The Best Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Small businesses have a lot of options at their disposal when it comes to marketing.

Their growth can be measured through the company’s ability to connect with its customers but also having access to the right data to back it up.

While this may all seem like common knowledge, you’d be surprised how much work goes into creating authentic relationships - much more than advertising or other non-customer-focused methods.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the most efficient marketing strategies for small businesses and what tools you should use to keep track of the right metrics.

Tracking the right metrics

Your marketing strategy should always start with a tracking plan. If you are going to spend time and money on advertising your business, you should know the impact it will generate and analyze your ROI.

The best way to keep track of all your website’s activity is to install Google Analytics. This is a free platform that captures data automatically and lets you see how many users have landed on your website, where they came from, and what pages they’ve browsed.

Another important tool you need is Google Search Console. This is a free platform that will show you the data behind your Google rankings. You’ll be able to see what keywords you rank for, on what position, how many impressions they got, and how many clicks.

Let’s have a closer look at each of these tools to better understand how they work.

Google Analytics

GA is the most famous tracking tool available today. That’s because it’s free and allows you to see and analyze who your users are, where they came from and what pages they like the most.

In addition, GA can also help you understand how many users convert, regardless if you have an e-commerce store or a business website.

Google Analytics Dashboard

There are 4 reports’ categories in Google Analytics you should know about:

  1. Audience - this report features data about your users such as their demographics and what devices they use.
  2. Acquisition - this report shows you where your users are coming from. To get the most precise traffic source that generates the most traffic to your website you should look under the source/medium report.
  3. Behaviour - this report allows you to see what pages get the most users and how much time they spend on each. In addition, you can also link your Google Search Console account with Google Analytics to correlate keyword data with on-site engagements.
  4. Conversions - this report shows you how many users converted. To make this work you will need to either enable the e-commerce functionality from the GA settings or set up goals.

Before you can take advantage of Google Analytics you will need to create an account and install the tracking code on your website.

This is a simple process if you use a CMS (like WordPress, Shopify, etc.), but if not you might need the help of a developer. Here is an article that takes you through the steps of adding the snippet to your website.

Google Analytics is free to use, but it costs Google a fortune to keep it running. They keep it up and constantly improve it with a purpose. Some say it’s to help entrepreneurs, but other people say they just grab all the data they can.

If privacy is your top concern then you should have a look at Plausible Analytics. This GA alternative doesn’t go in-depth in terms of reports, but it shows you the most important metrics (like users, page views, traffic sources, etc.). Not to mention its code is way lighter than GA’s, which can help improve your website’s loading speed.

It’s up to you how much data you want to capture and how deep you want to dig to uncover how users interact with your website.

Google Search Console

GSC, or Google Search Console, is your go-to platform to track your SEO campaigns.

Google Search Console Dashboard

To set up GSC you can follow the steps outlined in this article.

Once you get your website verified you have to wait for a few hours to a few days for GSC to update your information.

After this time passes you will be able to use GSC to track your website’s position on Google.

To understand if your SEO is done right you can look at the Performance report in GSC.

Google Search Console Sidebar Navigation

This report shows you what keywords you rank for sorted by how many impressions they got.

An important ranking factor is page speed. GSC has a report called Core Web VItals that will help you assess your website’s speed and uncover possible errors in your code. As a rule of thumb, the faster your website is the more chances you have to reach a top position in Google.

Last but not least you should check the Links report. This shows you what other websites have linked back to your own, basically how many backlinks you got and from whom.

You should set these tools up before you start any marketing campaigns so you can check on their performance and ROI.

Getting started with SEO

The challenge with SEO lies in the execution. The higher you climb up the Google rankings, the more competitive your industry becomes.

High rankings can be achieved in one of these ways: pay for ads or create great content and hope that Google likes it.

Paying for ads is something small businesses may not be able to afford regularly, but if they can come up with an initial budget and make it work once, they will almost always get their money back.

Organic SEO is like building a real business; you need strong foundations and a strong team to build it well. If you don't have at least one expert in this area on your team, you need to hire someone who does—ideally before you start working on your website!

