Discover Scalability Through Marketing Experimentation
With this marketing guide for small businesses, startups, and even larger corporations to experiment before scaling, you can discover new strategies you can try out.
You will get the most out of these low-cost digital marketing strategies by implementing them yourself or a small team within your company.
When correctly used, you can achieve the first steps of growth, enabling you to grow your business faster to the next level.
Every strategy in this list is scalable, which means, if you find even a little win through one or two methods, in most cases, you can invest back into growing with the winning strategies.
The costs are scalable as well, so you need to consider that.
But if you have a tangible product, service, and a sales funnel to facilitate an increased traffic count to your websites and landing pages, then these strategies offer:
- A place to start
- And a place to keep growing.
We recommend small business founders to learn digital marketing to the best of their capabilities first before outsourcing.
We understand that many founders won’t have the necessary skills to use every strategy, but by doing yourself, you’ll learn, for example:
- What works for your company the best
- Learn about your target audiences
- The best marketing channels to use
When you know which of the digital marketing strategies work, you can easily outsource the scaling.
But you would have a better grasp of what is going on and how these strategies work.
And for low budget strategies, there are not many barriers to entry. When you take your time to experiment with the strategies, you’ll learn the skills to grow your business sustainably to new heights in the long-term.
The List of Small Business Digital Marketing Strategies
Let’s look at the small business digital marketing strategies and how to start and scale with them.
But first a couple of assumptions:
You will need either a business website, landing page, or a social media profile to use these strategies.
And you will need some starting funds for most strategies. Or at least the time to learn them, which costs too.
But here are the strategies you will discover from reading this article:
- Content Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Local SEO
- Search Advertising
- Social Media Advertising
- Videos For YouTube
- Email Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- And Other Business Partnerships
And for most of them, you can keep learning about their specific benefits and what they are in-depth through the provided links.
There are more marketing channels with varying degrees of costs and skills you need, but you can learn the 19 marketing channels businesses use to grow here.
Content marketing should be the very first strategy in every small business owner’s mind.
Through content, we tell the world about our businesses, product, and services, and importantly share our brand with the world.
And content in marketing is essential. It’s the basis of where all the other strategies evolve.
Think about it like this: every ad you create, every social media post you publish, every product description you make, all are content.
Investing time and resources in better content creation around your brand will essentially make all the other strategies:
- More unique
- Discover more opportunities as you share more content
Creating a content distribution strategy fit for a small business that provides its goals and scope will drive more engagement, sales, and brand awareness.
Outsourcing content marketing can be expensive, and the results from it are not always as clear compared to other digital marketing strategies.
Therefore, it’s a great idea to learn to express your brand in-house by yourself or through a team to benefit from it.
Analytics is high on this list for a reason.
Without analytics, you won’t any digital marketing campaign results, whether you’re a small business or a larger one.
But that’s the beauty of web analytics in a nutshell.
Web analytics for small businesses is free. You will get all the necessary data and tools for developing your plans and methods freely. And only when you need to scale your advertising on the next level is when you need to invest in more sophisticated web analytics tools.
With only those two tools, you will understand how your customers engage with your online presence and learn who uses your websites.
Even with a basic understanding of web analytics, you can track key metrics and your used marketing strategies’ concrete performance.
From a business management perspective, web analytics should be as crucial to your business as every other metric you use to run it.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you want to get more organic or free traffic to your websites through search engines like Google, Bing, or other alternatives, SEO is the only way.
In SEO, you optimize your website through keywords, content creation, guest posting, and optimizing website performance. And that’s just scratching the surface.
Small business SEO or low-budget Startup SEO is either niche SEO, where you would target a specific type of niche and the keywords related to the said niche. Or optimizing for local search, in which you target an area specifically near your business instead nationally competing.
Both strategies work, and which to choose depends on what you want to achieve.
Small business SEO is easy to get started with, and you can get accustomed to implementing basic small business SEO strategies rather quickly.
SEO is highly scalable.
