Marketing is a critical aspect of every successful business out there – effective marketing, that is.
For smaller businesses with more limited budgets and resources, SMBs have to execute their marketing strategies with more precision and finesse. They need to invest time and energy into the marketing techniques that actually generate results.
There is certainly no shortage of marketing techniques out there, but not all created equal. Not all are ideal for businesses with smaller budgets. Further, not all marketing techniques are as effective anymore as they once might have been.
Indeed, the old days of cold calling or sending out brochures are (mostly) being replaced with much more digital forms of marketing. However, it’s not enough to simply have an attractive website, either.
Small businesses are tasked with finding cost-effective marketing strategies all while staying on top of current trends that actually deliver results. It is certainly not an easy task. That’s exactly why this blog post has compiled a list of the most effective marketing strategies for small businesses.
Before we move on to those techniques, we should mention that while there are marketing techniques that tend to work better for those in certain industries, the ones on this list tend to be effective across all industries.
SEO (search engine optimization) and local search are classic, tried and true marketing techniques. There’s a reason why they are recommended over and over to small businesses looking to grow.
SEO and local search can be intimidating, especially for those new to the concept, and many small businesses tend to overlook it due to the fact that it all seems so complex. But, if you want
Your business to be found online, SEO absolutely needs to be among your marketing techniques.
SEO puts your business on the front page of Google – exactly where the majority of your customers are today. As we said above, it isn’t enough to have an attractive website and to write content for your blog.
Your content also has to be found. There are many different aspects of SEO, from on-page SEO to keywords, backlinks and quality content (i.e. content that actually addresses your target audience’s concerns).
Backlinks, for example, are among the four most important ranking factors according to industry studies (in addition to content, mobile optimization and other technical factors).
So, where do you go from here? First up, the WordPress plugin, Yoast SEO, makes many aspects of SEO as easy as painting by numbers. If you’re already using Yoast, you should also check out our blog post on How to Improve Your WordPress SEO Using the Yoast SEO Plugin.
If you are new to SEO and all of this is new to you, you can read our Ultimate SEO Guide To Ranking For Any Keyword.
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, it will take a lot of time and effort before you begin to see results. It could take months. But you can’t opt out of SEO anymore if you ever could.
But, what about local search?
Businesses that want to target smaller geographic areas must also implement local SEO. Did you know, for example, that your Google My Business listing has the biggest impact on local SEO? This information comes straight from Moz’ Local Search Ranking Factors Survey.
However, it is not enough to simply claim your listing. You also have to optimize your profile by keeping it updating and being active; prominence based on your activity level, for example, is an important ranking factor.
Google Posts, a relatively new feature, allows you to share everything going on with your business and keep your listing active as a result. You may want to add additional managers to your listing so that several people can all work together to keep your listing active and up to date.
As you saw above, content is one of the four most important ranking factors. This probably isn’t new to any of you, but the nature of the top content out there is changing.
Google is moving away from keyword-heavy content (as you likely know, keyword stuff can actually get you a penalty). Today, content relevancy is important.
But what does that mean?
Simply put, it means comprehensive content. Backlinko’s study of 1 million Google search results, which we like to mention here on the Yocale blog a lot, found that the top ranking content out there tends to have an average of 1,890 words.
Here’s how to put all of this into practice: perform a content audit to identify thin content. From there, expand this content. The general idea here is to write about fewer topics but to write more in-depth about those topics.
- Know Your Target Audience. By this, we especially mean and their pain points. What are their problems and how can you solve them with your content? Next, use keyword research to plan content around those relevant keywords.
- Write for the Web. Bounce rate is another ranking factor, so you must encourage your readers to stay around. Don’t your content intimidating; use headings, bullet points and so on.
- Use Lots of Images (And Ideally Videos). Screenshots will become your best friend. They are necessary to illustrate your point and to truly make your content valuable. Infographics and videos encourage your readers to stay on the page longer. Renderforest is a great help to create professional videos in minutes.
And just like SEO itself, it’s important to remember that your blogging efforts won’t generate results overnight. A continued effort over a long period of time will be necessary, but the results will certainly pay off if you stick with it.
We write about email marketing a lot on the Yocale blog because it so effective. Email marketing can get overlooked by social media, but the reality is email marketing is that in many cases, it is actually a much more powerful form of marketing for your business.
Email is one of the leading ways to sell your products and services.
But, just how effective is email marketing? Very.
Here are a few stats to consider:
- For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you will get back nearly $40. As we’ve said on the blog before, the thing about those on your email list is that they are very likely to buy from you. Just think about all of the newsletters you’re subscribed to: you want to hear from those businesses.
- According to Direct Marketing Association, segmented and targeted emails generate well over half of all revenue.
The best marketers out there will tell you to start building an email list on day one of your business, but it never too late to start.
There are a lot of ways to build your email list, but, again, not all will generate the same sort of results. Some of the best email marketing tactics out there to grow your list include:
- Launching a Competition. People are entered into a draw if they refer people to your business. However, your choice of award must appeal to your target audience (instead of just offering an expensive tech giveaway) to ensure that you attract the right people to the competition in the first place.
- Republish Content + Content Upgrades. You can also implement these methods separately, but together they generate even more powerful results. Getting more eyeballs on your content via republishing on platforms like Medium and combining this with Brian Dean’s “Content Upgrade” (where you give readers a related piece of content in exchange for their email address) can allow you to grow your email list even more.