However, if you have the budget for tools like Ahrefs or Semrush, you can start on your own.

Semrush for keyword research

SEM Rush Dashboard

Researching keywords and targeting them through your content is crucial for establishing yourself as a trusted authority in your niche.

But if you are new to the SEO game, this initial process can seem overwhelming.

The Semrush Keyword Research Tool is a great place to start since it has one of the largest databases of keywords available.

Semrush lets you easily find low-competition keywords that will help you rank faster. This can lead to higher conversions and better returns on investment.

Ahrefs Site Explorer Dashboard

Google looks at the number of links to your site from other websites, and links from websites that already have a lot of links (and therefore presumably are trusted by Google) get more value.

The most basic way to get backlinks is to create content that is useful and/or interesting for other people to link to. These can be blog posts, infographics, videos, PDFs, and so on.

But it's important to remember that Google doesn't rank websites based solely on the quality and relevance of the content itself; it also considers the authority of the website linking to that content.

Ahrefs has the second most active crawler in the industry. It collects the second-largest index of live backlinks (after Google) and probably the largest database of "dead" backlinks (the ones that are no longer pointing to the target site).

Ahrefs shows you both DR and UR for your target URLs. These are separate metrics, but they are highly correlated, so you can use either one to roughly gauge the other. Both metrics are based on all backlinks to a URL, not just those from .com domains.

This gives you a solid foundation of accurate data on which to base your decisions.

Once you research your competitors’ backlinks, you should plan a strategy to acquire some for your website as well.

One great way to get more backlinks is to leverage broken link building.

Go after old content and broken links that need updating on external sites first. This is not only a quick and easy way to improve organic reach, but it can also be very cost-effective.

If you plan to pitch a certain website for a guest post, one of the first things you should do is check to see if that website has any broken links. If they do, ask if you can help them fix it by creating new content and replacing those links with yours.

If you don’t have access to a tool like Ahrefs to check for broken backlinks, you could either acquire local citations or reach out to influencers.

How to get visibility for your local business

For small local businesses, local citations have moved from being viewed as an unimportant ranking factor to one that many believe is critical in gaining top spots in local search rankings.

A local citation is a reference to a specific business or location – often with accurate location information – that helps consumers find businesses on search engines and different platforms.  

Besides having your information online, like address, phone number, and your company name, citation websites also help your customers check out reviews from other customers of yours.

One good example is Yelp. Consumers are turning to online review sites for all their purchasing decisions, including vendors in the B2B space. An effective Yelp business page can prove effective in gaining new clients because many potential users are researching local businesses on the platform.

Although there are other popular review sites available, Yelp has proven to provide great ROI for small businesses.

Collaborating with influencers on social media

Everybody knows that social media’s reach is only limited to the number of friends you have, but many other factors can determine how effective your campaign will be.

All this points to one thing, social media marketing does not help businesses grow on their own.

You need to be smart about it and devise a strategic approach to drive engagement and profitability. If not, you may as well just pay for ads instead of wasting time building your business on social media.

You can create your social media accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter, but some companies can help you market your products and services online at very reasonable rates.

Advertising through social media channels is currently one of the most inexpensive and easiest ways of getting your products and services noticed by a large audience at once. At the same time, the word of mouth power of social media is potent and effective if done right.

However, what most people overlook is the effectiveness of influencer marketing. Small businesses can successfully collaborate with influencers in their niche and reap the benefits of it for months.

Influencers can help you:

  • Build trust for your company;
  • Increase your reach and build awareness around your products.

They say you never know how useful one person may end up being in the future. With this in mind, it would be silly to not approach an influencer because you’re afraid they won’t come with any benefits besides the content output they provide at the moment.

Develop marketing strategies for your small business

You might have a small business with a limited budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t leverage certain marketing strategies. Developing a small business marketing strategy helps you learn about your ideal customers so you can better serve their needs and earn their loyalty.

In the same way, if you have a physical storefront or a brick-and-mortar location, then your business needs to get started with online marketing to expand your reach and grow your brand. No matter what kind of business you have, it’s critical that you develop a local marketing strategy to generate more sales leads and increase your profits.