate other tactics that might require more of your budget, such as digital ads and local marketing tactics.
» MORE: Best marketing software and services for small businesses
Rieva Lesonsky, a freelance writer, contributed to this article.
A version of this article originally appeared on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.
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Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Business
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Search Engine Marketing
Local search marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, mobile marketing, pay-per-click marketing, the bottom line.
Ella Ames is a freelance writer and editor with a focus on personal finance and small business topics such startups, business financing, and entrepreneurship. She has a background in business journalism and her work has appeared not only on The Balance, but LendingTree, ValuePenguin, EE Times, PolicyMe, AllBusiness.com, and more.
A digital marketing strategy is an important part of the overall marketing mix of a business regardless of its size and whether or not it’s doing business online.
Small business marketing for a local company can include many offline local advertising methods, but it needs to also include a healthy portion of digital marketing strategies in order to maximize sales in today's economy. A small business that is doing most or all of its business online needs to embrace a digital marketing strategy that helps online users see it.
There are several main areas of online marketing that are of interest to a small business. Some of them are more important to local, offline businesses, while others are more effective for those exclusively operating online. Many businesses engage in multiple areas of small business marketing on the internet.
What Digital Marketing Strategy Is Best for My Small Business?
Take a look at your customers and identify where they spend their time online. Your digital client base might be a different audience than you’re used to targeting. Your budget will be an important factor when deciding which digital marketing strategies to pursue.
Don’t be afraid to test out a few different methods when deciding which digital marketing strategy is best for your business. Take a look at the results to see which methods are the most effective with your client base, and make sure you’re getting a positive return on investment (ROI). Some strategies can be difficult to measure, but be consistent with your method of measurement—one suggestion is to compare the company’s revenue during certain marketing efforts to the revenue generated while running other marketing campaigns.
You should revisit your marketing plan at least once a year to make sure it’s up-to-date and still meets your business needs.
This portion of marketing is critical for a small business. It gives you a chance to compete with larger companies by being more visible in search engine results. Since people use search to find products both online and locally, it is important that your company place high in search results for words that relate to what you are selling. Professional internet marketing firms offer this service through search engine optimization (SEO), which can help your website rank higher on search engine results pages through methods such as:
- Keyword research and volume
- Internal link building
- Optimizing content to produce high-quality, relevant information
Location-based marketing includes website optimization for search results but also integrates a search engine's maps function. This is especially true with Google, where your business can be listed with mapping and address information, giving the prospective customers what they need to visit your establishment. Your phone number and website address can also be listed. Customer service will often be available to help someone decide if they are interested in your product or service.
This strategy revolves around giving prospective customers information about your product or service, as well as information in general. Everyone is trying to sell, but those that can inform are more likely to get sales. People will attribute a certain level of expertise to a company, and this instills confidence in the consumer.
In the past, content marketing was often executed through printed brochures and guidebooks. Today, however, the strategy relies on delivering valuable, relevant articles and information on your company’s website that advise and attract potential customers, and serve as a call to action.
This type of marketing can be tricky. Everyone talks about social media, but the truth is, it can be difficult for companies to integrate social media into their business. The type of media used, as well as how it is used, is dependent upon the type of business you have. For some companies, being in touch with their customers and giving them breaking news can be an important element of success.
Other businesses, such as a local restaurant, have seen success using social media by letting customers know of the latest specials and new additions to their menu. The most important aspect of social media is to use it to strengthen your customer base to achieve repeat sales.
Trying to spread yourself across a wide net of social media platforms can be difficult for small business owners with limited resources. Instead, figure out which online channels make the most sense for your business and the customers you’re trying to reach. Are you targeting professional clients? LinkedIn might be your ideal tool. Does your marketing have a strong visual aspect? Instagram could be the best fit for your business.
Social media marketing is about developing a relationship with your customers—not just constantly selling to them. Use the platform to listen and engage with your online clientele.
This form of marketing can be crucial to a small business’s online or offline success. Essentially, email marketing is promoting products and services electronically—through newsletters, updates, promotions, or general messaging—and is reliant on building a list of existing and prospective customers. This list of names and emails consists of people who are interested in your business, and you know this to be true because they have opted into this list themselves.
Perhaps they were offered future updates on products as well as coupons to sign up. As this list grows, it becomes more valuable. Many marketing professionals consider this a very important, long-term small business marketing strategy.
A consumer’s experience nowadays is largely driven through a mobile device—whether they’re searching for the product or company, doing a price comparison, or actually buying a product.
Mobile marketing is aimed at reaching customers through their smartphones or tablets by using mediums such as text messaging, social media, website, email, and apps. Businesses can take advantage of technology that can target clientele based on time or location, like sending customers a discount code when they enter a store.
Make sure your online presence and digital marketing strategy is mobile friendly as consumers are increasingly spending more time on their phones.
Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is running online advertisements where the business only pays if the ad has been clicked on. There are many different types of online ads including the ones featured at the top and sides of a search, promotions that run before videos, or ads that show up in mobile apps or while browsing online.
Some benefits of PPC marketing are that the business only pays for results, and that ads can be targeted towards a specific geographic location.
The cost of PPC marketing can vary significantly depending on how much the company is willing to invest in advertising. Pricing is based mainly on keyword competition—popular keywords that have high competition will cost more.
Many online marketing strategies are outsourced, because unless you have time to dedicate it's difficult to stay on the multiple changes that transpire when it comes to strategy. With content and email marketing, you can do much of it yourself, but it never hurts to ask experts for strategy advice to help get you started.
If you have a small business, you need to take the above areas of digital marketing into consideration. Formulate a plan and combine it with your other marketing efforts. Some of these areas of marketing will be more important and effective, depending upon your business. You can have professionals help you or outsource if you don't have the manpower to handle marketing obligations in-house.
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