As a small business owner, marketing may seem overwhelming. You may ask yourself “What’s the best strategy? What will help my business grow?” We’re here to tell you that there’s no magic bullet, but rather a blend of what works for your company. There are dozens of creative ways to get your business noticed and attract customers, but a blend of what works for your business is what is going to put money in your pocket. The trick is finding out what works, and staying the course. We’ll introduce you to what we have determined to be the more successful small business marketing ideas and strategies and explain what makes them so crucial to success.
Creative That Tells Your Story
Building your brand is the first step you’ll take as a small business owner. The feel of your brand will be shaped by the colors, styling, and design of your corporate logos, website, and creative assets. These assets, along with the mission, vision, and brand message, will help your brand appear as one cohesive identity. No matter the type of business, polished marketing materials will help you portray a professional, trustworthy image to your future customers. If your audience cannot clearly understand your brand identity or your offer, they are more likely to choose your competitor instead.
Small Business Marketing Ideas in the Press
Someone else’s voice singing your praises is always more powerful than you doing it yourself. Press releases and earned media is a great and cost-effective way of getting the word out about your business from someone who can be perceived as an impartial, but influential party. News articles create a wider reach and attract new leads or followers, while bloggers and influencers provide powerful endorsements that would otherwise be challenging to obtain.
Internal Data Collection
Knowing your target audience is critical for a small business since there is less capital to spend. However, market research can be money well spent in the long run. “Easy and efficient ways for gathering information include conducting surveys, interviewing customers, holding focus groups and analyzing buying patterns. As your business continues to grow, market research will pave the way for new products or services, business expansion, and even funding. The sooner you know your place in the market, the better position you will be in to grow and fill in the gaps.
Your potential customers want to know the people behind the brand and what they care about. Cause marketing is a compelling approach that your audience will connect with and potentially patronize. Tying donations to purchases can drive sales while promoting your brand’s philanthropy. Today’s consumer wants to stand behind brands with similar ideals and a reason to make their purchase more meaningful.
Your business’s web presence is no longer an advantage, but a requirement. Similar to the old yellow pages, if you’re not online, you don’t exist. More than just providing information on your business, your website must be a place where you capture the user’s information to generate leads and keep readers engaged. Building trust and converting users to customers is what it’s all about. Beyond that, your website’s search engine optimization is critical to where your page shows up in a keyword search (aka Google keyword ranking). Keyword density, schema markups, site load speed, and metadata all play into page evaluation and where your site shows up in a search.
Email marketing is still one of simplest small business marketing ideas. Once you’ve collected a lead’s email address, whether organically through your website or a purchased list, you’ve secured a way to nurture these leads with each email campaign. With several free email marketing tools on the web, it’s a no-to-low-cost way to build email marketing campaigns.
Print and direct mail still deliver and when done right, they can help your business thrive. The same can be said for direct mail marketing. Unusual shapes, sizes, and colors typically increase open rates, and compelling headlines and engaging copy will help generate sales. Complementing your direct mail campaign with online marketing strategies will help you capitalize on your marketing investment and drive results for your business.
Facebook ads are an efficient way to get your ads noticed by the right audience. It’s one reason why over two million small-to-medium-sized businesses advertise on Facebook. One thing they are very effective at is advanced targeted ads that allow you to zero in on your audience based on location, interests, age, gender, and online behavior. The built-in ad manager is a fairly simple way to run and test several ads at once, making it easier to find the recipe that delivers the best results. Instagram is also a great tool and lends itself to more visual ad executions. Owned by Facebook, it operates with the same targeting expertise while connecting you with users that are accustomed to visual content.
Google My Business (GMB) is very likely the most important thing you can do for your local business. The majority of consumers use search engines to research products and services as the first step in the purchase process. Having an accurate GMB with great reviews is crucial to encouraging users to go to your website. Once you have put some time into optimizing your company’s profile and gathered reviews, it provides your business with credibility, visibility, and many leads without spending a dime on ads.
Content marketing is highly effective when comes to engaging your target audience. It’s certainly a long-term strategy; however, it can offer sustainable growth in web traffic and leads. More than just social media and blog posts, organic content includes any information you provide to your audience that can be found through keyword searches and that isn’t paid. You can use content such as videos, podcasts, webinars, eBooks, polls, and virtually anything else you share about your business to drive brand awareness. The takeaway is quality. For social media outlets, be sure to post relevant topics that are optimized and have a consistent look, feel, and message.
