Audio: 35 Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
In this post you’re going to learn 35 marketing strategies for small businesses that you can take action on.
There has never been a better time in the history of the world to be a small business owner and entrepreneur.
The digital world has evened the playing field and allows a local company to compete with big business. You can look better, perform better, provide greater value, grow a better reputation, have faster processes, and more.
But no matter what kind of business you have, you’re also in the sales and marketing business.
Here are 35 proven marketing strategies that will help you be seen, get heard, provide value, share stories, and grow your business.
#1 Invest in your customer experience
Take 5-10% of profits and invest them into your business in the form of improving your customers’ experience; better products or ingredients, a brighter or cleaner store, shop, or offices, maybe faster services, or smoother processes, etc.
How can you exceed your customers expectations?
Make a difference.
How can you WOW them?
Ask your employees for their ideas how to improve the products, services, and processes
Ask your customers for ideas on how to improve. Send out an email and text asking for their feedback and suggestions. Post a suggestion box on your website, etc.
#2 Adapt to survive
It’s not the strongest or smartest that survive, it’s those that best adapt to their environment
We live a digital world now… a rapidly growing and changing voice and digital world
the very ability of your company to survive into the future may depend on you understanding that one single fact
We all waste too much time in business trying to be all things to all people, zero in on your best products and services and/or the customers you like working with the most, and laser focus on marketing to just those people
Ideally they’d have the best margins, you and your staff are highly skilled with them, and the customers who buy them are your favorite kind of people.
#4 Business directories
Claim or create, optimize and manage your business listings in the dozens of major directories like GMB, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo. Be sure to get listed in the four big data aggregators directories; Localeze, Factual, Acxiom, and Infogroup.
Most business directories are free, a few require payment.
There several dozen important national, regional, local, and industry-specific business directories your business needs to be in – they vary by your industry and location
They help you get your Name, Address, Phone (NAP) out there to be seen and drive clicks and calls to your business. They also provide very strong ranking signals for your business and website in Google for local searches,
#5 Responsive website
In the age of the smartphone your company must have a responsive website that fits any size screen and looks great on mobile.
Your website is the central hub of all your marketing so the days of having your assistant or brother-in-law design and create it are long since gone.
Your website has look good on every kind of device and consistently provide great content, in a variety of media forms, and constantly be tested, analyzed, and improved to convert visitors into leads for your business and keep existing customers coming back for more.
#6 Start a blog
To deliver that consistent content. Start a blog or step up the game of your existing blog. Keep it regular; weekly works great. Provide consistent value and use funnels, lead magnets, mailing lists, and social media to stay connected and grow leads for your business.
#7 Content, content, content
We’re in a content driven world now… provide content solutions to the common problems and pain points of your prospects and customers. Engage them with quality content they want to consume. Help them get to know, like and trust your brand, and keep coming back and doing business with you.
Show the why and what and sell the how… or show the why and how and sell the implementation.
#8 Use video
It’s what most consumers want; video is already over 70% of all media consumed online and that’s growing every year.
Video is incredibly versatile in both application and promotion.
You can transcribe a video into text for a blog post. You can strip out the audio for a podcast. You can use them on your blog, social media channels, branded blog networks, etc.
Marketing videos can produce very low cost advertising on Facebook and other social media channels.
You can produce low-cost videos that provide helpful and informative content that will helps your business grow.
#9 Show people Who Are
Video also lets people see the people behind the business.
It adds a more personal touch.
Video allows you, your staff, and your business to be authentic and unique and more than just a sign, building, or business listing.
Videos let consumers see inside your business and the people behind the company name, which is what consumers want today
Use video to tell your customer’s stories of success. Make them stars!
#10 Start a YouTube channel
Post your videos on YouTube and embed them onto your website and blog posts.
Syndicate them throughout your social media and blog networks.
Make a video for each of the top 10 questions you get from prospects and customers.
Make a business listing video that mentions your services, days and hours open, contact info, shows your cross-streets, and briefly says why people should choose your business.
Ask customers to make video testimonials of their experience with you. Ask them to answer 1) why they chose you? 2) are they happy they did? 3) how did you help them? and 4) would they recommend you to others?
#11 Brand on social media
Open a branded channel on all major social media channels; your company brand name should have an account and be listed on every major social media channel.
Start now; Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.
#12 Syndicate your content
Share all of your blog and video content thru all of your branded social media channels.
Post video testimonials from your customers,
Post customer reviews from third party sites. Encourage reviews on each platform.
Post photos of your staff and your customers. Do the same on branded photo and video sharing sites.
Post inspirational quotes that fit your brand and mission – etc.
