How to Compete with Big Companies: Your Complete Guide to Small Business Online Marketing

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Businesses spend around seven or eight percent of their annual revenue on marketing. Smaller businesses usually spend a higher percentage of their revenue than big businesses.

A lower percentage of $5 million is still more than a higher percentage of $1 million. You might wonder how your small business can compete against your bigger competition. After all, they can outbid you on keywords or pay for flashier ads.

There’s good news. Effective small business online marketing doesn’t have to be about how much you spend. With this guide, you’ll learn how to compete and create a winning marketing strategy.

Start with Email Marketing

Chances are you already have some loyal customers. You already have their contact information. Why not start by sending them offers and deals they can’t refuse?

There’s some solid logic to adding email marketing to your strategy. First, email marketing leverages a resource you already have. It helps you build a relationship with your existing customers.

It also helps you capitalize on this relationship. It costs less to keep an existing customer than to find a new one. Your existing customers are also more likely to spend more and buy repeatedly.

You can also focus on personalizing offers for them. Use your data to create offers they want, like discounts on the products they buy or complimentary services.

Email marketing pays off. It has the highest ROI of any digital marketing channel. You’ll get the best value for your dollar with email marketing.

Once you’ve created a segmented email list, you can start adding to your list. Create a newsletter sign-up on your website or ask for contact information in exchange for white papers. Then use the data you have to add them to targeted email lists and send them the right deals.

Spruce up Your Website with SEO

Another affordable marketing idea is using your website to rank higher on Google. Search engine optimization is something you may be able to do yourself.

You can start with simple SEO tasks. Upgrading the security on your site is one simple SEO task that will win you huge points in Google’s favor. Another is adding meta-descriptions and titles to your website content.

You can get more technical if you’d like. Take a look at the code behind your website. Complex code could be weighing your website down and making it load slower.

Google favors websites that load in seconds flat. Why? Users will navigate away if a page doesn’t load in a few seconds.

You can also look at your server set up and hosting package to improve the speed of your website. Optimizing images and adding alternate text to them are other easy SEO tasks to take on.

Keep in mind that SEO is constantly changing, so SEO is never a set-and-forget task for your marketing team. Some SEO tasks, such as keyword research, may also take expertise you don’t have in-house right now.

If that’s the case, consider working with a digital marketing company. They can help you improve your SEO and craft a better marketing plan.

Take Advantage of Social Media

Another form of free marketing is the use of social media like Facebook and Twitter. Anyone can open an account and start interacting with other users.

This is a golden opportunity for brands to create relationships with their customers. Hop on Facebook to tell everyone about your latest sale. Tweet about an upcoming promotion to get people excited.

You can also ask for feedback and answer people’s questions. The use of hashtags and posting schedules can help your posts go further and reach more people. You’ll also be able to grow your audience with more ease.

Keep in mind that YouTube is a social media platform. Creating a viral video or a vlog is still one way of leveraging social media.

Create and Share Great Content

Most people are looking for some kind of content on the Internet. They may be looking for an educational resource, such as a how-to or an answer to a question. They might also be looking for entertainment.

No matter what your audience is looking for, you can make sure you deliver by creating great content.

What makes “great” content? Essentially, it’s content that your audience wants.

Great content is:

  • Shareable
  • Informative
  • Educational
  • Easy to understand
  • Accessible

Someone may want to learn how to stay healthy or what products they can use to get a better sleep. They may want to know how your new app could help them accomplish something around the house or at work.

Great content addresses these concerns. It’s also shareable, because people want to send this information to their friends and family.

If you haven’t considered a content strategy for your business yet, now’s the time to do so. Creating good content doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg either. There are plenty of tools that can help, such as free infographic makers.

If you’re a good writer, then you may want to try your hand at blogging.

If you don’t have time, then don’t worry. A digital marketing company can help. Whether you need an informative blog or an entertaining video, the right team will help you create content.

Track and Test Your Small Business Online Marketing Strategy

Finally, you should take steps to make sure you’re monitoring and testing your efforts. Data collection and analysis can help you figure out what’s working and what’s not.

If you’re not getting the results you want, sometimes you just need a small tweak to change the story. Regular A/B testing for ads is a great example.

This Way to Marketing Success

There you have it. With these budget marketing solutions, you’ll be well on your way to better small business online marketing.

Looking for more great ideas? Think about social proof, and how you can leverage it for your business. Check out our how-to articles for more great tips.