Let’s Choose the Right Marketing Channels for Your Small Business
As a Libra and a natural peace-maker, impulse decisions are not my strong suit.
I like to think through all the angles. But whether it’s choosing what kind of takeout to order for dinner (hint: toddlers never say no to pizza) or researching cute hotels in a walkable part of my destination city that aren’t crazy expensive, there are few solutions that can meet all my needs at once.
The same is true for choosing which marketing channels your small business should be using. There are dozens of ways to market your business: print and digital ads, email, social media, SEO, content, sponsorships, the list goes on! Choosing between them largely depends on what your business needs at that moment.
One easy way to decide between them all is to consider the stage of growth that your small business is currently in.
Whether you’re just starting out, experiencing growth, or have been around the Hudson Valley, Catskills, or Berkshires for a while, selecting the appropriate marketing channels for your business’s current stage is one dependable strategy for maximizing your marketing efforts and driving sustainable growth.
In this article, I’ll guide you through how to choose the best marketing channels for each of these three growth stages and provide examples that you can put into action today.
1. New Businesses
For brand-new businesses, the primary focus should be on building brand awareness and gaining initial traction.
Potential customers may not be familiar with your brand, products, or services, making it challenging to capture their attention and trust. New businesses also often operate on limited budgets and have fewer resources compared to established competitors. This constraint can make it challenging to execute comprehensive marketing strategies or invest heavily in advertising.
Here are two marketing channels that provide significant bang for their buck:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In today’s smartphone-happy society, every business needs a great website that has been optimized for search engines like Google. In fact, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) is in the middle of a lawsuit with the US government because businesses rely on Google so wholly to direct search traffic to their websites.
Optimizing your website for search engines helps your business appear in relevant search results, which increases organic traffic to your website.
Start by conducting keyword research to understand what your potential customers are searching for, then focus on organizing your web pages and content around those keywords and the answers to common questions your customers may have.
Social Media Marketing
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and even TikTok offer cost-effective ways to reach a wide audience quickly.
By creating engaging content on your pages, running a few targeted ads, and interacting with your audience you can quickly build a following.
Interacting with your followers goes a long way to proving that your business is not always just in “sell mode” and has an active interest in learning from your customers. Like and respond to comments on your posts, ask them to weigh in on updates, and reshare their posts that tag your business.
With paid social media advertising, you can increase brand awareness, easily drive traffic to your website, target the exact kind of customers you want, and get immediately trackable results. Start with a modest budget and invest in promoted posts and ads that show your posts to customers who are interested in what your business offers. Focus on creating visually appealing and informative ads that showcase your brand in a positive light.
Want to dive even deeper into social media advertising? Check out our full explainer here.
2. Growing Businesses
Hooray—your business is out of its fledgling startup phase!
As your revenue begins to take off, it’s essential to scale your marketing efforts to match your expanding customer base and operational costs. It’s important to continue using the marketing channels that have been successful so far (and pay attention to when their efficacy starts to wane), while weaving in new and more sophisticated types of marketing that can reach the customers who haven’t heard of your business yet.
Here are two marketing channels that work well for businesses who want to scale up smartly:
Retargeting is a powerful digital tool that can benefit growing businesses by increasing conversion rates for sales.
It can also reinforce brand recall (aka the likelihood of someone remembering your business) and offers precision targeting options to reach specific customer segments based on their behavior on your website.
For businesses who need to get serious about growth, retargeting is a cost-effective way to engage with potential customers who have already expressed interest in your products or services, ultimately helping you drive revenue and expand your customer base. Retargeting can be implemented for your own website, your social media pages, and email campaigns.
Implementing retargeting capabilities on your own can be a steep learning curve, and often requires working with an experienced digital media partner. Want to learn more? Ask us how!
Content marketing is a more recent form of marketing that refers to developing original articles or blog posts that dive more deeply into your business.
One way to engage customers more deeply is to develop a content strategy that aligns with your brand’s messaging and values, and proves why your business is the expert they should trust.
Create engaging and shareable content that resonates with your target customers. This content can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and even user-generated content (aka photos or social media posts from your customers). Tell the story of your business. Write blog posts about the common questions your customers have and then promote those posts on your social media account. Providing valuable content builds trust with your target customers and positions your business as an industry authority.
You can also partner with a publishing company like Chronogram Media to create and distribute branded content in their publications. This increases your content’s reach and positions your brand as trusted leader in our region. Want to learn more about how branded content can drive interest in your business? Dive into all the details here.
3. Mature Businesses
While it may seem like a great thing for your business to reach maturity, there are definitely still hurdles when it comes to marketing.
New upstart businesses and established competitors may try to capture your market share, making it difficult to maintain earlier growth. If your offerings haven’t changed in a while, you may find yourself suddenly needing to prove why customers should stick with your business time and time again.
The focus in your marketing strategy should shift toward meeting the needs of your existing customers, expanding market share if possible, and maintaining a strong brand presence through simple and frequent advertising messages. You can expand your market share by creating new services or improving your existing ones, adding new products and events, or by marketing to different customers outside your traditional base.
Here are three marketing channels suited for established businesses:
Advanced Email Marketing
Email marketing is a powerful tool for nurturing leads and converting them into customers.
You should be regularly sending personalized, informative, and engaging emails to your own email list that let your customers know about upcoming sales, events, and other meaningful opportunities to engage with your business.
Need to generate a large amount of potential leads for new business quickly? You can work with a digital marketing partner like Chronogram Media that already has established email lists to advertise your business to their subscribers. We have dedicated email subscriber lists for home and real estate, events, food and beverage, cannabis, and community news, and can also help build a list for your business from scratch.
Want to learn more? I’ve covered ways to make your email marketing better here.
The power of human connection cannot be undersold.
Hosting or sponsoring events within your industry or community provides an opportunity for in-person interactions and networking, reinforcing your brand’s presence and authority as a leader in your community.
Because events take a lot of energy and resources to put on, sponsoring events can also be a good way to differentiate your business from your competitors, since it provides a valuable opportunity to connect with existing and prospective customers that they may be missing out on. Sponsoring or participating in community-led events can demonstrate your business’s commitment to social responsibility, which strengthens the positive image of your business and goodwill within your local community. If you want to learn more, I’ve covered the power of event sponsorships here.
What stage of growth your small business is in is just one way to decide which marketing channels you should be using right now.
With so many options at your disposal, it’s important to continually assess and adapt your strategy based on your specific goals and circumstances, and what you find works well for your business.
Interested in learning more about how to create a marketing campaign that meets the needs of your small business? Reach out to our team at Chronogram Media by emailing [email protected] to start the conversation!