The ultimate goal of almost every small business is to eventually grow into a thriving company that can be compared with the big names. In this article we discuss Small Business Marketing: Trends to Refine Your Marketing Efforts
But how can startups compete with renowned enterprises that spend exorbitant amounts of money on their marketing strategy?
With innovation, creativity, and maximum use of free tools, of course. By following marketing trends and applying proven tactics.
In this article, we talk about trends that can refine your marketing efforts and make your small business stand out but without breaking the bank.
Develop a Good Content Marketing Strategy
Everything starts with a solid marketing strategy. Even if your small business runs on a modest budget and you can’t afford the same marketing tactics that big names use all the time, you can take your time and develop a content marketing strategy that is sure to bring results.
Although content involves so much more than blogging, the easiest way to start is to work on your website content or blog. If you still don’t have one on your business website, start putting up a content plan and figure out what your audience would be interested in reading.
For example, if you sell cookware, you can write useful, extensive guides on what type of cookware to buy. Based on your helpful content, your customers can make informed decisions.
If you consider the fact that about 81% of consumers turn to Google to research before they purchase something, it becomes clear that this is an opportunity you shouldn’t neglect.
Provide your target audience with the information they require regarding a product or service and you’ll be one step closer to winning their trust.
A successful content marketing strategy implies:
- Posting consistently (not necessarily every day but do try to have a schedule or a weekly goal and stick to it);
- Provide answers to relevant questions and problems your customers may have (this is where keyword research jumps in: find out what your target audience is searching for and provide just that)
Take Advantage of Video Popularity and Live Streaming
Video content is huge right now. In fact, it is predicted that by 2023, video content will make up for over 80% of all internet traffic. Hence, almost all the platforms we use now enable live streaming starting with Facebook, Instagram, etc.
You can take advantage of this and connect with your audience on a deeper level. If customers have a choice of watching a video or reading a lengthy article, rest assured that they will choose the first option.
It is easier to watch a short, engaging video than it is to read a bunch of information. People react to images better and tend to memorise things they see.
The videos are both entertaining and informational. More importantly, videos get shared a lot.
While it is still crucial to have quality blog posts, guides, and how-to’s on your website without video content, consider your marketing efforts incomplete.
Share tips and tricks about your products, educate your consumers, help them resolve their problems, answer their questions, etc.
You can also upload videos to YouTube and post tutorials or reviews. There are so many ways to use video content to engage with your audience and you must do so, especially now while we’re practising social distancing and lack human contact.
Focus on Search Engine Optimization
We cannot speak of content strategy without an SEO strategy. Writing a comprehensive, quality guide on a certain topic/problem is not sufficient to increase your search rankings.
Search Engine Optimization is a crucial part of your content marketing efforts since, with the correct keyword research and relevant topics, you can boost traffic to your website organically and at a low cost.
If you have quality content and you’ve done a good job with SEO, your blogs will surely stand out and appear on the first page of search results.
This is why SEO is a trend that won’t go away anytime soon. It is both affordable and highly effective. More importantly, it enables small businesses to have equal chances of competing for that elusive page, one of Google’s search results.
Organic results are very much possible, they just require time and effort invested in learning about and applying the best SEO practices. The size of your company does not determine the level of success you can achieve here. You can always look for the best local seo services to help you.
Using Social Media to Drive Revenue
Statistics reveal that 41% of local businesses rely on social media when it comes to driving revenue. Social media is an extremely powerful, free tool that is pretty much a mandatory part of any marketing strategy nowadays.
It’s hard even to imagine trying to market a product without talking about it on social media. As they say, you need to go where your target audience is and today, almost everyone is on social media. The question is merely where exactly? Which social media networks to focus on?
This requires research to figure out which networks do your audience favour and then approach them via said channels. If it’s Instagram, then focus on posting and promoting your content on this platform, for example. You can also use social media to promote your blog posts and sponsored content.
Engage with your audience, respond to their comments, and make your approach human and relatable. Statistics indicate that customers who engage with a company on these social platforms end up spending more money on their products compared to those who don’t.
Use Google My Business
Create a Google My Business account for free to drive more engagement. When you start a small business your first goal should be to attract local customers and win the local market. This is exactly where Google My Business can help.
This free tool enables you to promote your business to customers and boost your online presence. With this tool, customers will find your business more easily while they search for information regarding a product/service and prepare to make a purchase.
Even though your account contains only limited information about your business (such as the name of your business and your location) it is a valuable free tool that you should definitely use to drive more traffic to your website.
Not only is it cost-effective and thus perfect for struggling small businesses, but it will significantly increase your brand visibility on Google search and maps.
Use Automation for Repetitive Tasks
Another effective method that will help you refine your marketing efforts in 2021 is marketing automation. If you haven’t started using this yet, you should jump on it as soon as possible.
You have probably heard a lot about automation but perhaps you dismissed the idea as something reserved for big names only. On the contrary, using automation software frees up a lot of your time while boosting conversions.
Instead of manually posting everything every day and manually sending emails to your customer base, digital tools will do this for you. For example, you can schedule your posts on social media and save time. Or you can have a digital tool instantly send an email to a new customer who signs up for your list.
Another way to use automation software is to install a chatbot on your website so that customers who have questions do not have to wait long for a response. A chatbot instantly provides answers to basic questions and thus frees up time for human agents to focus on more pressing customer issues.
This is valuable because it is well-known that customers dislike waiting for an agent to resolve their issues. They prefer to find the answer on their own in your FAQ base, for example. With a chatbot available on your website, they can simply ask a specific question and receive an instant pre-set answer.
Marketing automation handles all the repetitive tasks that take up a lot of your time daily. Whether you use it for social media posts, emails, or interaction with customers, it is highly recommended.
Learn From Your Competitors
When it comes to marketing efforts, while your budget can’t even remotely be compared to those of big corporations, there are things you can learn from them for free.
Whatever product or service you offer, there are probably hundreds of similar businesses that offer the same. Observe your competition and their marketing campaign. What kind of content do they post? What sort of visuals do they use? How do they manage to engage their audience?
Note that there is nothing wrong with applying the same methods as your competitors, you’re not stealing their business logo or intellectual property.
By observing other successful businesses, especially large thriving companies, and their marketing efforts, you can gain valuable insight into what to do or at least what not to do. Learn what their mistakes are and try to avoid them. Don’t forget to check out the reviews and see how these other businesses are performing. If most of the reviews praise the brand and product, you should continue researching about said brand and learn from them.
You can even reach out to local businesses and interact with them to see what marketing methods worked for them or didn’t work. Networking can only work in your favour so you have nothing to lose.
Stay up to Date
Finally, to keep refining your marketing efforts in 2021, you should continue following the trends and keeping up with the latest tools and methods.
It requires time to research and stay up to date on marketing technology and trends, but it is certainly worth it if you’re serious about growing your small business.
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Alexander Hunkin is an Australian-based startup advisor with in-depth experience in growing businesses. His meaningful and strategic advice has helped in setting up and growing many startup companies in Brisbane and Perth. Alexander is also a content creator for different niches. When he isn’t busy working, you can find him cooking exotic meals, scuba diving and cycling.