SMBs (small- to medium-sized businesses) need to have a slightly different marketing plan to large businesses – they don’t have the same budget or people-power to get as many, or as large, projects done. Here are a few ways SMBs can maximize their online marketing without blowing their budget.
Just because the budget is lower, doesn’t mean your marketing can’t be great. The fact that so many spaces are available online for free (like social media sites and blogging sites) gives you a huge range of places to get you started without even spending a dime.
If you’re not yet convinced that online marketing is something you need to be doing, here are the facts: it’s cheaper to do than a lot of traditional marketing methods, and it also produces better results. For more details on that, here’s part of an article on Search Engine Land by Will Scott:
Online marketing opens up a world of advantages over traditional advertising. For example, online marketing can offer a higher return on investment than traditional approaches due to the relatively low cost of online channels like social media, as well as the ability to quickly adapt your strategy based on data available from Google and social media platforms.
Online marketing has also been shown to reach the same number of consumers at a much lower cost when compared to traditional channels.
Consider the additional benefits of online marketing, too. Not only can you track specific metrics to provide valuable and specific feedback for each individual campaign, but any business, no matter the size, can be a strong competitor with a solid online marketing strategy.
This is due again to the lower cost of online channels, as well as the near immediacy of paid advertising on search and social media. SMBs can achieve quick boosts to business through these channels versus the longer waits that often accompany traditional marketing.
To kick us off, the first piece of advice is to develop a presence on social media. This is incredibly important, because since so many people use sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram nowadays, you can reach a massive audience of people without expensive advertising.
Create for yourself an account on a few sites – you don’t have to go overboard, stick to the sites you know. If you’re unsure of how to run a social media site for a business, there are plenty of agencies around who do social media management specifically for businesses. It might take you a little out of pocket, but it’s a worthwhile investment.
Next up is content marketing. With a low production cost and high results, content marketing is the marketing of the future. Email marketing is also a good way to go – here’s an extract from cio.com by Jennifer Lonoff Schiff:
“Email marketing is great for engaging customers, but you’re really limiting its potential if you keep it in a silo,” says Ron Cates, director, Digital Marketing Education, Constant Contact. So be sure to integrate your email marketing campaigns “with your other marketing campaigns for maximum impact,” and vice versa, he says.
For example, “if you’re running a Facebook contest, increase the number of people participating by notifying your email subscriber list of engaged customers,” he says. “If you’re running a time-limited deal or special offer, send a reminder via email.
Along with these is the importance of having a mobile-friendly website. The majority of people now use their smartphones while opening links and reading articles, so be sure to have your website maximized for them. Plus, the new Google indexing now considers mobile-optimization when ranking.
The importance of shareable marketing can never be stated firmly enough – the best asset your business can have is an active following that will share your content to the people who follow them. The way to achieve that is by producing the kind of stuff people want to see and share.
Videos are that content. They’re easy for people to watch, they’re eye-catching, and with the right tone they can evoke the kind of emotional response in your customers that you want. Here’s an extract from Ben Lobel‘s article on SmallBusiness.co.uk to give your more insight:
Video is tipped to become much bigger in 2016. More and more is being consumed through social media and its no coincidence that YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine after Google.
The trick is to create content that people actually want to share. Brands are often going wrong because they are making videos like TV programmes. But TV programmes, rely on your passivity. When it comes to video content, you want people to take action. So forget long introductions, cutaways and instead focus on authentic content.
A great recent example was the record-breaking mattress domino. It wasn’t slickly produced but it was shared worldwide, purely because you had to see it to believe it. Not only did Aaron’s Inc get international acclaim for the event but they communicated a very important key message for the company: that they were raising money for a homeless charity.
They communicated the fact they had heart and soul. Which we know is a huge motivator for customers. Customers want to purchase from brands that are like them; brands that care.
Videos can be a bit more expensive to produce than some other techniques, but they are a worthy investment if you can script a great, shareable video.
Digital marketing is the way forward with effective and budget-friendly marketing. Small and medium businesses can find their niche online just as easily as large businesses with much looser budgets, since the internet is a place for people.
And what customers really want is to see that your business is, in fact, a collection of like-minded people, just like them. Don’t waste your opportunity to get online with your marketing and tell the world about your business.
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