You’re likely using several different marketing strategies while running your business. But, as your business sees success and an increase in revenue, it’s probably time to grow. And to do that, you’ll need to change how you’re marketing your business.
From email marketing and developing key partnerships to creating a local presence, here are 13 strategies you can use to drive your business’ growth and take it to the next level.
1. Learn From Your Competitors
Doing competitor research can give you valuable information. It’s a great opportunity to learn from their successes and failures as you try to grow your business.
With competitor research, your small business can:
- Compare its offerings: When you look at what your competitors offer, you can see how your business compares. This process may lead to product development to make your company more competitive.
- Identify new markets: Your research may show you gaps in the market where certain customers’ needs aren’t addressed. If you know who these people are, you can change your marketing plan to reach them and make them potential customers.
- Create or update your business plan: You should have new information from your analysis that you can use to update your business plan to help its long-term success.
2. Identify and Understand Your Target Audience
You can’t grow your small business unless you know who your target market is. Knowing who your customers are and what they want is an essential part of your business’ growth strategy.
The more you know about your market, the better. You can use this type of information to be proactive and pursue potential customers. To fully understand your audience, you’ll want to know things like:
- Demographics, such as age and gender
- What their needs are
- Types of information they want
- How they prefer to get their information
While market research can help you identify your target audience, you also need to know what your customer base thinks of you. This is why tracking your brand is important. It can show you how consumer opinions impact their buying behavior. For example, you can make improvements if you find consumers have negative views of your customer service.
So, what can you do to get a better understanding of what the public thinks of your business? You can start listening to social media or use brand surveys, which can give you data on brand awareness.
3. Develop a Mobile-Friendly Website
Over 70% of the world’s population will have mobile internet by 2023.1 So it’s clear how important a mobile-friendly website is for your business’ growth. If you don’t have a website that works on cell phones or other mobile devices, you risk losing a large number of potential customers.
Making a mobile-friendly website doesn’t mean you have to create a separate site for cellphones and tablets. It just means that when you create your site, you should pay attention to:
- Responsiveness, because people will access your website on devices with different screen sizes. So, you want to make sure it displays properly.
- Font and button sizes, because your customers will need to read them on smaller screens.
- Speed, since your consumers won’t want to use your site if it doesn’t load quickly on a mobile connection.
- User experience, because customers may get frustrated if your site is difficult to navigate on a mobile device.
The good news is you don’t have to be a web developer to build a mobile-friendly website. Several companies make it easy to create a website, such as:
4. Create High-Quality Content
Creating content your target audience wants is an important part of any successful online marketing strategy. You’ll also want to invest in search engine optimization (SEO). This can improve your business’ ranking in search results, which makes it easier for people to find your company. The more traffic your website receives, the more opportunities you have to turn people into customers.
It’s not enough to publish random content on your site. It has to be high quality and relevant to your audience. Some examples of good content are:
- How-to articles relevant to your product or service. This type of content can be a written article, video or both.
- List-oriented posts, which are easy to scan and read.
- Reviews of your product or service, or another item related to your business.
- General articles, which educate consumers on a relevant topic or answer a frequently asked question.
5. Nurture Potential Customers with Email Campaigns
It’s not uncommon for someone to visit your business’ website or storefront, but not make a purchase. Just because they didn’t buy something immediately doesn’t mean you can’t turn them into a customer later. One way you can do this is through email marketing. You can use this strategy as a way to nurture leads and encourage them to purchase at another time.
Running an email campaign has a low cost for your business because you’re not sending direct mail to consumers or advertising in print publications. The other benefits of email marketing incluyen:
- Reaching a large number of people
- Better market penetration, since nearly two-thirds of the population will have internet access by 20232
- A positive return on investment
To run a successful email marketing campaign, first you need a list of email addresses. Here are some tips to get you started with building email lists:
- Ask people to sign up for email notifications in person.
- Use call-to-action buttons on your content and throughout your website to encourage email signups.
- Offer something in exchange for a person’s email, such as access to a demo or special discount code.
When you have your list, you need to create engaging emails to send out. Writing effective marketing emails means:
- Having well-written, valuable content
- Using action language
- Ensuring it’s correctly formatted
It’s a good idea to start measuring email campaign effectiveness after you send out your emails. Even if it’s your first campaign, the data is valuable. You can use it to build a baseline and start tracking trends, which can show you what’s working and what isn’t.
While it’s possible to run your own email marketing campaign, working with a vendor can make it easier. For example, Constant Contact helps business owners make engaging emails through templates and provides a dashboard to track metrics.
6. Enlist Your Customer with Loyalty & Affiliate Programs
Making loyalty and affiliate programs part of your marketing strategies can help increase the size of your customer base.
