It’s always the small businesses that used to suffer at the wrath of giant corporations that remained market leaders, primarily because of fewer resources and funds. Luckily, times have changed and with the right small business marketing ideas, small business owners can stay competitive.
There are so many corporations that started out small but gained success within a decade due to their creativity – but also because technology enabled them to.
The digital world isn’t as costly as traditional marketing used to be, which means that anyone can start up a business with just an idea.
Still, the biggest reason why small businesses fail remains a lack of capital or funding.
So what differentiates successful startups?
Good management of their time, money and resources.
That is why I have listed down the 3 best small business marketing ideas so that you can fall in the small portion of startup businesses that don’t fail (that’s 10% by the way, because that’s how many startups survive more than 5 years):
#1. Get your business trending
The most important thing you need to do as a small business is to create awareness for your brand.
Once that has been established, it’s just a snowball effect because sales will grow automatically from thereon.
The first part is the hardest, but here’s how you can get through it effectively:
At the moment, word of mouth is the most trust rich form of communication and that’s because it flows from consumer to consumer with no business control on it whatsoever.
Statistically speaking, 92% of customers trust product reviews from their friends and family.
Not only that, but 88% of consumers also trust reviews from strangers – and that means online reviews so you need to make sure you keep all your customers happy.
If you use it to your advantage, you can get the ball rolling from here.
Every time a customer makes a purchase from you, politely ask them to refer your brand to their friends and family.
Hand them a card if it’s an in-store experience or just email/text them your business details if it’s an online purchase.
Just make sure you don’t seem too pushy because that can drive customers away just as easily.
- Guerrilla Marketing
This is it. This is what Guerrilla Marketing is.
It’s when you advertise in such a unique way that it turns heads and remains memorable for people.
In other words, for today’s generation, it’s also something that ‘goes viral’.
This is just another example of how marketing has changed significantly.
Guerrilla marketing is also called street marketing, which brought about its only downside i.e. it was too local because it only reached a certain number of people that lived or worked in that area.
However, nowadays, you just need to create a creative campaign and your customers will make it go viral for you.
It takes one picture and one hashtag to make something viral. Your job is only to create content that is good enough to be shared.
For example, if I saw that Mars truck just cruising along a highway, I would definitely gawk in awe of how realistic it looked and then send a picture to all my friends – who would do the same and, viola! That’s how the campaign became famous.
- SMS & Email
There have been so many studies on SMS and they all conclude the same thing – around 75% of customers want businesses to contact them via text.
Similarly, email is a great way to let consumers know more about your product or service.
However, you need to keep in mind that both platforms are permission-based, so you’ll have to ask your customers to opt into your campaign in order to send them promotional messages and offers.
Again, only the first part is the hardest.
To get potential customers to subscribe to your campaigns, offer them incentives, for example, ‘Get 20% off on your next order by opting into our campaign!’
Keep growing your SMS and email lists to maximise your customer base and boost sales.
Just make sure you send out interesting messages that keep your subscribers engaged, otherwise, they may even opt-out!
Check out these tips for a great SMS Marketing Campaign.
- Social Media
Ah, the secret behind every small business’s success.
Social media is a key factor behind the survival of most small businesses.
Here’s what different platforms can do for you:
Facebook has done a lot to create ease of use for companies to conduct business through its app.
With Facebook Messenger, you can interact with employees.
Set up a customer representative team to deal with any queries that your customers may have.
If you respond instantly, not only will you customers appreciate your service, but Facebook will reward you with this badge, prompting more customer interactiveness:
Similarly, you can use the Workplace by Facebook app to interact effectively with your employees.
It’s actually very useful because it’s like a private Facebook app for your business. In other words, it acts like an Intranet.
Today, it has over 3 million paying users, which just goes to show how successful it has been.
Lastly, Facebook Business Manager acts as an analytical tool that helps you track the performance of your Facebook campaigns.
With graphed reports, you can assess the reach of your posts, engagement, click-through rate and much more:
The business Ignite Visibility can calculate their Return on Investment by comparing the amount of money they spent on Facebook ads and the impressions that they were able to gauge from it.
The best part is, it’s absolutely free so it’s a great small business marketing idea that won’t burden you with excessive payments in order to track your marketing campaign’s performance.
