Today, small businesses are struggling to compete in an ever complicated and cost expanding digital advertising environment. Gone are the days of driving traffic via organic reach through social media and even landing that high trafficked search term. But hope isn’t lost, and businesses can still succeed and even thrive in this digital world. It’s all about being strategic and dedicated in your approach.
Here are three technologies that will give you a great start in amplifying your digital marketing efforts.
1. Email Marketing Automation
Email marketing is by far the most significant ROI return of any marketing tactic you can deploy. At any opportunity, you may have, capture your customer’s email address and tie that address to known customer preferences and behaviors. If you own a restaurant or coffee shop, note if they are coming in for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you own a car dealership, indicate the types of cars for which they are interested.
By building a robust and segmented list, you can customize personalized messages and delivery new product announcements to exactly the right people without bothering others with junk emails. Platforms like MailChimp have made tremendous advances in the past few years with support for automation and integration with several e-commerce services to make email marketing a breeze.
Your email list can go even further and feed to remarketing efforts by supplying an initial batch of customers that Facebook can match and provide look-a-like audiences of prospective new customers. We’ll talk more on that later.
Be sure to consider ways that you can automate your email marketing effort and stay consistent with an email schedule.
2. Remarketing with Google Adwords and Facebook/Instagram
Another tactic that small-businesses often leave behind is remarketing. Remarketing is the process of tagging people that visit your website, identifying what pages they are looking at, and then remarketing to them with either Google Display ads or targeted Facebook and Instagram posts based on what they may have viewed.
There are two primary ways to deploy remarketing Google Remarketing with the Google Remarketing Tag and Facebook Remarketing which utilizes Facebook’s Pixel code are the most widely used. Both options will require access to the backend coding of your website and may demand website developer support for the less tech-savvy.
You can manage these remarketing campaigns in a highly robust way directly via Google Adwords or Facebook’s ad platform. However, be warned, this does take skill. Be sure you have the know how to use these platforms and deploy a bit of elbow grease to get excellent results and maximize your marketing spend.
For those that still want to go the DIY marketing route, yet keep it simple. Mailchimp’s platform, which we mentioned above for email, also hooks up to your Google Adwords and Facebook remarketing efforts to tie the entire effort together seamlessly.
3. Leverage Your Existing Customer Lists To Create “Look-A-Like” Audiences To Target New Customers
You may want to keep your customer data close and secure, but Google and Facebook through their remarketing tagging and also via your email list can produce dynamic and powerful look-a-like lists of users within their platforms that match the characteristics of your current customers. Their robust algorithms look at everything from geography to gender, shows, and movies of interest to shopping patterns. All of this creates a list of prospective customers that are much more likely to engage and respond to your advertising messages.
These new audience lists can then be leveraged to deliver Google display and social advertising on Facebook or Instagram to attract new customers and drive fresh traffic to your small-business website.
4. Public Relations and Content Development
Give your audiences something that will excite them. Engaging with a well connected public relations firm is money well spent if you are trying to drive awareness for your brand and get the word out. Public relations professionals live to get that next news story, and it makes sense that the next headline should be about your business. The effort often can help drive additional credibility for your business. People love patronizing the business that is getting all the buzz, so make the buzz about you.
Closely tied to public relations and something that these firms typically support is the development of excellent content for your website. On-site content will give your existing and future customers a reason to come back. Content doesn’t have to be overly complicated either. Maybe it’s a quick Q&A video each month, perhaps this month’s featured product, or just what’s on your mind relating to your business and community. Consistent and well-developed content is fuel for social efforts and will elevate your credibility in your business segment.
If you are struggling with your digital marketing efforts, or are just unsure of where to start, these three tactics are worth a closer look. Before diving in, however, you should be ready to commit to the following:
- Organize your website in a way that allows you to identify customer segments quickly and customize the remarketing message. (Ex. If you are a restaurant, split your breakfast, lunch, and dinner messages onto separate pages to quickly identify the visiting intent of a customer. If you are a salon, separate men’s, women’s, and children’s haircut services to speak more about the scheduling and style needs of the customer.)
- Make it easy to maintain a database of current and prospective customers to build your email marketing list. Consider opportunities to win a service each month by dropping in your business card, or deploy customer feedback cards with a promise to get specials and discounts.
- Treat your customers more like fans. Engage with them and encourage them to share. This approach is especially critical with Instagram and Facebook.
- Automate, automate, automate. Tools like MailChimp help you to make almost any marketing activity automated. Birthday messages, stop back in reminders, thank you for frequent visits or follow up for a “how are we doing” review.
- Commit to being consistent and ready to maintain a campaign. You can’t just go hard and heavy for three months and then die off and go silent. Any digital marketing campaign requires consistent and constant attention and activity.
Consider engaging with a small-business agency to get you off on the right foot. Marketing strategy engagements can range from $500 for a foundational consultation to several thousand dollars for a comprehensive strategy. But the return will be well worth the investment as you better utilize your precious marketing spend.
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