How to choose the right marketing strategies for your small business
Trying to decide which marketing strategies are right for your small business can be a difficult task. If you are like many small businesses, you have a limited marketing budget. You can’t afford to invest in marketing strategies that are not going to accomplish your objectives. Before you allocate your digital marketing spend, it is essential that you consider the pros and cons of each marketing strategy as it relates to your business. To help you decide which digital marketing strategies are your best options, Blue Interactive Agency has put together a cheat sheet of the pros and cons of the six most common marketing strategies for small businesses.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Pros: SEO or search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website so it gains the highest possible placement in search results. SEO is the best way to increase the visibility of your website, generating long-term results that will build your brand.
Cons: The cons of SEO strategies are that this marketing method takes time to have an effect – you can expect to see results no sooner than a month. If you are looking for a quick upswing in leads, you will not find it with SEO.
Search marketing (SEM)
Pros: Search marketing, which involves getting your business information listed correctly in local search directories and search engines, is one of the easiest, most basic marketing strategies to get your business seen online. Local and ‘Near Me’ searches have increased exponentially in recent years, and that trend is expected to continue. Every small business can enact local SEM strategies, simply by claiming its listings on Google My Business and other local search directories.
Cons: When search marketing strategies are combined with paid search, small businesses have a powerful marketing tool that actively builds their clientele. Local search marketing used on its own is essentially a passive marketing strategy. For the best results, local search marketing strategies should be backed by content marketing, paid SEM or PPC ads, and other forms of online marketing.
SEM or PPC ads
Pros: The best things about PPC or pay per click ads on Google, Bing, and other search engines are the quality of the leads and their high rate of conversion. People who end up on your website through a PPC ad are specifically searching for that product or service, so these leads tend to have a high conversion rate. PPC ads also have an instant effect, making them ideal if you are looking for a way to increase traffic to your website in a hurry. This ad format is simple to create, and can be enacted at any time.
Cons: Search ads for popular terms can be quite expensive, depending on your competition. You are paying per click, so you should make sure your ads are connected to dedicated landing pages in order to generate the highest ROI.
Pros: If you are willing to invest the time to create high quality blogs, videos, and other marketing materials, content marketing is one of the most effective marketing techniques available. When you consistently produce relevant content, it builds your industry authority, so customers see you as a knowledgeable, reliable source of information. Benefits increase over time; the longer you produce quality content, the more it builds your brand, increases your online visibility, and the greater authority you will have.
Cons: Creating interesting, relevant content is not easy. You need to produce content reliably on a consistent, ongoing basis, which can end up requiring a large time investment. Once you create content, you will need to distribute it – this means you will need a blog, social media posts that link to your content, and possibly social ads to derive the maximum marketing benefit from content on your website.
Paid social ads
Pros: Facebook Ads and other paid social ads are a more affordable alternative to the PPC ads on Google, Bing, and other search engines. They put unprecedented targeting power in your hands, with a suite of options that allow you to show your ads not just to people who are searching for similar objects, but also based on demographics, life events, interests, and other criteria. Because the targeting options for social ads are so specific, these ads tend to be highly effective.
Cons: Facebook and the other social networks are trying to become more “social” and less focused on business, so marketers will need to invest the necessary time to create ads that actively engage users. Marketers will need to go beyond encouraging “likes” to creating truly engaging ads that join followers in conversation rather than interrupting them.
Pros: Email marketing is one of the easiest marketing strategies to start using, even if you don’t have a lot of marketing experience. It is highly cost-effective, and allows you to stay engaged with past and current customers without having to invest a lot of money or time on your campaigns. You can easily create a monthly email newsletter for your customers to keep them apprised of sales and ongoing promotions. As you gain more marketing experience, segmenting options and A/B testing allow you to refine your email marketing efforts to create a sophisticated marketing strategy with a great ROI.
Cons: It is predicted that email use worldwide will top 3 billion users by 2020. People receive so many emails each day that only the highest quality ones have a positive effect. If the email you send is more promotional than valuable, you can end up annoying your customers. To avoid ruining your customer relationships, make sure you avoid spammy headlines, stay away from strictly promotional emails, and do not send too many emails. Sending a monthly email that subscribers are eager to receive is far more effective than sending an email every week that annoys customers and causes them to unsubscribe from your list.
If you would like more tips on common online marketing strategies and how to use them, consider calling on Blue Interactive Agency. If you prefer to concentrate on running your business, we can provide you with a full suite of digital marketing services including SEO services, professional SEO content creation services, and PPC ad and email marketing strategies to help your small business succeed.