Establishing yourself in a market that is brimming with competition is never easy.
Especially if you’re a small business competing with the likes of bigwigs and numerous other small businesses like yours.
One tactic that brands, big and small, have adopted is to leverage the internet for spreading their brand message.
And you should too.
You’re probably wondering how being part of the herd helps you.
Smart Insights reported that 49% of organizations do not have a properly defined online marketing strategy.
Now pair that with HubSpot’s findings that 39% of marketers don’t find their brand’s digital marketing strategy effective.
It’s starting to dawn on you that there is indeed a competitive advantage to be gained here, isn’t it?
And if you don’t want to become one of those numbers, it’s critical that you nail your digital marketing strategy.
That’s why we’ll be looking at some highly effective marketing plans for small businesses. These are guaranteed to make you a success.
1. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing for small business can be very tricky to get right. While the hype for it has solid ground, it’s not an easy plan to integrate into your business
Depending on the type of small business you have, you need to first choose the right platforms. Then work on creating the appropriate content for it.
Your campaign on social media can serve two purposes:
- Firstly, it can help you gain targeted followers. Thus, assuring your brand gets the maximum amount of relevant attention possible.
- The other purpose it serves is to amplify the number of visitors to your website. Where you’ll be able to convert them into customers.
State Bicycle does a good job of this. They promoted a giveaway on Facebook to get new people to sign up on their site.
Albeit a lot of this is actually dependent on content marketing and influencer marketing strategies of your small bussiness. Both of which we’ll talk about shortly.
The important thing to remember is that social media doesn’t just help with your brand awareness. It also allows you to freely engage your customers.
In fact, you have the edge here compared to big brands. Customers like authentic, prompt responses. And as a small business, you’re more than capable of delivering that.
2. Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) is an absolute must of in a marketing plan in small businesses. When I talk about SEM it includes both its components – SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay per click).
To explain the components in simpler words, SEO is about optimizing your site and content to improve your search engine rankings. Thereby, improving your site traffic.
No wonder it’s a top inbound marketing priority for 61% of marketers. This is according to the previously cited HubSpot report.
Paid search or PPC marketing is all about advertising within the sponsored listings of a partner site or search engine. You pay for each click coming through the ad or per impression (CPI).
It’s evident then, that SEO helps you boost your traffic organically while PPC can help your traffic grow faster.
They both clearly have their own benefits. And if I were to recommend a marketing plan for small businesses, I’d go for a balanced strategy involving both.
3. Content Marketing
SEM gives your small business a good marketing foundation and social media gives you a good delivery platform.
The next obvious step is to create and market content that is capable of causing a surge of traffic to your web pages.
Content marketing can take numerous forms, depending on your goals and marketing strategy.
If you’re looking to publish detailed content, then ebooks, white papers, and other long-form content are the ways to go. These can help you gain downloads, site traffic, and leads.
46% of marketers believe research reports generate leads with the best conversion possibility.
That’s exactly what the Content Marketing Institute does. In fact, they have a dedicated online library for users to download their ebooks from.
Image via Content Marketing Institute
On the other hand, you can also use content like testimonial videos or brand advertisements. They are great ways to generate buzz about your small business.
4. Influencer Marketing
This is where you can truly shine as so many other small businesses have. In fact, influencers can seriously elevate the three marketing plans we’ve already discussed.
Working with experts from your niche and other significant influencers can have a major impact on your brand awareness.
It’s essentially a paid form of media advertisement that has a very organic feel to it.
Influencer-generated content and interactions are one of the best ways to increase your organic traffic.
And if you’re collaborating with micro-influencers. There’s nothing like the high engagement rates they’ll bring to your campaign.
And content like testimonials, product reviews, and explainer videos can significantly boost your sales and conversion rates.
Makes sense really. Seeing as 30% of people would try a product recommended by non-celebrity influencers.
Another way you can leverage influencers is to organize social media giveaways with them. Having their fans compete for a prize will shoot up your ratings.
Lizbeth Hernandez does all that and so much more for Glossier in this post. She promotes their new store, demonstrates the use of a product, and does a giveaway.
Pro tip: If you’re running influencer marketing campaigns to your ecommerce website, there are a few tricks you can implement to squeeze every last drop of ROI from the traffic your influencers create.
5. Email Marketing
Now you might think why this dinosaur of a tactic is on this list. But it’s on this list for a reason.
According to the Smart Insight study from before, 30% of marketers rate email marketing to have the highest ROI.
As is evident then, email marketing continues to be one of the best marketing plans for small businesses.
Essentially, this marketing ploy is about building a directory of your existing as well as prospective customers.
It’s list of consumers who might be interested in your business, (and their emails addresses).
And you can safely say that they’re interested because most of the time they’ve opted to be on that list.
Here’s an interesting thing to note. Perhaps you’ve picked up on it already.
Remember all of the points that we discussed earlier?
They help contribute to this golden directory of yours in some way or another.
Whether it’s by signing up to download your white papers, or to take part in that social media giveaway, people will be voluntarily giving you their names and email addresses
From this point onwards, it’s all up to you on how you want to leverage this golden egg of prospects.
An easy way is to send them simple content like newsletters or update them about your latest blog post.
This way you can increase your site traffic and increase the number of times they are exposed to your brand.
By showcasing your authority and credibility in your industry, you’ll be able to convert these leads into sales.
And that’s what matters in the end, doesn’t it?
6. Focus on Local SEO
Since we’re talking about a marketing plan for small businesses, we can’t ignore the role local SEO plays in your marketing success.
Local SEO is a must have marketing plan for a small business with a physical address. Regardless of whether you’re a consultant, a doctor, or a restaurant owner, local SEO will help you gain more customers.
Consider this insightful nugget of information:
Around 76% of people who looked up a nearby business on their phones visited the business within a day. Further, 28% of these searches ended in a purchase.
That’s a pretty staggering percentage by any measure.
It goes to show the importance of being one of the top results when potential customers search for nearby businesses. Focussing on your local SEO helps you do just that.
Now, you’re probably wondering what you can do to improve your local SEO. Well, there are a couple of things that you can do.
The first of which is getting yourself listed in the Google My Business directory. Numerous link aggregators and platforms mine data from Google Maps, so having an updated listing will do you a ton of good.
Image via Google
After that, you want to shift your attention to improving your search rankings to ensure your listing is the top result.
One way to do so is to research relevant long-tail keywords that users might use in their queries to find your business.
This will help you identify the keywords you want to be ranking at the top for. Then you can incorporate them into your website content.
7. Mobile Marketing
Typically, people tend to give a lot of emphasis to social media marketing and content marketing plans for their small business.
A sizeable number of them make the mistake of ignoring the importance of mobile marketing.
Just consider the previous statistic that 78% of people look up nearby businesses on their smartphones.
By no means is that a small number of potential customers. But what does this have to do with mobile marketing?
Well, it’s all about providing the best possible mobile experience you can to mobile device users.
More often that not, if people are having trouble looking up your business on their mobile, they’ll just move on. This is why it’s important to optimize your website to be mobile-friendly.
There are many tools you can use to that end. WordPress, for one, allows you to create a mobile-friendly version of your website.
In addition to having a mobile-optimized website, you can also consider offering a native app for customers to install on their phones.
When it comes to marketing, there really isn’t any magic formula.
What does help though, especially if you’re a small business, is proper planning.
Defining our goals, coming up with a well-thought-out strategy, and nailing your execution is what pushes you across the line.