Our blog post, 7 Email Marketing Tactics to Grow Your List, goes into more detail about the above tactics and will let you in on some of the best ways to grow your email list even more.
Of course, building your list is only half of the equation. Once you have built your list, you also have to craft emails that people actually open and that entice people to want to buy your products:
- Create Strong, Highly Targeted Content. If you want your email marketing efforts to be profitable, you have to produce strong content that is highly targeted to specific segments of your audience. In contrast, you want to avoid sending generic emails. The results doing so certainly pay off. Personalized emails result in 10% more conversions according to Aberdeen.
- Send Emails Based on Engagement. Part of segmenting your audience should include segmenting based on engagement level to determine how often you should emails to your audience. For those that are not engaging, you should stop sending emails altogether. Just take the Adobe case study that found that when they reduced total emails by 16% (and including content that was more personalized), they improved open-rates by 60%.
You will also need to think about your choice of email marketing platform. Yocale recommends MailChimp. It’s free, easy-to-use and yet all of the features you will probably ever need.
Start A Referral Program
Dropbox’s referral program turned them into a billion dollar company. 35% of their signups continue to come from their referral program.
With Dropbox, every time you refer someone, you earn free space.
This is the same sort of marketing strategy that is a great option for small businesses.
Referral marketing, also called word-of-mouth marketing, incentives your current customers to refer your business to others. People love to talk about the products and services they love and it comes naturally already.
But incentivizing them gives an added boost to actually make a point to refer your business to others.
Simply put, businesses can’t rely on people to speak positively about their business. A Texas Tech University study found that while 83% of people are happy to refer businesses, only 29% of people will do so without an actual referral program in place.
Above all, there a few reasons why referral marketing is so effective. Part of this is due to the fact that referral marketing is so targeted. If someone is recommending products/services to a friend or family member, that person is likely very interested.
Beyond this, referred customers are much more likely to stay with your business than customers were not referred – almost 20% more likely according to the Wharton School of Business. They are more profitable over time as well.
Nevertheless, not all referral programs are created equal. A good referral will incentivize both parties while still be cost-effective. They will allow clients to choose their reward.
We offer a lot more tips on how to create a successful referral program in our blog post, 5 Ways to Maximize Your Profits.
Even a few years ago, there were already 2 million small and medium businesses that were advertising via Facebook. Not only is it is an effective channel to advertise your business and products, but it’s also affordable as well.
What makes Facebook ads particularly effective is the fact that you can target your audience based on a very narrow set of criteria, from location to interests to online behaviour and a lot more.
If you’re not familiar with creating Facebook ads, the entire process is also a relatively simple one. All you need to do is create an engaging headline, include a bit of copy, an image and a link.
You can then use the Facebook Ad Manager to test several ads to determine the most effective ad for your business.
We’ve written a lot about Facebook Ads on the blog before. You might also want to read:
How effective are affiliate programs? The answer is pretty effective. Recent research on Black Friday and Cyber Monday found that affiliate merchants increased their customer base by 45.7%.
If you’re not familiar with affiliate marketing, it works like this: you simply partner with a relevant individual to promote your business (and your products/services) to their audience. Whenever someone clicks on their recommendation, that person earns a commission.
However, while affiliate marketing can bring a lot of new customers to your business, it can also have the opposite effect if it’s poorly executed. Above all, merchants need to choose affiliates carefully – those who have an audience that resembles their own.
Cultivate As Many Online Reviews As Possible
Reviews are a major component of purchase decisions. With people trusting traditional advertising methods less and less, people are looking for more trustworthy sources. Enter: online reviews.
Considering the fact that 88% of people trust product reviews as much as recommendations from friends, it’s clear that online reviews hold a lot of power. Indeed, products that have reviews can lead to 12.5% more conversions than products without reviews.
That’s why it’s so important to ensure you’re implementing measures to generate as many reviews as possible.
When it comes to getting more reviews, you will hear the importance of making the process as easy as possible over and over again. You can send out automated reviews. You can include a review link in your signature. The list goes on.
Here are 3 ways to collect more reviews.
Use Appointment Scheduler Software (That’s An Official Partner Of RwG)
Last, but certainly not least, is the importance of appointment scheduler software for appointment-based businesses. This is true whether you run a salon, a medicals spa, a dog grooming business or any other business that takes appointments.
First and foremost, appointment scheduler software connects you to the scheduler’s own marketplace – that is, an audience that is searching for specific services like the very ones you offer.
However, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your scheduler’s ability to market your business. What you want to look for is appointment scheduler software that is an official partner of Reserve with Google (RwG).
Reserve with Google integrates your appointments calendar into Google Search and Google Maps, making it easy for your business to be discovered and for your services to be booked straight from Google itself (i.e. a lot more bookings).
RwG (and appointment scheduler software in general) allows you to build a database of clients that you know.
From here, you can then follow up with additional surveys and marketing campaigns due to the fact that you know who your clients are, their interests and so on.
Wrapping It Up
Small businesses need effective marketing techniques. They need marketing techniques that generate results without a lot of resources.
That’s why SEO, comprehensive content, email marketing, referral marketing, Facebook ads, online reviews and appointment scheduler software are among the best marketing techniques for small businesses.
What marketing techniques have worked for your small business? We’ve love to hear from all the other small businesses out there.
Do you want more exposure and appointment bookings for your business? Yocale is home to the best appointment scheduler software on the market. With our beautiful and easy-to-use appointment calendar, we give you the extra hand you need to run and grow your business at the same time. Click here to sign up for FREE or learn more.