Increasing your brand awareness remains a top priority for all businesses–large or small. Today, marketing is about meeting consumers where they are–being in the right place at the right time. Fortunately for small business owners, there are many ways to market your small business. First, we’ll take a look at traditional approaches…
Traditional/conventional marketing uses offline channels to promote your business. Cable, radio, billboards, direct mail, newspapers, magazines and even word-of-mouth are all popular and effective small business marketing and advertising options.
In the 1990s, the introduction of the internet brought new ways for businesses to reach consumers. Digital marketing uses online channels like social media, email, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to market your business.
Online vs. Offline
People spend a lot of time online these days, yet most feel an increasing need to take temporary breaks from the digital world. This is why it makes sense for small businesses to incorporate both traditional and digital marketing into their business plans. However, while multi-channel marketing should always be seriously considered, we understand that the budget for a small business may not allow owners to invest in both online and offline advertising. In those cases, the most affordable marketing for small business is usually digital. As more and more advertisers enter the digital world, it is imperative for small business owners to implement a smart marketing strategy to attain their best ROI.
Running a business can be challenging, especially when both the team and budget are limited. While some forms of digital marketing are free, it’s important to consider all digital marketing options, including paid.
Start with these digital tips for small business:
- Don’t be afraid of social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms are among the easiest ways to network, market your business and connect directly with your audience.
- Consider outsourcing. Digital marketers specialize in analyzing a business and building brand awareness. Many agencies offer digital packages for small businesses. For example, packages from agencies like First Looks Advertising are tailor-made, cost effective, focused on ROI and can even include a new/updated company logo or website.
- Incorporate videos and infographics. Quality visual content is extremely valuable and a great business investment. Instructional videos keep current customers coming back and help convert prospects into new clients. Attractive infographics generate traffic on your website or social media pages–people are quick to share an infographic with others. Hiring a professional ensures creative content that is easy to understand and easy on the eyes.
Improve Your Small Business Strategy—
Develop a Targeted Digital Marketing Plan
Small to medium businesses (SMB) and small to medium enterprises (SME) usually don’t have the extensive budgets larger organizations do. On the other hand, big corporations may lack the creativity and flexibility of a small business, giving entrepreneurs somewhat of a marketing advantage.
When developing an affordable marketing strategy for a small business, you want your investment to increase conversions while sticking to the budget. With so many available strategies for marketing and advertising your small business, understanding some basic tactics makes planning easier. At the end of the day, it’s important to do what will generate better results for your business. Good digital marketing plans start with buyer persona(s), business objectives, and value propositions. Above all, the best digital strategy is both creative and smart.
5 Steps to a SMART Marketing Plan
Conduct a SWOT Analysis. No matter the industry, successful businesses constantly consider the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) of both the company and the market. Conduct internal and external SWOT analyses to better determine your position in the market.
Define Long and Short Term Goals. Remember, when working with a small business and a small budget, it’s imperative to work SMART. Your short- and long-term goals should be
Separating short term from long term goals provides the team with the clarity needed to properly market and advertise your small business. Detailed goals allow easier planning and minimize mistakes. Learn more about SMART Marketing Goals for Small Business.
Define Your Market Strategy. This includes identifying your target audience, creating a brand identity that is unique and memorable, and determining which channels to employ to reach said target market. Be mindful of your audience as you answer these questions:
Where will you reach them?
What kind of content do they like?
How many touchpoints are optimal?
Select the Best Online Channels for Your Small Business. Based on your goals and objectives, determine an affordable method for reaching your audience. Whether marketing your small business in New Jersey or around the world, there are various ways to promote your small business digitally. Types of online marketing include:
• Content marketing
• Native advertising
• PPC advertising
• Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
• Marketing automation / email marketing
• Social media marketing, and
• Programmatic advertising
Analyze Your Results and KPI. Determine how successful your digital marketing approach has been. Your KPI, Key Performance Indicator, will tell you if the strategies implemented resulted in the ROI you were hoping for. Tracking your process will also allow you to reflect, identify and correct what didn’t work.
If this all seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. Savvy entrepreneurs regularly opt to hire a digital marketing consultant for small business. The internet can be your greatest enemy or your biggest ally, so it’s crucial to create quality, personalized content that increases customer engagement. Certainly, marketing and advertising your small business shouldn’t be left to chance, especially when the goal is to maximize your online presence.
One of the Best Ways to Market Your Small Business
Your online image can make or break your small business. As stated earlier, online marketing requires the SMB/SME to meet its audience where they are. Nowadays, we spend a lot of time online, so most companies benefit from increasing their online presence.
