Beginning with modern marketing strategies, consumers expect businesses to understand the current digital age. While limited resources may be a reality, the size of your business cannot be an excuse. Fortunately, there are easy to implement and cost-effective approaches small business owners can adopt to ensure their marketing efforts encompass current industry trends that customers will appreciate.
To help your small business not just stay ahead of the curve but stand out in the digital age, see how these methods and marketing strategies best fit into your business plan. With a sincere commitment to adaptability and a healthy dose of ambition, there’s no reason your small business should fall behind online.
Optimize Your Website
It needs to be said: the Facebook page you made for your small business is not a website. While it may seem overwhelming at first, it’s vital your business has an actual website. Without one, you’re missing out on a host of benefits. Don’t be one of the 50% of small businesses without an online footprint.
In addition to establishing authority and helping build your brand, a website is an opportunity to start conversations with customers. You can educate them about your products and services, then funnel them to either your online store or physical location. Think of your website as a place to start conversations and establish relationships. Someone who understands what your business is all about is far more likely to become a paying customer.
Even if your small business already has a website, there are always opportunities to enhance the user experience and further the conversations you’re having with customers. You can’t simply purchase a domain name and call it a day. In order for your website to reach its full potential and provide results in the form of sales leads (and actual sales), you must optimize your website. For an effective online campaign, stay current on search engine optimization strategies. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to find your business online.
As you work to make things easier for your customers, you don’t want to be making tasks more difficult for you or your team. It’s imperative to train your workforce to adapt to new tech. While modernizing your small business, be sure to take the time to prepare your digital workforce. It will be a change for you and your employees, but with the proper skill development and talent acquisition strategy, adapting your workforce to the digital age can be a smooth process.
Choose Social Media Platforms that Fit Your Business
With so many platforms out there like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more, as a small business with limited resources, it’s not realistic to think your team can maintain an effective presence across all social media platforms. Fortunately, you don’t need to. A powerful and efficient social media strategy utilizes the platforms that make the most sense for a particular business.
Rather than trying to do it all, consider this: Where are your ideal customers? Focus your social media efforts on the platforms where your ideal customers are spending most of their time. Don’t waste energy on somewhere they’re not.
Once you’ve determined which social media platforms will benefit your small business the most, use social media marketing to drive growth and gain new customers. Regardless of the platform(s) you settle on, social media is a chance to connect with your ideal customers on a more personal level. Not only can you better understand their needs and wants, but you can build brand recognition and loyalty.
Across platforms, there are opportunities to collaborate with influencers, share user-generated content, and utilize social media for customer service. With the average user spending more than 135 minutes a day on social networks, largely-free social media marketing isn’t something your small business can afford to overlook.
Start to Incorporate Video Now
Consumers want valuable, high-quality content they can use. Small businesses want to establish trust-based relationships with customers. Those two desires can both be realized through video content.
Video is one of the top branding trends in the digital age. At the moment, two popular growing trends are branded and live videos. Many small business owners shy away from creating video content, citing its reputation for being expensive and difficult to produce. However, thanks in part to social media, video content is easier and more cost-effective than ever to create.
Social media platforms are putting a greater and greater emphasis on video for storytelling purposes. For example, Instagram Stories utilizes 15-second clips that disappear in 24 hours. With Facebook Live, users can stream live and interact with their audience in real time.
From helpful how-to videos to live question and answer sessions, small businesses can utilize video content to foster relationships with potential customers. By 2021, the Cisco Visual Networking Index predicts video will account for 82% of consumer internet traffic. Your small business should get on board now, so you don’t miss out.
Cultivate an Authentic Brand
In the digital age, where consumers have access to hundreds of businesses via one quick Google search, it’s more important than ever for your small business to cultivate an authentic brand. As a small business with limited resources, you can’t afford to “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.” The tech and industry trends you choose to invest in must align with your brand.
One of the best examples of an authentic brand is Dove. The company’s “Real Beauty” campaign showcased how their products serve real people. By aligning themselves with the body positivity movement, customers feel like their supporting a worthy cause when they buy Dove products.
As a small business, you can use your website, social media strategy, and video content to cultivate an authentic brand. Because of the digital age, you don’t need a big budget or large team to let customers know what your business is all about.
Frankie Wallace is a recent graduate from the University of Montana. Wallace currently resides in Boise, Idaho.