There are a million ways to market your small business, both online and off. However, it can be a daunting task navigating the marketing world and coming up with ideas. What type of marketing should you do? How should you utilize a specific marketing platform? We give you an overview of options and a little inspiration to get you moving forward.
Digital marketing consists of any advertising or promotion using the Internet. From a website to pay-per-click advertising, email newsletters to online directories, you have endless opportunities. Every small business will benefit greatly from connecting to potential customers online. However, it can be difficult to transition to digital marketing, especially if you’re not a tech person. Start small, in whatever capacity you can, and take some inspiration from these digital marketing ideas.
A website is the foundation for any marketing you perform for your small business. It is like a digital storefront full or important information your potential customers need to know. Anytime you advertise your business, both online and offline, you should point people to your website. This is the perfect place to start for any small business. In this day an age, you can’t afford NOT to have a website!
Create a website. Options exist for every budget. Hire an agency, a freelancer, or do-it-yourself. What should you put on the website? Give people a reason to contact you, discuss your services/products, and what sets you apart from the competition.
The average person uses five social media platforms and spends two hours a day on social media. Since everyone is there already, there is no better place to reach potential customers! Finding the right platform for your business can take time, and rising above the social media noise may be difficult. But for many companies, connecting to customers via social media can have a huge impact on your business.
Business 2 Business? Try connecting with people on LinkedIn. You can join groups, be a part of active discussions, and share your knowledge and expertise to other business owners.
Business 2 Consumer? Post meaningful content on Facebook or Twitter. Never continuously advertise yourself. Give your customers information they want or offers they can’t refuse.
PPC Advertising is the best type of marketing if your business needs an increase in customers quickly. You pay each time someone clicks on your ad and is sent to your website. Common PPC Ad platforms include Google Adwords, Bing Ads, and Facebook Ads. Your advertisement can be seen on search engine results pages or social media feeds. For more in depth information regarding pay-per-click advertising, check out our blog post PPC Advertising for Small Business.
Facebook Ads platform allows for extremely precise targeting. Are you a clothing boutique with a new fall dress line aimed at young adults? You can target females aged 16 to 30 living within a 50 miles radius of your store who “like” other fashion business Facebook pages.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is a long-game marketing tool. If you want customers to find your website via search engines, optimizing your website for search is a must. You’ll see an increase in customers coming to your website without you needing to pay for the traffic like PPC advertising. SEO is a long term investment and often requires help from an agency. For more in depth information regarding Search Engine Optimization and how to utilize it, check out What is SEO? A Primer for Small Business.
Interested in starting optimization? Check out Google’s Keyword Planner tool to discover search terms for your specific products or services. Make sure these terms are in the content of your website, including headers, URLs, and meta descriptions.
Content is an important but often overlooked aspect of marketing. Not only does good content showcase your business expertise, but it also helps increase leads through search engine optimization. Writing interesting content directed towards your potential customers can set you apart from the competition.
Add a blog to your website. Write articles with service or industry tips to help your customers understand something. Become an informative industry expert.
Create a PDF eBook. Write about insider industry tips and make it downloadable from your website. Better yet, advertise the eBook on social media.
Marketing through email is a great way to connect with current customers or potential customers who have shown interest in your business. Oftentimes, you gather email addresses via a form on your website. It is best to send out newsletters on a weekly or monthly interval to keep things consistent.
Create a newsletter template. Send information regarding current specials, offers only valid to mailing list customers, and blog posts you’ve written or sourced around the Internet. Always make sure you give your customers value. Give them a reason to open the email each time.
Google My Business
Google My Business is an important free service to connect your business information to branded or local Google searches. When you sign up for a listing, you’re address, hours, website link, and even reviews will show up in Google search results. Every business can benefit from this service. For more information regarding how to set up your listing, check out Google My Business For Small Business Owners.
Set up your listing. That’s all you really need to do! If your business has a storefront or serves people within a certain region, a Google My Business listing is even more important.
There are many websites dedicated to listing business information. Some of these are review based, like Yelp, and some are industry specific. Directories are an easy and often free way to get your name and website out there.
Is your business region specific? Seek out regional directories or join local chambers of commerce. You’ll be more easily connected to people in your area.
Are you a skilled tradesman? Check out Home Advisor or Angie’s List. These directories are not free, however the small investments could be worth the extra leads obtained through them.
Traditional marketing consists of advertising or promotion of your business in methods outside of the Internet. Marketing by more traditional means still works great for many business types. From billboards to commercials to newspapers, traditional marketing can connect your small business to potential customers in a more conventional way.
A giant billboard on the side of a highway is a great way to be seen by tons of people on a daily basis. This is an impression based form of advertising; you pay based on the amount of traffic to see the billboard on a monthly basis. However, it isn’t always easy to know how well a billboard is working for your business. There are no analytics to tell you how many viewers are turning into customers.
Make your billboard memorable. A stand out visual or message will be best remembered later on after the driver is off the road. Always make sure your text is large enough to read while driving and at a distance.
A direct mailer is a piece of marketing sent through the mail. This is often a form of local advertising, specific to a community or region. It can be in the form of a postcard, letter, booklet, or any other traditional media. Because direct mailers are not precisely targeted, it is best to utilize this type of marketing only if your product or service is widely used.
Send a postcard to remind your community of important service intervals. Dentists and doctors can remind people of annual appointments. Skilled tradesmen can remind homeowners of important regular maintenance. Offer a discount if someone mentions the postcard.
Yes, newspaper advertising still exists! Many people get their news online these days, however there is a still a large target market who prefer their hands on a paper. This can be a perfect opportunity to connect to an older aged market in your local community.
Coupons! Newspaper marketing is a great place to utilize a coupon offer. Physically clipping a coupon and having it in hand is a perfect reminder of your business’s service or product.
Commercials – Radio & TV
If you have an easily explainable product or service with a wide target market, commercials are still a great way to advertise. However, they can be a expensive. Remember the cost of shooting the commercial when looking into this marketing option.
Create a jingle. A theme song is a much more memorable way to connect with consumers through radio or TV.
Being an active member in your community is a great way to advertise. You can network and receive brand recognition while helping your neighborhood. There are also things you can do to bring more people into your neighborhood, helping out other local businesses in the process.
Sponsor a local sports team. Your business name will appear on jerseys and banners while helping kids play a sport at no expense to their families.
Have a store front? Host a theme night or holiday event. Have a super bowl sale with football merchandise or an Emmy’s party with signature celebrity cocktails.
Need More Marketing Ideas & Inspiration?
There are countless ways to market your business both traditionally and digitally. While many of our marketing ideas can be done without the help of a marketing agency, having professionals plan and implement campaigns often pays for itself. Agencies have experience and know how to optimize spending to get the best results.
If digital marketing is something you are interested in starting, check out our small business marketing services. Our services have a flat rate monthly price to help fit into a small business’s monthly marketing budget. We’re even here for consultations, if you need expert advice.