In the beginning, you might only have a couple of website pages or starting with a business blog you need to optimize, but as your business grows and its products mature, so will your website content and need for more optimization.
And if you want to grow more through search engines, especially competing with highly contested keyword positions on Google (SERPS), on-page SEO won’t be enough.
Most importantly, SEO is beginner-friendly, and businesses running their websites will better grasp it sooner rather than later.
Let’s look at local SEO impacts for a small business or startup.
Depending on your business, its goals, and scope, local SEO is probably a better strategy as we advance.
If your business relies solely on local traffic or you’re offering services locally, local SEO would become an essential small business digital marketing strategy you need to understand.
Many businesses can achieve better organic traffic from local searches. Local search is a search made by a user from your company’s immediate vicinity.
Say you’re a specialty store or a maintenance service company, in most cases, most of your business is local by default.
Taking the time to optimize locally, you make sure your customers find your business when they google relevant keywords to your business when they are near it.
Google wants to show the most relevant results for these local users. Therefore it would always prefer to offer a local company instead of a national or international company.
And if you want your customers to find you on Google Maps, local SEO is the way.
To start implementing local SEO, you need to have an optimized Google My Business profile to get the most out of it.
Search Advertising Strategy (Or SEM Strategy)
Using search engine marketing (SEM) or paid search ads to grow your presence on any of the available search engines, you make sure you’ve seen on the keywords that matter to you.
Paid search ads also help you grow your SEO and Local SEO efforts by learning the keywords your customers use, and through increased activity on your website, you can even rank higher on search engines.
But by itself, search ads are a powerful and cost-effective form of advertising results-wise.
And for example, you can start on Google Ads for almost any budget you might have available and start getting results right away.
Google Ads and search ads, in general, are also highly scalable to a certain point. If you discover the perfect combination of keywords and matching ads that bring sales, you can increase these campaigns’ budgets as you go forward.
But what do we mean you can scale it to a certain point then?
As you start spending more on Google Ads, you might notice that you have a leftover budget, or the results are not good enough. It might just mean that the scope of your chosen keywords and campaigns isn’t broad enough. In that case, considering other advertising options might be a good idea.
But in the end, search ads are great for growing a small business or a startup as it offers a lot of control and flexibility.
Social Media Advertising
Gaining visibility or traction through organic social media marketing is increasingly harder every day.
Though not impossible, to get a following for your business, especially local companies, tend to have a better chance of gaining local customers as followers, and that’s great.
But achieving more through organic social media for other businesses might be more challenging or not worth it.
Luckily, using ads on social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn in your digital marketing strategy can offer many benefits and results.
By default, social media ads are highly scalable, and like with search ads, you can start with a low budget and increase it after discovering winning campaigns.
While it’s easy to start advertising on Facebook, for example, it might not be as beginner-friendly to achieve results with it. It might have a longer learning curve, but you can accomplish a lot with it by learning to use it in your strategy.
For example, running effective conversion-based campaigns instead of boosting posts.
Social ads use a lot of data that you can use to target your core audiences every time, or you can target with raw demographic data and locations.
Remarketing, in a nutshell, is marketing to your existing audience. It can either show ads for previous customers or action-based ads, for a customer who reacted to your ads earlier or visited your website.
If you’re using any of the online ad platforms available on this list, to increase the performance, you should consider using retargeting ad campaigns to boost said performance.
But remarketing can work as a standalone digital marketing strategy as well.
Say you’re not sure who your target audience is and you don’t want to advertise blindly, remarketing can be very useful for you.
The only problem in remarketing is that you will need data first. You can’t retarget people if they haven’t interacted with your websites.
But say that you’re getting a reasonable amount of organic traffic from Google to your website. You can use retargeting ads to keep those organic visitors engaged with your business regularly.
Learning how remarketing works on every ad platform is crucial for long-term marketing success.
Most ad platforms will have campaign types based on data that you can use for remarketing.
For example, in Google Ads, you would use Display Ads, and in Facebook Ads, you use the pixel data to create custom audiences from website visitors.