A loyalty program rewards people who continue to support your business. It’s also a good strategy to improve your customer retention. By offering incentives to buy products or services, you’re keeping customers happy and possibly increasing your profits.
You can use affiliate programs to try to attract new customers. You’ll work together with another company, an affiliate, to drive people to your business. If a person buys a product or service as a result, it’s called a conversion. You’ll pay the affiliate for each conversion they send to your business. Since you’re only spending money when you get a new customer, affiliate marketing can be cost effective for your small business.
7. Take Advantage of Social Media
Across the world, 1 in 3 people use social media.3 Considering there are about 7.7 billion people in the world, that’s a lot of social media users. So, it’s a good idea to use these platforms as part of your marketing strategy. The other benefit? Social media is typically free.
Having a social media brand presence is important. Whether you decide to create a profile on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, you’ll want to regularly engage consumers on these platforms to increase your brand awareness. You can do this by:
- Live-streaming your business activities to offer a behind-the-scenes look
- Answering consumer questions or comments about your brand
- Posting photos, videos or articles
8. Customer Testimonials and Reviews
Nearly 95% of people read reviews before making a purchase.4 And, if a consumer sees reviews on your site, this can increase conversion by 270%.5 This means displaying customer reviews and testimonials on your site can increase sales and help your business’ growth.
Don’t forget to start tracking brand reviews. It’s rare to never receive a negative review. And, since this can cause a consumer to not buy something from your business, it’s a good idea to address negative reviews whenever you see them.
9. Incentivize with Giveaways and Promotions
Some consumers need a bit more convincing to get them to click the “buy button” and go through checkout. That’s where incentives can help.
You can add giveaways, like a free gift or sample, to their order if they make a purchase. Or you can give them an exclusive promotion to use for their next order. Your website can even display a pop up when a person is about to leave, offering a special discount if they buy now. Many retail stores use this strategy to encourage consumers to make a purchase.
10. Contribute as an Industry Expert
Becoming an expert in your industry can give you opportunities to contribute to:
- Online discussion groups
- Media interviews
The more places you can contribute, the more it increases your chances of reaching new customers. You don’t have to wait for someone to reach out to you for a contribution. You can start building your thought leadership by:
- Writing articles on blogging platforms, such as Medium or LinkedIn
- Answering inquiries on question-and-answer platforms, such as Quora and Reddit
- Working with a journalist as a source for a news story
11. Partner with Key Businesses and Influencers
When you partner with non-competing businesses and influencers, you’re tapping into their network. These businesses or influencers have credibility with their supporters and fans. So, when they share your product or services, it’s like they’re recommending your business. This can significantly increase your reach and let you market to a new audience.
Subaru used this strategy when they partnered with a well-known social media influencer. They wanted to advertise their cars to millennials and people who like the outdoors. The influencer created a video for his network, which showcased Subaru’s car being used in different outdoor locations. This influencer marketing helped Subaru reach its target audience.
12. Optimize Your Local Listings
As more people use smartphones and smart speakers, locally-focused searches increase. Recently, Google noticed mobile users weren’t using their location or ZIP code in searches anymore because they believed their smart devices knew where they were.6 In fact, from 2015 to 2017, people using “near me” searches with some form of “can I buy” or “to buy” increased 500%.7 Some examples of these kinds of searches are:
- Where can I buy a car near me?
- Places to buy construction equipment near me
- Buying chocolate near me
With people changing the way they search, it’s important you update your business’ website and content to improve its local SEO. Otherwise, you may not appear in search results.
One of the first things you should do is create a Google My Business listing. A Google My Business account makes it easier for people to find your business in search results. Make sure you include relevant information, such as business hours, address, category and photos.
13. Retarget to Stay Top of Mind
If you were to track one of your customer’s purchase journey, you may find they don’t buy anything until after a number of visits to your website. And, even then, it’s not always a guarantee. Retargeting is a type of digital marketing that serves ads specifically to people who visited your website. As these people use social media or browse the internet, they will see ads from your business.
Many businesses use retargeting as a way to continue engaging with consumers, encouraging them to make a purchase. It’s also used to keep a business at the top of someone’s mind. For example, if someone visits a credit card site, but leaves before signing up for a card, the company can use retargeting ads to remind them of special promotions or features.
You can work with your marketing department to develop your business’ specific retargeting strategy. If you don’t have a marketing team, you may want to work with a few ad agencies to help grow your business’ digital marketing efforts.
The Hartford may receive compensation from companies we endorse on our website. Any company we affiliate with has been fully reviewed and selected for their quality of service or product.