11 Essential Marketing Strategies for Small Business Owners
This article was contributed by Kathy Gallo.
You’ve got a great idea for a business, you’ve got everything in place including your logo and now you need to find your customers.
You could offer the best products or services in the world, but that alone won’t help if your potential customers can’t find you – so you need a great marketing strategy to match.
Here’s our list of 11 marketing tips that are sure to increase your visibility and help bring lots of new customers your way.
1. Branding – establish a clear identity
In order to communicate what your company is, does and stands for, you need to have a clear identity. Once you know what your company represents, you need a suitable name, a logo, colors and imagery that convey this to your customers.
There are several different options for how to do this, including hiring a freelancer or collaborating with an established agency. This kind of work can be costly, but it’s money well spent. Think about how huge companies like Starbucks or McDonald’s are defined by their brands, logos and colors.
When you have your logo, make sure you put it on everything, advertising, business cards, envelopes, email signature and so on to build brand awareness and visibility. You should also go beyond just “rubber stamping” your logo everywhere – your brand should be memorable even if the logo is removed.
- Top 6 Benefits of Professional Logo Design
- 10 Personal Branding Tips to Help Improve Your Online Presence
- Branding, Identity & Logo Design Explained
2. Know your business and know your customers
A common misconception is that there is some kind of one-size-fits-all marketing strategy that you can follow and expect great results, whatever your business. This is simply not true since all businesses are different, and all have different requirements.
Before you choose which elements to integrate into your overall marketing strategy, you need to think carefully about your target customers. What is their demographic? How old are they? Where do they live? What online services do they use? How do they look for your product?
Being clear about details such as these will allow you to develop a targeted and more effective overall strategy that focuses on the channels most likely to produce results for you.
- The Beginners Guide to Marketing Personas
- How to Use Emotion in Branding for Repeat Customers and Sustained Income
- Beginner’s Guide to Branding for Small Businesses
3. Use Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads are one of the best ways to target a specific group. Your advertising can focus on factors such as age, sex, location, interests, online habits and so on.
The system is easy to use and is relatively inexpensive, making this a great way for you to reach the maximum number of potential customers in a short time.
- 15 Ways to Optimize your Facebook Ads
- 8 Steps to Create a Booming Niche Community Using Facebook Groups
- How to Optimize Your Facebook Posts for Maximum Shareability
4. Have a great website
If there’s one thing that will put people off your company, it’s having a poorly designed website. Think about it, you’ve done the hard part getting that click and bringing the customer to your site – and they find the site to be user-unfriendly, hard to navigate or not logically laid out.
This is such a simple error to avoid so don’t make this basic mistake.
- 8 Essential Web Design Tactics To Convert Visitors into Paying Customers
- 10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience
- 4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Website to Keep Building Brilliance
5. Understand the power of SEO
One of the most important ways of directing web traffic to your site is through Google searches. Even as Google changes the search algorithms, you still need to keep your page keyword optimized to make sure you rank highly on searches.
It is well known that having your site show up on the first page of results hugely increases your chances of getting the click, so do everything you can to make sure that’s where you are.
- How to get to #1 on Google
- 10 SEO Rules for Designers
- 20 On-Page SEO Tips & Techniques
- The Ultimate SEO Checklist For Launching a Brand New WordPress Website
6. Don’t forget email
Email has many advantages as a marketing channel. It is easy to do, easy to automate, allows instantaneous communication, costs very little and can reach a large number of potential customers with the highest open rates, especially if you segment your list as shown above.
Once you add somebody’s address to your mailing list, make sure you provide interesting, valuable and relevant content that people will actually open rather than deleting immediately or sending to the “spam” box – otherwise, you are just wasting your time.
The main idea is to get people to come back to your website at a later date when they are likely to buy your product. Email leads still have one of the highest conversion rates of all sources.
- Email Marketing Engagement: 8 Strategies for Keeping Your List Alive & Lucrative
- 6 Brilliant Strategies to Drive Sales from Email Marketing
- How to Win at Email Design
7. Use Google My Business
Google My Business is a particularly useful tool for local businesses with a local customer base. When people in the local area search on Google for the product or service you provide, this is a great way to have your business appear near the top of that search.
When potential customers see your profile and accompanying good reviews at or near the top of the list, your business automatically gains credibility and people will be more willing to trust you.
- Getting Started with Google MyBusiness
- How to Get Free Advertising on Google
8. Sponsor a local sports team
With so much being done online nowadays, sometimes people forget the more traditional ways of gaining visibility. For local businesses, sponsoring a local sports team is still a great way to raise awareness of your company.
People love their local sports teams and having your logo emblazoned on the kit will make people associate your brand with the local area. They will be more likely to think of you when they need your product and will be more likely to come to you due to that local association.
- 6 Reasons Why You Should Sponsor Youth Sports
- How To Get Sponsors For Giveaways & Competitions
9. Promote product awareness with free samples or demos
If you want to build awareness of your product, you need to let people try it. A great example of this is when Keurig wanted to move from making coffee machines for the office to producing machines designed for home use.
Despite the fact they had a fantastic product to sell, at the time a pod-based coffee machine was still a very novel idea, so they made an effort to demonstrate their Keurig Brewing System in stores and other high-visibility locations.
The strategy obviously paid off since the company has since gone on to dominate the US home brew coffee market and become a way of life.
10. Work the referrals
Use your existing customers to drum up more business: try to incentivize referrals to encourage your customers to bring in more.
It’s difficult to generalize here since this could take so many forms depending on what kind of business you run. However, if you offer rewards like free products, gifts , discounts or something else, your already satisfied customers will be happy to bring in more leads for you.
The other advantage of referrals is that if your customers are recommending you to their friends, their friends will automatically be more predisposed to trust you. For this reason, referral leads offer a much higher conversion rate than many other channels.
- Referral Program Ideas for Small Business
- Ten Ways to Reward your Most Loyal Customers
11. Use Google Adwords
While Google Adwords is more expensive than many other marketing options available, you should still consider it – because when done well, it can be a very powerful marketing tool.
Remember, the key is for people to find you when they search on Google, and by using Adwords, you can greatly increase your chances of people seeing your name.
Focus on what works for you
There are so many different marketing channels to pursue and things you can do to increase your visibility. Above all, don’t be afraid to try different marketing strategies – and focus your energy on what works best for you and your business.
Kathy Gallo is the founder of Daily Cupo. She is a health buff, she always believes that perfect health comes from drinking right, and aspires to provide an invaluable guide to health drinks.