Marketing your business takes time. And as a small business owner, that time is precious, so it’s vital you know where to target your efforts to be the most effective. In this article we cover the 10 best marketing ideas for small businesses.
1. Create a marketing plan for your business
Think of your marketing plan as a roadmap that will provide you with a clear plan of action for how you’ll promote your business. It’s a good way to help you think about the important steps needed to help you achieve your business goals.
As a general rule, your marketing plan should include:
- a business summary including details such as your business name and company mission statement
- an outline of your current marketing activity
- customer analysis including basic market research describing your target market
- competitor analysis – it’s important to know what your other options your customers have
- an overview of your planned marketing and advertising goals including a timeline for each task and any key performance indicators
Your marketing plan can cover a single campaign, or it can be a high-level overview of the various strategies and tasks you expect to apply over a set period, for example the coming year.
2. Make sure your promotional products are up to date
If you want your brand to stand out and look professional, it’s imperative that your marketing collateral does the same. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to review your marketing materials every few years. Business cards, brochures, and marketing collateral can become dated very quickly. As tempting as it might be to ask a friend or relative who has some design skill, it’s worth using the services of an experienced, professional designer and copywriter who have expertise to know the best way to present your business and can achieve a professional result.
3. Refresh your website
In 2022, it’s more important than ever that your websites is kept up to date. If your website isn’t user-friendly and fully functional on all devices, customers won’t wait around for you to fix it!
As with your marketing collateral, your website is an investment that represents your business. And while there are plenty of DIY website options available, these can be very time consuming, frustrating, and hard to get right. If you want a fast-loading, easy-to-navigate site that looks great and runs smoothly, you’ll need to hire a professional.
4. Be active on social media
If you’re marketing your small business on a smaller budget, social media is your best friend.
It’s a quick and easy way to engage with your audience, and more cost-effective than other channels, but it still takes an investment of time to post regular content and keep up with current trends.
If you’re not sure what you’re doing, it could have the opposite effect and annoy your customers, so it’s highly recommended that you budget for professional help with your social media – even just to get you started.
5. Give free samples or trial periods of your product
Could you talk about your product on a Facebook Live stream or a webinar, or live stream your workplace activities? Or could you organise a Meetup event, perhaps hosted at your workplace, to talk about what you do? These are inexpensive activities that can create buzz around your brand, get people of your community together, and get the ball rolling about you and what you do at your small business.
6. Consider video marketing
Businesses can no longer get by with just written content and good images. People are reading less and have come to expect content in video format. Fortunately, good video marketing can be done on a budget. You can even use your phone (assuming it’s somewhat modern) propped up on a coffee-cup tripod to start practicing your video skills. If you’re too shy to appear in the video, you can use software like Loom to do a voiceover presentation, or to make animated explainer videos. Then upload the result to your YouTube or your preferred social media channel with a title and good description. Simple as that!
7. List your small business on directories
To be found online, it’s important for your business to be listed on major website directories and social platforms such as Google My Business, Groupon, Yellow and Yelp.
Thousands of people use these platforms daily to rate, ask questions, and discover new businesses. Registering for an account is free (you just need a Gmail address to access the Google My Business platform). These platforms make it easy to share information about your business and promote products and services through pictures and video.
8. Up your content marketing game
Love to write? Update your small business blog at least twice a month with useful information for your customers or think pieces about topics relevant to your industry. You could even write your own e-book about your personal business experiences, your industry, or your market niche. And if writing’s not your thing, you can hire the services of a copywriter to create these for you.
9. Invest in SEO
Long term, being in first position on Google is going to bring you your ideal clients. But as a small business, how do you get there? Appearing on Google’s first page can be near impossible – especially if you are operating in a highly competitive market. But it’s not all doom and gloom. The easiest strategy is to try to rank for unique services (which will have less competition) or what is called “Long Tail Key Words”. This is definitely an area where you need to call in the experts. Ideally, pick a marketing agency that can see the big picture and help you achieve great search results in the long term, while maximising any marketing activities in the short term for more instant wins.
Appearing near the top of Google search results finds clients who are already searching for your products and brings them right to your site, but it’s not easy, especially in competitive industries.
Think about what makes your products or services unique, and how users will search for them.
SEO may not drive immediate results, but it’s an important part of any web-based business, so it’s worth consulting an expert to help you develop a longer-term strategy.
However, there are a few things you can do to improve your SEO yourself, such as:
• Google My Business and directory links
• Structuring your site and content
• Adding backlinks
• Improving page load speed by removing animations, compressing images, and using plugins.
10. Do some good
Getting involved with local events is a great way to get your business known in the community. Sponsorship, volunteering, or even offering free workshops or classes will not only make you feel good, but it’s a great way to network with other businesses owners, gain backlinks from local publications, and let people know about your business.
Marketing your business in the right way from the start will make it easier to manage as you grow. There’s lots you can do to promote your business yourself, but if you want expert advice, contact the team at Creative Content to see how you can kick-start your marketing strategy.