Small business marketing used to be straightforward. It involved buying print ads in newspapers, buying radio spots, and perhaps advertising on local television stations.
It wasn’t that complicated, but it also wasn’t terribly effective, especially for newer small businesses. Small business marketing is far more targeted and effective today than it was in the pre-digital age.
Here are 5 types of small business marketing businesses like yours need and use. Click on one to find out more.
- Email Small Business Marketing
- Your Google Business Profile
- Organic Digital Small Business Marketing
- Paid Digital Marketing
- Non-Digital Marketing
1. Email Small Business Marketing
Email marketing isn’t glamorous, but it can be remarkably effective. As your email list grows, your company’s reach grows.
Today’s email marketing platforms help you automate tedious tasks. Many will calculate the best times to send your email messages and make it easy for you to test different email versions against one another.
Rare is the small business that doesn’t rely on email marketing because of its simplicity and impressive ROI. If you’re not taking advantage of the power of email marketing, you could be seriously missing out.
The main “cost” of email marketing is the time it takes to build your email marketing list(s). You can build email lists in many ways, including
- Adding a sign-up form on your website or blog
- Providing relevant links on your social media sites
- Having email sign-up forms at in-person events
- Asking your sales team to collect email addresses on sales calls
- Having point-of-sale associates ask for email addresses
Email marketing isn’t as simple as sending out a sale notification every once in a while. Determining the right frequency to send emails requires finesse and practice. Choosing effective subject lines, preview text, images, and links requires skill as well. But email marketing can get appreciable results once you establish a messaging style and cadence.
2. Your Google Business Profile
If you only use one type of organic digital marketing, you should claim, verify, and complete your Google Business Profile. It’s free, and it puts your business on the map.
Maintaining your Google Business Profile to its best advantage is an investment of time. But it is an investment that pays off long term.
The most important thing to remember about maintaining your Google Business Profile is that accuracy is paramount. Information on your Google Business Profile must match that on your other web properties, including your website and social media profiles.
3. Organic Digital Small Business Marketing
“Organic” means you create content and place it on platforms that you don’t have to pay to participate in. This may mean sending a tweet, posting to your website’s blog, or making a Facebook or Instagram post.
With organic digital marketing, your major investment is time. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it can be squeezed in “whenever there’s time.” Effective organic marketing requires strategy and planning.
The following table summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of organic digital marketing.
|Advantages of Organic Marketing||Disadvantages of Organic Marketing|
|Doesn’t cost money, only time||Your reach is limited by your popularity|
|Builds brand authenticity||It is not narrowly targeted|
|Allows direct engagement with customers||Engagement can require significant time|
|Can benefit your website’s SEO||ROI calculation is not straightforward|
Organic digital marketing accrues benefits beyond the potential acquisition of customers. It helps with website SEO (through backlinks and potential increased traffic), builds brand awareness, and cultivates brand authenticity.
4. Paid Digital Marketing
Paid digital marketing encompasses paid social media advertising and things like Google search ads and display ads. There are other online ad platforms, but Google and social media platforms are particularly popular with small businesses. They can be both highly targeted and budget-friendly.
Paid social media advertising and Google ads allow businesses to start with a small budget. Tools within the platforms help new users allocate their ad budget optimally.
While there aren’t many drawbacks to Google ads, there can be some disadvantages to paid social media advertising. The following table summarizes some advantages and disadvantages of paid social media advertising.
|Advantages of Paid Social Media Ads||Disadvantages of Paid Social Media Ads|
|Allows brands to expand reach significantly||Increasingly competitive (and expensive)|
|Excellent for increasing brand awareness quickly||Requires skilled management for advanced uses like retargeting|
|Highly customizable with multiple targeting options||Target audiences may encounter ads frequently enough to find them annoying|
|Lookalike audiences help you expand reach||Advanced ad tools can be challenging|
Paid digital advertising’s main advantage over organic marketing is the speed with which it can get results. Organic posting takes time to build a following, but paid advertising quickly gets in front of large audiences.
5. Non-Digital Marketing
Digital marketing dominates, but that doesn’t mean non-digital marketing has gone away. Many small businesses find that supplementing their digital marketing efforts with strategic print, radio, or television ads gets good results.
Other non-digital advertising practices can be good for demonstrating a commitment to the local community. The goodwill built through sponsoring a local sports team or buying an ad in a local tourism magazine can add polish to a small business’s image.
Don’t write off non-digital advertising before checking out the options. Also, check out non-digital advertising used by your competitors. Few things show a stake in the local community like traditional local advertising.
How to Determine the Right Mix
Unfortunately, no single formula can tell you what mix of digital advertising techniques and non-digital techniques is best. But common sense can go a long way.
If your small business sells clothing, hair styling, or other highly “visual” products, it makes sense to put time, effort, and money into highly visual platforms like Instagram and even TikTok. On the other hand, if you’re a B2B business, you may consider putting more effort into organic and paid posting on LinkedIn.
Fine-tuning your paid and organic mix requires measuring results. Fortunately, Google ads and social media platforms offer highly sophisticated tools that allow you to do this.
With email marketing, most platforms offer analytics and easy A/B testing, so you can maximize ROI without becoming an analytics expert. Measuring traffic and other success metrics on social media posts, blog posts, and website posts is similarly straightforward.
Don’t fine-tune your advertising mix based on hunches. Powerful analytics exist and are widely available. Use them, and you’ll know where to pull back resources and where to commit more. This will maximize your small business marketing ROI.
A combination of paid and organic digital marketing is usually the best way to go for small businesses. This allows you to put your money where it will have the most impact while also building up a natural presence online that can pay dividends down the road.
Every business is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to marketing. Set up a call with our team if you’re unsure where to start or what direction to take your marketing efforts. We’d be more than happy to help get you on the path to success.