Running a small business isn't easy. You have a lot to do. But you still need a digital marketing strategy so you can stay ahead of the competition (or even survive today).
So, how can you market your local business and stay competitive in today’s digital world?
We think everyone could take a few tips from big brands and put them into practice. Even if you’re on a small business marketing budget, you can steal a few digital marketing tactics from the biggest brands, including brand consistency, content marketing, mobile optimization and hiring a marketing agency.
Learn the Secrets of Brand Consistency From Starbucks
Brand consistency is important. Think about it. Ever walk into a Starbucks you’ve never been to, but it looks and smells exactly like your hometown Starbucks? It’s no accident.
Starbucks knows the importance of brand consistency.
Baristas aren’t even allowed to wear perfume or cologne so that every Starbucks you walk into smells exactly the same.
And, even if it doesn't look exactly the same as your local Starbucks, the storefront and logo are immediately recognizable as a Starbucks coffee shop.
Maybe your small business doesn’t have thousands of stores worldwide (that you can fill with the delightful scent of coffee beans) but here are some ways to ensure brand consistency for your local business:
- Keep colors and logo consistent across all digital platforms (and offline as well, while you're at it). This includes your website, online directories, signs, stickers, flyers, menus, brochures, t-shirts, etc.
- Keep your brand voice consistent across social media platforms and blog posts. No matter how you deal with and talk to customers, make sure to keep the tone similar across your blog, social media accounts and anywhere else you might interact with customers.
- Make sure your employees are aware of your brand standards. If you’re the only one sticking to your branding rules, your brand will be a mess. The best way to make sure consumers recognize your brand is to get everyone on the same page when it comes to branding.
Get Content Marketing Tips From Red Bull
You know what the big brands do well? Content marketing. Content marketing isn’t just blogging; it involves using various forms of content (video, podcasts, infographics, etc.) to persuade consumers they need your product or service.
Looking to replicate a big brand’s content strategy? You could take a few cues from Red Bull.
Red Bull TV is hugely popular. When the company sponsored Felix Baumgartner’s free-fall from 128 thousand feet, it was an instant sensation. At the time of writing this post, the video has been viewed more than 42 million times on YouTube.
And now, Red Bull earns three times as much revenue as Monster. It looks like Red Bull is doing something right.
But content marketing isn’t just for the biggest brands out there.
And, you don’t even need to send your employees skydiving to make a big impact with your content marketing campaigns.
Content marketing and local search marketing can work together to put your business on the map. Content marketing can also be a way for you to showcase your expertise or show customers how to use your product (think video tutorials or a how-to blog post).
Go Mobile Like Taco Bell
It's 2017. Optimizing for mobile devices is not optional. If you haven't already, it's time to start optimizing for mobile.
Big brands understand the importance of mobile optimization. Think of the number of brands that have their own app.
Taco Bell launched its app back in 2014, and it allows customers to place orders and pick them up in store. The fast food chain has gone a bit further with their mobile marketing, though, using mobile ad targeting to drive breakfast sales.
Taco Bell targets customers (on their smartphones) with breakfast ads when the customers open the apps they use first thing in the morning. This gives the fast food chain the best chance to show customers breakfast ads early in the morning before they've eaten.
You don’t need your own app to go mobile, though. There are other mobile-optimization tactics you can put into practice. Here are a few quick things you can do to optimize your website for mobile:
- Create mobile-optimized landing pages for ads
- Add enough space between links and buttons that users don’t accidentally click the wrong thing
- Test your site for loading speed with Google’s website testing tool
- Test your site's performance and appearance on a variety of mobile devices and screen sizes - make sure text and images are large enough and that your site loads quickly
Bonus: A recent study found that 68 percent of emails were opened on mobile devices, so make sure every single email you send (even if it’s just a confirmation or a “thank you” email) looks good on mobile devices.
Be Smart Like Cisco and Hire Someone to Handle Your Digital Marketing for You
You can’t do it all yourself. You have a business to run, and that’s not easy.
How complicated is local search marketing?
Here’s what Google looks for in local businesses when determining whether or not your business should show up in a local search:
But those aren't the only factors search engines take into account when ranking your business in local searches.
And, optimizing for those three alone can make for a complicated local search marketing strategy. Even the big brands hire someone to do it for them, whether that means bringing a person (or entire agency) in-house or outsourcing their digital marketing.
Cisco knows the importance of hiring someone to do their marketing. Last year, the company hired more than 200 content marketers to join their marketing department.
While it probably isn’t feasible for your small business to hire 200 people to just work on content marketing, or even hire a marketing manager (the average salary for a marketing manager is about $81 thousand at the time of writing this article) you can find an agency to help you with digital marketing.