Any business owner struggles to promote their company on a limited budget. Online marketing can be a solution here as it requires fewer investments compared to traditional strategies and helps quickly reach new audiences. In this article, we will tell you about 25 proven online marketing strategies for small business.
So, let’s get started.
About Online Marketing
We all know that the online audience is quite big, but in most cases, we don’t understand exactly how big. InternetWorldStats estimated that almost 57% of the world population uses the internet, which accounts for over 4 billion internet users. Considering this, every one of them can be a potential customer.
Communicate with customers on platforms they use, place ads in social media, and take advantage of learning more about your clients. If you are a small business owner, use this chance to promote your brand and reach new audiences.
Importance of Online Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
There are several reasons why online marketing is vital for any small company. It has impressive wide-reaching power. Using the internet, small businesses can get in touch with customers all over the world.
Such campaigns not just promote a brand, but, usually, provide additional value to customers. For example, companies can educate their clients about the best application of their products and offer additional perks like demos. This approach makes advertisements actually useful for people so they are more likely to remain loyal, and even share their experience with others.
What is more, online marketing includes a wide variety of tactics flexible enough to suit most business needs. Retailers can reach new audiences via social media, and web portals can benefit from better organic reach after SEO optimization. You can find the best-suited strategies to implement regardless of what your company does.
What Opportunities Online Marketing Opens up for Your Business
Marketing strategies can vary depending on the company needs, but they all have a similar positive impact on business growth.
When you decide to market your business online, you will get an opportunity to:
- Reach the global audience
- Gather real-time feedback regarding your brand
- Target customers with personalized ads
- Generate a high ROI
Benefits of Online Marketing for Small Businesses
In short, the launch of an online marketing campaign will grant you many advantages, such as better customer engagement, more insights into your clients’ preferences, and more chances to overcome competitors. Here are some online marketing tips for small business you can use to effectively promote your company.
Use CRM for Marketing
CRM solutions not only organize data to make it easier to interact with customers; they also have great marketing potential. You can take advantage of the client information and group them to use targeted offers and advertisements. Keeping them satisfied, you will get higher chances of customer retention.
What is more, you can analyze your sales and deals data to measure the success of marketing initiatives and change your strategy respectively.
CRMs like Nimble allow you to segment your contacts in order to send more personalized outreach.
After you create a segment, take action by sending a targeted group message. One of the first actions we’ve added for Smart Segmentation is sending targeted Group Messages to your contacts. By building targeted sets of contacts, you can personalize emails to be more effective in your outreach.
According to Joel House, pages that appear on the first page of search get 92% of consumer traffic. So, if you want to generate more organic traffic, you should check your SEO efficiency. You can use one of the various audit tools like Google Webmaster to browse your content, conduct an SEO analysis, and work on weak spots to produce more clicks.
It may sound obvious, but you should spend some time planning and setting goals before involving any marketing tactic. Try to think about your growth plans for the following years, how many new clients you want to achieve, and what revenue your business needs. This will help you to get a better understanding of what you should invest in so you can enjoy all the benefits of online marketing for small businesses without extra expenditures.
Include testimonials on your website
The stories from your happy clients are a necessity for any company webpage. Customer testimonials do not just tell about your services form the first source, they also grant more trustworthiness to your company.
If you don’t already have a testimonials section on your webpage, contact your former clients and ask them to express their experience. You can also add screenshots from reviews on social media posts and other platforms. And last but not least, make sure that it is easy to find this section on your website.
Presence on social media
If you are looking for a free and relatively easy way to promote your brand, social media will give you such an opportunity. According to Social Media Examiner, 81% of marketers observed increased traffic with just six hours spent on social media marketing every week.
Establish the presence of your company on some of the social media platforms by posting engaging content and maintaining communication with customers. This will help you to develop better customer relationships and promote your services to a wider audience.
Create a company blog
If you want to benefit from content marketing, think about a blog for your company. You can start it as soon as you have a website and fill it with relevant posts about the field you work in. A good company blog will help you establish brand awareness, get customer feedback, and implement SEO. That is the reason why half of the marketers make blogs one of their top priorities.
Participate in forums
Forums are other channels where your customers dwell that make it quite easy to find your target audience. Forum users already communicate on specific topics long before you come, so you just need to find one that covers your niche. Spend some time on learning forum rules and reading other posts before participating, and make sure that you contribute valuable information in your content.
You can browse big platforms like Quora or search for a forum with some particular specialty. Just don’t waste your time on small websites that have less than 1,000 members and are overrun by spam.
Build an email list
Online marketing best practices include creating an email list of your subscribers and regularly sending them messages about new offers and sales. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing returns in average 122% of investments, which is four times higher than paid search and social media do.
Don’t be afraid of starting from just 10 people, work on your content, and new customers will naturally appear. Just don’t make a mistake of buying some existing email lists. It’s not just illegal to do but is also a useless investment that will return no leads.
Presence in listings/marketplaces
If you want to expand your business and reach new markets, create an account at a big marketplace. Such platforms already have an established audience you can benefit from. If you sell some goods, participate in eBay, the giant platform that has 180 million active users, or join Amazon. Just try to have a page on major listings and marketplaces that are relevant for your niche.
