Being a small business owner is tough! We know it. You know it. You’ve got to be everything to everyone at all times. Hustle, hustle and hustle some more. That’s why we’ve made your life a little easier by giving you ten marketing strategies that can help you as a small business owner, and some tactics to go along with them.
1. Defining your value
Often businesses want to go straight into advertising or talking about their products, rather than understanding and identifying what their value is. Without this, you are just another business advertising another product. You need to really interrogate what your USPs (unique selling points) are and how you differ from your competitors.
Try to find one or two things that make your business truly special. When you find the thing that makes you special, then play up that angle.
2. Search engine optimisation (SEO)
Make sure your website is optimised for search engines to find relevant content. If a customer can’t find you on a search engine, then you are pretty much invisible online.
What contributes to SEO? Creating content for your website that talks to the things your customers are searching for. Having relevant keywords on your website for your industry, brand, products and services. Tagging images correctly and having meta descriptions. It is also important to have a Google My Business page and social media channels set up with the correct names and consistent naming conventions across all your channels. If you are creating content on these channels consistently, you are more likely to rank highly on Google.
3. Email marketing
This one can be a bit tricky because it isn’t that easy to build a database of email addresses. However, if you get it right, email can be a powerful tool for any size business. Email allows you to build a personal relationship with your customers.
You can use tools such as Mailchimp to send bulk emailers, and design them nicely so you have a professional look and feel when engaging with your customers. You can also use these tools to segment your database. This will let customers at different stages in the buying funnel get different content. For example, a returning customer will get different content to someone who just signed up to your newsletter. You can segment by demographics, activity, or even by after-sales.
4. Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool. You won’t always be going viral (or you may never go viral) but consistency is key. Remember, we have already said how important it is for search engines. But it is also a great way to build awareness, and talk about your brand, industry, products and services, and be a little more playful. People spend an average of three hours on social media, and South Africans are spending an average of 10 hours per day on the internet. This is a great place to capture their attention. You can talk about the behind-the-scenes of your business. You could feature yourself, your employees, your premises, the process of manufacturing, case studies or customer success stories. The content world is endless, you just have to find your niche and stick with it.
5. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising
Pay-Per-Click advertising is the auction-based style of online advertising where you only pay if someone clicks on your advert. The downside of PPC is that setting up and managing campaigns on a channel like Google Ads can be tricky, time-consuming, difficult and often you can burn through money if you get it wrong.
Adbot is an automation tool that does the entire Google Ads management and optimisation for you. You only having to pop on a couple of times per week to help your bot learn and to edit your ads.
Ask customers to review your business on Tripadvisor, Airbnb, Google My Business, and local directories. Wherever a review site might be relevant for your business, set up a page and ask customers to give you feedback and tell other people what they thought about the experience. Especially if people send you direct positive feedback; ask them to review you afterwards.
7. Word of mouth
The influence of people on their peers cannot be underestimated. Encouraging people to talk about your business is important. Whether it is online or offline, word of mouth recommendations are a great way to drive more business.
Some fun things to do are to create spaces in your store or business environment where people might want to take a picture. You could also run a competition that encourages people to take a picture of your product and they could win a prize. There are a number of ways to encourage word of mouth promotion about your business.
8. Content marketing
You’re probably thinking: “isn’t content what I put on social?” Yes, and no. Content is a catch-all term for any high-value content you create and host online or even offline. So the content you put out on social is content, but that’s not the only content you create.
White papers can be one of the types of content you create. E-books are content. Livestreaming, webinars, video, case studies, leave behind one-pager presentations are all content. Blog posts are content. Podcasts are content.
There are multiple types and styles of content, and you just have to figure out which content you want to put energy behind creating and then determine where that content will live. Every industry has content that it finds relevant, and your job is to figure out what your core customers are wanting to consume and then create that content and feed it back to them. For example, if you are an online clothing store, it might be helpful for you to create stills and video content of models wearing your clothes and posting it on reels.
Find local businesses that have synergy with your business and work together. For example, a local bakery could work with another local chocolate maker to build excitement for a limited edition once-off baked item featuring that chocolate. The same principle can be applied to clothes shops working with another local designer or celebrity to bring out a limited edition range. There are unlimited options – it’s just about identifying an opportunity and going with it.
10. Sticking to what works
Is Instagram the biggest driver of customers for you? Or is it your website? Has Google Ads driven the most calls to your phone or visits to your site? Look at the data and chat to your customers to learn about how they found you. Figure out which of your activities are working best and keep hammering on that door.
So that’s it. If you start today, you’ll be much further than if you want to have it all perfectly mapped out and only start in one year’s time. In the hustle economy, action is the name of the game.