For small business owners, every dollar counts. Combine that with the fact that there are about a million different ways to advertise, and the concept of marketing may feel utterly overwhelming. Take a deep breath.
While a small business owner may never have the same resources and budget as larger competitors, all is not lost. Here are four tips to help you get the most out of your small business marketing efforts.
Know Your Audience
Knowing who uses your products or services is critical to any company’s marketing efforts. Period. However, while large businesses can afford to squander money, many small businesses cannot, making this step even more important.
The process of gathering information about your target audience is often referred to as “building a buyer persona.” During this process you’re trying to gather as much information as possible about the person who would purchase your products or services from concrete facts like their age to more abstract ideas like their pain points. Building a persona will help you understand not only where your target customers spend their time, for example, Facebook versus Tik Tok, but also what your target customers need to know before making a decision.
In other words, the buyer persona will help you understand what small business marketing tactics are likely to be the most effective.
In order to start collecting information use:
- Google Analytics (or another website analytics service).
- Customer surveys.
- Customer interviews.
- Sales data.
- Industry data.
Sometimes, as the business owner, it can be difficult to be objective when building a buyer persona. For example, if you’re a big fan of Twitter it may be tempting to lean on that platform even if that isn’t where your target audience is. An agency that specializes in small- to medium-sized businesses, like St. Gregory, can assist you with building an accurate buyer persona based on facts.
Turn to Digital
Once you understand who your target audience is, it’s time to start reaching them. When it comes to cost-effective tactics for small business marketing, digital channels are a great option. Digital marketing encompasses a wide variety of tactics including:
- Organic social media marketing.
- Search engine optimization (SEO).
- Search engine marketing (SEM).
- Display ads.
- Paid social media marketing.
- Email marketing.
There are many benefits to using digital channels for small business marketing including:
- It’s easier to track and measure ROI. Using tools like Google Analytics and UTM parameters, which are free, you can measure the impact of your digital marketing efforts.
- You can target your buyer persona. Many digital channels allow you to get very granular with targeting including targeting by location, gender, and age.
- You can start with a small budget, and you can pause or stop your efforts easily and quickly.
- The ability to reach just about any buyer persona. There are very few buyer personas that are not reachable using digital marketing. Even if your target audience is an older demographic, they’re online. According to Pew Research Center, as of 2021, 73% of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 are on social media.
Pull Double Duty
Another way to maximize your small business marketing efforts is to lean on tactics that can serve double-duty. In other words, focus on tactics that give you twice the bang for your buck. Here are two examples of marketing tactics that can help a small business in multiple ways:
Ask customers for feedback in the form of online reviews.
There are many benefits to asking current customers to review your business. For example, your customers will feel that you care about the experience they had. This may increase the likelihood that they use your company in the future. In addition, you may uncover valuable information that you can use to improve your products or services as well as the overall customer experience.
However, there are also marketing benefits to seeking customer reviews. First, there’s a high likelihood that your buyer persona does research online, including reading reviews, before making a purchase. In fact, according to a GE Capital Retail Bank study “When it comes to making big purchases, 81 percent of consumers go online before heading out to a store ….” Having online reviews can help get your target audience to trust you.
If these online reviews are done through Google, they can also help with your local SEO efforts. Google specifically says “Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’ local ranking.”
As you can see, asking customers for online reviews can be very advantageous without costing you much at all, if anything.
Learn more: Concerned you might receive a negative review? If that happens, here are tips on when and how to respond to negative reviews.
Invest in video.
Another marketing tactic that can be very powerful is using videos. Unfortunately, many small businesses are intimidated by the idea of creating videos. They think it is too complicated and too expensive. However, with the help of a small business marketing agency, like St. Gregory, which has full service in-house video production capabilities, you can produce videos that pull double-duty.
For example, you could use videos on YouTube, other social media platforms, and your website. Not sold on video? Here are a few stats that might sway you:
- YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google.
- According to Forbes, 90% of consumers use video to make purchasing decisions.
- A Sprout Social article states that videos generate 1200% more social media shares than posts with just images and text.
- Plus, visitors spend 88% more time on a website that has video, according to Sprout Social. Keeping people on your site longer can be beneficial for your SEO efforts. Read more about bounce rate and why it matters here.
As you can see, videos can help you on social media and with search engines as well as to push your buyer persona further into the sales funnel. That’s a lot from just one piece of creative.
Learn more: Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to make a video or YouTube ad people will actually watch.
You’re Not Alone
The last tip to maximize your small business marketing efforts is to realize you aren’t alone. If you started a small business, you probably have a lot to do and adding another thing to your list, especially if that thing doesn’t play to your strengths, may simply be too much. Good news—you don’t have to do it all.
Small business marketing doesn’t have to be your responsibility. While it is important that you’re involved in the process you don’t have to do it all. There are small business marketing agencies, like St. Gregory that are ready, willing, and excited to work with you.
When you opt for a small business marketing agency you don’t have to worry about getting lost in the shuffle. At national marketing agencies you may be a very small fish in a very large pond, but at medium and small business marketing agencies you’ll get the attention you deserve.
Learn more: If you are considering hiring a marketing agency, here are six questions to ask.
In addition, small business marketing agencies have experience maximizing your marketing dollars. At St. Gregory, we have experience working with businesses with a wide variety of budgets. We know how to efficiently use your marketing dollars. If you’re ready to maximize your small business marketing efforts, contact St. Gregory today.