The internet has transformed marketing. Traditional tactics like print ads, direct mail, and yellow page listings simply aren’t as effective anymore. Today’s buyers conduct their own online research before ever contacting a business. They turn to search engines, read reviews, ask for recommendations on social media, and consume content to educate themselves.
This new digital buying journey demands an evolved approach to marketing. Small and medium-sized businesses can no longer rely on a single channel. They must find new ways to reach, engage, and influence modern buyers across multiple digital touchpoints.
The good news is that digital marketing levels the playing field. SMBs now have access to the same platforms and tools as big brands. You just need the right strategy.
In this guide, we’ll explore five proven digital marketing strategies to help SMBs master modern marketing and drive growth:
- Build Influence Through Social Media
- Attract Customers with Targeted Content
- Boost Your Reach with Online PR
- Drive Sales with Email Marketing
- Measure Results to Improve Performance
Let’s dive into each one.
1. Build your SMB Influence Through Social Media
Social media presents a huge opportunity for SMBs. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide direct access to over 3 billion active users.
However, simply having social media profiles won’t grow your business. The key is building real influence.
Social media influence is about developing an engaged audience and using it to shape buying decisions. But how do you get there?
Here are two key steps:
Expand your reach:
Focus first on growing your followers and fans. More reach equals more influence. Make your profiles compelling, share engaging content, and participate in conversations relevant to your audience.
Tools like Vocus’ Recommendation Engine can suggest content to share and influencers to engage.
Pay attention to social signals. Look for followers who actively engage with your updates through likes, comments, and shares. These superfans are more likely to buy from you and advocate for your brand. Social media monitoring tools can automate this process.
The more quality followers you have engaging with your content, the more clout your brand will carry in social channels. Use that influence to drive awareness and word-of-mouth.
2. Attract Customers with Targeted Content
Today’s buyers demand useful, relevant information. In fact, 70% of consumers say content quality impacts their purchasing decisions.
Content marketing involves creating and sharing media like articles, videos, and social posts to attract and engage buyers. For SMBs, a content strategy is critical for standing out online.
Here are two smart ways to get started:
Strategize your approach:
Figure out what topics resonate most with your audience and what content types work best for your business—from blog posts to webinars and beyond.
Set goals for what you want to achieve. Do you aim to boost website traffic, generate leads, or build awareness? Match your content to those objectives.
Creating original content takes significant time and resources. Content curation is an easy shortcut. Identify high-quality third party content that would interest your audience.
Share the best articles, videos, stats, and quotes on your website and social media. Curated content builds brand awareness and saves you work.
Sharing relevant, valuable content helps SMBs attract and engage buyers throughout the digital sales cycle. It establishes thought leadership and trust. Just remember to optimize your content for search and social to maximize reach.
3. Boost Your Reach with Online PR
While social media and content help you engage buyers already aware of your brand, online PR builds new awareness.
Press releases, expert articles, and media publicity expand your circle of influence. Savvy PR moves the needle with audiences your marketing hasn’t yet reached.
Here are two impactful online PR tactics for SMBs:
Distribute press releases:
Online press releases help SMBs get found by media and customers on the open web. A strong release optimized with keywords will drive search visibility.
PRWeb by Vocus offers affordable distribution to Google News, Yahoo! Finance, and other outlets.
New media opportunities:
Online PR isn’t just press releases. Look for unconventional ways to earn media coverage. Pitch your expertise to relevant blogs and news sites. Comment on industry issues. Or “newsjack” hot topics with your own timely content. Take advantage of cost-efficient modern PR that fuels brand awareness.
The average consumer sees over 10,000 brand messages daily. Cutting through the noise demands creativity. Online PR breaks through the clutter to put your business on buyers’ radar.
4. Drive Sales with Email Marketing
Create targeted email campaigns that offer exclusive discounts or promotions to incentivize purchases. Personalize your emails based on customer preferences and behavior to increase engagement. Use compelling subject lines and clear calls to action to encourage recipients to click through and make a purchase. Monitor and analyze email campaign performance to optimize future campaigns for maximum sales impact.
Even with the rise of social media, email remains one of the most effective ways to engage customers. Over 3 billion people actively use email today. It offers unmatched reach, loyal customers, and ROI.
For SMBs, targeted email campaigns convert interest into sales:
Fine-tune your lists:
Quality email lists are invaluable marketing assets. Segment your subscribers based on preferences and behaviors. Use filters to group cold prospects separately from existing buyers. Customized messaging ensures each list gets a tailored experience.
Email marketing software makes complex campaigns manageable. Use automation to trigger behavioral emails when subscribers take desired actions like opening a message or clicking a link.
Welcome new subscribers with an onboarding sequence. Reward loyalty with exclusive offers. Workflows turn emails into conversations.
SMBs shouldn’t overlook this proven sales driver. Use segmentation and automation to speak to contacts individually and move them towards purchase.
5. Measure Results to Improve Performance
In marketing, what gets measured gets managed. Analytics empower SMBs to refine campaigns based on hard data instead of hunches.
Monitoring performance shouldn’t be an afterthought. Make measurement a priority with these steps:
Track key metrics:
Identify the best gauges of success for each campaign and track them diligently. For email, open and click-through rates are telling. On social media, watch for likes, shares, and engagement. PR results could include search visibility, backlinks, and media mentions. Define your key performance indicators upfront.
Test and iterate:
Use A/B testing to optimize your efforts. Try different email subject lines or social media images and see which content resonates most. Testing allows you to double down on what’s working and change course when things aren’t clicking. Continuously improving your marketing keeps customers engaged.
In today’s cluttered digital landscape, data-backed decisions give SMBs an important edge. Use analytics to learn about your audience and hone your strategy.
Stand Out in the Digital Age
For SMBs, digital marketing presents an unparalleled opportunity to engage buyers, spur awareness, and drive growth. But it also comes with new challenges.
Leveraging platforms like social media and email on top of proven tactics like PR and content marketing gives small businesses an expanded toolbox.
The key is piecing together the right marketing mix for your unique business. Find the strategies and tools that allow you to reach audiences in a cluttered digital world and move them toward becoming loyal customers.
With the right digital marketing plan in place, you can compete and thrive in the modern marketplace. What’s your next move?