Building your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is another example of the small business marketing ideas that just work. A method to get your website among the top of a keyword search, SEO has become the most-used tool to be seen on the web. Most consumers research a product or service online before making a purchase commitment or call, so if your website doesn’t show up in the Google search, you’ve already missed an opportunity before you had the chance to make your pitch. With a well-planned SEO strategy, your small business will generate increased organic web traffic and deliver a substantial return on investment.
Paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) ads can also do quite a bit for small business growth. PPC uses keywords within online ads to show up higher in search results. Ideally, you’ll partner with experts in the field that will create a complete digital marketing strategy, incorporating PPC with SEO, page optimization and content marketing.
Strategic Marketing is a full-service marketing agency that has been partnering with small businesses across the country to grow their businesses – creating leads, building brand identity, and delivering undeniable results. Our 29 years in the marketing industry and longevity with our clients demonstrate that our expertise lies in the growth of your business. Contact us and let us show you how we can help your small business thrive.
The past 18 months have forced organizations to meet the rapidly evolving needs of consumers and businesses in a digital environment; our prediction is the trend won’t be changing back. Technology will continue to play a central role in how businesses interact. It’s not a question of whether your technology budget should increase, but rather, by how much, and what it should be spent on. Let’s take a look at what our biggest takeaways were from the lessons of 2020.
For one, B2B companies across the board became more ROI-focused. Budgets became tighter, resulting in a more-critical look at what marketing components were delivering and which ones were not. Virtual events took center stage out of sheer necessity and hybrid events have now become an additional option in today’s business climate. Above all, what became apparent was a concentration on retention marketing efforts. Because maintaining business relationships always cost less than obtaining new customers, it’s no surprise that a 5% increase in customer retention translates to a 25-95 percent increase in profits, as Harvard Business Review indicates. From surveys and discounts to social media mentions and reposts, your B2B customers saw more engagement and attention over the past year. Once businesses held their footing, these are the B2B digital marketing practices that proved profitable:
Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
Targeting top prospects requires a solid partnership between your sales and marketing team. Together, they can identify the best target audience and drill down into the best prospects. With a solid account plan, your ABM team members can take on outlined responsibilities for client attraction and build support throughout each part of the strategy and sales process. Get in their faces! Engage in social media with your target clients, communicate via LinkedIn, build landing pages with personalized content, and share relevant blog articles. Invite colleagues to events, ask current contacts for referrals, and create personalized ad campaigns for the prospect, while carefully measuring and analyzing your results along the way. This type of lead-based marketing winds up being more cost effective, both by determining which accounts are the best fit for your business and by spending your money reaching them where they are most active.
If you’re not already using automation to maximize your marketing efforts, you’re losing leads. Get more efficiency with automation software that streamlines repetitive tasks like email marketing, social media postings, and ad campaigns. Identify what kind of user visits your site and deliver content that is relevant and timely via social media marketing, website navigation and email marketing. With valuable collected data, you can convert prospects into leads and turn leads into clients.
In-person events are making their way back slowly and many are eager to make in-person connections once again. However, virtual events are here to stay. The convenience and efficiency factors make virtual events more accessible and cheaper to execute. Ideally, a mix of in-person, virtual and hybrid events will prove effective by meeting the needs of every type of prospect.
Database & Direct Marketing
The key to success in database and direct marketing is personalization. With the help of some marketing software, personalized communications to your potential clients become streamlined and serve as an effective way to market your business. Gather data from industry reports, demos, webinar registrations and free trial offers to build your list and use the data you have to personalize direct mail and email campaigns. The more information you have on a user, the more you can use it to connect with them, converting leads to clients.
Client & Buyer Experience
Whether online or not, client experience has always been at the top of the B2B marketing strategy list. Personalized service and tailored account maintenance require ongoing client engagement and communication. Nothing quite replaces a person-to-person connection when it comes to a B2B relationship. Nonetheless, in a digital experience, users expect a seamless and easy process. The key is to identify what your potential clients value most along the way. Speed? Convenience? Product positioning? Up-to-date technology? Because most B2B buyers are the decision makers, knowledgeable service and an easy, friendly digital experience are not only valued but expected.
