Marketing tools for small businesses
What to consider before you build your business marketing strategy.
Selecting a business marketing strategy can be daunting. With countless marketing tools and features at your disposal, how do you know which strategy offers the most bang for your buck?
Explore business marketing services, cost and what to consider before marketing your business.
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How should I market my business?
When it comes to business marketing, the sky's the limit. Explore the numerous marketing paths and strategies that hinge on several important factors.
How you get your product or service in front of a potential customer depends on the type of business you run and how you want to connect with your audience. And what works best for one company may not be ideal for your business.
Here are some marketing options to help you get an edge on the competition:
Promoting your goods or services by email offers the opportunity to spread the word about your business — with the added perk of being relatively cheap and convenient. Launching an email marketing campaign connects you with customers, keeps them updated with newsletters and advertises offers and perks.
Social media marketing
As one of the most popular ways to market your business, social media involves creating pages or accounts on popular platforms to connect with your audience. Create posts, share stories, upload photos and respond to comments from followers to spread brand reach and awareness.
Improve your SEO ranking
This is only really relevant if you choose to sell products online via an online storefront, rather than a marketplace. Having good SEO (search engine optimisation) is important for your business to be reached by your target demographic. There are multiple ways to continuously improve on your SEO, such as the following:
- Creating regular and informative content (e.g. a blog)
- Link to your social media
- Get other trusted sites to link to your website
- Link to other trusted websites
Tool such as SEMrush can help make SEO easy.
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Display ads online typically include banner ads and pay-per-click marketing, whereas print ads encompass newspaper ads, magazines and other print media.
Billboards, posters, bus stations or shopping malls are out-of-home media ads. Despite the rise in popularity of digital marketing, many big brands still opt for out-of-home marketing to increase brand visibility.
Other business marketing tools include:
- Direct mail. Ads send by mail, including postcards, letters, self-mailers, catalogs and circulars.
- Loyalty programs. Reward return customers with a perk or reward, typically by offering a product discount.
- Content marketing. A large chunk of the digital marketing space includes valuable content — like blog posts— aimed at encouraging customer engagement.
- Event marketing. This marketing strategy utilizes both in-person and online events to boost sales, promote products and build brand awareness.
- Surveys. Conduct surveys in-person, by email or on the telephone and uncover practical business analytics to help you improve your product or service.
Free tip: Take control of your local listings.
What does your company's digital footprint say about your business? Taking ownership of your local listings can help you manage your online reputation — impacting brand awareness.
Adding your business to these directories increases visibility and engagement. Not only does this validate you in the eyes of a potential customer, but it also lends credibility to the business.
Respond to customer reviews, add photos of your storefront, link to your company's website and more when you sign up for these popular local directories:
- Apple Maps
- Google Places
- Yellow Pages
Creating a social media page also gives you access to marketing tools that can benefit your business. Social media is also one of the most highly effective forms of marketing. And the best part is, you don't have to pay for it. That being said, paying for ads on social media is also really effective for bringing new interest to your page, and by default, your products.
Free social media marketing
Building a community of loyal followers on your social media platform if effectively a form of free marketing. Loyal followers who are interested in your brand and products are likely to become customers themselves, but they are also likely to comment on and share your posts. This makes your posts visible to new potential customers. Of course, nothing is truly free. Building a loyal online following takes time, effort and dedication.
Sponsored social media ads
Sponsored social media marketing allows you to directly target people who are likely to be interested in your product who don't yet follow your brand. If you have any form of social media yourself, this should come as no surprise to you. Often you only have to think of an item and it pops up on your news feed. Well, yours could be that product. So, if you have some marketing budget put aside, investing money into social media marketing could be a very worthwhile venture.
Another great way of marketing on social media is to pique the interest of influencers. Influencers are people with a large social media following of people who are interested in their lifestyle. While some influencers may require payment for promoting your products, others may do it for free if you send them samples. Reach out to influencers who suit your brand and see if they'd be interested in becoming a brand ambassador for your business and promoting your products on their page.
Even if you opt for a storefront platform that offers its own marketing advantages, it's still a good idea to create a social media page to keep customers informed of your business and point them to where they can purchase your products.
How do I decide what marketing tools I need?
There are a number of factors to consider before you embark on a marketing campaign:
- Type of business. The marketing tools a restaurant uses are vastly different than those of an online retailer. Consider what your business sells and the best way to present your product or service.
- Target audience. Your audience dictates the channels of your business marketing efforts.
- Budget. The length and complexity of your marketing campaign depends on how much you can afford to spend on services and tools.
- Location. Local mom-and-pop shops may not want to advertise outside their township, but if you're an online retailer looking to expand your reach, consider expanding the breadth of your campaign.
- Goal. Are you trying to generate leads? Increase engagement? Spread brand awareness? The short- and long-term goals of your business can help you narrow down your marketing targets.
How much does marketing cost?
Marketing costs vary between services, tools and platforms:
- In-house. Marketing your business in-house means relying on your team to execute your marketing strategy. You'll need to cover the cost of your employees' time and the tools and services you use. Beginner-tiers with services like Moz and HubSpot's Marketing Hub Enterprise could be a good place to start.
- Agency. Marketing agencies can take the guesswork out of executing an effective marketing strategy. Agencies offer expertise bundled into a convenient service, but can be costly. Prices vary by service and business size but be prepared to shell out between $1,000 to $20,000+ per month to a marketing agency.
- DIY and free options. Do-it-yourself marketing tools include in-person networking at industry events and managing your social media presence. These strategies may demand more of your time, but your return-on-investment correlates with your investment.
Frequently asked questions
What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing is any form of marketing that takes place on the Internet, mobile apps or digital media.
What is sponsored content?
Content that features the product or service of an advertiser created by a brand or influencer. The content is paid for by the advertiser as a means of spreading awareness of the product or service organically. This form of marketing has become especially popular on platforms like Instagram and YouTube.
What is a business marketing channel?
Marketing channels are the avenues you use to market your business to potential customers. These can include your business website, social media platforms, email, paid ads and even word-of-mouth marketing.
What is a business marketing plan?
An outline of your marketing strategy typically includes marketing tools, advertising goals, time frames and key performance indicators.
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