I. Your Website
The first way you can do that is to create a noteworthy and engaging website. Digital marketing for small business is heavily dependent on the success of the company website. Your website should be the best representation of what your small business embodies, with content that clearly communicates company values, contains accurate, up to date information, and is easy to navigate. Since we live in a world that’s always on the go, your website should be compatible with all devices. Creating a mobile friendly website makes it easier for people to access your content.
A Simple Formula
For many companies, website traffic is directly related to revenue. To put it simply:
Revenue = (website traffic) x (conversion rate) x (customer value)
This means there are three ways to increase your revenue and they all start with the success of your website. However, if one of these variables is 0, naturally so is revenue. While free marketing tips and ideas for small businesses often focus on website design, there are also online tools for small businesses that can help business owners increase their conversion rates and customer value. Using online services for small businesses is often suggested by experts offering digital marketing tips and strategies. Some online services even offer digital packages for small businesses specifically. These packages can help with tracking, content, and creating high converting landing pages.
To keep your website – along with all social media platforms – viable, you should regularly publish consistent, quality content that is engaging and easy to understand. Many people equate content with blog writing, but it also includes high quality infographics and videos. Still, steady blogging that keeps your audience coming back to your website remains extremely important.
II. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Another way to go about online marketing for a small business is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Content alone will not increase your online presence. To increase website traffic, each page needs to be strategically mapped out and structured with keywords and search engines in mind. Tracking your Google rankings for important keywords provides insight into the success of your SEO program, including if you are strictly marketing your small business in New Jersey or around the world. That is to say, knowing where your customer base lies will give you the information you need to incorporate proper keywords, meta-data and descriptions throughout your site. When it comes to affordable and online marketing for small businesses, SEO goes a long way toward gaining maximum exposure at a minimal price.
SEO experts utilize professional tools to find effective keywords. Seeding these into relevant, high quality content supports customer loyalty as well as SEO. Happy customers = happy Google. The more relevant your content, the more likely Google will push your page towards the top of the list in a search. If your small business provides a local service, aim to rank on local searches. If you are more global, take that into consideration as well. Google also prefers sites with longer session duration and more returning visitors–more reason to invest in an engaging website.
Working with an SEO Agency
Understanding how SEO works takes a lot of research and experience; a reputable agency can help ease the burden. A slew of free online marketing tips and ideas for small businesses can be found, but you can never be sure those tips are up to date and applicable to you and your business. Don’t hesitate to look into online services for small businesses to really elevate your company. After all, agencies like First Looks Advertising are trained professionals, dedicating their time to unlocking the potential many businesses haven’t tapped into.
III. Content Marketing
Content marketing, marketing automation and email marketing are additional online tools for small businesses that lead customers back to your website. Any content released should be specifically catered to your target audience. When navigating through your website, people should feel as if your business speaks directly to them, so your content needs to be clear and original.
Email marketing is a nice way to communicate directly with your audience on a more personal, exclusive level. It’s perfect for promoting events, sharing discounts, and keeping your audience updated on what’s going on with the business. Make your target market feel special with exclusive offers and regular updates. Increase engagement by encouraging website viewers to sign-up for email (one aspect of marketing automation). Even though email can be more personal, it should still be branded, professional and catered to your audience. Once again, all of this will bring people right back to your website.
IV. Social Media
The advancement of technology has brought us hundreds of social media platforms that will literally connect us with the world in a matter of seconds. Social media is one of the easiest ways to go about marketing your business in New Jersey or around the world. Use SEO and email marketing to not only generate website traffic, but also to increase your social media audiences. Facebook and Instagram pages are easy to follow and share. The Facebook Ads platform is a great online tool for small businesses to take advantage of, providing opportunities to target by demographics, interests and behaviors.
Other social media platforms like Reddit and Quora are good tools for answering questions people may have about your small business. Do not limit yourself to Facebook and Twitter; put your small business out there and raise brand awareness. All of these pages will drive traffic, generate leads and increase your conversion rate and customer value.
V. Pay-per-Click and Programmatic
Lastly, utilizing programmatic advertising and PPC is another digital tip for marketing your small business. Programmatic involves automated real-time bidding on digital inventory and can be hyper-targeted to reach very specific audiences. Pay-per-click (PPC) pays a publisher every time your ad is clicked. There are a few types of PPC but Google Ads is the most popular. Both Programmatic and Pay-per-click drive relevant traffic to your website and can be customized to almost any budget. For best results with Programmatic and PPC advertising, it’s a good idea to work with an experienced digital advertising agency.
