Learning how to grow your small business with marketing is challenging for the solopreneur or small company owner. Promotions aren’t easy to understand. You can waste a lot of time and money, throwing your efforts at multiple outlets only to find your business is stagnant.
Out of the top small business trends in 2020, digital marketing ranked number two, with social media and mobile apps right behind. The number one marketing goal was a website. However, your site needs to be user-friendly and hit all the right points if you want it to be a positive marketing experience.
The past year was difficult for most entrepreneurs. The pandemic created slower segments in the economy, and nearly every business changed how they conduct services.
As we head into 2021, you’re probably ready to take off and start making a profit. Knowing how to grow your small business with marketing is a matter of understanding what works for your industry.
Fortunately, there are some specific things other organizations have already tried that work well for smaller firms. Here are eight steps to marketing your business effectively in the coming year.
1. Keep Current Customers
You can’t figure out how to grow your small business with marketing if you lose the customers you have. The key to gaining traction is by keeping current clients while bringing in new ones. Before you plan out marketing to attract new leads, plan a campaign to reach out to those who already buy from you.
An email campaign offering current customers a special discount may show them you care about them. You can also reach out to individual clients to make sure they’re happy with previous purchases and fix any concerns.
2. Generate a Buyer Persona
Know your customers. Who are you trying to reach with your message? Take the time to dig into the demographics you have on current clients. What is the average age, profession, gender and annual income? How to grow your small business with marketing involves really knowing your typical user.
Next, look at the psychographics of your typical buyer. What drives people to want to purchase from you? No matter what campaign you create or where you place your ads, you need to target them to the right buyers.
When you create buyer personas, you outline the parameters you need to set for digital advertising. You’ll also be better able to reach local customers by knowing where they hang out and why they need your product.
3. Create a Marketing Schedule
Marketing with a mindset toward growth is a big hill to climb. You need to post several times a week across different platforms, include offline tactics and make sure everything aligns. Learn how to grow your small business with marketing both in the digital and non-digital realm.
The only way to ensure you’re hitting all the high points in your promotional efforts is to create a schedule. You may not have time to complete every element on your own. You can always outsource projects when you have them listed on a month by month and week by week calendar.
4. Embrace Social Media
No matter what type of business you run, social media is your friend when growing your customer base. With sites such as Facebook and Twitter, you can target your ads to a specific audience.
You’ll use your buyer personas to narrow the selection of people who see your advertisements. If you are a small mom and pop shop, you might target people in a specific neighborhood in your city. If you sell online, your range of customers might be a bit broader but limited to single women under 30.
Know your customers, and you’ll be better able to reach them where they hang out online. It isn’t easy knowing how to grow your small business with marketing, but getting to know your customers better is always beneficial.
5. Write Quality Content
You have to give people a reason to visit your site in the first place. Create content they want to read, and that provides value. Start by knowing your target audience’s pain points. What is the problem driving them to find an answer your industry has?
Once you know the pain point, think about the knowledge you have that might help them. Let’s look at an example.
A tire store wants to market new tires to its customers. They must first ask why people buy new tires. Perhaps they are sliding on snowy roads and worried about their family’s safety. The pain point is worry about family staying safe.
The content might be an article about how to drive safely in the snow and knowing when it’s time to replace your tires. By providing an answer to their concern, you show them you understand their needs. When they decide to replace their tires, they are likely to call you.
6. Get Personal
According to Epsilon’s report, 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand offering a personalized experience. People expect business to understand their needs and take the time to know them.
Your general research and buyer personas are essential, but you should also track spending behavior and customer service contacts from individual customers.
If someone buys a sweater, did you just get in the pants that go perfectly with it? Drop them an email. You can automate much of the work with your inventory management and customer relationship management programs.
7. Develop Customer Loyalty Programs
Take the time to set up a thank you program for your regular customers. If someone buys from you over and over again, reward that loyalty with a discount or a free item.
Stores such as Starbucks feature buy so many drinks and get one free. Can you offer something similar? You’ll need to crunch numbers and see what makes the most sense and is affordable to you while providing a real benefit to the user.
8. Ask for Referrals
Don’t be afraid to ask current customers, family and friends to tell others about your business. Often, they simply need you to ask them, and they are happy to spread the word.
People are much more likely to buy based on the recommendation of someone they know. Make sharing easy by creating posts on social media or sending emails and asking your clients to spread the word.
You could even create a referral program and reward those who tell someone about you, resulting in a sale.
Combine Online and Offline
The most successful small businesses combine online and offline efforts. Share a special on social media and allow customers to come into your store and mention the special for a discount. Tell in-store customers they can get 20% off by signing up for the online newsletter.
Look for ways to stay in touch both online and offline and schmooze new leads. The more times someone hears your brand name, the more of an impression you’ll make.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.