Small Business Marketing 101: Getting Started

If you want your business to succeed, it’s important to have a strong online presence. This is especially true if you’re just starting out.

By 2025, the number of eCommerce users is predicted to grow to nearly 274 million, with consumers learning about local businesses online more than anywhere else.

Don’t worry if you’re a small business owner who isn’t experienced in online marketing. We have everything you need.

In this post, we’ll help you build and optimize your small business marketing strategy using inbound marketing. This will attract new clients and help you grow your business.

Small Business Marketing

The purpose of marketing is to create a recognizable brand and to generate leads that will result in sales. Small businesses often have difficulty getting noticed and lack the resources to implement expansive marketing campaigns. However, by focusing on key strategies, small businesses can still effectively market their products and services.

If you’re having trouble with any aspect of marketing your business, creating a marketing plan can help you move forward. It can be especially helpful if you’re on a tight budget, have a small team, or are unsure of the next steps to take.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is a type of marketing that involves “pushing” a product or service onto potential customers, interrupting them with things like ads or sales tactics. Inbound marketing is the opposite – you “pull” customers in by creating valuable content that helps them achieve their goals.

To further elaborate, it’s about three pieces:

Your content must be relevant and helpful in order to attract prospects and customers to your website and blog.

Once you get their attention, you engage with them using conversational tools like email and chat. You promise to give them continued value.

You make them happy by continuing to act as a caring advisor and expert.

Inbound marketing is not just for marketing, it can also be used for sales and services.

The Basics for Getting Started

We won’t be able to cover the idea of inbound marketing comprehensively here, but we’ll give you the basics so you can start taking action. Once you get started, you can always learn more about the methodology.

So what are the basic steps for getting started?

First, you need to identify your ideal audience, or your target market. Who do you want to sell your product or service to?

What are the best ways to reach, engage, and delight your customers? Where do they spend their time and how do they communicate?

After you have your systems set up, start creating content and messaging that will interest, engage, and please your customers. Be sure to put analytics in place so you can keep track of how well your strategy is working and make changes as needed.

Let’s dive into each one of these individually.

Know Your Personas & Target Markets

Although you may be aware of your target market and have already established your buyer personas, it is still beneficial to revisit this information and learn more about your customers. The more you know about your customers, the more effectively you can develop your messaging and strategy.

In order to define a target market, you need to narrow down your audience to those who would be most receptive to your message. This involves choosing the right marketing channels and defining a buyer persona.

You create a buyer persona by building a representative model of your ideal customer. You want to find a balance between making the persona too accurate to the real world and making it too complex. This means that you should gather enough data and information to make a buyer persona that is mostly accurate, but not too much information.

How do you gather data to inform your buyer persona? There are many ways, some easier, some harder, depending on the stage of your company:

You’ll want to answer core questions about your ideal buyer, such as:

The following will help you in both choosing channels and crafting messaging: conducting audience research, identifying key performance indicators, setting objectives and strategies, and creating message maps.

This text is saying that you shouldn’t create a made-up buyer persona with a cute name just to go through the motions. It also says that the buyer persona’s favorite color of the car isn’t important unless you’re selling paint or used vehicles. You should only focus on the stuff that’s important and knowable.

Map Out Your Channels and Tactics

When you have a target market and buyer persona, you can look into different channels. There are only so many inbound marketing channels:

Some channels of marketing will not work with your business no matter how you try. An example of this is if you are selling dish soap, virality is not likely.

If there are channels that could work for your business but would take a lot of effort, you should table them for now and focus on channels that will have a bigger impact.

Heuristic: A rule of thumb that helps you solve a problem or make a decision To identify your best channels, use this rule of thumb: “how does a customer buy this type of product?”

Lawn care is often a case of people needing someone right away when their lawn gets too long. Search ads and SEO are perfect to capture this type of demand.

Some products, such as Chubbies or Airpods, are more likely to be shared with others because they are seen as trendy or cool. If you want to make a product go viral, concentrate on the aspects of the product that make it appealing to consumers and then promote it heavily.