SEO & Local SEO
Algorithms are getting smarter. With the analysis of user data, consumer location, search intent, and context, it pays to notice the tricky codes and updates to stay at the top of the search rankings. Because 93% of users begin internet research with a search inquiry, investment in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is critical. SEO strategies include on-page (content) and off-page (brand mentions, commenting, forums, influencer outreach, guest authoring, social networking, social bookmarking, link building, and press releases). When it comes to AI, voice search means that SEO is even more important to get right. Conversational selling is undoubtedly sentence-based, so long-tail keywords must be part of your SEO strategy as well.
Google My Business should be a required component of any local business – it’s the way consumers learn about a local business, their location, and reviews. Local SEO uses Google Maps to attract local audiences. It doesn’t end there. Online directories like Yelp, BBB, BizJournals, Glassdoor, and of course LinkedIn need to include your Google My Business listing to produce results that make the effort worthwhile.
Interactive Content Marketing
Content marketing is still king. However, the more interactive, the better. Once a visitor arrives at your website, their length of stay can be increased with a multitude of tools including blogs, eBooks, webinars, surveys, polls, quizzes, infographics, interactive calculators, mobile apps/games, diagnostic tests/troubleshooting tools, and assessments. Interactive videos provide for a whopping 70% of buyers who watch videos as part of their research. That being said, it’s a no-brainer. Blog content in long and short form provides variety and requires deep keyword research to get the most out of your investment. Podcasts build deeper connections with their listeners, are more informal, and provide a peek at the personalities behind the brands. Google Trends is forecasting peak saturation soon, so the time is now to jump on that bandwagon.
Regardless of the content type, socially conscious, humane messaging keeps interest alive and in tune with the social climate.
LinkedIn is the clear winner with the best platform for B2B social media marketing. As the number one channel for B2B information distribution, you’ll get the most traffic from your activity here, so lots of time should be spent on how to engage readers via LinkedIn. Get to know your core business audience: other B2B buyers, business influencers, clients, and researchers. If you’re unfamiliar with how to begin, a paid marketing strategy would be a good place to start. Content should be prospect driven and target potential clients, and you can gather leads through their optional feature called Lead Collection. It pays to be active – join the groups where your prospects hang out and add your commentary to generate engagement.
Organic search has its place for defining reputation, trust, and brand commitment. Paid ads are a valuable and measurable tool that outperforms organic listings on Google Search Engine Results, and puts you ahead of your competitors, with the right budget. Search ads, on average, receive twice as many clicks as organic listings, so we KNOW they work. Paid ads get you exactly where you need to be seen, adding to lead generation. The right mix of SEO for organic searches and paid ads is crucial to build brand awareness, boost Google SERP visibility, and increase traffic.
An Agile Business is a Profitable Business
If it is not apparent already, a comprehensive B2B digital marketing strategy is a successful one. Make the most of all the channels available, digital and traditional. Your lead conversion process also needs to be efficient and consistent to remain successful.
The past year has shown how quickly businesses can adapt when they need to survive. To remain profitable, businesses must embrace change and take advantage of emerging trend opportunities for business growth. Marketers need to continually ask: What’s working? What can be changed to improve results? What are leaders in the industry doing right now?
Bottom line, staying agile is the secret to maintaining a connection with fellow businesses, and staying on top of emerging trends will always give you an edge over competitors. It’s everyone’s game. What can your strategy deliver? Contact us today and allow our expertise to bring your B2B digital marketing efforts to its maximum efficiency and increase your profitability.
If you haven’t started using video marketing as a consistent component of your campaigns, then you are likely behind your competitors. Thanks in large part to social media, video content consumption has been on the rise for several years and is now crucial to your paid campaigns. Not just ANY video either. Marketers, business owners and entrepreneurs are looking for new ways to engage their viewing audience with a variety of video tactics and are developing content that is tailor-made for their specific audience. Paired with a streamlined follow-up strategy, video is guiding customers right into the sales funnel and having a big impact on businesses’ return on investment (ROI).
An agency like Strategic Marketing will help you to finetune your video marketing strategy, backend logistics and creative development to make sure you are getting the best results from your content. Below are some things to consider when developing your video marketing strategy.
