This post originally appeared on startupnation.com/grow-your-business
When it comes to marketing your small business, there are many different avenues you can take. To help simplify your efforts, we’ve put together a list of the top 2021 marketing trends to help grow your small business.
Expand your reach
Being a small business owner is no small feat. From maintaining the back-of-the-house books to providing stellar customer service to continually providing excellent products and services, there are a lot of different hats that you need to wear.
But nobody expects you to be an expert in things that are beyond your scope of work — like marketing. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive overview of what current trends are helping small business owners stand out from the crowd while generating a new era of client interaction.
Create and leverage a review strategy.
What do “Siri, find the best Thai food near me” and “Google, show me where I can buy a new suit” have in common? Customer reviews.
That’s right. When you’re culling through a list of products and services on search engines like Google, or with the help of smart assistants like those on your phone, they work to satisfy your search by finding what other clients deem as excellent, five-star reviews or better.
That’s why one of the best ways to market yourself is to provide customers with an easy way to add a review — and encouraging them to do so whenever they have an interaction with you or your company. This simple concept can help generate new leads just by the click of a button.
Even more important is to take that principle and develop a plan to activate those same reviews on social media. People often look to others for their firsthand experiences before trying out your service or purchasing your products. By ensuring you have a review-friendly initiative in both search engine and social strategy, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
Find the social media channel that best suits your business.
Following suit with reviews, truly understanding the ins and outs of social media — and the power that it holds — can help bring in a new client base, or connect with an existing one in a new and relevant way. Social media has the power to reach millions, even if budgets are low, with just a few simple things to keep in mind.
First, you need to understand the platform. For most, Facebook is used to catch up with old friends, share a relevant post, or just peek into others’ lives that you don’t see on a daily basis. But for marketers, it allows them to create content, share customer testimonials, and engage with their followers in a whole new way. The same can be said across every social platform; Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, you name it, you bet there’s an audience for it.
But the power of social media can only be harnessed if you truly understand what the purpose of your social activation is. Don’t worry about creating long-form content with high production values at first. Focus on generating followers, posting regularly, and being quick to answer questions (if your time allows) whenever possible.
And once you get into the groove and understand the nuances of social media marketing, you can start delving into other avenues to market your products and services. The next big step for most social marketers is to dabble in mixed media to ensure that your posting cadence isn’t filled with just static images or quotes. Having videos can bolster a new crowd who are eager for more in-depth reviews, and a better overall understanding of what you’re putting out into the world.
Use the digital advertising market to your target audience.
There are a lot of buzzwords that get tossed around if you’re looking for a simple way to manage your digital marketing presence. Most commonly, you’ll see things like SEM, PPC, Paid Social and CRM. All of which provide a new way to think about your marketing plan. So, let’s dive into each to discover what kind of digital footprint you and your small business can leave behind.
SEM stands for Search Engine Management, which allows marketers to have a more visible presence whenever someone searches for a keyword that relates to their product or service. For instance, if you were to search “dry cleaners near me,” the first few options that are generated are there for a reason. Marketers have worked keywords into their titles, their descriptions, and their product/service pages in order to garner those first results.
Next is PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, which is a common marketing term that refers to the cost to get someone to click on one of those links, generating new lead flow solely through digital purposes. These digital acquisitions that small businesses make allow them to tap into new clients through digital placements across the web. And, in 2021, knowing how to strategically optimize your own PPC helps to generate new leads in an era where digital is key.
While SEM and PPC are both important in the digital space, you should also tailor your outreach to focus on Paid Social and CRM as well. Paid Social is a type of advertising buy on platforms like Facebook and Twitter that allows you to put funds behind posts to have a broader reach. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and mainly deals with emails and direct mail marketing. Both Paid Social and CRM marketing allow you to reach whom you want with hypertargeted campaigns, making sure your current and future customers have as many touchpoints with your products and services as possible.
Optimize your website for SEO.