Have most posts, photos, and videos provide a link back to your website.
You can use a social media management software like HootSuite to plan and manage content syndication or you can use a collection of IFTTT “recipes” to make one post automatically post on other accounts.
#13 Press releases
They’re a very powerful tool for announcing content, events, news, getting noticed, growing traffic, and getting valuable backlinks from high-authority news agencies to your website.
#14 Reputation management
Most consumers today search for online reviews, testimonials, and case studies on your business before deciding to do business with you.
Every local business needs to ask for reviews. Survey’s show over 70% of consumers would leave a review of asked.
The problem is business owners often feel shy about asking, but that’s costing you reputation, sales, and money. So put up signs that you’re on Google and Yelp and whatever platforms are important to your business. Send out emails asking for feedback and to post reviews on Google or your website.
Yelp Warning: Yelp’s Terms of Service (TOS) strictly forbids businesses from asking customers for reviews on their platform. Google however is the opposite and they encourage you to ask. So ask your customers to post reviews and photos on Google and those that are avid Yelp users will just naturally go there instead.
It’s also important to make it easy for customers to post and read reviews right on your website.
When you allow reviews to be written and displayed on your website, you get to use schema markup and structured data code on those pages and have review stars show up in your listing on Google and Bing search results pages (called rich snippets). Statistics clearly show you get more clicks if consumers can see review stars in local searches.
#15 Email marketing
Staying connected to your existing customers is one of the most important factors to your long term business success.
It’s much less expensive to market to your existing customers than to attract new ones.
A mailing list is a business asset. If your business burned down or you had to move, you would still have your list and be able to contact, inform, and market to your lists.
It’s an invaluable asset and you should be growing your list and marketing to it regularly.
There are endless studies showing email provides the highest return on investment (ROI) than any other marketing method.
But… that does NOT mean you just send sales emails. Use the Gary Vaynerchuck approach of jab, jab, jab, right hook, which is to provide value, value, value, and then let them know you sell something.
If you are consistently providing good value, then the business will come. Conversely, if you’re constantly selling, then you’ll hear nothing but crickets
#16 SMS text message marketing
The same goes for growing a test message list today.
Text messaging is growing rapidly and being accepted by all age groups as the grandkids train the grandparents in text messaging.
It’s now the preferred method of communication for many people.
It’s ONLY for people to opt-in to your list. It’s permission-based marketing. You’re not cold calling people here.
Be careful not to send too many messages. That will vary by your industry.
Find a software platform that allows for both email and text services and separate databases and you’re on your way to growing the sales and value of your business.
#17 Lead magnets
They’re small free incentives you use to grow your mailing lists.
Lead magnets are usually digital downloadable content provided in exchange for the visitors email address.
Offers like FREE PDF guides, e-books, checklists, access to videos, webinars, white papers, etc.
They need to be of good or great quality because they represent the quality of your brand. They need to help your prospects and customers.
Lead magnets also tell the user if you give this away for free, just imagine what you do for them when they pay you.
#18 Loyalty program
Customer loyalty programs are an excellent way to stay connected to your existing customers and encourage them to keep coming back and spending more, and developing a solid bond to your brand.
Just about every major brand you can think of has a customer loyalty program right? There’s a reason for that, they work.
You can include a referral program in your loyalty program and reward existing customers for recommending you to their family, friends, and associates.
Contests are a great tool for growing mailing lists, getting likes and shares on social media, and engaging with your prospects and customers in a fun wayinstead of all business.
There are a lot of online contest management software systems you can use to make it easier and keep it within all applicable laws.
#20 Marketing funnels
Think of your content and its design in terms of marketing funnels of a campaign.
There are endless ways to set this up but we’ll share a couple of common ones:
- Each main topic page of your website should offer a lead magnet in exchange for their email, which then sends them to a thank you page, which might just thank them or it might present them with a special one-time only offer, etc.
- Lead magnets that collect emails should then trigger a customized topical email drip campaign that continues to deliver free value over time, and gets people to know, like, and trust your company and eventually decide to do business with you.
- A product sales page example might take them to a pre-checkout page that presents another special offer related to what they just put in their shopping cart, and is only available now before they do their final checkout, etc.
You can place special code on a web page and instruct Google and Facebook ads that if a visitor made it to this page but not the next page then show them this particular ad, etc. This is called retargeting and it can be a very powerful marketing tool.
#21 Chamber of Commerce
Get back in the offline real world for some live people-to-people action. Join your local chamber of commerce and network with local business owners
#22 Elevator Pitch
Get your 10 and 20 second elevator pitches perfected and memorized. Network at the Chamber and other local business meetups in your area.
