Five marketing strategies for small businesses to stay efficient and effective

|February 1, 2017

For small and medium businesses, it can be overwhelming to develop a sound marketing strategy that not only drives business results effectively, but also does so efficiently. With so many tactics to choose from and so little time and budget, how do you make sure your business is pursuing the right marketing strategies for small businesses?

An effective marketing strategy requires clarity. Without it, you run the risk of burning through valuable time and money you can’t afford to waste. With that, what marketing strategies and tactics should be top-of-mind for your growing businesses?

 

Be more targeted with outbound marketing campaigns

Though they can be effective, tactics such as direct mail or cold email campaigns are not an efficient use of your time and budget. Targeting the right consumer from the get-go can often lead to better overall results at a fraction of the cost and effort. This can include optimized e-mail campaigns that target consumers that have abandoned their carts. According to the Baymard Institute, cart abandonment happens almost 70% of the time on e-commerce websites. Email remarketing to these lost, but engaged consumers will be the lowest hanging fruit for marketers. The key is to be timely. Business Insider reports that emails sent within three hours after a consumer abandons a cart averages a 40% open rate and 20% click-through rate. Even if you are targeting less people than a typical “spray and pray” campaign, you will see higher open rates, conversion rates, and average order sizes when you are targeting the right consumers rather than trying to target everyone.

 

Pull shoppers in with inbound marketing

As shoppers become savvier, marketers need to get more creative. This includes the use of inbound marketing to reach and pull in the right audience. By publishing content relevant to what shoppers are searching for and what you offer, you can attract shoppers that are the best fit for your brand. Branded content such as videos and blogs hosted on your branded web properties can help funnel consumers to your site and keep them there, engaging with your brand longer. Utilizing platforms such as WordPress makes it relatively simple for businesses to begin blogging. If you don’t have your own site or sell mainly through an online retail channel, publishing consumer reviews is another form of inbound marketing that helps pull consumers in toward your brand and products. Blog and review content also helps raise brand awareness and brings in more customers through organic search traffic by boosting your search result ranking. The great thing about inbound marketing is that it fits well within any business – big or small, and is both cost-effective and user-friendly.

 

Start getting social

Social media is a great way to turn your customers into advocates and have them spread the gospel about your brand and products. If time allows, try to have a wide social footprint and be active on multiple platforms. It is equally important to realize that each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages. The visual nature of Instagram and Pinterest works best for online shopping, while Facebook is a bit more casual and a great avenue for people to connect with your brand. Twitter can serve as a way to broadcast updates or promotions, but be prepared to also receive feedback from consumers, and even customer service-related issues. Though participating in social costs next to nothing, it is important to keep in mind that it requires persistence and consistency to be successful. If you choose to engage consumers on social media, make sure you are willing to put in the time required.

 

Create a loyalty programIt’s usually easier and cheaper for businesses to sell to existing customers than to find brand new ones. Loyalty programs allow a brand to stay connected with past customers and build repeat business. According to Entreprenuer.com, 64% of businesses have found customer loyalty programs to be effective. Not only do loyalty programs lower your cost per acquisition, but they also keep your brand and products in high consideration while shutting out the competition. What’s not to love about that? A well-executed loyalty program is an easy way for smaller businesses to compete and win against bigger brands with large budgets.

 

Let consumers sell for you

Consumer-generated reviews provide immediate credibility and authenticity, convincing other customers to buy your products. Think about it, how many times have you bought something online because of its ratings and reviews? Adweek reports that 81% of shopper research before making a purchase. Reviews are particular useful for marketers because they are practically self-generating and self-sustaining, requiring little time or effort to implement. For example, with Bazaarvoice Review Marketing, a brand can simply enter in their customer contact list and immediately start collecting review content to display on retailer sites. Click here to learn more about how reviews can efficiently enhance your marketing and impact online sales.

 

Final Thoughts

For any brand or business, be it an established enterprise level or a small-to-medium challenger brand, finding the right marketing strategy is key. It’s critical for a business to determine what works to reach its audience and give them the confidence to purchase. But it is also important to find the strategies that fit within your time and budgetary restraints. And remember, businesses with the most successful marketing campaigns never just stick with one tactic. They develop a plan that enables them to try new things and grow with consumers.