See how marketers can get creative to help their efforts do more where it counts most.
Getting the most out of your small business marketing.
Small businesses are no strangers to bootstrapping their way to success. For marketers in these organisations, doing more with less is an art form. Which is only more impressive when you consider that a third of these companies spend less than $10,000 annually on advertising, according to a survey from The Manifest. For marketing professionals who are employed by small businesses, the challenge is to make their brand stand out, drive traffic and build customer loyalty — with a fraction of the money, time and resources of larger competitors.
Fortunately, small businesses don’t need big marketing budgets or agency support to win in marketing and help their businesses stand out. By focusing on the following five potent do-it-yourself marketing strategies — and armed with the right tools — scrappy marketers at small businesses can pack a bigger punch, where it counts most.
1. Create a marketing plan.
What might seem like a must-have for marketers at well-established, large enterprises can often slip through the cracks for small business marketers. Ironically, no one needs a marketing plan more than small business marketers. A solid plan holds the power to align all team members around the same goals and strategies and channel every last dollar and hour of labour to the places where they will have the biggest impact.
A strong marketing plan will include a few critical components. It should start by stating the brand’s unique selling proposition and the benefits it offers to customers. This should be followed by a definition of the brand’s pricing and positioning strategy, which will help to inform everything that comes next.
With these two foundational pieces in place, marketers can proceed to outline the distribution methods they will use, how they will manage transactions with customers, sales strategies and advertising and promotional strategies. Through this process, the small business’s promotional plans become far more targeted and cost-effective and success becomes much easier to determine.
“While small businesses often have minuscule (or non-existent) promotion budgets, that doesn’t mean that small businesses can’t design and implement effective promotion plans,” says Susan Ward at The Balance Small Business. “No business is too small to have a marketing plan.”
2. Look to social media, email and video.
Any marketer at a small business who is unsure of where to start should consider social media and email — which are known for their low cost and high impact — and even video, which can be affordable with the right tools. The fact that 7 out of 10 small businesses use Facebook, half use Twitter and Instagram and 64% use email marketing, is a testament to how cost-effective these channels can be.
Small businesses can get a tonne of marketing mileage out of social platforms’ free features. They can connect directly and interact with their audiences, respond to questions, run online events and keep customers updated on their offerings. No wonder, then, that small businesses name social media as their biggest opportunity for brand awareness and their most effective medium for increasing sales and revenue.
Of course, each network comes with its own idiosyncrasies. Tweets need to be short and punchy, relying on links to provide additional information, while Facebook allows for longer posts. Instagram is highly visual. LinkedIn is professional, making it a good place for stats and Infographics.
For as old as email is, it is still one of the most cost-effective ways for small businesses to drive loyalty with current customers and pull in new ones. Using plain old email or affordably priced email automation tools, even the smallest operation can blast out messages to thousands of customers about upcoming promotions, offers for helpful pieces of content or announcements for new product releases. No wonder over half of small businesses plan to increase their email marketing spend this year, according to the Manifest report.
That being said, the one challenge that small businesses face in social media, email and video is in providing a steady stream of compelling content that users have come to demand. This is where having the right user-friendly tools — like Adobe Express — becomes key. Spark allows a single marketer to create visually striking social images, web pages or short videos in mere minutes to quickly fill a social media feed or email blast with well-designed content that looks like it was designed by a pro.
Similarly, for small businesses struggling to produce quality video on a budget, Adobe Premiere Rush has quick and easy video-editing tools that are a godsend, including a host of video effects and the ability to work across video captured on a phone, tablet or desktop. These tools allow marketers to execute great-looking DIY marketing campaigns on social, email and video without relying on external agencies or contractors.
3. Cross-promote within and leverage the community.
Finding synergistic opportunities with adjacent companies or organisations can greatly magnify marketing efforts beyond what a single company can accomplish. Often, cross-promotions allow a small business to split promotional costs, reach a larger audience and mine the expertise another company may have.
The same could be said of partnering with or sponsoring local groups or charitable causes. This usually generates instant positive brand association for a small business — customers like companies that give back — and provides an opportunity for connection.
Tools like Adobe Express and Adobe InDesign make it possible to churn out the supporting assets — like event newsletters, posters, social posts and emails — that these opportunities require and that drive traffic to the brand. Don’t forget to check out Adobe Stock for the right images to really make your content stand out.
4. Beef up your website.
Now that you’re driving traffic to your site, make sure there is something there for your visitors to see and do. The data shows that responsiveness, speed and rich, valuable content are critical to getting people to convert — whether that’s filling in a form, making a purchase or clicking through to another page.
Every small business should also invest in a responsive website. Mobile-friendly sites are a must, according to 72% of users, while those who encounter non-mobile-optimised sites are five times more likely to abandon the site altogether.
Bottom line: mobile or non-mobile site visitors need to be able to find what they’re looking for as easily as possible. All layouts and navigation should be optimised to this end. The same goes for page load times. If a page takes more than three seconds on average to load, more than half of visitors will abandon it. So smart small businesses should invest ample time to optimise their site, including images, to shrink page load times.
5. Re-purpose, re-purpose, re-purpose.
Great content means an investment of time, talent and money. Maximise that investment by finding ways to re-use, recycle and reimagine content. For example, a blog post can be re-purposed into an infographic. An infographic can be re-purposed into a dozen social media images or a motion graphic video.
When a small business has access to quick and easy tools like those in Adobe Creative Cloud (including Spark, Premiere Rush and InDesign), this kind of re-purposing can be done DIY by a small (or even one-person) team, reducing the need to draw on more expensive contractors or agencies.
Doing more and doing better, with less.
These five strategies will do wonders for marketers at small businesses with limited resources — not only by allowing them to deliver more with what they have, but also by empowering them to put those efforts in the right place to maximise the return on their investment.
Read more about how Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, with access to Spark, Premiere Rush, InDesign and more, can make marketing easy and cost-effective for your small business.
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