3 Small Business Marketing Tips for Any Budget

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Just because you don’t have as many employees and marketing dollars, as larger brands and competitors, doesn't mean that you can’t compete with them online. Brands no longer rely on top-dollar marketing agencies to handle their marketing efforts. Learn to leverage digital tools to maximize your small business marketing efforts.

Success in today’s market is all about how you utilize (and maximize) online tools, strategies, and resources. Even if you don’t have a large marketing budget—and you have to wear multiple hats as both the small business marketing specialist and company owner—you can still compete.

1. Build the right social media strategy

If you’re not monitoring your audience, you could be missing out on several opportunities to attract new business.

Some brands get a little hesitant when it comes to social media. A lack of follower growth and interaction can leave you feeling like social media is a complete waste of time. If you are not seeing an ROI with your social media efforts, that could be because most small brands use social media in all the wrongs ways.

Ask yourself these questions when creating social media campaigns:

  • Who do I want to reach? Know who your target audience is. Sitting around hoping that someone, anyone, engages with your post will leave you with very little engagement. If you focus heavily on a targeted audience that you know is interested in your content or product, you’re going to be more successful.
     
  • What do I want the user to do? Do you want more traffic to your website? Do you want comments and likes on your posts? Do you want your customers to purchase a product? You have to understand what you want the user to do. That way, you know what type of content you should be delivering through your social media channels.
     
  • What mediums should I use? One of the biggest problems is when companies use social media and they want to use every platform available. Chances are your target audience isn’t on every social media platform. Most likely they’re heavily active on one or two social platforms, but no more. Focus on the platforms your audience use, and get good at using the tools your audience engages with.
     
  • How am I going to monitor interaction? Social media is how many consumers communicate—not only with each other, but with companies too. Your audience will constantly reach out for help, leave reviews, and talk with their friends about the products that resonate with them. If you’re not monitoring your audience, you could be missing out on several opportunities to attract new business.

Getting personal is a huge advantage you, as a small business, can have over large brands. Many times, large companies have restrictions on how much of a personal touch can be involved with their social media posts. You on the other hand, have the freedom to be as personal on social media as you want. Users like knowing they’re working with actual people—individuals who share the same experiences. Get a little personal with your social media. Give your audience a look behind the scenes.

2. Choose your content wisely

Become the resource your customer is searching for.

There is no secret formula when it comes to creating engaging content. Analyze your audience and create content they want to see and interact with.

You’re not a big company with several writers and editors. In many cases, you’re the one writing and editing the content that is going out. So take a step back, take a deep breath, and write specific content pieces with a specific goal in mind.

Here are some content ideas to get you started:

  • Answer customer questions. If you have a question, there are probably several others that have the same one. If you’re receiving questions about your business, answer them in a content piece. This can attract new readers since others will most likely have the same question.
     
  • Become the resource your customer is searching for. Keyword research can play a big role in what you should be writing about. Users are beginning to speak in a more conversational tone with their questions and comments. Use these to find new content ideas and be a resource for what your audience is searching for.
     
  • Share input from experts and valuable resources. This is a strategy not too many are using. Get input from experts or well-known resources about a topic that relates to your industry. Not only will you reach your core audience, but they will share it with their audience as well. This helps in increasing your reach and it helps build your brand's credibility.

3. Utilize Search Engine Optimization

SEO is something that, if done correctly, can establish your brand organically for the long term.

SEO is something that, over time and if done correctly, can establish your brand organically for the long term.

Far too often small brands hire a designer to create a beautiful website, or try to build their own. On-page factors such as content, page titles, descriptions, page speed, and much more are not always taken into account when smaller brands are building their website. Also, most business owners don’t even know about off-page SEO factors, such as link building. The truth is, hours of data analysis, research, and testing goes into creating high performance websites. However, where most of small brand sites are lacking—and what’s hurting their chances of competing with larger brands—is in their core search signals. Begin by determining your core search signals when analyzing your website.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when beginning your SEO analysis:

  • What does my meta and on-page SEO look like? Your meta tags communicate to search engines what your website and each particular page is all about. This includes the following:
    • Title tag. Each page on your website needs a unique title. It briefly explains what the user can expect from this page. You want to have a focus keyword in your page title, and make sure to keep your title under 70 characters. The title tag will also be displayed in your snippet found in the search results.
       
    • Description. Following your page title is the description. This is a brief sentence further explaining the reason for the page and what users can expect. Your page description cannot be more than 156 characters in length. It will also be displayed in your search snippet. Having your keyword located in your description is extremely important.
       
    • Headers. There has been much discussion lately about h1 tags and how they don’t necessarily matter anymore when it comes to ranking your website. While this is still up for debate, I still suggest that you include them on your page. You header tags help further communicate your purpose, and they are also singled out when your page is crawled by search engines. Include headers on each page, making them unique to that page's content.
       
    • Content. When writing out content for a page, ask yourself these questions: “Will the reader completely understand what I’m trying to say? Will they understand what I want them to do? Do they know my purpose?” If you can answer these, you should have no problem with your content length.
       
    • Other factors include: Optimizing images, navigation, URL structure, page speed, and more.
       
    • Am I doing anything with the off-page ranking factors? Focus on link building. Several studies and experts have shown, links are one the most important ranking signals for your website. Writing blogs, becoming an authority on services like Help a Reporter, and even guest posting on other blogs are all fantastic ways to build quality links.

4. Start competing today

There is really no reason why you shouldn’t be competing with larger brands online. Put these actionable steps to work today and start watching your business grow. You might be surprised just how far you can reach, and what type of impact you can have on your market.

About our guest blogger:
Caleb McElveen is a co-host of the digital marketing radio podcast Search Talk Live where he shares his experience and expertise on SEO, content marketing, and more.

Learn more about guest blogging on MediaLeaders.