The biggest worry of any small business owner is ‘how to start making a business sustainable.’
It is a fact that small business owners lack a clear direction when they start their business. Although they have a vision, a mission, and a strategy, that all is bound to change based on the experiences they will have. And it is fine for these small businesses. As a wise man once said:
“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.”― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer/statesman
The nature of digital businesses is now changing rapidly. A few years ago, online marketing was enough to grow small businesses. Even many businesses during that era only grew by organic promotion. But today, online traffic is not enough to grow businesses. Because even if the businesses are able to get the traffic, most of it is not relevant. People are coming because of keywords, not because of buying intent. So, what is the solution available to these businesses?
Answer: Take a holistic approach to small business marketing.
This means to try new things and experiment until you reach a solution that is best for your business.
With that said, we have curated a list of must-have marketing strategies that small owners should know about when trying to grow their business.
1. Customer-Centric Marketing
To bring-in relevant customers, small business owners should draft strategies that appeal to their audience. For this purpose, they need to determine who their audience is. A few months in business will give them a fair idea about what type of people buy their products.
Many online companies have seen an exponential increase in their growth after understanding more about their audience. Flipkart is one example. It was because of an understanding buyer persona that it was able to beat Snapdeal in its business propositions. Similarly, Walmart is now growing even faster than Amazon because it now understands how to target the right kind of customers online. This is all because of its customer-centric approach.
2. Use of Paid channels
Precise marketing, re-targeting, split testing, a/b testing are some of the ways new business owners should be marketing their businesses. While SEO and search engine marketing takes time, paid marketing can be done in seconds. That’s why small business owners, irrespective of the type of business they are in, should use paid channels for their marketing activities. This includes the use of Facebook, Google, Bing, and other marketing channels. They will help the business grow in a definite direction by learning about its buyers through data.
3. Growth hacking
Small businesses shouldn’t shy away from taking risks. For small businesses that are still in the growth stage, new ways of promotion can help them massively increase their user base. They can capitalize on other products like Dropbox used Google Drive as an alternative, or they can benefit from a feature that other businesses don’t offer, such as snapchat – self-deleting feature. These are some of the ideas that can help a business grow exponentially in a short period. And, this is what makes small businesses billion-dollar businesses and the unicorns of their industry.
4. Social Media promotion
How do you know that a new business is providing a service in your area? Through word of mouth? Through TV channel? Through radio? No.
In most cases, you learn about the service through a social media promotion. That is because you spend more time on social media than on all these mediums combined. Pew Research statistics say that social media use has outdone all other mediums combined. And, the most used social channel is Facebook, followed by Instagram and Twitter.
5. Event promotion
Although digital marketing has matured and everyone can learn about a new business online. In the past few years, event marketing and promotions have also seen a spike in promotions. This is mostly because most small businesses are of hybrid models. They offer services both on the ground and online. So, events also appear as the right medium for them to build awareness.
Take an online leather jacket store. For that store, will online promotion only matter more or an online promotion + local events promotion? Of course, the jacket seller will get more benefits by selling jackets directly at the event and also spreading awareness about its brand, so that people who shop online can buy online from it. The action also increases its trust in people.
That’s why it is important to sponsor events to build awareness about small businesses.
Note: Event promotion is not for all businesses. If you own a business, first perform a cost-benefit analysis to make sure that the event will work for you if it doesn’t then there is no need to sponsor it.
6. Influencer marketing
Last but not least. One more strategy that small business owners should keep in mind is that of influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is a new phenomenon, but it has spread rapidly. An influencer is someone who has a following and who can impact their buying decision.
You can find many influencers on social media such as Instagram, Twitter, or even Facebook. These can be individuals, group admins, YouTube creators, or even TV or Film celebrities. The best part is that influencer marketing through celebrity endorsement can help create more awareness about your brand than anything else. It is because celebrities have followers in millions. Even if a fraction of these people orders from your store, then that will be around 100 to 1000 orders from a single sponsorship.
A YouTube channel called Yes Theory even proved this by creating a video on viral content.
Small businesses need time to grow. But if they create smart strategies to increase their growth rate, they can scale the business faster and even beat the competition. However, to achieve such a feat, the business owners should learn to take risks, embrace new marketing methods, and experiment with what they have. Only then they will be able to grow and scale business at a rapid pace.
About the Author:
Alma Causey is a writer by day and a sports fan by night. She writes about tech education and health related issues. Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover. Read more of her work at Outlook Studios.