For small and medium-sized companies, marketing can be a challenge. Many smaller businesses don’t have a dedicated marketing person, leaving the daily responsibilities scattered across various team members. Needless to say, this can make marketing a headache, especially if you are unsure of where to start.
The digital age has forever changed how marketers, business owners and non-marketers alike approach marketing. Techniques that once worked for smaller businesses (cold-calling for example) are being met with less and less success. This means that businesses and their leaders have to adapt to the changing marketing environment. While this probably sounds challenging, you may be surprised by how the smallest change can have positive impacts for your business.
For example, if you are the owner of a local professional services firm
, when was the last time you Googled your own company to see how your search result stacks up against your competition? You may be surprised by what you see, especially if your website isn’t up-to-date. Luckily, making the necessary changes to improve your site isn’t as difficult as you might think.
Let’s explore five tips that will help the marketing efforts at your SMB, and why they are so important for growing your business.
1) Your Website Is More Important Than Ever Before
The first thing any company, big or small, should do to improve their overall marketing strategy is take a look at their website. According to B2B research from CEB, 72% of buyers search on the internet in the early stages of the buying process, while 81% search in the middle stages. In other words, people will view your website when deciding whether or not to do business with you.
In many cases, your company’s website will be the first impression a potential customer has of your business. Making sure your site looks up-to-date and functions properly is a must. That includes having a mobile-friendly site. Did you know that more Google searches
take place on mobile than on computers in ten countries, which include the U.S. and Japan?
In addition, making sure your site is optimized for search engines is extremely important. Something as simple as updating your website title and description can help with search engine optimization (SEO). Another thing to check on is page loading speed, as a slow website can be extremely detrimental for search engines. Working with your website hosting provider can help resolve many of these issues.
2) Creating Original Content Is Time Well Spent
Another aspect of an engaging website is having content. This can take the form of case studies, testimonials and videos, just to name a few. But blogging is one area that can help small businesses the most. Not only does a blog enable content creation, it helps establish a company as a thought-leader.
Providing educational content is a great way to attract new and existing clients to your website, and helps them get more familiar with your organization. Not to mention that good content is a great boost for SEO. You’ll be surprised just how helpful a blog can be for inbound marketing.
3) Don’t Forget About Social Media
Most businesses today have social media accounts. However, a vast majority don’t use them to their full potential (or use them at all). Social media presents businesses of all sizes with a way to directly engage and interact with their audience. It also serves as the online “voice” of your company and greatly aids in building a brand.
When used in conjunction with original content, social media can be a powerful marketing tool for small businesses. It gives you a platform to share your articles and products, and to build a community. Not to mention that most internet users today expect businesses to be on social media. This is especially true for professional services and marketing firms
4) Email Is Still Important, but Expectations Have Changed
While many older marketing tactics are becoming less relevant because of digital media, email is not one of them. Three quarters of companies agree that email offers “excellent” to “good” ROI
. However, just sending emails isn’t going to work the way it once did.
Instead, companies today have to get creative with their use of email. Whether it’s through A/B testing, using more images and videos, or having more personalization, anything you can do to stand out from all the other emails people receive will increase the likelihood of someone opening and then clicking in your email.
5) Everyone Should Strive To Be a Data-Driven Marketer
This last tip might be the most important of them all. To many, analytics and data are scary terms, especially when it’s not your area of expertise. However, you don’t have to go overboard with marketing data, and it’s imperative to any successful marketing strategy.
The best thing to do is start small – don’t try to track everything. Pick key areas of your marketing efforts (website, social media, email, etc.) and track the most important metrics. For example, Google Analytics is an invaluable tool when it comes to website data. While there are many data points you can look at, instead focus on improving a select few. These can include:
- Month-to-month traffic
- Organic search traffic
- Top pages
- Geographic website visits (if you have a regional/local company)
Most importantly, marketing data can be used to help in the decision-making process. When deciding on a new campaign or where to spend dollars, having data allows you to make the most informed decision that can have the biggest impact for your business. Being data-driven should be a priority for all companies, even beyond marketing.
Marketing Helps Grow Your Business
The benefits of marketing are well-documented. However, the issue many small businesses run into is that there’s no dedicated marketing person. The tips above can be implemented and used by anyone – from a single person brokerage firm, to a 100-person company. With some simple changes and a clear strategy, you can start on the path to unlocking the full potential of your business.
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