#23 Co-operative marketing
Find other businesses and business owners in these networks that you could team up with and cross promote each other –- put flyers in each others biz – co-op advertising – co-op events – exchange referral bonuses if it’s legal in your industry, etc.
#24 Sell to many
Sell to many instead of one.
Put together a couple of presentations that help your ideal prospects and go speak at your local Chamber of Commerce, Meetup, BNI, Toastmasters, andother local business meetings and gatherings.
Be seen as a teacher and not a salesperson. Don’t sell, instead give away value and good, useful information. If you build value and trust the business will come.
#25 Tell stories of changing lives
Get customers on video and in print describing how working with you has changed their lives or business.
Then make them stars by sharing those videos, reviews, and case studies on your website, content, and social media networks.
Let your prospects see themselves in the shoes of your successful customers so they want to be like them.
#26 Start a podcast
Podcasts are exploding in growth because they’re perfectly portable for busy consumers as they commute, workout, etc.
Audio can be exported out of your videos and used to start your podcasts.
Maybe you’re shy and would rather do a weekly podcast than video blog post. Great, have at it!
#27 Facebook and Google ads
Google ads are intention based, the searcher is looking for a service or product in their local area, they’re ready to buy.
As a result Google ads can be very effective but they can also be very expensive.
If you pursue Google ads you should have a goal, campaign, and dedicated landing page on your website for each ad and measure it’s ROI.
Facebook ads can be a lot cheaper but they’re also not as effective because no one is going on Facebook to see an ad. It’s back to interruption advertising.
But Facebook ads can work very effectively and at a very low cost.
Video ads can drive those costs even lower.
Facebook ads let you really zero in on the demographics of your customers, both by location and a seemingly endless array of likes, interests, etc.
#28 Direct Mail
Old school direct mail still works for many local businesses and today the Post Office and private online companies can provide highly-targeted audiences and automated production and delivery.
Combining a direct mail piece with an dedicated landing page on your website, customized lead magnet, and email drip campaign can add tremendous impact on your results.
#29 Influencer marketing
Endorsements by people who are followed by lots of other people have always been a great marketing tool.
You can find local influencers thru chambers, mixers, meetups, etc.
You can find online influencers in your local market thru social media and using software like Buzzsumo that helps you find influencers.
Make offers of free products or services if they will evaluate them and speak about your company or it’s products and services with their followers.
They may require paid advertising arrangements, etc.
Or maybe it’s better if they share your content?
There are lots ofways to work with influencers.
#30 Local sports
Sponsoring local youth sports teams is another tied and true method of branding your business in the local community.
Local soccer and little league teams are always looking for local business sponsors and if young families are your market then this can be a great way to get brand exposure.
#31 Help a local charity
Local charities are an excellent way to give back to the community and let them know you care and look out for your neighbors.
Donate products, services, time, fund an event, or the catering, etc.
Find organizations that you and your staff would like to support, ask employees and customers for their ideas.
#32 Write Guest Posts
Show you’re an authority on your subject, and attract traffic from industry and local blogs by writing guest blog posts for websites that makes sense for your business and location.
Guest posts are a great way to grow traffic, establish brand, and gain valuable local relevance links from these websites to yours which help get better local search rankings in google and others.
Infographics are colorful and eye-catching and if they’re done well, people love sharing them and embedding them on their blogs.
They’re a great tool for generating traffic and gaining backlinks to your website.
Create a “25 tips” to do something related to your business that your customers would like and go find 25 relevant and even local blogs to find your tips. Only use blogs that look good, have decent domain authority, and can send you qualified traffic and links
Record the tip, the email contact info, and the domain name on a spreadsheet.
Once your infographic is completed and posted go back and let all 25 people on those blogs that you used their tips, gave them credit, and give them a link to the infographic.
Let them embed it on their website with a backlink and credit to yours and you’re golden.
#34 Repurpose old content
Re-purpose old existing website and blog content. Or maybe you wrote some offline content you could bring online?
Refresh it, bring it up to date, and turn it into a video, or podcast, infographic, etc.
Syndicate it across your blog and social media networks.
Last but perhaps most important is to track, test, measure, and adjust .
Use Google search console and analytics to see where your traffic is coming from, where they go, how long they stay, if they’re taking the actions you‘d like them to take, which offers and designs are working best, and if your ad campaigns are penciling out or not, etc.
Those are 35 solid marketing strategies for your local business. We hope they gave you some ideas that you can implement and use to grow your business.
What marketing strategies have worked for your local business?
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