The rise of startups across all industries has given birth to the age of hyper entrepreneurship. With the explosion of new businesses, marketing is more fierce than ever, and competition is growing daily. What sets companies apart and wins over consumer dollars is small business branding and marketing strategy. Here are the top five ways that small businesses and startups can play in the big leagues to market its products and services.
1) Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing isn’t dead. Although email (which we’ll talk more about below) is still the best way to make sales, social media marketing is usually the first step that cold traffic will take to learning about your brand. Unfortunately, follower counts on Instagram and Facebook still count, as brands with large social followings typically earn the trust of cold traffic faster than brands with smaller front-facing audiences.
2) Email Marketing
Email isn’t dead. In fact, the best and most consistent way to generate sales for your startup is through email. Whether you’re a physical products-based business or you offer a service, email marketing is the direct link to your current and potential customers. Email converts higher sales than social media, simply because the noise in people’s inboxes aren’t as high as that of a social feed. One of the easiest ways to grow your email list is to pay advertising (more on this below).
3) Paid Traffic
Paid traffic, through the form of online or traditional advertising, is the quickest way to build all businesses. The more traffic to your website or business, the higher the likelihood of gaining a sale. And unlike social media traffic, paid traffic can be controlled by increasing your budget to reach new potential customers. Online advertising currently reigns as the most cost effective and scalable form of advertising, with platforms such as Facebook and its ability to narrow your target audience through various demographic details.
4) Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a spin on word-of-mouth marketing, where a fan or blogger promotes your product in exchange for a small commission when a sale is made. Unlike paid advertising, there’s no upfront cost to affiliate marketing, so it’s a more cost-effective marketing strategy that simultaneously gets you positive reviews generated by people outside your business. Bloggers and influencers will usually opt into an affiliate marketing program as a way to earn commission on products that they talk about in their blogs and online videos.
5) Content Marketing
Content marketing is a long-term strategy where you build a blog on your website, create content about your niche or industry, and optimize your blog to get ranked in online search results. Patience and consistency is key when employing a content marketing strategy, but you’re able to re-purpose that content onto your social media and email newsletters. Blog posts on your website is also a great way to keep your website looking current and up-to-date to prospective customers, and a way to build community around your brand.
Entrepreneurship and startups are just beginning with the new wave of business owners looking to make their mark on the world through their creativity and talent. Marketing typically takes a back seat when a business is founded, however it's essential that small business branding is at the forefront of strategizing the launch of any business.