Similarly, Google has a number of tools for marketing, but I won’t get into that because it’s a whole other story:
Check out Google’s Top 10 tools that you can use for your business.
#2. Video Marketing
I’ll be talking about this again and again since it’s one of the biggest trends for the upcoming year.
There’s a number of ways through which you can incorporate video content into your marketing strategy:
- Live videos
The introduction of video content is aimed at maximising interactiveness – and live videos just take that another step forward.
The edge that small businesses have over larger businesses is that they’re more personalised.
That means better communication with a customer – since you have a smaller workforce there are more opportunities for you to directly interact with customers.
Live videos aid you in doing that.
My personal favorite is Tomcat’s ‘Facebook Not Live’ video.
The rodent station company produced absolutely amazing interactive content on Halloween for their viewers.
They marketed the event beforehand, and on the night of Halloween they began a live video where the audience could guess how the rodents would be killed in the comment section:
With a staggering 2.3 million views out of which 21% of viewers participated, Tomcat’s Facebook userbase shot up by 58%.
Later, the company even won the Cyber Lion award for its creative content.
The lesson to be learned here is that all you need is a creative idea that’ll engage your viewers and social media will do its part in making it go viral.
- YouTube ads
The first thing that viewers do is go right to that ‘Skip ad’ button and get straight to what they want to watch (Okay, that’s what I do but I’m guessing everyone else does that too).
So if you want to place an ad between YouTube videos that viewers actually watch, it has to be:
Unless the first 2 seconds of your ad isn’t great, chances are, most of your viewers will skip it.
Marketers recommend that YouTube ads are no longer than 6 seconds.
Here’s one that definitely caught my attention and gave me a good laugh:
Again, the emphasis is on creating an innovative ad that grabs users’ attention.
- User reviews
79% of consumers say that user generated content influences their purchase decisions.
Instead of posting customer reviews on their business pages, companies are now compiling or reposting customer feedback in videos and that’s way more effective.
Why? Because it’s also more authentic.
Anyone can write customer feedback, and many times, reviews are found to be posted from fake accounts.
With videos, however, you can see the person behind the review. It’s personal, it’s reliable and it’s much more engaging.
#3. Work on your content
You might think, where would I have the time to blog and come up with content when I’m trying to survive in such a competitive market?
Well, online marketing can’t be ignored, and if you don’t create content that is Search Engine Optimised, then how will you have any online presence?
Effective blogging is the foundation of online visibility.
Without that, your website may just as well not exist, because it would rank in the double digit search result pages which no one ever looks through.
The other option would be to pay Google to rank your website on top – but why pay for something when you can get it done for free?
Here’s how you can optimise your website to rank higher:
- Create a blog
If you already have a blog, you’ll want to use keywords that your users are likely to search for.
For that, you can check out SEMRush, a tool that’ll come up with the most trending and relevant keywords for your business.
Once you know those, you need to incorporate them correctly.
Using them more frequently at the start of your articles is a trick that’ll get your website to rank higher.
Produce ample amount of content to maximise online visibility, but make sure you also focus on quality and not quantity – because if it isn’t interesting, your users aren’t going to read it and your efforts will be in vain.
- Optimise your website
There are a number of ways you can do this.
Use clear headings with relevant keywords so that Google bots rank your page higher when consumers search for your product or service.
Similarly, your web pages should load in under 3 seconds, otherwise, most of your users will abandon the site.
Moreover, good web design will also determine how long users stay on the site. If it’s difficult to navigate, they will eventually abandon it – leading to a high bounce rate.
For this purpose, you will definitely need a good web designer, because your goal should be to maximize conversions i.e. the percentage of website visitors that purchase something before they leave the site.
Conclusion to small business marketing ideas
These small business marketing ideas are crucial for your business, especially in the beginning.
Since you need ideas that cost less but are highly effective, go for some of the tools that I’ve mentioned in my hyperlinks, and here are a few more ideas that can help boost growth for local online businesses.
Last but not least, creativity and innovation have always been the leading factor that pushes businesses towards success.
It’s like the secret ingredient without which the recipe wouldn’t taste so great, so make sure you have great ideas, otherwise, good management and planning can only take you so far.