There are numerous marketing methods available to small business owners today. What marketing approach will you choose?
- Will you build a brand on social media? If so, which platforms will you focus on?
- Will you attend industry trade shows or give out flyers on the street?
- Will you send direct mail or make cold calls?
- Will you buy Facebook or Google ads?
- Will you build an online community?
- Will you host an open house to invite people to your retail space?
- Will you post videos on YouTube or Instagram?
- Will you use geofencing ads via SMS/text campaigns when targets drive near your location?
- Or start dancing on TikTok? (On second thought, please don’t do that last one.)
The point is there are endless ways to market a business. It all starts with understanding your niche target customer and knowing the right techniques to reach them. After that, you can choose a marketing approach that will get you the best results.
No matter which marketing approach or approaches you choose, your first priority will be to build a great website. This is key because your website will be your #1 sales tool.
Your next challenge will be driving traffic to that website, which will likely involve a content strategy, social media marketing, and paid ads. Online ads can be used for direct selling, email list building, appointment setting, and closing sales. Even if you decide to sell on a marketplace like Amazon, Esty, or eBay, you’ll need a strategy to stand out among the millions of sellers. They sell ads on those platforms too. I suggest focusing on no more than two social channels to build an audience.
While these are my general suggestions, you’ll also want to determine which marketing strategies will make the most sense for your small business. In this article, I’ll help you determine your marketing approach by sharing many options you can choose from.
Determine Your Marketing Approach – 13+ Options to Choose From
Before starting your marketing, set reasonable goals and know that you’ll need to test everything. You should test your messaging, landing pages, email copy, calls-to-action, ads, artwork, blog headlines, podcast formats, time of day of your live broadcasts, the day and time for publishing your newsletter, etc.
Your marketing approach should be determined by where your niche target customer likes to hang out online and what type of content they consume. Here are some broad marketing approaches to consider when targeting your niche customer.
Use content to provide information or entertainment, usually for free, in support of your business goals. Examples include video, blogging, podcasting, photos, infographics, eBooks, lead magnets, visual content, quizzes, checklists, courses, webinars, slide decks, free apps, and more.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is a technique for improving the quality and quantity of website traffic from search engines. SEO targets organic search traffic rather than paid traffic. There are three kinds of SEO:
- On-Page SEO: Anything on your web pages, such as blogs, product descriptions, and web copy.
- Off-Page SEO: Anything that strengthens the website’s credibility, such as backlinks.
- Technical SEO: Anything technical that you add to improve search rankings such as site indexing to help bot crawling.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing refers to paid search results. SEM is best used in concert with a content marketing strategy.
Call-to-Action (CTA) Marketing
A CTA drives the web visitor to take a specific action. For example, a page may have a button that says ‘click here to learn more’ or ‘download here.’ CTA marketing is a marketing approach used in conjunction with other methods on this list, for example, landing pages, blog posts, advertisements, and email marketing.
Flyers are a form of paper advertisement intended for wide distribution and typically posted or distributed in a public place, handed out to individuals, or sent through the mail. Although the world has gone digital, flyers are still an effective marketing approach for local businesses.
Online advertising allows you to find, reach, and engage people who are likely to be interested in your business. It offers granular audience information to leverage your marketing budget effectively. There are four main types of digital advertising: social media paid search, native, and display advertising. Google and Facebook ads are the most common type of online ads.
Direct marketing is when you sell directly to the public. It’s affordable, measurable, and enables you to promote your products and services directly to the customers who need them most. Examples include telemarketing, direct mail, mobile web marketing, email, and social media. These are broad, so here’s a further explanation of each.
- Telemarketing: Telemarketing (also known as cold calling) is when you call prospective customers by phone or web conferencing to sell your products and services. There are two common kinds of telemarketing: outbound calls and inbound calls. Be careful with this strategy; it can seem spammy.
- Direct Mail: Direct mail265 involves sending physical promotional material through the U.S. Postal Service. It’s often referred to as junk mail.
- Mobile Web Marketing: Mobile web marketing is a digital marketing strategy to reach a target audience through smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Examples include SMS/text marketing, location-based marketing, mobile search ads, QR codes, voice marketing, in-game ads, and MMS, which stands for multimedia messaging service (sending a text with an attached file, like a picture, video, emoji, or a website link).
- Email: Email marketing is the ultimate follow-up system for your business. Use email to educate your audience on the value of your brand and push new products, discounts, and other services. Sending emails can keep existing customers engaged between purchases. The four types of emails are newsletters, acquisition, retention, and promotional emails.
- Social Media: Social media marketing is a form of digital marketing that leverages the power of popular social media networks to achieve your marketing and sales goals. You can also purchase ads on all social media platforms. My Social Media Selling Course covers both options.
Also referred to as outdoor media, out-of-home marketing is advertising experienced outside the home. Examples include billboard ads, bulletins, wallscapes, murals, posters, street furniture, car wrapping, transit media, and place-based media (inside buildings).
Even marketing is the experiential marketing of a brand, service, or product through memorable experiences or promotional events. It can be used for events that take place online or in person.
With account-based marketing, you pull out all the stops to impress one target customer at a time. If the target doesn’t hire you, you’ll be left with a ton of personalized content that you’ll likely not be able to use again. It’s a gamble, but it could work with a big enough target.
Guerilla marketing is a marketing approach that generates brand awareness by doing something original, unconventional, and creative. The more unexpected the tactic, the better it will appeal to your target audience. A great example was Samsung. They wanted to make a big splash at SXSW in Austin, so they dispatched street teams all over the city with fully charged replacement batteries for anyone with a Samsung device. Then the next day, they hosted the biggest concert of the event with rapper, Kanye West, and the price of admission was to show your Samsung phone to get in.
Public relations as a marketing approach involves pitching yourself to the media as an expert to build your brand. You can also promote how your business contributes to the community and supports local charities. For example, do you import finished goods from a third-world country to help single mothers there? Do you donate a product for each one that is purchased? Does your business donate time to a charity on Martin Luther King Day? Public relations is very effective if you have a cause-focused business.
Influencer marketing is how brands can promote their products through endorsements or recommendations from celebrities, influencers, and content creators online.
When hiring influencers, a good rule for pricing is that you should expect to pay $100 for every 10K Followers. There are four types of influencers:
- Nano-influencers (1K–10K followers)
- Micro-influencers (10K–100K followers)
- Macro-influencers (100K–1M followers)
- Mega or celebrity influencers (1M+ followers)
How do you work with an influencer? Not all influencers are equal. Start by picking an influencer in your budget range. This advantage of working with smaller influencers is they tend to have a more engaged following. The more engagement an influencer has with their core audience, the more they can influence a buying decision. You can offer an influencer free product and pay a small fee. The cost could be a flat fee for the entire campaign, or you can pay per mention with a tag or for a certain number of videos or posts. When you find a good influencer that aligns with your brand, you can make them a brand ambassador for your company, where they do a series of marketing outreach activities over 3-6 months. They might develop content on their channels, do a live video on your FB or IG Page, and they could do media interviews on behalf of the brand. Before you start your influencer marketing, make sure to read my dos and don’ts here.
Choosing Your Marketing Approach
Your marketing approach will be unique to your small business and will likely include several methods mentioned in this article. Which ones make the most sense for your brand and your customers? Use this list to narrow your options and develop a unique strategy for each marketing approach you choose. Make sure to put your unique spin on things, and your small business will stand out among the competition.