Some businesses, like B2B software companies Wordable or Mutiny, are ideal for content marketing. These businesses usually require some initial education, and their target customers are used to learning from blogs, webinars, and ebooks.

Come up with a plan before joining a new channel. Make sure it is beneficial for you and not just because your competitors are doing it or because it is new. We don’t need more businesses trying to be successful on social media platforms if it is not beneficial for them.

Create Content and Execute on the Playbook

The messaging strategy you execute will largely determine how effective the channel becomes.

Let’s say we want to use blogging and SEO for our inbound marketing efforts. This is usually a good strategy because it’s an owned channel, and you can usually compete with bigger players and win some or most of the time by creating high-quality content.

Ideas for Your 2022 Small Business Marketing Strategy

These strategies are fundamental as you generate awareness and revenue for your organization:

Know Your Audience

One common mistake is assuming that “anyone” is potential customer. While bigger businesses may be able to target a larger market, it’s often more effective for smaller businesses to focus on a specific niche. Developing a niche allows you to better understand the needs and wants of your target customer base, making it easier to appeal to them.

What motivates people to make a purchasing decision? How can you tell if your messaging is effective? Understanding these factors will help you create marketing material that resonates with consumers and convinces them to buy your product.

Who are your ideal customers? What type of person do you want to work with? Start by creating a buyer persona to get into the head of your ideal client.

Emphasize Your Value Proposition

If you are the same as your competition, there is no reason why a buyer would choose you. Your value proposition is what makes you different from others and shows that you are the better choice. What do you do better than anyone else in the industry? If you can answer this, you will have a compelling argument.

Stay Focused On Singular Goals and Objectives

There are many different paths you can take if you are interested in marketing. It can be tempting to try to do everything at once, but it is better to focus on a few specific areas.

Instead of trying to do everything at once, figure out what will have the biggest impact. What is the biggest problem in your marketing that is preventing you from growing? Set a goal to improve that one area and focus your resources on the activities that will help you reach that goal. Once you have made more progress on that one goal, you can expand your efforts to other areas.

Capitalize on Short-Term Plays

Start with small projects and scale up as you see ROI. This will give you the momentum and cash flow to put toward larger projects, long-term plays, and more sustainable growth models.

Tactics that take time to build, such as SEO, are not the best choice for your primary initiatives because you will not see a return soon enough. If you have enough resources to start there, great, but do not put all your eggs in that basket.

If you’re looking for immediate ROI, you may want to consider paid ads. This is especially true if you have evidence that people are using Google to look for solutions like yours.

Double-Down on What Works

To ensure continued success after implementing changes, keep track of how these changes affect different areas of the business. Doing this will allow you to see what is working and help you make informed decisions about continuing or expanding certain initiatives.

Understand the Power of Existing Customers

It is five times more expensive to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. Therefore, marketing efforts should not stop after a purchase is made.

Your opportunities for repeat purchasing, upselling, and cross-selling come from your existing customers. They know, like, and trust you because they have already made a purchase. If you give them a good experience, they will want to do business with you again.

Even if the need doesn’t arise to try and upsell customers, you should still make them happy. Word of mouth is a powerful and free way to promote your company.

Use Free Promotional Tools

Since you have committed to a limited goal and scope, there is no need to spend more money than necessary on promotional tools. Free tools are fine as long as they will do the job, but only use paid tools if they will make a significant improvement. The following is a list of some marketing tools, both free and paid.

Create a Website to Own Your Online Presence

Your website is one of the most important assets for your small business. It will show who you are, what you offer, where you are, and how potential customers can get in touch with you.

A channel that you will always own and that has the ability to generate organic traffic is a valuable asset. You can use it to send traffic from advertising and other marketing initiatives.

Your website can do more than simply advertise your business – it has the potential to generate sales leads 24/7. By understanding how to convert web traffic into leads, you can turn your website into a powerful sales tool.

Promote Yourself on Social Media

If there are billions of potential customers using social media platforms every day, it makes sense for businesses to use social media marketing as a way to engage with them, build brand awareness, and promote their products. After all, why wouldn’t businesses want to be visible where their potential customers are spending their time?


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