Marketing a small business isn’t easy. It’s actually hard. This is why a lot of people struggle to reach the right audience, no matter what strategies they use.
If this sounds like you, then you are in the right place.
We are going to be sharing proven strategies that work. Strategies that will drive traffic to your store and increase revenue for your small business.
This post will walk you through the top, most successful marketing strategies with examples to follow and with tips on how to apply them.
These are the 11 best marketing strategies to grow your business.
1. SMS marketing
SMS marketing is one of the fastest ways to reach your customers and drive sales. 90% of SMS messages are opened and read (compared to 20%–30% off emails). It takes ten minutes to set up a campaign. And at roughly .01 cents per message sent, it’s an affordable way to connect with your customer base.
Just like email marketing, SMS is a marketing channel where you can send one-to-many messages to your customers. They can be a one-off campaign, like a flash sale, or part of an automated continuous campaign, like a welcome series or multi-day challenge.
A thoughtful, well-designed SMS marketing campaign can build brand awareness, drive sales, and get you, loyal customers.
An example of SMS marketing is what your banks do, they not only send debit and credit alert but they also send promotional texts like using their USSD codes to make bank transfers or letting you know you could get a loan, by doing this, they keep you abreast of their services, in case you might need one of them. And you should know that USSD codes are now the preferred means of conducting transactions for most people, which was made possible by the bank incorporating SMS marketing.
To begin, sign up with an SMS service provider or browse the growing list of SMS apps in the Shopify App store and pick one you like. You can then add opt-in forms to your website, blog, landing pages, and social media profiles to start building your subscriber list.
Search engine optimization or SEO is another great marketing strategy you can use to grow your business. The majority of your online traffic will come from search engines like Google. According to Wolfgang Digital, online businesses should expect 35% of total traffic and 33% of revenue to come from search engine results pages. Although this marketing strategy takes time, but it will eventually become cheaper to get customers through SEO versus paid advertising, which levels out the costs at the end of the day.
Ranking high in search engines is very vital and it can get you more traffic daily. Take Bet9ja for example. They rank second in Nigeria on the Alexa page and they have a daily visit of about 334 users that spends an average of 7 minutes on their site. A user spending 7 minutes on your site should tell you that they mean business and are willing to pay for the service you render. So an average of 334 people every day transacting on Bet9ja means Bet9ja is definitely growing at a rapid rate. They understand the power of SEO and used it greatly to their advantage. They have a backlink of 24,000 sites linking to them.
You can’t do without SEO.
SEO is an important marketing strategy to grow your business because of the popularity of search engines and the competitive nature of Search engine result pages(SERPs).
So, landing on the first page of search results for an important keyword can lead to a significant boost in traffic to your website which can, in turn, lead to a significant boost in sales.
Creating an SEO strategy involves steps such as:
- Performing an SEO assessment of your website to know which areas necessitate improvement
- Analyzing your competitors’ SEO performance to inform your strategy
- Conducting keyword research to know which keywords to target
- And researching opportunities for link building.
SEO helps improve your credibility among your customers. Ranking on the first page of search results tells users that Google and a whole lot of other people trust your website and business.
That’s one reason why 85 percent of users, including you, stick to the first page of search results. They trust search engines to filter results for them, removing spammy websites.
3. Email marketing
Email marketing is the process of sending marketing messages to potential and current customers to sell, educate, and build affinity. It has similarities with SMS marketing but it’s a different world of its own.
Email is an owned marketing channel, which means you regulate and control your content and how it is distributed.
It is one of the most cost-effective and conversion-rich ways to market and grow your business, with an average return of $42 for every dollar spent.
You have seen Email marketing done, check your email, and you would probably see at least five business that sends you an email. Check now and you would see. It could be promotional or social or just a link to content but it’s still email marketing nonetheless.
How else will Jumia tell you that they are running a promo? Or Manchester united telling you that they successfully signed Cavani?
These are ways to attract new customers to your business, everyone uses email marketing and it has survived the test of time because of how useful it is.
The best part? You can create automated email marketing campaigns that connect with your audience, keeping them engaged constantly.
If your business hasn’t started email marketing yet, you are leaving money on the table. Luckily, it’s easy to get set up with a free email service, start building your email list and drive revenue for your business.
