The online marketing world is fullof marketing strategies for small businesses — it’s like a ridiculous buffet of options, so how do you choose what will work for you? That’s what this post is for; categorizing digital marketing strategies for you based on whether you’re starting out or have been at this for a while.
Get your coffee and some sticky notes and pick your top three strategies that make sense to implement from today. Hint: action is the sweet spot for online marketing success.
Basic online marketing tips and tricks for start-ups
1. Know your customer
The basic basics are more important than everything else that follows in this article, so don’t skip this part. Make sure you have well-researched clarity on:
- Who is your ideal client and why? What motivates them? What problems are they looking to solve? What are their spending patterns?
- Where do your ideal clients hang out online?
- How do you offer your products/services in a way that differentiates you from your competitors, and how do you make your target audience aware of this?
2. Engage with your customers
From answering the above, you will see which social platforms you need to grow your brand presence on, and start getting a handle on howyou do that. Don’t start on too many platforms at once. Grow them one or two at a time, then use the customer engagement data to inform what you do next.
Use your happy customers’ testimonials and reviews as part of your social media content. Customers love to check the reviews of others before buying.
3. Create content that speaks the language of your customers
Use all engagement with your customers as a basis for creating online marketing content for your website, newsletters, and social media platforms. A little planning doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but it can certainly help create one. Create messaging that tells them about the solutions they are looking for in their terms, and make it relatable to your customer demographics, i.e. their spending motivations, economic status, seasonal considerations, etc. Repurpose content for all your various channels — regular blog posts on your website, newsletters (that include links to the posts and products you’re marketing), push messages, social media posts, etc.
4. Optimize your website
Make it easy for your customers to find what they are looking for, and to find your business online. Do some keyword research and implement it into your website’s backend for SEO. Fix any website pages and links that aren’t working, group relevant pages and products together, make sure your checkout process works smoothly.
Use quality imagesfor your website, social media, and videos when showcasing products and services. Preferably, include visuals that have people interacting with it. It’s a psychology hack — people are more drawn to buying when they see how something works when someone else is using it.
5. Use free and low-cost marketing strategies
Use all the online free marketing strategies at your disposal.
- List your business on Google My Business, local directories (online and offline).
- Participate in online forums such as Quora and Reddit to increase online visibility but don’t be salesy, just be helpful. Those who are interested will click on your profile links and engage with you from there.
- Start a Facebook group or join a relevant one to engage with potential customers. Again, just be a helpful human, contribute value, and you’ll attract some customers soon enough.
- Also, use Facebook live to get more engagement — people love the excitement of live interactions and demonstrations of a product or service.
- Post ads on relevant online directories — it costs nothing. With a little creativity, you can definitely score some leads.
- Work on building out your email list — this is more important than your social media audience because emails are one of the most direct marketing tools you have. It’s one of the best low-cost marketing strategies. For incentive, offer a small discount on their first order, or a valuable lead magnet that showcases your expertise while helping them solve a problem. Send newsletters, test offers, get customer feedback using short surveys, make the most of this tool — you have a lot to work with here.
- Incentivise referrals and testimonials. Do your best to over-deliver and give your customers a positive, memorable experience from their first interaction through after-sales support, to convert them to loyal long-term customers.
- Run helpful webinars and workshops to boost your network and create more opportunities.
- Attend industry events online and in-person, and speak up to contribute what you can. Build relationships — it remains the best way to get noticed and grow a business.
- Be a guest on podcasts and write guest posts on relevant industry blogs — this can take some more time but when used as part of a carefully planned PR strategy, the payoff is totally worth it.
- In short, be a fantastic human and a brand ambassador for your company wherever you are, online and offline. Look for opportunities to be helpful (not salesy, ew), even if it means referring someone who turns out to notbe an ideal customer for you, to a competitor. There are enough clients for everyone. Be generous and patient — you never know when the one person you help might send a huge deal your way.
More advanced online marketing strategies for a small business
- Combine different methodologies at the same time. Start adding paid (low-cost) strategies to free strategies. For instance, if you’ve been using organic SEO-optimization techniques, add paid strategies to that based on your data. Add Pinterest for additional SEO impact.
- Combine different platforms to get your message out to a wider audience. For instance, if you’ve only been marketing on Facebook and LinkedIn, explore posting to Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. You can do it on a low budget to test and see what gets you the best responses and conversions on which platforms, then gradually increase your budget based on those results.
- Combine different media in your online marketing content and upgrade the production quality of your content as you are able. You don’t necessarily need to hire professional videographers and editors to test this out. Combine text posts with images, template posts, videos that incorporate current trends, reels, stories, and audio clips with images. Review the engagement rates after three months and focus on what works best.
- Use professional copywriters and social media marketers to help you plan concise, sharp, and powerful marketing messages. You know the old saying, two heads are better than one? This is a huge help because you can be so up to your eyeballs in your own business that it’s hard to see the special x-factors that stand out to your target audience. A fresh perspective from someone else can help to focus on the precise words your customers use to describe what they like about your offering and impact results accordingly.
Pro-level marketing for a small business
- Use paid tools to save time and get more bang for your marketing buck. These tools can cover various aspects of your online marketing efforts, such as Google Ad campaigns, paid SEO, social media scheduling tools, helpful writing tools, and more.
- Automate your Google ads by using Adbot. It saves you money and a ton of time by using AI to constantly improve your ad campaigns, making them more effective based on data.
- Plan, batch- create, and schedule online marketing content to improve consistency and focused marketing messages to your target audience. A day or two of solid planning around your marketing efforts for the next 3-6 months can contribute so much time-saving clarity, and it gets you and your team on the same page with messaging, ideas, strategies, goals, etc.
- If your business has sufficient momentum and steady growth, consider running an affiliate marketing program and/or collaborations with relevant micro-influencers to push it further. Collaborations have great potential for adding whole new markets to your target audience who have not been exposed to your offering yet.
- Get a business coach — it’s worth investing in your own personal and professional development as it related to business to get your mindset ready for the next level of success. There’s something powerful about spending money on having someone keep you accountable for the responsibilities that come with planning and achieving business success. Remember, without you, where would your business be? This is worth discussing in coaching — how to get your business to where it can run with as little input from you as possible.