Five Impactful Marketing Hacks
Small Businesses Can Implement Immediately
By Benjamin Hong
Small business owners understand better than most that there’s no shortcut to success. The recipe for long-term viability includes hard work, discipline, and a laser-like focus on customer needs. Unfortunately, many small business owners struggle to carry this same approach into their marketing. It’s understandable because, in the ultimate catch-22, the day-to-day work of running a business often leaves little time for promoting the business. That’s why when small business owners attempt marketing, their efforts are often intermittent, unfocused, and, ultimately, unsuccessful.
In my work at Logical Position, I help small business owners build the strategies, actions and goals that will lead to long-term marketing success. There are no shortcuts here either. Instead, moving the needle comes down to the actions owners take every day to meet their marketing goals. If your efforts are coming up short or you feel as though you’re flailing, there are a few high-level actions you can take that will inject discipline and focus into your small business marketing strategy.
1. Develop Your Infrastructure
A house is only as strong as its foundation. Marketing operates on the same principle. Before launching a campaign, you need to have the foundation in place to track results. This process can begin online by claiming your “Google My Business” listing, which can be connected to your Google Ads account in order to run location-based search ads. If you’re a brick-and-mortar operation, these listings make your business appear on maps and show up more frequently in search results.
Next, install Google Analytics on your website. This action enables you to track your visitors and their onsite behavior. Without this measurement tool in place, you’ll be fumbling around in the dark with no idea of what works or where you can make improvements.
2. Define Your Objectives
Once you’ve built your infrastructure, it’s time to define your marketing objective. For example, a brick-and-mortar retailer might prioritize foot traffic or phone calls. An online company might prioritize another metric like revenue generation or achieving a certain return on ad spend (ROAS).
While developing your objectives, use the SMART framework to ensure they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. If your goal doesn’t meet all five of these qualifications, you should probably refine it further. Once you’ve developed an objective, define a correlating call to action (CTA) you can begin tracking.
3. Incentivize a CTA
The goal of marketing is to move your customers to action. Sometimes, offering a small incentive with your CTA is enough to convince a prospect to click or call. If you’re trying to generate more leads, consider offering free advice, a free consultation or a free estimate. If you’re trying to generate conversions, offer a discount on a customer’s first order or a gift with a purchase. This minor tweak can help drive potential customers through your marketing funnel and sets the stage for potentially lucrative remarketing activities.
4. Execute an Advertising Plan
Now that you’ve built a tracking infrastructure and defined your objective, the next step is to drive people towards your CTA through advertising. The Google Ads platform is one of the most effective methods of accomplishing this goal, but you should never just run ads to run ads. Instead, define an outcome that supports your objective and track a matching conversion.
The amount of money you spend to achieve your objectives depends on several factors. You can determine your budget based on revenue goals or by meeting a ROAS. However, you should keep your expectations realistic. If you only have $500 to spend each month, it’s going to be tough to turn that into $100,000 of revenue. You’ll also need to find a balance between bringing more revenue into the business and maintaining your desired ROAS because as you compete more heavily for search terms, your spending will become less efficient. Once you’ve outlined your advertising plan, stay consistent, track results and look for improvement opportunities.
5. Benchmark for Success
As you set your plan into action, it’s critical that you develop benchmarks to judge your progress. Many businesses don’t understand what outcomes may be good or bad on an industry level. However, most are intimately familiar with the rhythms of their own operations. So instead of comparing yourself to your industry, compare your results with your past self. Where were you a year ago? Where were you two months ago? Developing goals based on past performance sets you up to achieve realistic and impactful results. If you don’t have access to historical benchmarks, set your goals and expectations based on what you see from this point on. There’s always room for improvement no matter where you begin your marketing journey.
Bonus: Build Your Brand
When it comes to marketing, one of the most important things you should invest in is branding. When you have a coherent and clear brand, your message is communicated better to your target market. It helps put you in the public eye and make you more memorable to customers.
Define what you stand for and what message you want to put out. With this, determine the elements you want for your brand, such as the colors you should use, specific fonts, and your logo. These things are essential when curating your marketing paraphernalia, including business cards, signages, flyers, or custom box packaging.
Consistency is the Key
Marketing a small business requires discipline, consistency and the pursuit of constant improvement. Most small business owners have what it takes to be successful marketers. They just lack the proper framework to pull all the pieces together. However, by narrowing your focus to a few high-leverage actions, like the ones I’ve outlined here, you’ll have the tools you need to develop a consistent marketing strategy that drives growth every single day.
Benjamin Hong is an omni-channel growth strategist at Logical Position, an Inc. 500 company headquartered in Oregon with offices nationwide. The agency offers full-service PPC management, SEO, and website design solutions for businesses large and small, and was ranked as the third best place to work in America by Inc. Magazine.