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How to Market a Small Business Online

Marketing is one of the pillars of any business, and without it, companies can’t last long. For that reason, it’s no surprise that a lack of quality marketing is one of the most common reasons why 90% of startups fail.

Fortunately, any business can master the art of online promotion, no matter how small of a budget they have. Let’s talk about how to market a small business in 2022!

Small Business Marketing Budget

Though marketing is an essential part of business, how much should a business spend on it? In most cases, small businesses should spend 7% to 8% of revenue on marketing, but that doesn’t work for every business. Okay, so what about businesses with no revenue?

For new businesses, you may not receive revenue for months, so how do you determine your budget? In this case, you would need to look at your overall budget. Let’s say you have $100,000 in loans to get you through the first six months of operations.

In most cases, we’d recommend aiming for a budget of $12,000 until you’ve developed a steadier stream of revenue. That’s 12% of your overall budget along with ~8% of the revenue you bring in during the early days.

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For businesses experiencing a rough patch with low revenue, try to continue spending around 8% of your average revenue on marketing. If you’re consistent with your successful marketing campaigns and always seeking improvement, then a “rough patch” may never come.

If it does, continue spending the same amount you would normally spend to try to stimulate more business. Always keep extra money in reserves for situations like this. It could save your business!

How to Market a Small Business Online

Once you have a budget in mind, you’re going to try to stick to it as closely as possible. Marketing, especially online, doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you know what you’re doing. Here’s how to promote a business online!

1. Choose Your Modes

Depending on the amount of time, staff, and resources you have, you may be limited in the modes you use. Generally speaking, you want to diversify your online business promotion strategies as much as possible. However, you don’t need to use every social media platform, type of ad, or type of content marketing.

Instead, determine which platforms and marketing modes will work best for your in-house skills and budget.

2. Determine Your Target Audience

For social media, you should do this before choosing your platforms, as you’re more likely to find certain demographics on certain platforms. For example, older people tend to use Facebook, younger people are on Instagram and TikTok, and business professionals will be on LinkedIn.

You probably already have a fair idea of who you want to reach, but there are a few important factors to consider. One of the most important is location. Is your business location-specific or can it reach anybody?

Once you have a fair idea of your target audience, you’ll be able to reach them more precisely on various campaigns, which will save both time and money.

3. Launch a Website

If you take anything away from this list, remember that your website acts as the heart of your digital marketing strategy as a whole. Think of your digital marketing efforts as a web with your website at the center. Everything else is trying to direct traffic here.

Without a strong website, you’re likely to have to spend more on campaigns, have lower conversion rates, and miss out on organic traffic. This should be one of your earliest expenses in business, and you should take the time to test and perfect your website as soon as possible.

4. Start a Newsletter

On your website, leave prompts for users to sign up for your email newsletter. Even if you only have one or two people on it, try to send out emails regularly. Once every week or month is enough for most businesses.

Remember, getting traffic is only half of the battle in marketing. It pays to keep customers, and email marketing is a great way to remind existing customers of how great your services are!

5. Start Worrying About Organic Traffic

As full disclosure, it will take time to develop an SEO strategy for building organic traffic. It’s not going to happen overnight. For that reason, it’s essential to start building your SEO strategy from the beginning.

Don’t underestimate the value of organic traffic, which is the traffic that finds you. The majority of all web traffic is organic and people trust organic search results far more than ads. Starting on an initial note of trust is important, and it will lead to better conversion rates, fewer expenses, and repeat business.

Also, the results last a long time with minimal upkeep. Ranking at the top of a highly relevant search could single-handedly keep your business afloat for years without spending an extra dime. That’s why it’s so important to focus on SEO, which 70% of businesses neglect.

Website Quality

To be clear, the vast majority of your SEO efforts involve the quality of your website. It will help you build backlinks, avoid penalties, hold onto traffic, and build trust with search engines. Google has over 200 ranking factors that pertain to your website, most importantly:

  • Page loading time
  • Mobile optimization
  • Page structure
  • Linking structure
  • Clean navigation system

The list goes on, but these will get you pretty far, especially if you’re competing at the local level. However, this is only one of the three pillars of an SEO strategy.

Content Marketing

One critical aspect that we can’t forget to mention is content marketing. Most often, this is in the form of a blog.