So far, we’ve covered new ways to get tactical in your digital marketing strategy, but one thing that can really help bring in new clients, or interact with your current ones in a whole new way, is through SEO. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, allows you to create content around trending keywords that people search for that can then drive them to your site. There are a few ways that most digital marketers will utilize SEO when trying to drive traffic to their site:
- Starting a blog: This is an easy, yet effective way to reach your audience by creating SEO-based articles (with keywords strung throughout) to be easily searched online — driving traffic to your site through a constant online presence.
- Create a Google My Business listing: This is, without a doubt, one of the most imperative ways to land new clients. When they search for your business, a Google My Business listing allows them to see your contact information, website, hours and any other relevant information to help guide clients to your small business.
- Improving website copy: In the world of advertising, copy refers to the actual language put out in your communications. Improving the copy on your website to be clear, concise and interesting can help drive more people to product and service pages than ever before.
Invest in local marketing.
Through all of your digital- and social-first marketing efforts, you should also remember the community that you and your small business are operating in. Here are a few great ways to stay connected with the people in your geographic location:
- Geographic targeting on social media or Google ads: Create a plan that highlights local interests and interactions within your community to connect with the people who are right in your area.
- Direct mail campaign: Using direct mail, you can send postcards, flyers, one-pagers and more that help drive traffic into your business or onto your site. This is an effective tool if you are sending out offers that are targeted to those in a specific geographic region.
- Hosting or participating in a community event: Connecting with your community can take on a whole new look by creating local events or participating in local gatherings to get your name out there. Whether you’re looking for new clients or want to connect with your current client base, being a physical presence in your community can help foster new business, just by showing up.
Upgrade your marketing with small business financing.
Creating a marketing plan and understanding the current scope of marketing opportunities in 2021 is only half the battle. While wanting to jump into CRM or SEO marketing might sound like a great idea, you should understand that there are associated costs in order to run these campaigns effectively. And as a small business owner, sometimes working capital isn’t the easiest thing to come by when you’re working to grow and expand your business. Here are a few ways that you can leverage marketplace funders to finance your next digital or physical marketing campaign:
- Term loan: A term loan deposits a onetime sum of cash into your business bank account and offers various repayment and interest fees based on your business qualifications. Term loans are great options for those with excellent credit or if you’re looking to have a lump sum of working capital to purchase ad buys in the digital space, as they can be quite costly if targeting a large geographic region
- Line of credit: Lines of credit are flexible funding options that allow small businesses to access working capital on a need-be basis. Once your small business is approved for a set amount of credit, you can then dip into those funds whenever your business sees fit. This option is great if you’re looking to ramp up your social presence since buying Paid Social space can vary depending on your social marketing performance
When it comes to local advertising and hiring contract employees, there are also other forms of financing that can help bolster your extra working capital in order to efficiently and effectively achieve your goals:
- Merchant cash advance: A merchant cash advance, or MCA, gives small businesses access to capital in a quick and convenient cash advance option that utilizes their future revenue receivables at a discounted price. In order to be approved for an MCA, your business will need to be able to accept credit card payments or have other receivables.
- SBA loan: The Small Business Administration is a government-funded entity that provides government-backed loans through partners who can distribute funds when capital is needed. These loans have stringent policies on who qualifies, and typically are used in times of economic distress across the entire market.
- Business credit card: Much like a personal credit card, a business credit card allows for small business owners to make purchases and payments using a line of credit that’s easily accessed through a credit card. A business credit card can be used for all loan types, however, as it offers flexibility and portability to access your working capital.
2021 marketing trends in review
If you’re looking to grow your business presence through digital or physical marketing campaigns, you should look at building your business’ presence in social, website or community locations. And if you’re looking to secure working capital to execute new marketing strategies and campaigns based off 2021 marketing trends, there are marketplace funders who ready to provide you with quick and convenient financing options for any qualified small business.
If you have any questions and would like to discuss your funding options, speak with one of our specialized business advisors at Rapid Finance today: 877-252-0827.