The business landscape is competitive. To thrive, you need to get the right messages in front of the right people at the right time. Then, you need to earn trust, inspire engagement, and, crucially, convert.

Marketing is your way to connect with your audience and achieve all of the above, but with the budget of an SMB, you can’t do it all. The key is prioritizing the small business marketing initiatives that will drive the highest ROI – a user-friendly website, email marketing, and social media.

Here’s your introductory guide to the three marketing musts all SMBs should focus on.

Websites for small businesses

Eighty-one percent of consumers use the internet to research before making a purchasing decision. However, many SMBs don’t see the results they expected from their website investment. Their site doesn’t generate leads or sales. In some cases, it doesn’t even attract meaningful traffic.

If you can relate to the above, there are three likely culprits. The first is understanding what your website actually needs to do to pull its weight. Websites should not be static brochures, even if they look sleek and professional. Instead, your company site should be like a salesperson, actively engaging visitors, anticipating and answering their questions, and guiding them toward the finish line.

The second is logistics. You might be using the wrong platform, which prevents you from accessing the features and functionalities needed to compete online. Or, you might have paid too much or too little for your website, ultimately limiting your ROI.

And finally, visibility. Before you can win your target audience over with value-add content, they need to find your website. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play.

SEO is the process of optimizing your website to show up higher in Google (and other search engines) results. The higher your website ranks for relevant search terms, the more ‘organic’ (i.e., free) traffic you will attract. There are several approaches to SEO – on-page, off-page, and technical. Each contributes to a holistic SEO strategy that attracts and delights your ideal customer.

Email marketing for small business

In the age of social media, email isn’t dead. Quite the opposite. Four out of five marketers would prefer to give up their social channels than email marketing, and 64 percent of small businesses use emails to engage their community.

Email is a direct line of communication between you and your audience. It’s personal, and once you have email marketing basics down, you can leverage key metrics and insights to build highly targeted campaigns that enhance your audience’s experience. Campaign segmentation, for example, drives as much as a 760 percent increase in revenue.

What does email marketing look like in practice? In the context of the inbound marketing process, email is all about attracting and engaging. Common types of emails include the following:

  • Emails that notify your subscribers about a discount or event
  • Weekly or monthly newsletters
  • Customer welcome and onboarding emails
  • Follow-up emails after a visitor takes a specific action
  • Value-add emails that provide tips, news, and other insights to nurture your audience

Typically, marketing emails direct readers back to your website, so they can learn more, shop your offer, use your discount code, and so on.

Social media marketing for small business

There’s a lot to building a social media marketing strategy that works. Considerations include:

  • How often you should post – set realistic expectations, as consistency really is the key to unlocking success on social media.
  • How to source and create relevant content – what you post will depend on who you want to engage.
  • How to measure the success of your social strategy – you’ll want to track the growth of your social profiles, engagement levels, and conversions.

If you are comfortable with social media marketing basics, you can build paid campaigns to connect with more people and grow a sizeable following. Unlike social content, which is free to post, social advertising allows you to expand your reach for a fee. You can target an audience based on demographics and interests, monitor your ads’ success, and retarget website visitors.

Of course, social media doesn’t have to be pay-to-win. If you’re pushing out content to no avail, consider the following:

  • Social media is social. Too many promotional posts will push your engagement down, which will signal to the platform’s algorithm that your content is irrelevant, reducing its organic reach. Ensure most of your content adds value – even if that’s entertainment value.
  • Social media isn’t set and forget. After your posts are published, check in and reply to any comments or questions. Continue the conversation, building trust all the while.
  • Social media changes – quickly. New platforms, new trends, and new user preferences can see a once high-performing strategy slip and fall. Evolve alongside your audience’s expectations and don’t be afraid to experiment with new features.

Small business marketing: Where should you start?

Marketing can make or break your SMB. It can become a revenue-driving powerhouse or a cash vacuum, and the difference is often in the details. So if you are ready to begin marketing or your existing marketing strategy is in desperate need of a shake-up, start with who.

  • Who is your ideal customer? What are their values?
  • What platforms and channels do they use? Which other brands do they resonate with?
  • What are their likes and dislikes?
  • What challenges do they have, and how can you solve them?
  • What is blocking their path to purchase, and how can you pre-empt and relieve their pain points?

When you define who is it you’re trying to reach and engage, the path forward should become a little clearer. And when your campaigns go live, remember to monitor your KPIs. In other words, don’t market blind, or you’ll end up somewhere you don’t want to be.

Want help attracting more buyers?

Marketing can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go it alone. We can help you attract more buyers with leading inbound marketing strategies that align with your unique goals. Get in touch today, and let’s talk.