Videos For YouTube
Growing a business with YouTube videos is an excellent strategy if you can create video content around your products and services.
As content consumption is every day more and more about videos, YouTube is a logical place to share the video content for marketing purposes.
If you can produce quality and engaging videos that serve your customers’ purpose, you will find that you can achieve a lot of organic awareness of your brand and organic traffic to websites.
Check out our guide on YouTube SEO to help you grow your views organically.
And the skills you learn by doing videos help you become a better content creator for all marketing types.
For example, videos in Facebook ads are also compelling.
If you’re using videos in your content strategy, consider also testing out YouTube Ads from Google Ads so that you can increase the number of people seeing your videos.
Email marketing is much like attracting organic with traffic SEO; it will not be a method of instantly gaining traffic and sales. Email marketing takes time, as gaining an audience through an email list won’t happen quickly.
Luckily, if you’re running a website or landing page, adding email marketing into the workflow won’t be hard nor expensive.
Through tools such as Mailchimp, you can add all the necessary features to start collecting emails from customers who want to hear more from you.
Using your email lists effectively, but without being too spammy, you can make more sales through the channel.
As a passive digital marketing method, email marketing is an excellent and affordable addition to your overall strategy.
Affiliate Marketing For Small Businesses
Through affiliate marketing, you can have affiliates promote your product and services to their audiences in their channels.
For example, like an influencer sharing a link to your store and after someone would buy something from that link, they would get a commission, and you would get a sale.
Therefore, affiliate marketing can be a very effective digital marketing strategy for small businesses and startups equally as it doesn’t require other investments other than time.
But if you have an ecommerce store, you could create coupon codes and use the UTM-builder to build campaign links, and when combined, you will already have an effective method to track sales from affiliates quickly.
And you can set the commission based upon clicks or a percentage of sales. A sales-based commission will probably yield more sales, but a click-based campaign can increase traffic for less depending on the affiliates’ audiences, of course.
A tip to click-based commissions, you can analyze results from Google Ads, Facebook Ads to see a reasonable cost per click you can offer your affiliate.
Or you can join an affiliate program as a seller, which probably would be a good idea if you don’t already have people in line that can promote you.
Just remember to create enticing offers for affiliates, because otherwise, they will not be interested in promoting you.
Many small businesses tend to look away from influencers thinking that it may not be for them; influencers are too big and cost too much.
That’s not always the case as there are many influencers for each industry and even local influencers. Influencer’s cost may vary a lot. You’d be surprised by how little you can achieve visibility through them compared to other marketing channels.
The vital thing to note is when planning to use influencers as a small business, you will need to understand the people with whom the influencer targets.
As a small business, you’re not going to achieve much with a broader brand awareness campaign if you can’t facilitate sudden growth spikes.
You can also combine influencers with affiliate marketing to ensure you’re always getting results for your marketing efforts.
The downside is that there are many affiliate marketing opportunities for influencers, which means your offer would have to stand out.
But a little creativity goes a long way when working with influencers, and finding local influencers, for example, can drive traffic to local businesses, and a small and yet significant influencer can drive traffic possibly cheaply towards your websites and landing pages.
And Other Business Partnerships
What does small business, startup, or large corporation have in common? All have beneficial business partnerships around them.
And while the type of partnerships may vary depending on industry and type of business, finding new partners to grow your business is essential if you want to grow further and faster.
Through beneficial partnerships, all types of companies can discover new opportunities they might not have known before. When the partnerships are beneficial to both, it’s usually a low-cost marketing strategy.
These were 12 small business digital marketing strategies and ideas you can start to grow your business with online methods.
While online methods are truly effective as a performance marketing method, as in most cases, you can track the results and optimize for further growth.
When using scalable digital marketing strategies, you might find yourself needing a pair of hands to help you navigate for better results and performance.
Always keep an eye out for specific marketing opportunities that may be around, specifically your business.
That’s the benefit of understanding new methods and tactics so you can implement them in the best way possible according to your goals and environment.
For example, discovering local events or finding cheaper ads from local newspapers or activities or being involved in the local scene.