Paid advertising is a traditional method of getting customer attention and it is still effective. When it comes to online marketing, the first platforms that come to mind are Facebook and Google, they don’t require a fortune to start promoting your brand and have great efficiency. For example, most companies return 200% of investments in Google Ads, according to Power Traffic.
If you are interested in how to market small business online, you have probably heard about keyword research. It is one of the low-budget tactics, as you can start from some free tools like Google Keyword Planner and figure out where to grow from that. You should, however, conduct this research regularly, as keywords may change due to other website content and Google algorithm updates.
List your business on Google
Listing on this platform works great not only for local businesses. Even if you target international markets, you shouldn’t miss any opportunity to promote your brand. There is a trend of buying goods from locals, as people want to support their own communities by using their products and services.
A Google My Business profile will help you get in touch with local customers. What is more, placing in this listing makes a company look trustworthy and helps with SEO.
Create video content
A catchy short video with clearly described content can help to create an emotional contact with your viewer and deliver your messages more effectively than text. If you have a low budget, start with your phone camera and use some simple apps to edit your video. Home quality is enough to share the atmosphere of your office and tell people about your ideas. At the same time, there are a lot of professionals who can produce high-quality video or animation you can hire.
Start a podcast
Almost 70 million US people listened to podcasts in 2017, and this number is predicted to double by 2022. So why don’t you take advantage of such a big audience? If you have no idea what to start from, read your popular blog post, answer your clients’ questions, and you will have an insight on where to move later. Take this chance to share knowledge and even become a thought leader for your audience.
Run a contest
If you want to generate more leads, start a contest on your social media page. Specify the rules; ask people to share your post or to invite friends to this page, and mention how you will choose the winner. You can award them a small prize related to your brand such as a one-month free trial.
Before starting a contest, check the regulations on contests and giveaways in your locality and follow them carefully to ensure that you won’t violate any guidelines.
Host a webinar
A webinar will grant you an opportunity to use your leadership skills and engage both local and international customers. In fact, high lead-generation power makes it one of the best online marketing strategies.
You can start with a free broadcasting platform like Google Hangouts that will work great, especially for a small audience. Spend some time on information research and preparation, practice your presentation skills – and you will win the loyalty of your customers.
Implement a referral program
Discounts and sales work great as incentives for your customers, but you can make a step further. Offer them a possibility to get some benefits for bringing you new clients. Run an online store or sell services, reach to your customers via advertisements or emails and offer them a discount for every new referred person. Let your clients promote you.
Optimize your website
All your SEO efforts can be ruined by bad website performance. After just one bad experience, 88% of users are less likely to return back. To prevent your clients from leaving, fix all minor issues on a website.
There are three factors you should focus on:
- Speed – your web pages should load as fast as possible;
- Mobile-friendliness – make sure all elements are displayed properly even on small screens;
- Content – avoid duplication and plagiarism.
Offer consultation services
This approach works great for different service providers. Offer your clients free consultation before and after the purchase so they can learn more about your company and feel that you care about them. In addition to better customer engagement, consultation services make your business look more reliable and help build brand awareness.
Appeal to a foreign market
It is crucial to use digital marketing for small business if you want to promote your company abroad. But even if you operate a local-focused business, gaining more customers from foreign markets can increase your income and reputation.
Choose the market you want to reach and make the research to learn people’s preferences. Use this information to provide your content for the right audience. For example, if you wanted to reach Chinese customers, you would target RenRen instead of Facebook. And remember: using the native language will be a great benefit.
Don’t be afraid to rely on digital marketing technologies, as they can easily automate numerous manual processes and free time for strategic tasks. You can find a lot of different marketing automation tools online, both specialized and multifunctional. Automate social media with Hootsuite, use MailChimp and Constant Contact for email marketing. Create schedules, automate posts, and get free from routine tasks.
Respond to online reviews
When people are choosing a product or service, they usually check for reviews to learn about others’ experience with this brand. Customers also look for company replies, as they may reveal more details and show them what to expect. That’s why you should always respond to online reviews, even the negative ones, in a polite matter. Add it to your Internet marketing strategies list and show customers that you really care about their opinion.
Mass Planner revealed that on social media people share and like infographics 3 times more than other content. That’s why they generate lots of backlinks and can promote your company across the Internet.
Browse data you have and find information that may be useful for your customers. Inform about trending products and sales statistics. You can employ a professional designer to turn this data into catching image or just use one of the free tools like Canva.
Try to maintain good relationships with influencers as they can help you build your reputation on social media. You can send them free samples and ask to advertise via their pages. There are even special platforms like Alltop that can connect you with influencers all over the world. However, you can always search for a reliable person by yourself analyzing posts with the highest rating.
Guest post on other sites
When you fill your blog and social media pages with content, you might think it is enough. But don’t stop! Once you get good at creating interesting content, start posting on other websites and blogs. Write useful comments, share your knowledge, and provide backlinks to your pages. That’s how you can increase your reach with search algorithms.
You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of online marketing for small business, as it has the power to help you engage more customers, reach new markets, and build brand awareness without spending a fortune. There are a variety of options: you can use different communication channels, such as email and social media, focus on SEO, post valuable content on your blog and other platforms, and communicate with the audience in comments.