The best marketing ideas for small businesses

/ Posted By - Bradleys Accountants / Categories - Business start-ups

It is no secret that most customers today look up a brand’s online presence before buying from them. Therefore, you must ensure yours is as attractive as possible, and your business does not get lost in the crowd.

Building robust online visibility gives you access to a larger net of target customers. It makes generating leads, direct bookings and orders easier – a big plus, especially if you are a growing business and want to build a customer base as quickly as possible.

So how do you attract new customers? Let us take a look at some of the most reliable marketing ideas for small businesses:

1. Get on the Public relations (PR) bandwagon

PR, or media relations, involves having your business featured in news publications (physical or digital). It is great when you have something big like a product launch or a change in management that you want to get out to a large audience.

The significant advantage of PR is that it has more credibility than an ad because it has the backing of a journalist and media house. It is also a good way to share factual information about your business through reliable platforms.

As you can imagine, picking the right media channel is vital, so it is best to work with a PR agency that can liaise with journalists on your behalf.

2. Invest in getting engaging press ads published

These are ads you place in magazines and newspapers to catch readers’ eye and encourage them to check out your brand. The focus here should be on punchy headlines and images that readers cannot help but look at, as well as ad text that emphasises the benefits of your product or service and how it will improve their life.

This might sound hard, but you must put yourself in the customer’s place. What is their life like? What are their needs and aspirations, and how does your product fulfil those? A good press ad also serves as a starting point for developing emails, social posts and other creatives, so invest in making it the best you can, including hiring a creative agency if needed.

3. Establish your market authority via speaking engagements

This is another excellent way to build credibility and form a personal connection with an audience. Try to score speaking engagements at local events, trade fairs, conferences or startup conventions – you get a readymade audience who is invested in your industry, and you get to piggyback off the reputation of the event host.

It might be intimidating to speak in public if you are not used to it. However, with a bit of practice, you will be just fine. And remember, your conviction in the awesomeness of your brand is what matters most when you are speaking!

4. Spread the word about your business with videos

Video is one of the most sought-after and enduring formats for connecting with your audience. On a platform like YouTube, you can share video ads to reach new audiences and create and upload your videos to build a following.

5. Use paid methods to appear in search results

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) helps you target specific categories of your customer base online through paid advertising, such as those who have browsed your website in the past. Done right, SEM can make your website appear more prominently in search results for your target customers and can thus encourage more site visits and conversations.

Nailing SEM requires you to research who you want to sell to and what they have searched for or are likely to search for. Please note it is also expensive. Google Ads – for instance, charges you on a PPC model. Make sure you design your ads to be as convert-worthy as possible! Again, to get the very best results, working with a specialist agency is recommended.

6. Improve SEO and drive more traffic to the website

This is a must for any small business looking to establish online credibility. For your site and brand name to appear in search rankings, you need to regularly publish SEO-friendly content in the form of web copy, blog posts, guest posts, LinkedIn posts and so on.

Remember to optimise your page titles, headings, subheadings, image descriptions and meta descriptions with appropriate keywords. However, most important is the content itself, which should be user-oriented rather than aimlessly stuffed with keywords. An excellent way to promote your SEO content is to get backlinks from reputed websites, blogs and media channels.

7. Think outside the box and send direct mails

Direct mail may conjure up images of a doorstep full of junky leaflets, but done right; it is a wonderfully personalised strategy that can win you loyal customers. Invest in creating high-quality mailers with HD images and data to back up your points, and make sure each mailer is tailored to the audience you are aiming for.

8. Educate your target customers about your business through emails

People like to say that email is out of fashion, but the truth is that it is still one of the best ways to communicate with your target customers and inform them personally about sales and other updates.

Email marketing is a cost-effective and scalable tactic, especially with the right email automation tool, and the results are easily measurable. Be sure to A/B test your subject lines, body text and CTAs, so they are engaging and not spammy. And make sure you comply with all data protection legislation.

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    9. Turn your website into a growth machine

    Your website is a valuable source of leads – it is the place all your ads will direct your customers toward, so make it a good one! Luckily, website builders like Wix or Squarespace make it easy for you to design one even without coding knowledge. Some core principles of website design include:

    • Original, high-quality images that demonstrate your product/service from all angles
    • Sufficient information to convey the essence of your brand and what you do to a new visitor
    • Clear navigation bars and CTAs so visitors know exactly where to go
    • Everything optimised for both desktop and mobile devices
    • Easily readable pages without too much text
    • Brand-consistent fonts and colours

    10. Work with influencers to boost your online presence

    This is a relatively new but trendy way to promote your product or service on social media channels. Influencers are content creators with big followings (at least 10000+), which means you reach a large and engaged audience in one go with an influencer post.

    As a small business, it may make sense to work with smaller influencers to begin with, their rates are usually cheaper, and their audience tends to be more authentically engaged.

    11. Use audio content to sell your product or service

    Podcasts are gaining in popularity, and podcast listeners tend to be highly engaged people who trust what the podcast host is saying. To be featured on a podcast, you can offer to be a sponsor for the host, who will then read out an ad for your brand during the course of the episode. Podcast hosts would not accept sponsorships from brands they do not use themselves or that are unrelated to their show, so choose wisely.

    12.Develop a referral campaign

    This is such an easy marketing strategy that it often gets left out. Still, the truth is customers who come in through the recommendation of friends or family members are often the most engaged ones and stay with you for longer! Therefore, run a program to enable your existing customers to spread the word about your business, and offer them incentives to bring new ones in.

    Over to you

    Building a solid online presence is vital for attracting customers regardless of what industry your small business is in. There are multiple marketing channels and strategies to consider, but these are some basics we recommend for when you are starting out.

    And as always, working with a professional never hurts – so if you can afford a marketing agency or freelance expert, hire one! More importantly, as your small business grows, which it will if you follow these 11 tips mentioned above, the financial transactions and operations become more complex.

    An accountant can help you understand and manage the accounting requirements, prepare and analyse your financial statements, and ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations. They can also help you identify areas where your small business can cut costs and improve financial performance. Bradleys Accountants, for instance, can help set up your business for success.

    Besides the usual accounting tasks, we can assist with setting up cloud accounting systems for easy daily record-keeping, communicating with government agencies such as HMRC, managing payroll as your business grows and hires more employees, and providing advice on securing investment. Contact us to find out more about our services.

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