It’s always a good time for business owners to think about the most effective small business marketing ideas. Maybe your messages don’t seem to be landing as they have in the past. Or it could be that business seems to be stagnant. Whether you’ve been in business for 3 months or 30 years, there is always room for improvement. Here is a list of small business marketing ideas and tips to give you a competitive edge.
1. Make Data Cleaning a Routine
Data cleaning shouldn’t be a once-a-year task. If you’ve been neglecting your database, your entire marketing strategy could be off-kilter. In fact, 72 percent of companies feel that data quality issues impact consumer trust and perception.
Why? Because successful marketing relies on data-driven decision making. If your data is inaccurate, your decisions won’t be much better. In the same study, less than half of organizations globally (44%) trust their data to make important business decisions. Talk about opportunity lost!
Ensure your marketing strategy is as targeted and on-point as possible. Make data cleaning a recurring monthly routine and you’ll be on your way to more trustworthy data.
2. Know Your Audience
When considering small business marketing ideas, think about your audience.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who are they?
- What do they do?
- How can you help them do it better?
Buyer personas are a great way to define your audience in terms of demographics, responsibilities, and interests. A buyer persona done well will give you a target and direction. Plus, these personas can be used to segment your list and better personalize your sales and marketing messages.
Furthermore, don’t forget to take a funnel position into account when creating buyer personas. For example, a customer that needs nurturing requires a different message than someone ready to buy. You should be having conversations at the right time to be sure you aren’t too late or too soon.
3. Keep Content on Target
When you know your audience, it’s much easier to create targeted, relevant and (above all) valuable content. Clickbait and countless sales pitches aren’t the way to gain trust from your network. Instead, make it your goal to reach your audience on a more personal level. Show them you understand them and care about their wants and needs.
How? Instead of pushing your product, focus on providing insight, information, and maybe even entertainment. Believe it or not, this approach is a much more effective means of guiding prospects along the buyer’s journey.
This is also the main concept behind content marketing. Learn more about how content marketing helps small businesses here.
4. Optimize Your Emails
Most people feel like they get a lot of emails. Some may say too many, yet 86% of consumers prefer email when communicating for business purposes. Long story short: email shows no signs of slowing down because of how effective it is.
Email marketing for small business owners is an important but tricky business. Great content doesn’t guarantee that recipients will open your email. There are, however, ways to improve audience engagement, open rates, and conversions.
Check over this list:
1. Sender address. Make sure your emails are coming from a recognizable sender name, preferably a business address.
2. Subject line. Does it tell the reader what’s next? Is what’s next worth clicking? If not, you’d better head back to the drawing board.
3. Design. Is your content optimized for mobile viewing? Does it deliver on the promise of your subject line? Is it visually appealing and easy to read?
4. Call to action. What is your call-to-action (CTA)? Do the recipients know what you want them to do? Is it easy for them to do it?
Check out our post “Understanding the Anatomy of an Email Newsletter” for more on proper email optimization.
5. Boost Your Social Media Content
Social media algorithms are constantly evolving. Oftentimes, these changes mean it’s harder to gain traction organically. That’s where paid advertisements and boosted posts can help level the playing field.
In fact, paid ads are expected to generate over $18 billion in revenue in 2019. 76 percent of B2C content marketers in North America used promoted posts in 2016, with 61 percent reporting these posts were effective. Social ads ranked slightly lower, with 74 percent of B2C marketers using them and 59 percent reporting them effective.
If you need a quick guide to the world of “play to play” social advertising, these links are a great place to start:
6. Show Instead of Only Telling
Visual content continues to grow in popularity as we move into the future. After all, the human brain processes images 60 times faster than words. When you’re brainstorming small business marketing ideas, consider video.
Video content (think Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Instagram Live, Facebook Stories, and Facebook Live) is continuing to grow. If you want to be on the cutting edge of visual content, try moving out from behind your keyboard and step in front of the camera.
A great idea for your first video is recording a quick introduction about yourself. Keep it under 2 minutes and make it informative and engaging.
Pro tip: For even higher engagement and impact, add captions to your video instead of solely relying on your audio. As much as 85% of videos are watched without sound. Makes sense when you think about all the people scrolling through social media while at work, at the doctor’s office, or on public transportation.
Video is also an easy and effective way to engage your audience. Hubspot found 72% of people prefer video to learn about a product or service. More and more consumers are using their smartphones in place of a computer, and visual apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube make posting and viewing and sharing content like pictures and videos super easy.
7. Keep an Eye on Reviews
Consumers have a lot of power with online reviews, making them more important than ever. This can feel overwhelming for businesses, but online reviews are also an excellent source of referrals.
We’ve written a lot in the past about how referrals are the best-kept secrets for your business, but if you don’t have a review monitoring process in place, it’s time to do that. Yelp, Facebook, Google, Angie’s List, and more are all places customers and buyers go to do their research before committing to a business or product.
If you see a negative review, there’s no need to panic. Respond the best you can without provoking an already unhappy customer. Often this means asking to speak offline so you can work with them one-on-one instead of in the public online arena. Remember, you can’t please everyone all of the time, so focus on building loyalty. If you’re doing good work, eventually that negative review will be just a blip on your positive review radar.
Finally, be sure you’re not only monitoring online reviews but asking for them as well.
Learn more about how to automate your marketing and generate referral business here.
8. Embrace Marketing Automation
No matter how hard we all try, we can’t do it all. Many of us feel bogged down and overwhelmed by responsibilities that could easily be delegated and automated for efficiency. As a result, you may start dropping the ball because you’re trying to do too much at once. When your business starts to suffer, it’s time to reassess your plan.
You aren’t alone in looking to automation for support. In fact, more people use marketing automation than not. A Salesforce study found that 67% of marketing leaders use marketing automation. That number is anticipated to grow by 30% by 2019.
If you’re looking for small business marketing ideas that will save time and money, keep you top-of-mind with your network, and maximize referral leads and customer retention, it’s hard to do better than marketing automation.
Marketing automation can help you make the most of every customer interaction. This means identifying warm leads, putting sales-ready leads on the fast track to conversion, follow up with unprecedented efficiency and do it all automatically. (PS marketing automation is what OutboundEngine does.)
Keep Moving Forward
We hope these seven small business marketing ideas and tips help keep your business running in tip-top shape. This list is a great guide, but don’t limit yourself to only these ideas. Keep thinking about your business and customers as both of them change, grow, and evolve. You’ll find new ways to improve customer experience and your bottom line if you keep your eyes open.
If you want to focus on one of the best small marketing ideas of all to engage with your network, email marketing is it. Download our free Email Marketing Roadmap below to help you find your way as you navigate your email marketing strategy.