In today’s highly competitive marketplace, SMB marketing plays a vital role in helping small businesses succeed. Advances in technology have revolutionised marketing for businesses of all sizes, and there are now more ways to advertise than ever.
From smartphones and tablets to traditional mailshots, the key is figuring out which marketing forms are the best fit for your business. Experimenting with low cost marketing strategies is the way to go until you find the tool that works.
To help you get started, CallFire has compiled our Top 15 SMB marketing strategies that all business owners can embrace.
SMS marketing is currently making serious waves in the digital marketing sector. We all have a mobile in our pocket, we just can’t stop looking at our phone screens, and mobile marketing presents a really easy, affordable way to get your message out there to different audiences via their devices. Text messages have a staggeringly high open-and-read rate - far higher than email - and they allow quick response and customer feedback channels. The trick here is balance, and being mindful of your customers’ genuine needs when you decide how often, who and what to text.
Blogging is one of the most effective forms of content marketing, and there are plenty of free blog platforms out there for you to use. Start a blog and you can reach a large audience of people who are interested in your business, your sector, or the services you offer. It’s a great way to keep people informed about what you’re up to - the ups as well as the downs of your business. Marketing shouldn’t be your primary agenda; be genuinely informative and let people know about news and developments within your industry, and start a discussion about it.
Social Media Marketing
There’s no escaping the power of social media marketing today. Social media provides an instant gateway to potential customers of all ages, all over the world, so make the most of it. Get the basics covered - create a Facebook and Instagram page, and a verified Twitter account. Where you go from there is only limited by your creativity. One major point to remember is that you need to keep active on these social channels. It’s no use creating a Facebook page and only posting once every six months - people will simply switch off.
Directory Site Marketing
One of the simplest ways to instantly attract more customers in your area is to create and maintain an informative listing on a directory site like Yelp. These sites are databases of info where people all over the country can search for businesses and services locally or further afield. They’re also home to customer reviews, so a strong and positive presence here can give potential customers trust in your business. Give people all the info they need to come visit, including photos, an accurate map location and up to date opening hours.
Networking and LinkedIn
The oldest form of marketing is still free, and still vital. Networking is something that every business, no matter their budget, has access to. Look up your local business association, conferences of interest and networking events and sign up. As well as getting out there and shaking hands for real, sites like LinkedIn provide a really useful modern networking tool. Set up a profile page for yourself where you can promote your business and network with people all over the world.
Reviews and Ratings
People pay attention to reviews and ratings on Google - good and bad. It gives customers an instant feel for whether or not they want to trust your business. Encourage your happy customers to leave positive online feedback on Google, Yelp, Facebook and Twitter wherever you can. This cost-effective way of marketing means your customers are actually doing some of the work for you.
Did you know that you don’t need an Instagram account to run ads on Instagram? Clicks on Instagram ads can lead directly to landing pages or website URLs without filtering through an Instagram profile. Now the site is owned and managed by Facebook, you can run ads via Facebook instead. Facebook has over 600 targeting options, so can target many specific groups that are a perfect fit your company’s profile.
Ads on Mobile
It costs less to run a mobile ad than it does a tablet or desktop ad, so consider prioritising mobile marketing. You can really stretch your budget via the likes of Facebook and Google where you have the power to allocate the bulk of your marketing funds to ads that run on smartphones with full browsers.
Start building up your email mailing list by promoting it where you can. On receipts, poster ads, newspaper ads, in-store and via SMS. Edit your lists into target groups so you can send targeted offers easily, and encourage your mailing list to sign up for your mobile marketing list too.
Flex Targeting to Upscale your Social Media Campaigns
Flex targeting on Facebook enables you to target Facebook profiles that match two or more characteristics. Choose whatever characteristics suit you and your business - pet owners, parents, singles, age groups, past purchases, are just a few examples. Targeting can make your social media campaigns more effective without costing the earth.
While people may bow to the almighty Google, Bing is still the search engine of choice for 30% of Americans - and cost per click is typically lower than AdWord’s. Ignoring Bing is a mistake, as it’s also the search engine that powers Siri, Amazonf Fire Phone, Xbox and Kindle Fire.
If a consumer clicks on your ad on Facebook but doesn’t convert, you can now automatically remarket to them on another channel, ideally with a different ad. It means they see your name on Facebook, then AdWords, then Bing, then on their mobile, reminding the customer of your brand and making you appear more influential.
Marketing by Fax
Fax may be old, but it’s still effective. Today’s fax machines often work email systems, and they remain a strong way to target very specific audiences. You can send well-time and personalized messages and offers to individuals, making them feel as if they aren’t just the recipient of yet another marketing email.
Super-targeted audiences with Google AdWords
SMB’s might not turn to AdWord display network campaigns as their first port of call, but with the platform’s manual placement facility it could well be worth the money. Manual placements allow you to only show ads on specific sites that are hand-picked with a particular customer profile in mind. It means that when you do want to invest in a display campaign you’ll get way more impact for you buck.
Look out for businesses in your area that complement your own and see if you can partner up. A bit of ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ can help market both your businesses to wider audience and lead to cross-referrals. Galleries partnering with framers, car dealerships with car detailers and repair shops - keep each other’s business cards or flyers handy and spread the word for each other.
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