In short, all of these digital marketing tactics are smart ways to drive a higher ROI. One tactic alone will not provide your small business with the best return; incorporating multiple channels increases your chances of attaining your goals. These tactics should be included and detailed in your marketing plan. Remember – when working small, work smart.
Keep your small business organized and hold your team accountable. Whether working in-house or outsourcing, online marketing for small businesses can get very busy. Assigning specific responsibilities will help keep everyone on track and increase productivity.
Bonus online tips for small business:
- Keep Your Value Proposition in Mind. Your value proposition will answer the question “why you and not them?”. Keep this answer short and straight to the point. Your target audience is specific and has very specific needs–solve them. Do not create new problems, solve the ones they already have. Remember this is not about you.
- Use Guerrilla Marketing Carefully. Guerrilla marketing is unconventional, innovative and also allows for creative thinking. It’s publicity that can quickly become viral and provide your SMB with the maximum exposure it needs to take it to the next level. Just be careful–publicity stunts can easily backfire.
- Constantly Think About the Customers. It’s vital to stress the importance of keeping your target audience front and center. Whether you are marketing your small business in New Jersey or around the world, put yourself in their shoes and aim to make their lives easier. For instance, make it simple for customers to get in touch with you, without asking for irrelevant data, and keep your calls-to-action clear and visible.
Will an Ad Agency that Specializes in Small Business deliver better results?
Although the cost of digital marketing for small business can fit almost any budget, it is important to identify the benefits of outsourcing. Working with an ad agency might be the smartest and most profitable option for your SMB/SME. As we’ve seen, local small business marketing isn’t just a cute Facebook page. There’s a lot of information to unlock and consider in order to get the results you as a small business owner are looking for. Ad agencies like First Looks Advertising are here to make your life much easier.
Work small, work smart, work with an ad agency; here’s why:
- We know what we’re doing. An ad agency will remember to answer both the “what” and the “why”. We are trained professionals who know how to cover all bases and implement the smartest strategies to promote your small business. As talented as small business owners undoubtedly are, they might not have the necessary skills to put everything into action. Strategy must define tactics and top digital marketing companies for small businesses work with that in mind.
- Increased efficiency and ROI. Small business owners often struggle with having too much on their plates. On the other hand, an ad agency has the resources your small business needs to ensure quality results. In removing some of the stress, you and your team have more time to dedicate to other important tasks. Happy employees=happy customers=thriving business.
- Access to better technology. An advertising and marketing agency’s goal is to drive results that matter. A part of this job is to stay up to date on industry trends and technology to help with website conversions, website tracking, and monitoring and optimizing for small businesses. These are all basic needs for improving your business as a whole.
- Fast results. Relying solely on existing resources can hinder any efforts to act quickly. Outsourcing is a smart way to scale your marketing efforts quickly and increase your revenue. Ad agencies already know what works and what doesn’t, so instead of playing a guessing game, we can use our experience to create a solid strategy.
- New Ideas. In order to set yourself apart from other small businesses, you have to get creative. Bringing an outside agency into your business will naturally generate new ideas. Different minds will ask different questions and provide perspectives you likely haven’t considered. Look to an award-winning agency like First Looks Advertising for a fresh approach.
While the cost of digital marketing might steer you to try and work in-house, many agencies have digital marketing packages for small businesses to ease the stress. Understanding the importance of quality local business marketing, these agencies take into consideration the fact that small businesses operate on a more modest budget. Once again, when investing small, it’s essential you invest smart. Digital marketing packages for small business usually offer a variety of services for an affordable price. First Looks Advertising caters our services to your specific needs so you can achieve your goals within your budget.
The Bottom Line
To sum up, coupons and social media marketing for small businesses are no longer enough to increase ROI. Top digital marketing companies know and understand that and are willing to take care of the monitoring and optimizing, website tracking and conversions, SEO updates and more. Finding a reputable company can be difficult but starting off with a simple search, such as, “list of advertising agencies for small businesses in New Jersey” will easily steer you and your small business in the right direction. Most importantly, local small business marketing companies like First Looks Advertising love to work with other local small businesses. Why not work with people who want to work with you? At First Looks, your success is our success. Work with us and see how outsourcing can give your small business the boost it needs.
Want to learn more about small business marketing and advertising?
From digital marketing for small business to logo design, there are plenty of free tips and ideas in our content library at www.firstlooksagency.com/news