By Anna Stella, above, CEO, BBSA
The purpose of marketing is to generate sales while simultaneously creating a growing brand awareness, but this is easier said than done. Small businesses often don’t have the time, resources, and finances to market their brands effectively, leading to a disadvantage compared to large enterprises serving the same target clients. These five trending marketing tips can help your business to draw leads that result in sales, and with the busiest season of the year around the corner, these trends can drive your results fast.
- Exploit social network marketing
With an average daily time spent using social channels of 2h 27m per person, and 4.62 billion users around the world, social media marketing is too big to ignore and yet, often marginalized by small businesses as they fail to see a direct link to sell.
Social media marketing is, in fact, one of the cheapest ways to keep communicating with existing, old, and new potential clients and can revolutionize your business, from helping to gain prospective clients to creating brand awareness and product promotion. Integrating social media marketing also aids in building your brand voice and goals and is a great way to test new product ideas.
A deliberately crafted post can engage an audience more fully, resulting in business growth, but consistency is king. One of the big misconceptions about social media usage is that ‘more is more,’ with a consumer audience receiving multiple daily posts with content that is often not good enough or relevant. Rather share fewer posts with excellent content that is fresh, appropriate, and has good visuals consistently.
- Get more reviews (and pay attention to them)
It has been estimated that 90% of online consumers read online reviews and that 88% of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The question is, then, why are small businesses not investing in collecting and incorporating them in their marketing and on their website?
Online reviews and testimonials often validate a brand’s reputation and are essential in developing client trust. They are an accurate barometer of a business’s services and products and show the world what clients really think about a business. A client’s unbiased opinions also make a statement about what makes you stand out amongst competitors and can be added to your marketing materials and be broadcasted on social media.
Reviews can be quickly requested by implementing a prompt sent to clients after service or product purchase or with an open-ended survey for clients wanting to provide more information.
- Outsource what you can’t do
Over the last few years, marketing has become far more complex, requiring multi-channel activities and customization becoming more prevalent. Marketing strategies have become more diverse and landing new clients more challenging. Small businesses are finding it more difficult to retain in-house marketing resources and therefore have looked towards outsourcing as a solution for some of their marketing activities.
The edge small firms have over their competitors is their immediate access to professional expertise while at the same time removing significant business functions from their workflow. By outsourcing to expert agencies, companies can now focus more on their core activities, leaving the marketing activities to the experts.
- Use Marketing Automation
Small businesses often claim the lack of time as one of the reasons for not doing marketing. Next to marketing outsourcing, marketing automation is the solution to this problem, as it can help automate monotonous work. Not everything can be automated, but key repetitive tasks such as email marketing, collecting client data, social media posting, and even ad campaigns are dependent on a consistent and necessary frequency.
Marketing automation can be used at different stages of the buying process and is a real game-changer for small businesses. Its benefits reach to getting any company organized, increasing sales, and improving the customer experience by offering more personalized and timely content.
- Your website is the face of your company: invest in it
One of the most essential tools a small company can have in our digital-first era is a well-maintained website. A website serves multiple functions: it showcases what you sell, educates and advises clients, advertises your products and services, generates new leads and business, and engages with potential clients outside of your standard working hours.
Your website is the face of your company, and as you develop your business over time, you need to invest in your website, expanding it. Refreshing your site every year is a good practice. Polishing your looks, usability and content will ensure that your site is always modern, working, generating clients leads, and optimized for mobile use. If you don’t update your website, it’s sure to fall also in the search engine rankings, losing its influence and impact.
Anna Stella is a two-time national award-winning marketing expert, academic researcher, and CEO of the global marketing outsourcing agency BBSA, Anna has 20+ years of experience within the B2B, B2C, and non-profit industries. Clients include Volkswagen AG, the Government, NewsCorp, the European Union, RICS, and Rational AG.