It’s an exciting time. You’ve just launched your new business – you’ve built the perfect products and services, built your website, and figured out how to serve your customers with the help of the best CRM software.
But, you still have some questions: How does your message get there? How do you attract people to your website? How do you get them to buy?
It’s all about small business marketing. In this “Marketing 101” guide, we’ll walk you through these key areas:
- Understand why you need to market your website and your business
- Discover the main marketing channels and whether they are right for you
- Find the best tools and software to boost your marketing
- Do marketing on your own or work with an outside company
- Track your results and adjust your approach
You will learn how to get your message across to the people who need your products and services. The best part? Marketing is not limited to large companies with huge marketing divisions. With the right strategy, planning, and tools, you can do it yourself — and get great results.
Let’s get into it.
Marketing 101: Understand Why You Need to Market Your Website and Your Business
Marketing is the way you create awareness of your products and services, communicate features and benefits, and get people to buy from you. You can achieve this in many different ways, depending on who your customers are, where you do business, what you’re selling, and if you want to market locally, online, or a combination of the two.
You need to market your website and your business for one simple reason: people don’t know you exist – yet. Good marketing puts your business, products, and services in front of the right people, with the right needs, at the right time.
The best marketing approach depends on several factors, including how much money you have, where you operate, the best channels for reaching potential customers in the field, and whether you want to do it all yourself.
With the right set of marketing software and tools, you can start marketing today. Then, as your business grows, you can decide to outsource your small business marketing needs to specialized agencies.
Get an overview of the best marketing channels for your small business
The best marketing campaigns use multiple channels to increase your reach and effectiveness. Marketing channels are the tools you use and the path you take to get your message out there.
Your business is unique, so what works for one business will not necessarily work for another. Before you start planning your marketing campaign, it is important that you understand the main marketing channels, their advantages and disadvantages, and how they can help you reach your customers.
Keep in mind that a huge part of marketing is choosing the best channel to reach potential customers. These channels can change from one product to another, so it’s a good idea to experiment and see where you can improve your ROI.
The main online marketing channels are:
Pay-per-click ads on Google
Google Adwords is a pay-per-click advertising tool that can be a very effective marketing channel for small business owners. You bid on keywords, and when people search for those terms on Google, your ads have a chance to appear. If a user likes your ad, they click on it and are sent to your website. Google charges you every time someone clicks on your ad.
- You only get charged when someone clicks on your ad, and it’s easy to adjust your bids and budgets to reflect what you’re willing to spend and what you can spend
- PPC is great for seeing quick results – sometimes a day or two after launching your campaign!
Disadvantages of PPC
- You need to track your marketing budget very carefully, as it is easy to overspend on Google Adwords
- It takes time to set up and manage a Google Adwords account
Best Marketing Software and Tools for Pay-Per-Click Marketing
Google Adwords and Google Analytics are the two most effective tools for managing your PPC campaigns.
Display ads for your small business
Online display ads help you reach potential customers as they browse different websites. It creates advertisements on various websites (called “Publishers”), which appear on those sites when users visit them. These ads can be text or graphic, and they can also include videos, animations, or interactive content.
Advantages of advertising display
- You can reach potential customers across many different websites
- Can be less expensive than other marketing options
Disadvantages of displaying ads
- Publishers control the appearance and content of your ads, so you don’t always have complete control over how your ads will appear.
- You need to find publishers for your ads, which can take time and effort
The best marketing software and tools for displaying ads
- Google Adsense
- Google Analytics
- HubSpot ad management software
Social media marketing uses social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share great content with your customers. The best part about this type of marketing is that it is highly targeted and flexible.
