What is Small Business Marketing?
Small business marketing is the process of developing and implementing a marketing strategy for small businesses. It can be split into two categories; 1) online, and 2) offline.
Online small business marketing includes SEO (search engine optimization), paid advertising (PPC), social media marketing (SMM), email marketing, and blogging. Offline small business marketing includes direct mail, print ads, TV/radio, phone calls, and sales letters.
Many small businesses have all of their operations being done online. The internet has become the dominant place to do business. This means that your startup business needs to have a landing page at its core. A landing page is a website that has only one goal – to convert visitors into subscribers, leads or customers. It has to be designed in such a way that it delivers your message straight to your target audience.
A landing page contains 3 key elements:
The headline – should capture the attention of your visitor, entice them to read further. The sub-headline – elaborates on the headline, gives more information about the offer you’re advertising. The copy – contains the main message of your ad, explains why your offer is better than others, gives your visitor an idea of what they will get if they subscribe to the offer. The call-to-action – tells your visitor what they are supposed to do next after reading the copy. It could be “subscribe now”, “buy now”, “sign up now”, “learn more” etc.
The main idea behind writing a small business marketing article is to show off your knowledge about this topic, while encouraging action from your readers.
In this section I will go through different ways of doing online small business marketing.
This is probably the most popular online marketing strategy for startups and small businesses. It’s focused on getting traffic to their website through pay-per-click advertising on search engines, display networks and social networks. Display network is a collection of websites that use Google AdSense to monetize their free traffic, Myspace and Facebook are also included in it.
PPC is a great way to get more clicks on your website, but it’s not very effective at converting more visitors into customers or leads due to low quality traffic. To get targeted visitors you need to use Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool, which estimates how many people are searching for keywords on Google Search Engine each month and how much they are willing to pay for relevant ads. You just have to pick relevant keywords that match your product or service and bid on them. You can find a lot of free information on Internet about Adwords Keyword Planner tool. For example here.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is an ongoing strategic effort to increase website traffic by obtaining a high ranking in search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. SEO is completely free and it’s a natural way of generating organic traffic (i.e there is no cost involved) for your website. If you follow all the guidelines set by search engines you can achieve top rankings for relevant keywords in search engine results pages (SERPs). This is with zero advertising costs involved. So if you want to save money and get organic traffic go for SEO. Note that SEO requires a significant amount of time and effort. If you want to succeed at SEO you need to be prepared for hard work and long hours spent working on your website content and backlinks profile (for more information please check out my article on SEO). Check this article for more details on SEO.
Social media marketing is another popular strategy for startups and small businesses because it doesn’t involve any monetary investment and is easy to implement and monitor. By using SMM you can build awareness about your brand and drive prospective customers to your website and generate leads and sales. Social media provides an opportunity for companies to connect and engage with customers directly and build relationships that create customer loyalty and trust. You can use 2 types of social media channels: 1) owned media channels (company website, company blog etc.), 2) earned media channels (social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter etc.) For more details on SMM please see this article. Keeping in mind that SMM requires at least some marketing budget, because even if it’s free to use social media channels you will need some money for things like graphic design, photos etc., while SMM doesn’t require any upfront investment. But if you’re running a startup or small business on tight budget you should consider other strategies listed above first before going for SMM strategy. You can read more about SMM strategies here.
Offline small business marketing
As I said earlier offline small business marketing includes direct mail, print ads, TV/Radio, phone calls etc., it’s not as popular as online strategies used by startups but may still work for some businesses giving them solid ROI (Return On Investment). Traditional offline marketing methods are not very effective today because there are so many distractions around us all the time so people don’t pay attention to them anymore but they still work well if implemented correctly. Offline marketing campaigns usually have higher response rates than online campaigns but again keep in mind that they require heavy upfront investments (printing material, TV/Radio ads etc.). As with SMM offline campaigns usually require some budget but much less than traditional offline campaigns like TV/Radio ads or direct mail etc.. For more info on offline small business marketing please see this article. Keep in mind that offline campaigns usually require some budget but much less than traditional offline campaigns like TV/Radio ads or direct mail etc.. For more info on offline small business marketing please see this article.