February is always the time for small business owners to look ahead and make bold plans for the unveiling new year. While big companies have the advantage of programs such as Six Sigma to make sure they are running as smoothly, effectively and cost-efficiently as possible, entrepreneurs only have themselves and the advice of wise mentors.
With some smart planning and adept use of the internet, though, small businesses don’t need a huge marketing budget to achieve big success. Here then are six lean, mean marketing strategies that small businesses can take to the bank:
- Become Mobile-Centric: While industry analysts previously advocated a mobile-friendly marketing strategy, Smart Hustle Magazine says small businesses need to be mobile-centric. This means that your website must easily adapt to be viewed in any digital device. Your business must also show up in mobile-initiated searches, so think in terms of content that answers action-oriented questions such as, “Where can I find ‘x’ near here?” Be ready to accept mobile payments and think about having a “Buy Now” button on your site.
- Be Live: If 2016 was the year of the video, then 2017 was the year of the live video as more social media outlets incorporate live video options into their platforms. It’s predicted that 75% of all mobile traffic will be dedicated to live video within the next few years. Start learning how to incorporate video into your marketing strategy now so you can better connect with prospects and customers, present product information, or demonstrate your service in action.
- Word-of-Mouth Still Works: Now it’s referred to by the fancy name of influencer marketing, but it’s still getting people to talk up your product or service for you. Ask customers to post testimonials, or review your company on online sites. Find somebody locally who has a good social media following, or someone who comments on your business area, and engage in an online conversation. Get them to review your product, or point out how your service can address and solve specific consumer problems.
- Content, Content, Content: Content marketing is one of the top digital marketing techniques. Make sure your website sings content, you have fresh and insightful blog material, and your social media uses hashtags and keywords to excite and entice an audience.
- Email: Wait, how did this get on the list? It’s not a new marketing strategy but Small Business Trends says it is still effective at increasing ROI when used smartly. If your customer database consists of five outdated AOL addresses, you’re missing out on a free opportunity to communicate information like product use guides, blog updates, and business announcements. Don’t sell – inform!
- Don’t be Afraid to Be Local: Many businesses only concentrate on certain media outlets because they think that’s how the “big” companies achieve success. But be proud of your status as a locally-owned small business and take advantage of every local communication outlet you can find.