Creating Video Content
From interviews and explanation videos to webinars and entertainment, if you can think it – you can make it. Make one of every style if you want! Your video content should showcase your brand while being relevant to the viewer. The more you cater to your ideal audiences’ interests and needs, the more success you will find with your video strategy. Make sure to opt for “suitable” instead of “salesy.” Be mindful that your video brings something of value to the customer and is not just about your product or service. There is a time and place for every kind of video. From shaky behind-the-scenes clips to professionally shot drone footage, it’s about what you are evoking with your content. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Develop a library of clips that you can reuse and reorganize to keep your content fresh.
- Work with a professional to shoot quality footage worthy of your brand name.
- Tell a story – not a sales pitch.
- Choose the best thumbnail. This is the first thing people will see prior to ever clicking your video.
- Stay relevant and relatable to your ideal audience.
- Use people (if applicable). A smiling face can be the connection between the buyer and your product.
- Use “supers” to support your audio since many watch videos with the sound off.
- Research budget-friendly video software. You may be able to start with some simple clips.
- Above all, invest in your content as it will be inextricably tied to your brand identity.
Video Marketing Platforms
Not sure where to put up your new video marketing footage? Luckily, pretty much every platform offering advertising is set up for video. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and many others are beefing up their ad formats to include a variety of ways you can present your content. This is where it gets tricky. Each type of format is going to come with different costs, audiences, and responses. Campaigns have a myriad of targeting parameters and audience segments, which is great – if you know how to use it. Products and services are unique for each business and results can differ depending upon each variable. This is where working with a company like Strategic Marketing can help you to keep your campaigns straight, on budget and optimized for performance. An agency partner can help you to realize your campaign goals with a flawless execution.
If you don’t plan on using video in your paid campaigns, then posting video organically can generate some traffic as well. Post the video to your business Facebook page or YouTube channel and share the links in places where your customers would find it. Most of all, make sure you are leveraging video on your website where people can engage with your product right on the page.
Driving Leads Through Video Marketing
Success begins once you can translate your video views into revenue! By using targeted messaging and strong calls-to-action in your content, you can drive people to your website, product page, or sales funnel. The easier you can make the transition from video to sale for the viewer, the more results you can generate. For example, it is more likely for a viewer to hit a button under the video to navigate to your site than it is for them to type in your full URL into the search bar to find your product. Creating a frictionless sales funnel will help you to convert more people, faster. Make sure you are driving leads to precise pages relevant to what they watched and provide a clear path for them to follow. Busy pages full of links or pages that do not load are bound for failure! If you think you can improve, Strategic Marketing can help you develop clean sales funnels that maximize your ROI.
Have a common thread across all of your marketing efforts. Simple branding elements can help you stay on track while creating your content. Make sure you stay within your color schemes, add your logo and stay consistent with your story. From there, the more places you put your video marketing content, the more chances it will be seen. And seen again. And seen some more. For example, tying video into your email campaigns can boost your open rates by 19%. Just add “video” to your subject line! By nature, marrying the different tactics increases the frequency a customer sees your ad while also cultivating a sense of brand consistency – an element perfected by the high-end brands with padded marketing budgets. Try your content across all of your marketing efforts. After the initial launch, you can see which platforms yielded the best results and you can finetune your strategy from there. Don’t be afraid to switch creative if it is not resonating with your audience the way you imagined!
Apart from creating your videos, the most important part you will need to do is monitor the performance of your new assets. The results you see from your content will tell you what to do next. Perhaps you need to switch creative, put your video on a different platform or maybe toggle some campaign settings to adjust who sees your ad. Robust reporting and thorough monitoring will help you to optimize your campaign to reach the highest ROI possible from your video marketing efforts. However, just tracking the campaign is a full-time job and you have a business to run! Working with a partner like Strategic Marketing can ensure that every aspect of your video marketing campaigns is being tracked and reported back to you with the appropriate suggestions for improvement.
Video marketing to online shoppers is perhaps your best chance to capture the attention of your audience. Although there are simple tactics you can incorporate into your marketing routine, your best bet would be to work with an agency partner who can help you develop your video marketing campaign from concept and creative to monitoring and reporting. Strategic Marketing has the technology, experience, and creative eye needed to help your business boost ROI through robust video marketing strategies. Get started with a free evaluation by filling out the form below.