As a business owner, you probably understand that great marketing strategies are key to success.
Not only do they allow you to stand strong against competitors, but they generate brand awareness and help you curate a reliable customer base that will send profits soaring.
As appealing as this sounds in theory, marketing for small businesses is never easy.
With limited budgets, a constant barrage of new technology knocking at your door, and finite manpower on your hands, pinning down the right marketing strategies can feel like a minefield.
So, if you need a springboard and can’t decide where to invest your time and capital, then simply read ahead. In our handy guide, we’ll run through everything you need to know about building a viable marketing approach that drives sales and keep your customers coming back for more.
Let’s get started!
Attracting customers is a hurdle that needs to be overcome by every small business. However, relying heavily on single purchasers that cut and run after one interaction is a recipe for disaster.
Before you spend too much time questioning your approach, know that you’re not alone in placing too much value on new customers. Approximately 44% of businesses focus on customer acquisition, with only 18% investing in customer retention strategies.
Introducing new faces to your business should certainly make up a portion of your business model, but when you realize that the probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60 and 70% and the chances of getting a new one to bite is a mere 5-20%, retention starts to look much more appealing.
With 86% of customers with a good purchasing experience likely to return, the glorious concept of a reliable consumer base may not be far out of reach for small businesses.
Retention may already be on your radar, but how exactly should you go about locking customers in?
The answer is simple: understand your customers by employing marketing strategies that keep tabs on sentiment, forecasting, and demographics.
When you’re trying to keep every plate spinning as a small business, manually sifting through customer purchasing patterns and online opinions is time-consuming and difficult. For some, it’s entirely out of the question.
That’s where sentiment analysis models come in.
Using language algorithms to classify text across your social media pages, review platforms, and even international markets, this nifty piece of artificial intelligence helps gather intel on the buzz around your brand.
The concept may sound new, but you’ve likely seen sentiment analysis crop up during your business journey already, as they’re built into common assessment tools like Google Insights and Facebook Insights. These simple, accessible tools give you an overview of your brand’s performance, traffic trends, and who is engaging with your product.
It goes without saying, but poor reviews can harm your brand image and may send any potential customers running towards your competition.
Therefore, gathering sentiment and altering your approach across different sections of your customer base is one of the marketing strategies that pays dividends.
Well, it gives you the power to target demographics based on what’s hot and what’s not in the eyes of current buyers.
By understanding what customers think of your brand and what makes them want to return after their first purchase, sentiment analysis can keep you one step ahead of your competitors and send retention levels through the roof.
When paired with decent behavior models that predict and classify what visitors will do, you can figure out who may be influenced by target marketing and subscription offers, giving you the power to adjust and measure your approach accordingly.
More importantly, you can decipher which existing customers may jump ship if you push too hard!
If your company relies heavily on external suppliers to operate successfully, keeping an eye on customer conversations and social media discussions could be even more significant.
Say you’re a microbrewery looking to expand its reach while making a handsome profit. By keeping tabs on consumer buying behavior and supply chain intelligence, you can avoid wastage, over-production, and disappointment.
After all, there’s nothing worse than losing a sale over a lack of stock or investing in the wrong brew for the season and tipping potential profits down the drain – literally.
Though sales of regular craft beers in the UK dropped by 82% over the pandemic, the rise of health-conscious consumers looking for alternatives has predicted market growth of 50% for non-alcoholic beers. Therefore, by keeping your forecasting and trend tracking accurate, you may just pull off the sale of the century.
You’ll quickly learn that balance is key when it comes to marketing strategies for all small businesses (not just brewers!), and we can help keep the scales tipping in your favor if you let us.
At Smarter, our carefully curated Appstore allows businesses to experiment with pre-trained sentiment analysis and propensity models to get their marketing strategies up and running.
No fuss, just solutions that provide near-instant results.
Not only are our end-to-end processes seamless but investing in reusable sentiment algorithms gives every team the ability to forecast projected sales volumes for a better return on investment.
What could be better than that?
If you want to make a name for yourself in the business world, one of the best things you can do is organize and classify your data.
It can be tempting to stick to an old-school approach and stay away from new-age tech, but to scale like the big boys you need to harness your growth potential by adding a degree of automation and personalization to your marketing strategies.
Global spending on artificial intelligence tools exceeded $340 billion in 2021, so it’s wise to strike while the iron’s hot!
By harnessing the power of AI algorithms and clustering your data in a user-friendly manner, you can cut internal operational costs, make accurate data-driven decisions, and use content marketing to appeal to wider audiences.
Able to trawl through data and outline customer personas that help drive crucial marketing decisions, AI will have your company operating seamlessly on a day-to-day basis by keeping proactivity high and useless customer leads low.
However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
To make the most of the marketing strategies out there as a small business, you’ll want to keep an eye on the competition too. Instead of trawling through competitor sites and data manually, you’ll be able to use AI to gather competitive insights and identify potential gaps in the market.
By streamlining your operations, regularly monitoring competitor campaigns, and having digestible data to assess each quarter, you can always stay one step ahead.
When it comes to retaining customers, personalization is one of the marketing strategies that never fails.
Believe it or not, personalizing your approach can increase organic revenue by over 21% each year, and 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase if they feel their experience is personalized. Not only will keeping content relevant make a favorable customer response more likely, but it allows you to creep into their subconscious by creating a “fear of missing out mentality”. This often encourages customers to revisit forgotten items and make a purchase.
To make the most of personalization, it’s wise to keep your CRM systems up-to-date and invest in reusable AI algorithms that can automatically recommend products and services to potential buyers. Even a simple subscription list allows you to shoot out tailored offers to certain demographics based on their current purchasing behavior or previous interests.
If you need a helping hand and don’t have the cash for a dedicated content team, simple AI software like Phrasee will keep your marketing language optimized and churn out decent emails that speak to different demographics.
Trying to increase your selling potential on Amazon or other third-party sites in addition to direct sales? Personalization can help you there too.
Tools like Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) and Amazon Personalize can help you track historical sales, and deliver personalized experiences to your buyers in real-time. Able to integrate into your website, email systems, and apps, it’s well worth exploring.
With up to 61% of customers noting an improved experience when personalization methods were implemented properly, keeping all marketing relevant is something that small businesses and third-party vendors should consider.
Marketing for small businesses can be a challenge but taking advantage of reusable models is an easy win for most.
It’s understandable that using AI can be daunting for businesses that have little experience with it - but there’s no need to fear your technological best friend-to-be.
Traditional AI solutions are expensive and require large amounts of computing power to train and run efficiently. Not only is this not environmentally sustainable if employed on a massive scale, but it’s unnecessary for most businesses.
For SMEs, the best thing to do is opt for digestible chunks of AI that will solve your business problem without excessive training and cost. A selection of AI ingredients, if you will.
Once you’ve nailed down the marketing strategies you want to employ, the team at Smarter will connect you with one of our top-notch creators to set you up with a pre-existing AI solution that does exactly what you need. Not only is this more cost-effective than employing a team of professional data scientists, but the experience will be in-depth, bespoke, and leagues ahead of alternative methods.
If you’re worried about keeping your solution running once your creator has set you up, don’t panic!
With several no-code solutions available, you'll need no technical experience to keep your AI ticking along nicely.
Suitable for both giant multinational corporations and the smallest of startups, the ingenious Smarter platform has got you covered.
Marketing strategies for this year and beyond?
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