Blogs are the easiest to start and the easiest for search engines to index. Talk about anything relevant to your niche, eliminate all filler, and use the right keywords. A 5-page website is hard to find on Google, but a website with a thousand unique and high-quality blog posts can appear on thousands of different searches.

Continue to upload new posts as often as possible, but try to stay consistent on quality and timing. For an extra boost, share your posts on social media or in your newsletters!

Off-Page SEO

You will also need to worry about building off-page SEO. Backlinks (links from other sites to yours) are very important for long-term SEO, but they come with time. If you build quality content, then you won’t need to worry about these just yet.

What you can do now is get your business listed on appropriate sites, including Google My Business, Yelp, and any industry-specific listing. For building local traffic, start getting your company listed on local directories and keep information entirely uniform across those listings. This can stimulate some traffic and confirm to search engines that you are who you say you are.

6. Build a Social Media Following

Again, organic traffic is far better than paid traffic, so buying followers isn’t always in your best interest. Instead, start by grabbing the low-hanging fruits like asking for likes and shares from loved ones or affiliates.

From there, try posting engaging content as regularly as possible. Try to keep it relevant to your niche and post at the best times. Utilize hashtags and trends, but only when they are relevant to your target audience and company.

Yes, this will take a lot of time and consistency, but it will offer the best possible payout in the long run. If you want to build a sustainable, long-term marketing strategy, then it’s important to think ahead.

Also, make your social media accounts mutually beneficial with your website. Offer social widgets throughout your website to build an organic following, and add a link to your website in your social bios. Don’t forget to share new posts!

7. Generate Short-Term Traffic

We’re going to do this by creating a killer ad campaign. Paid advertising is a great way to generate short-term revenue, but you don’t want to become overly dependent on them in the long run. That’s why you want to work on building traffic from the means mentioned above as time passes.

However, in the early days, you should use ads to stimulate as much growth as possible. To do this, you have to optimize your campaigns. Small businesses can’t afford to keep pouring money into an unsuccessful ad campaign, so you will have to lay some groundwork.

There are plenty of types of online ads to choose from, including display ads, search ads, and video ads. Some businesses will benefit more from certain types, but it’s always best to diversify and see which one works. Spend the time or resources to develop a quality ad campaign, optimize the landing page, and perform some small-scale testing to improve them.

The reason this is so important is simple; it’s a numbers game. If you spend $2 per click on a PPC ad campaign with a 1% conversion rate, then you’ll need to earn $50 from each customer to break even. Creating a quality ad campaign with a strong website is the best way to ensure you earn more than you spend.

For the most part, this is where your money should be going in the early days, other than building your website. You can start an SEO, email, and social campaign with very little money or even for free if you have the time. Once you start generating revenue, it will be a lot easier to allocate more funds to these other strategies.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Marketing Campaign

To get the most out of a marketing campaign, you need to actively seek improvement.

It doesn’t matter how well your company grows, there is always room for improvement in every marketing strategy. Always look for constructive feedback and try to find where your campaign is falling behind. Let’s talk about how.

Use the Right Tools

There is no shortage of analytics tools online that offer valuable insights into your campaigns. These will mostly track metrics on your website because, again, everything comes back to your website. Tracking your bounce rate, conversion rates, how traffic comes in, how it navigates, and more will give you the insight you need to improve your campaigns.

The longer you wait to start tracking these metrics, the more money will go to waste on campaigns that aren’t performing at their optimal levels. You may even want to use industry-specific tools to understand more about cleaning businesses or any other niche.

A/B Testing

On your email and ad campaigns, try to use A/B testing whenever possible to improve your campaigns. This is where you create two nearly-identical campaigns with one key distinction and split them among your audience to see one performs better. This is an easy way to boost a campaign, so give it a shot!

Stay Consistent

Building a brand requires consistency, so if you want to maximize your recognition, try to stay as consistent as possible across your different digital marketing strategies. Using the same fonts, color scheme, and tone of voice throughout your email, social, and ad campaigns can help build brand recognition and loyalty over time. Of course, keep this consistent on your website as well!

Spread the Word

Now that you know how to market a small business in today’s world, put these tips to good use and spread the word about your company. The sooner you do, the sooner you can increase your traffic and start earning. Get started today and stay up to date with our latest digital marketing tips!


Some other articles you might find of interest:

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Do you have what it takes to start and run an online business?

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