How to crack effective marketing for small businesses
Let’s face it – it is becoming increasingly hard for small businesses to break through the marketing clutter. As if the cost of TV spots was not prohibitive enough, even social media advertising is now far too crowded for ordinary content to really stand out.
Keeping in mind the latest features in social media platforms and new models of engagement, here are some currently applicable hacks for quick and painless marketing for small businesses:
Revamp your visual strategy
Nothing sells better on social media than amazing visuals. Move on from still pictures. According to Facebook, 500 million users watch Facebook videos everyday, and they cumulatively view 100 million hours of video each day. These numbers speak for themselves! Invest in crisp, educational 6-59 second videos. Facebook and Instagram live broadcasts will put your content right on top of the clutter. Gifs and memes have incredible shareability among millennials. Clearly, a solid visual strategy is the way forward.
Are you mobile-first yet?
Your audiences, especially consumers in developing economies, engage with your brand mostly through their smartphones. If your content, including websites, social media, blogs and podcasts, are not developed with mobile-first thinking, you are probably losing out on a lot of eyeballs.
Mobile marketing is another idea whose time is well and truly here. According to Adage India, “New ways of approaching the mobile ad unit will drive a focus on key ideas, such as non-intrusive mobile experiences, dynamically animated and adhesive banners, and ad delivery that dovetails even further with consumers' locations and activities. Mobile video ad-spend is projected to exceed $6 billion by the end of 2017, meaning 2017 will be a prime moment for mobile marketing to capture its share of resulting media allocations.”
Blogs still work
No matter what they tell you about short attention spans of mass users, blogs are still not out of fashion. Blogs give you a chance to tell engaging stories about your brand on your own platforms. They catch an already engaged audience and push for conversion through in-depth insights, news, and views, most of which are inherently sharable. When done right, blogging gives your brand the reputation of a thought leader and expert.
Blogs work from search technology and findability perspectives too. Search engine results are much better with fresh content. Your blog gives them new content to index frequently. They are also a one-stop solution to keyword marketing, enhancing your visibility in cluttered search results.
Outsource for higher ROI
Marketing is at a crossroads today, with new technologies and capabilities, each needing specialized skills and technical understanding. Clearly, small businesses do not have the resources to hire full-time employees for every marketing tactic in the market today. It is also difficult for founders and leaders from a non-marketing background to make sense of it all, often leading to incompetent and inconsistent execution of some good core messaging.
Trying to manage marketing internally has seen many pitfalls in recent years. Lacklustre content and execution stand out like a sore thumb. It is time businesses realized that the entry-level talent in your marketing team can help you run with the execution, but the core strategy and platform selection need strong, seasoned hands and brains. At the same time, advertising agencies and marketing consultancies are far too expensive for most small businesses.
This is where external consultants and freelancers come in. Outsource your non-core competency but business-critical functions like marketing to experts on contract basis, and focus on doing what you entered the market for – the business itself.
After technology, marketing is the most dynamic business function. It is constantly evolving, and what is true today may not necessarily be true tomorrow. That being said, clarity in your brand and marketing end-goals is necessary. Execution and tools will evolve, but the basics of brand and reputation have remained consistent. More likability and transparency, less fine print, and an openness to fresh tools, ideas, models, and perspectives – that’s where marketing is headed, as it always has been.