To make an email campaign, you will need to pick an email marketing platform. These platforms allow you to:
- Manage your subscriber lists
- Draft emails
- Segment your audience to enable increased personalization
- Test your emails
- Automate your campaigns
To build your email list, add opt-in forms to your website as pop-ups or in footers, sidebars, or anywhere on your site. Offer incentives to your users to attract them to sign up for your email list.
One benefit of email marketing is that subscribers opt in to hearing from you, so they are highly qualified leads. Once leads become part of your email list, you can send them personalized content that encourages them to become customers — this is a method known as lead nurturing.
4. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is another way to market your brand and build awareness online. Everyone does this. It’s is a sure-fire way to build awareness and probably sales for your business.
This marketing strategy involves partnering with creators who align with your brand and promote your products through their channels. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, nine out of ten marketers believe influencer marketing to be effective.
influencers produce higher user engagement than branded content. The average engagement rate with influencers is around 5.7%, roughly 2X higher than content businesses publish themselves on social media.
For example, you could strike a deal with an Instagram influencer with good engagements on his or her profile, they will talk about your products or the services you render to their audience. By doing so, your business gets not just only conversion but also awareness to a whole different audience that didn’t know about you. Plus there is a higher chance of those audiences becoming buyers of your products or service just because it was recommended by an influencer.
Beat by Dre used this strategy very well to boost sales of their headset. Bu using celebrities, they were able to increase sales 10X higher.
The top five influencer marketing channels are:
All businesses have endless opportunities when influencer marketing is incorporated. So look for an influencer, have an agreement, and watch how effective the results are.
5. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is an advertising strategy in which a business pays another business or person—aka an affiliate— for every lead and sale made. Affiliates are paid commission fees to encourage them to discover ways to promote the company and its products. It is a fast way to reach your target customers and make sales, with almost 15% of all digital media industry revenue coming from affiliate marketing.
Just like influencer marketing, affiliates will refer your products to potential customers by sharing them on their blogs, website, social media platforms, etc. The affiliate only earns money each time someone makes a purchase or signs up for something through their unique link.
Remember the backlink we credited Bet9ja for having. Half of it comes from affiliates, so by them promoting Bet9ja, Bet9ja gets both customers and grows higher on search pages. They win on all front.
You can create an affiliate program for your business, you could give out money or a product or a free service in return for a new customer that patronizes your business. By doing this, you create awareness for your business, increase sales and become relevant in your niche.
Both parties benefit when this strategy is done well: your business makes more revenue, and the affiliate makes a nice income from their marketing efforts.
6. Google Ads
Google Ads is one the most misunderstood channel for marketing an online business. Many people stick to social media ads on Instagram or Facebook for ease of use but miss out on finding customers on the two largest search engines in the world: Google and YouTube.
You can set a flexible budget for as low as $5. And you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. So even when a customer sees your ads 50 times but only clicks on it twice, you get billed only twice.
With google ads, you can target specific audiences based on behaviors and past actions.
But what makes Google Ads attractive is the ad varieties you can use to reach customers.
For example, let’s say you’re selling PlayStation 5. More than 100,000 people search for the term each month. If you run an ad targeting this audience, It’s very likely for you to convert them because it’s closely related to your product.
You can run text ads, which show up as a blue link and green URL. They’re differentiated from organic results by an Ad tag. Or you could run Google Shopping Ads, which show as a product carousel with different products, their prices, and average reviews. The carousel has a subtle Ads tag in the upper left corner.
Setting up Google Ads can be a bit tricky. But if you are determined how to learn how to advertise with it, you can reach a massive target market with high buying intent, run retargeting campaigns, and drive more sales and traffic, faster.
7. Content marketing
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that involves making content to attract potential customers to your business and to also keep loyal customers engaged.
As a business owner, you need to understand the importance of creating a strong online presence. You have to know how to create amazing contents that will get your audience hooked and keep them engaged. All business owners understand the key role content marketing plays in growing their business.
Brands that stand out today are those that are becoming creators and producers and discovering new ways to approach content and engage with their audience.
For example, you could post a meme or a funny video and find a way to incorporate your brand into it, maybe through the caption of the media you posted. It doesn’t have to be all serious stuff all the time or based on a sale. Your audiences are humans, so appeal to the human side of them by making them laugh and have a good time whenever they come to your website, blog, or social media account.
These contents can come in many forms, including:
- TikTok videos
- White papers
- Guest podcasting
- Live streams
The list goes on.
The types of content you make will hinge on who your audience is and where they hang out. Content marketing will assist your target audience get familiar with your business and move leads closer to becoming customers.
