4 result-driven strategies used when marketing for small businesses

Behdad J.

Behdad J.

Marketing Broker and Business Consultant

Marketing for small business begin with a few basic strategies. Below you will find some of the key basics for Branding, Websites, Pay per Click and Search Engine Optimization.

Branding

The first step in marketing for small business is branding. Often ignored by businesses, branding is a critical component of building a successful business. Having a strong and recognizable brand drives customer loyalty, word of mouth referrals, and higher profit margins. Brands like Nike and Apple prove this point.

Smaller businesses can benefit from brand-building as well. The small investment is well worth the effort in the long run. Key branding elements are:

  • Core visual identity (logos, icons, visual style)
  • Primary and secondary colours, that creates the right emotional connections
  • Graphic and photography style
  • Voice (casual, serious, humor, etc.)
  • Typeface choices that supports the overall feel of the brand

A branding exercise also includes research on your current and future competition. This helps define a business’ value proposition which is critical in how you compete in your industry.

A clear brand design can be used as a set of guiding principles. This will help make business decisions, and how to best communicate with future customers. Having a consistent brand experience across all your customer touch-points builds trust, and increases sales. When a customer always receives the same excellent experience interacting with a company’s brand, they feel that a promise has been kept. This leads to more revenue to your business.

The opposite is true too. If your brand is not well-designed or not developed, it leads customers feeling a lack of trust, and less loyalty.


Conversion Focused Websites

Think about the last time you visited a website. What made you want to buy from it? What made you want to leave and find another one? Your website is an extension of your business. How it works tells your customers what type of experience they will get from your business. When we work on marketing for small businesses, your website is an extension of your sales team.

Websites today range anywhere from 100 dollars to 1 million dollars. When marketing for a small business, you are looking for the right fit at the best deal possible.  Not all websites are created equal, so here are some highlights of what we consider when we evaluate your website needs.

  • Appearance is just one small factor to consider. Plenty of designers can create visually pleasing websites, but it is critical that it is designed to convert viewers into customers.  There are specific design features to consider, to make this happen.
  • The website needs to be structured to be optimized for showing up in search engine (Google) results.
  • The platform that your website is built on is very important.  Simple website builders like WiX or Squarespace are easy to use, but not the best for the long-term growth of your business.
  • Branding for your website is extremely important and should not to be overlooked. It is much harder to rebuild your brand down the road than spending time initially to make sure all touch points are consistent.
  • As a website gets more expensive there are different services that are included.  These may be elements such as branding, content writing, customer functionality, e-commerce, video/photo, integrations, and web applications.

Low Budget: $100-$5,000

Good place to start if your business doesn’t rely on the website to convert visitors to customers.

Typical size of website: 1 to 5 pages

  • Built from a templates and requires content to come from you.
  • If content is written for you, little thought will have been given to your customer profile.
  • No branding services.  Typically your logo and colour scheme is chosen by you.
  • No technical SEO, leading to less visibility of your site online.
  • Little to no custom functionality.
  • Simple E-commerce websites.

Medium Budget:$5,000-$10,000

Size of website 5-15 pages

This price range is a great place to start as the websites are capable of being expanded and grown upon over time.

  • These websites are not built from a template and have more thought given to the layout and your customer profile.
  • Some content is still required from you.
  • On the higher end, these websites will include branding services, logos, colour schemes, font types,  etc.
  • Custom functionality if needed.
  • E-commerce websites of a small/medium scale.
  • SEO-optimized structure foundation.

High Budget:$10,000+

Size of website 5+ pages

At this level the website is built with a very high level of preparation and customization. It can include all the features from branding, content writing, custom functionality, e-commerce, videos, integrations and more.

  • Highly custom features built for the unique needs of the business. Example, real estate home comparison, advanced e-commerce functionality, and advanced search.
  • Branding includes competitive analysis and recommendations for brand and targeting.
  • Content writers used to build customer profiles and generate content targeted towards those profiles.
  • Built on a strong SEO foundation.

At the end of the day, a well-built website has a high return on investment when you consider how many customers it brings you. Just a 10% increase brings an extra one customer for every ten website visits.  Have a look at our project page. We would be happy to consult with you (at no additional charge) to determine the website strategy that best suits your needs.

Google Ads

Since Google Ads is something people can do on their own, some are under the impression that it’s easy.  The truth is, if you are managing Google Ads without having received expert instruction and refined your understanding through experience, you are likely wasting a significant amount of money. The amount of effort needed to learn best practices is more than busy business owners should take on.

An experienced agency in marketing for small businesses can help, so you can focus on running your business.  Agencies who are highly experienced at running ad campaigns are going to be much more efficient with your ad-spend, and get results faster.

Here are some tips, to show you what we mean:

  • Setting up a Google Ad campaign using the default settings is simple, but is too generic to yield targeted results.  This means the budget you have will be used inefficiently.
  • How you set up your campaign matters in the long run. With a campaign that is set up properly, the insights from data you collect will benefit designs of future campaigns.
  • Doing SEO along side of Google Ads can bring down the cost you pay for each click. For example, a tow trucking company with one of our partners brought down their cost per click from $12 dollars to $4 dollars, just by combining an SEO strategy. They are achieving four times more traffic for the same cost!
  • Building landing pages or custom ads both decrease the cost per click, and increase the conversion rate (how many times someone clicks on your ads).

In short, hiring someone with expertise will more than pay for itself.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The goal of SEO is to for your website to show up on the first page of a Google search.  This is one of the most powerful ways of to attract potential customers to your business.

To do SEO properly, you need a plan which is customized to the business. In addition, good SEO needs web designers, graphic designers, content writers, idea generators, etc. This is why it takes a team to do SEO properly. We have partnered with a few agencies which are able to tailor their SEO strategies at different levels.

Here are the basics of SEO, and what you need to consider:

  1. Have you built a SEO strategy that ties back to the business value?
  2. Do you have a well-built website, both aesthetically and structurally?  Keep in mind that most low-cost web designers don’t build their websites for SEO in mind.
  3. Have you built a page structure to funnel Google to the correct pages based on searches?
  4. Have you built a fast website with sub-three-second loading time?
  5. Has your website been built to be optimized for smartphones?
  6. Do you have good content that people will like to interact with?
  7. Do you have a good product you can sell that makes customers come back for more?
  8. Have you built your content on the website for the keywords you want to rank for?

These are just a few of the many questions that need to be considered for SEO. Our team is built to help you with this, and show you a return on investment.

As you can see there are a lot of tools that can be used to help with marketing for small businesses. We would be happy to talk to these strategies or any others you have questions about. As a marketing broker my job is to help educate my customers on the benefits of each and how it plays into the business strategy.

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