To say small business owners must wear many hats – and be able change them quickly on the fly – is an understatement. When you’re getting your business off the ground, you have to make decisions not only about the structure of your company and its products, but also how you’re going to market your brand to the world. Effective marketing is absolutely effective to acquiring and retaining customers, which means it’s directly influential on revenue flow.
Thankfully, the internet is chock full of marketing wisdom these days. Here are four small business marketing tips to get you started.
Tip 1: Pinpoint Your Target Audience
It’s tempting to think anyone from any walk of life can find value in your business, but it’s an inefficient and expensive mindset. Casting a wide net typically means burning through your marketing dollars without much return in investment. Perhaps counterintuitively, the narrower your target audience, the more meaningfully you can connect with them – then drive those desired actions.
Ultimately, you’ll benefit from understanding the demographics – age, gender, income, etc. – and psychographics – personality, values, hobbies, etc. – of your niche audience. You can do this by scoping out who’s buying from competitors, analyzing your website and sales data for patterns, and surveying customers.
Tip 2: Take Advantage of Content Marketing
One of the most consistent high-yield, low-cost marketing tactics for SMBs is content marketing, like blogging. There are many encouraging benefits to a well-run blog – like optimizing your search engine results so more people come across your website, building trust and rapport with customers, and ensuring your social media channels have plenty of engaging links to post. When in doubt, always aim to create content that solves people’s problems.
Tip 3: Personalize Your Approach to Email
If you follow tip 1, you’ll have a clear idea of exactly to whom you’re communicating and what you have to offer them. This will help you avoid sending out generic email blasts, instead expertly tailoring your content to your target audience’s wants and needs.
Start with the subject line. You want to exude brand personality and hook people in as they’re scrolling through their inboxes. Most experts recommending using shoppers’ names in the subject line when possible.
Small business marketers can also utilize customers’ specific preferences and behaviors – like their past orders and their demographic information – to appeal hyper-specifically to wherever they are in life. This makes customers feel like your company really knows them and gets them, which is a powerful way to foster loyalty.
One expert gleans valuable information about customers when they sign up for the email newsletter by asking extra, optional questions about their interests and opinions. This not only makes them feel seen and heard, but also gives you a host of data around which to craft future emails by segment.
Tip 4: Incentivize Word-of-Mouth Buzz
Pop quiz: Would you be likely to buy something from a new brand based on a paid ad or based on a friend, colleague, or neighbor telling you about their positive experience with said brand? It’s only natural to place more trust and importance in a referral from someone you know and/or admire than it is to listen to a company itself. Hence, referral marketing is a powerful tool.
There are a few different approaches to referral marketing. The first is simply encouraging people to spread the word if they liked your product and services. Or, you can act more assertively by offering an incentive for referrals – like a discount for both the referrer and the person referred or the chance to win free stuff by tagging others in social media posts, etc.
There’s a whole wide world of small business marketing out there to explore, but these tips will help you embark on that journey.
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