8. Social media marketing
Social media marketing is one of the best marketing strategies for small businesses. It involves using social media networks or platforms to promote and sell your products, services, and brand. You can use both unpaid (organic) and paid social media marketing tactics to increase online sales and create awareness.
Social media sites include the common ones that most people know, like Facebook, YouTube, Tik Tok, and Twitter, but there are also lesser-known social media sites that you as a business can tap into and can still yield effective results. We have Linkedin, Pin interest, Reddit, Quora and so much more.
Determining the right social media channel for your brand majorly depends on what you are selling, your customer demographics, and your overall marketing goals. For example, if you are a web designer, you are better off being on platforms like Linkedin and Quora than Facebook. And if you are a baker, Instagram might be well suited for you than Reddit.
Effective social media marketing should involve selecting and organizing content to post, scheduling product-related posts, and automating what you can. But to be honest, bringing out the best in social media marketing is more than broadcasting your business—it’s about understanding, engaging, and reacting to your audience and the world they live in.
9. Video marketing
It’s no secret that people enjoy video content way more than any other form of media, whether it’s a movie, a TikTok, or a YouTube video. According to research from Wyzowl, 92% of businesses regard video content as important to their overall marketing strategy. It’s that important.
To ensure you are engaging with your target audience, video marketing should have a place in your digital marketing strategy. You could use these following trends to guide you as you create video content for your audience.
- Explainer videos (which 72% of marketers create)
- Presentation videos (48%)
- Sales videos (42%)
- Video ads (42%)
Short-form videos (TikTok and Instagram reels) and live streaming can also be used.
Audiences are 10 times more likely to engage with, comment on, or share videos with their family and friends than text. Videos are highly engaging, user-friendly, and memorable making them an excellent way to connect with customers online.
I’m pretty sure you have shared a video you like to a friend or maybe even post it on your Whatsapp or Facebook status. That’s a great example of Video marketing and how that person/company was able to use you to market themselves to your circle. And if someone in your circle likes it they too also share and the cycle continues until it becomes viral, thereby creating awareness for the business or person.
If you are using video for content marketing, you should:
- Create a publishing schedule and post new videos regularly
- Make sure your videos fit with your brand and show off your personality
- Have a goal for your video and choose the format that best matches that goal
- Incorporate stories into your videos to keep them engaging
- Include calls to action (CTAs) in your videos
- Optimize your videos for search by including keywords in your video descriptions
- Check video analytics and track your success
Video marketing can be the difference in raking in the sales or not.
10. Referral programs
Nothing beats Word-of-mouth. It’s the oldest marketing stratregy in the world. Though it’s now mostly known as Referrals.
Referral programs is a promotional strategy that encourages current customers to refer new ones to your business. There is usually an incentive attached to this strategy for you to get a well desired result.
Referrals can happen naturally, but businesses use a dedicated referral system to increase awareness and sales.
Referral programs work because consumers turn to their circle of friends and family for trusted information about brands and services. Research has shown that friends and family recommendations have more effect than celebrity endorsements, nailing down the idea that word of mouth still matters in today’s age, with a lot of brands striving to become “talk worthy.”
So you can easily create a referral program to grow your business awareness, leads, conversion, and sales. You can start with “ bring a new customer and get something in return for free” Whatever you choose to offer as the incentive is up to you but makes sure it has value.
11. Web design
It’s important to see your website as a strategic asset rather than just something you need to have. Your website is at the epicenter of your digital marketing and is crucial to your success. It’s where users often go after they interact with your marketing materials, and it has the power to drive conversions for your business.
A well-designed website creates a positive first impression on new visitors.
To leverage this strategy, make sure your website:
- Has an aesthetically pleasing, professional design
- Is easy to use and navigate
- Reflects your business and brand
- Is optimized for search
- Is mobile-friendly
- Is faster
- Is optimized for conversions
For an example of a well-designed website, check out Facebook, Twitter, Jumia, Odigital, etc.
Design aspects of your website can encourage users to stay on your websites longer and help them absorb the information your websites present. Creating personalized experiences for your website’s users will keep them engaged longer and also convince them to patronize your business.
Marketing your business isn’t rocket science. These strategies shared above work for all small and local businesses. It just takes a little know-how and proper implementation to see results.
Some strategies may work better than others—that’s OK. It is up to you to test each one and see which one works best for you. Then you can invest more of your time and funds in the right strategies and grow your business with less effort.