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Nine Effective Online Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

By Victor Melendez on Jul 23, 2021


Are you stuck for ideas about what your next digital marketing channel should be? Whether you want to take your business to new heights or are looking for your first marketing channel, it’s important to be aware of all the options from social media advertising to search engine marketing and everything in between.

Understanding the pros and cons of each channel allows you to choose one that will yield the best results for your business. Keep in mind that an omnichannel approach has proven to increase ROI. Let’s take a look.

1. Search Engine Marketing and Pillar Content

It’s never too early to position your business as the go-to place for information, and website pillar content is a tool that you can use to get there. Pillar content is long-form content that covers more detail than your general blog posts. A pillar content pages should provide a comprehensive overview of a topic, which means you can learn a lot in one place.

Pillar content is great for search engine marketing (SEM). Metrics such as time spent on a page and bounce rate tend to be excellent on pillar content pages. It signals to search engines that the content is valuable and should be ranked above the competition.

Furthermore, pillar content is rarely standalone. Instead, it’s used as part of a hub & spoke model. Pillar content acts as the “hub” that includes topic clusters which contain links to the “spoke” pages. This setup creates an SEO-friendly internal website linking structure. Finally, pillar content is a valuable resource that visitors will link to naturally. This results in a search engine results page (SERP) ranking boost. And everybody wants to rank high in Google search results.

2. Pay-Per-Revenue with Cashback Offers

Most small businesses have small marketing budgets that they need to use to full potential. Therefore, high ROI marketing channels are the priority. That’s why  Pay-Per-Revenue marketing should be at the top of your list. The model is simple. You advertise your business for free and only pay a small fee when you receive a sale.

This allows you to scale your marketing budget as the volume of sales grows. It’s a low-risk marketing strategy, because you will not spend huge chunks of your budget without generating sales.

The cashback offer part of the equation boosts the marketing effort, because it provides buyers with an incentive. Giving a small percentage of the sale back to the customer as cashback pays off. It might be in the form of another sale, because it provides real value.

3. Social Media Advertising

Consider buying ads on several social media advertising platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to capture your audience. It’s a fast way to get social media attention until you can grow an organic following.

You don’t need to use all social media platforms, and small businesses probably shouldn’t focus on more than three. Choose platforms that are popular with your target audience.

Make sure to deploy the right type of ads. For example, pictures with a light tone work best on Instagram. On LinkedIn you may want to choose a more formal tone.

4. Social Media Low-cost Influencers

It’s no secret that getting the right influencer to promote products and services can skyrocket sales and brand recognition. However, an increasing number of influencers understand their value and therefore charge a lot of money to promote brands.  That’s not an ideal situation for small businesses.

Instead of looking for the most popular social media accounts, concentrate on recruiting new to medium-level influencers who will not charge a premium. For example, if you are looking for YouTube influencers, then consider ones with a subscriber range of under 500K.

Choose influencers that are within your niche to access a targeted audience. Some influencers who love your products might be willing to promote your brand free of charge or at least if you send them free stuff. Many influencers love to receive free products. Influencer marketing is a high ROI social media advertising strategy that enables small businesses to compete with the biggest brands in any industry.

5. Retargeting

Retargeting enables you to put your ads in front of people who have already shown an interest inf your brand.

For example, site retargeting is where someone visits your website, and then you can follow them on other websites and social media to show them ads for products they showed interest in on your site. Maybe they clicked on an item, but didn’t buy it.

Search retargeting enables you to put relevant display ads in front of people as they surf the web or visit social media based on their keyword searches even if they never visited your website.

6. Loyalty Programs

It’s often said that selling to new customers is five times more expensive than selling to existing customers. Of course, that depends on your niche, but there is little doubt that loyalty is valuable. Therefore, you need to work hard on maintaining a good relationship with your buyers so they come back for more purchases.

Loyalty programs are an excellent way of getting buyers to stick around. A worthwhile program might provide discounts, free samples, early access to new products and more. The extra sales generated from the loyalty program will make up for the cost of investment.

7. Refer-a-Friend

Word of mouth is an excellent way of generating new business. Create amazing products, and it will happen naturally. However, you can help the process along by incentivizing people to talk you up to their friends.

You might incentivize people to bring in new customers with a small cash amount or a discount on the next purchase. You’ll need to make the reward worthwhile for the strategy to gain traction. Also, make sure that both the recruit and new customer receive a reward in the process.

And beyond incentives, just ask your current customers to refer their friends.

8. Competitions and Prizes

Run competitions where you generate a buzz that provides an opportunity to capture participant email addresses for future contact. For the cost of one of your products, you could potentially generate thousands of new subscribers to your email marketing list.

Make sure that the prize is exciting enough for people to take notice. Also, consider making the winner selection process an event. It could be a live-stream where people see you picking a winner out of a hat or using software to select a winner.

9. Local SEO

Some small businesses will mostly sell to people who live locally. In such cases, dominating local SEO can catapult such a business to the top. Sound relevant to your business? Start by filling out a free Google My Business account. It’s remarkable how many businesses don’t have one, yet they offer the potential to drive a significant amount of sales.

Add location-based keywords in your page titles, headings and other content. Next, create location web pages for each neighborhood that you’re targeting. They have a much higher chance of ranking in searches for local businesses than generic pages.

Final Thoughts

The nine advertising ideas for small businesses above have proven to work and are scalable. Therefore, you can continue to use them with great effect as your business grows. The end goal should be to have a mix of several marketing channels to create a comprehensive omnichannel marketing strategy. It’s the best way to fight for the biggest slice of the market share pie.

Umbrella can help you get started. Call us at (872) 242-1231 or fill out this form to schedule a free consultation.


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