Social media marketing comes in different flavors:
- Post updates on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks to let your followers know what you’re doing and share useful content
- You can pay to display your ads and posts in your social media feeds, precisely targeting them to users based on their interests and other factors
Advantages of Social Media Marketing
- It is usually free to create and maintain accounts on major social channels such as Facebook and Twitter
- Post text updates, photos, videos, links, and more to keep your customers engaged with your business
- Individuals and small businesses often find that they get better results from their social presence
Disadvantages of social media marketing
- Creating, publishing and managing a social media presence can be time consuming – it is also a best practice to respond quickly to user comments and messages, which can also take time apart from other aspects of your day-to-day business
- Organic (unpaid) posts on social media platforms will not reach many people
- Paid posts and ads can be expensive
Best Marketing Software and Tools for Social Media Marketing
- social sprout
Content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) helps you appear in search engine results when people type in specific keywords. Content marketing means that you will need to create different types of content, such as web copy, blog posts, and technical documents.
You can provide content as text, audio, video, graphics, or interactive widgets – whatever works best for your product or service.
Advantages of content marketing
- You can create “evergreen” content that helps you appear higher in search engine results
- Content marketing is designed to meet users’ needs, provide information, and solve their problems – this can build trust and encourage them to buy
Disadvantages of Content Marketing
- If you cannot create content on your own, you will need to hire a freelancer or agency to create content for you
- This type of marketing requires a great deal of time and effort to create interesting and engaging content for users
The best marketing software and tools for content marketing and search engine optimization
Email marketing involves obtaining people’s email addresses and sending them messages to inform, educate, and engage them. These messages may be directly related to your products and services, or they can provide useful advice, different perspectives, interesting research, and other formats.
The main part of effective email marketing is building your email address list. It’s a good idea to create a “key magnet” to get people to sign up, and place email collection forms on each page of your website.
Advantages of Email Marketing
- Email marketing is a very cost effective way to interact with your audience
- You can easily track how people interact with your emails
- You can direct your messages in a very precise way
Disadvantages of Email Marketing
- Spam filters can block emails
- You will need a large number of subscribers to create an effective campaign
Decide whether to market the small business on your own or hire a marketing company
Many of the marketing tools and software platforms that we have included are easy to learn and use. In the early days of your business, when you’re just starting out, it makes sense to keep marketing within your company. You want to keep your costs low, and still discover the best marketing channels and tactics.
As your business grows, you may want to outsource some or all of your marketing to a specialized company. There are many marketing agencies to choose from. Here are some factors to consider when deciding on the best marketing company:
- Focus on what you want to achieve with your marketing: is it branding, lead generation, product awareness, customer loyalty, investigating potential new markets, or something else?
- Consider the level of service best suited to your schedule and budget – which takes into account things like how much work you want them to do for you, and how much it will cost
- Look at the agency’s past campaigns and testimonials to get an idea of their skill set
- Compare prices for different packages, so you know what fits your budget
Track and adjust your small business marketing results to maximize ROI
You’ll need to have measures in place so you can track how much you’re spending on marketing, how effective each channel and campaign is in attracting customers to your business, and how much those customers are spending.
The best way to track and adjust your small business marketing results to increase your return on investment (ROI) is with a marketing platform like HubSpot. These types of marketing tools will monitor your efforts on social media, SEO and content marketing, paid advertising campaigns, and other marketing channels.
You can see what works and what doesn’t, make improvements, and track any changes. This will help you focus on the most effective marketing strategies, campaigns, and channels.
Experiment and try different marketing tactics
The time to start is now. You have a great job, and you can do it right. This guide is an excellent starting point, now it’s up to you. These strategies work, and they will help increase conversions and sales.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Your business has unique needs, products, and services. Getting the right marketing takes practice. As long as you record the channels you use, develop a strategy, and track results, you can improve your marketing in just a few months.
This way, you will know that every penny you spend will create a great ROI and bring the right customers to your website.
Further reading about marketing
If you want to learn more about marketing, and you’re new to it all, we’ve outlined six small business marketing strategies that work.
If you are wondering how you can automate marketing functions between businesses, or just in general, be sure to read the explanation that answers the questions: What is digital marketing? What is marketing automation. And what is B2B Marketing Automation.