Marketing Tools That Work for Small Businesses (and How to Pay for Them)
As a business owner, you are constantly looking for ways to improve your business. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know which marketing tools really work. As a result, some small business owners invest in the wrong products and services. Others are paralyzed by the many options, and never make their move.
Don’t give up hope just yet, though. There are plenty of strategies you can use to take your business to the next level. And when it comes to marketing, there are proven methods that work. From research to tech, here are some marketing tips and tools that any small business owner can use, and some nifty suggestions to pay for them.
Times Are Changing
If the pandemic has shown us anything about customer trends, it’s that convenience is king. Mobile apps, interactive websites, and a solid social media presence are no longer quirky novelties—they’re required. Having mobile-friendly sites and stores is not only encouraged, but also placed higher on search results online. In other words, smartphone-based shopping from the couch is becoming the new normal.
Does your business have a robust mobile presence with a well-designed website that is easy to navigate on the go? It should! More than 60% of organic search engine hits come from mobile users, so make sure your digital presence is up to date and mobile-friendly.
At the same time, retail stores must integrate a digital presence as well. Many eCommerce stores allow retailers to take their products to a wider audience across the world. Business owners should highlight their eCommerce stores to focus on their customers’ needs. Ensure the shopping process is:
- Straightforward: Test the site often, and make sure purchases make it to you as they should.
- Customer-friendly: Focus on help options like chatbots or even live support.
- Personalized: Use memberships to track shopping data and offer personalized suggestions.
You also need to ensure that your digital presence is optimized for all languages, especially if you’ll be making any international sales. Mobile-friendly eCommerce options will drive sales and help companies stay on top of the new tide of business.
Focus on Current Customers
Staying up to date with emerging trends is a great way to keep customers happy, but there is more to be done. It can cost 5 times more to get a new customer than to keep an existing one, so businesses must keep their existing customers happy.
Loyalty programs exist for this very reason. There is a wide range of styles of programs that suit any business model. As well, loyalty programs are shown to increase customer retention and attract new customers. In fact, just a 5% increase in retention can increase profits anywhere from 25% to 90%.
For any loyalty program, keep in mind the following points:
- They should keep customers invested in returning: Use bonus points and free loyalty rewards to keep customers enticed even when they aren’t shopping.
- They should be personalized: tailor sales and item highlights to their histories. Send birthday sales and seasonal offers.
- They should create new customers: incentivize friend and family referrals. Use unique programs such as games or special perks to drive word-of-mouth marketing.
Loyalty programs keep your business connected to your customers; they also help track your customers. This will create a personalized web of interaction and retention. So, engage with their habits, and keep them loyal customers.
Once you’ve researched and discovered the optimum ways to grow and market your business, you will need to pay for them. Fortunately, there are many options for securing those much-needed funds.
Build That Credit
Though many small business owners still use and prefer cash, having established personal and business credit accounts can help you boost your business to the next level. You’ll need it to secure loans as your business scales. Also, building good credit can save you thousands in interest and fees each year on your loans.
If your credit is good, then consider using a business credit card for all your expenses in order to earn rewards (like cash back, points, and travel miles) that you can invest back into your business. If your credit is not up to par, then start taking steps to improve it immediately. In most cases, it takes years to establish or rebuild your credit.
Loans Are Abundant, if You Qualify
When it comes to loans, there are many options with strict requirements and stipulations. It thus pays to focus on what specific loans might work for you to make sure you qualify.
Many loans have minimum annual revenue requirements, while others look at the longevity of your business. Some institutions provide microfinancing for a variety of needs. These include small and medium business loans. Often, however, they will provide funding for other ventures including education, agriculture, and even emergency loans.
Marketing your small business can be straightforward with planning and research. Small business owners should adapt to emerging trends. And, they need to invest in their digital image to keep customers happy.
If you need extra funds for that growth, keep your credit strong. Also, look into loan options if you need capital infusions. Marketing doesn’t have to start in a boardroom. Look at your customers, and find out what they want; after all, they are driving your success.