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Marketing 101: What Small Business Owners Should Know

by Byrne Anderson
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As a small business owner, you’ve probably come to understand that success doesn’t come easy. Getting your business off the ground likely took a lot of hard work, dedication, and pushing. However, your work has only just begun.

Now that your business has been established, it’s time to change gears and focus on making it successful. It’s time to dive into marketing 101.

How are you going to get the word out about your products and services, generate leads, and secure sales? How can you ensure that you’re getting a high return on your marketing investments?

We’re here to help you answer these questions and more like them. Keep reading for everything you need to know about the marketing basics.

Understanding Marketing

First, let’s cover the most obvious question, “What does marketing mean?”

When most people think about marketing, they envision advertisements online, on TV, in newspapers, in magazines, etc. However, while marketing certainly includes these facets, this is a somewhat narrow scope of what marketing encompasses.

Marketing is the act (or art) of promoting your brand, products, and services. This can be through paid advertising, like those listed above, or organic content creation, such as:

  • Blog articles
  • Social media posts
  • Emails
  • YouTube videos
  • And more

As you can see, marketing strategies vary greatly, allowing you endless opportunities for brand awareness growth and lead generation. A key to understanding marketing 101 is identifying which methods are most appropriate for your brand.

Identifying Your Niche and Target Audience

Perhaps the most important lesson in marketing 101 is accepting that your products and services aren’t for everyone. Whether you sell clothes, coaching and consulting services, or HVAC services, some consumers won’t want or need you. The most successful business owners embrace this reality and only target people who fall under the correct demographic or psycho-demographic of consumers.

Start by identifying your niche. In your industry, what sets you apart from your competition? What products or services do you offer that are unique?

Use this niche to narrow down your target market. For example, if you own a restaurant that specializes in vegetarian and vegan meals, your marketing strategies should target locals who subscribe to plant-based diets. If you’re a licensed CPA, you should target small business owners who need help preparing for and filing taxes.

Effective Marketing Strategies

Now that you know a little more about the marketing basics, let’s talk about some of the most common methods you can use to increase brand awareness. We’re going to concentrate these marketing tips on digital marketing 101, as nearly 90% of consumers research products and services online.

Website Design and Development

In the modern world, a large portion of business is conducted online. Aside from researching products and services before investing in them, many consumers prefer to do their shopping online. Therefore, your website needs to provide a positive customer experience.

Primarily, your website needs to be optimized for mobile devices. An estimated 85% of Americans have smartphones, and they’ll be using these (and other mobile devices) to access your website. If your site isn’t mobile-optimized, your visitors will experience slow load times and improper formatting that will make your site difficult to navigate.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is one of the most important features in marketing 101. SEO is vital for driving paid and organic traffic to your site. The better your SEO ranking is, the more visible your website will be on popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

You can improve your SEO ranking by:

  • Registering your website with Google My Business (which will also help with local foot traffic)
  • Creating blog articles to fill your website with keywords and other SEO metadata
  • Writing effective meta descriptions for each webpage
  • Using internal and external links throughout your site
  • Getting backlinks from other credible websites (blogs, business websites, etc.)
  • And more

We cannot express enough how important SEO is for your business’s success. The more visibility you have online, the more consumers will visit your website. This means more leads, and ultimately, more sales.

Social Media Marketing

Now let’s turn our marketing 101 guide to social media. While there are pros and cons to social media in day-to-day life, there’s no denying the amazing business benefits of social media marketing.

Most Americans have at least one social media account. Many of us use multiple social media platforms every single day, logging in several hours. Naturally, social media is one of the best places to pursue brand awareness.

These platforms are ideal for promoting your products and services, making contact with potential customers, and more. You can market organically by creating engaging posts that will draw people in and increase your following.

Additionally, use paid social media advertising to expand your reach within certain demographics of users. You can target consumers based on geographic location, age, gender, interests, and more.

Pay-Per-Click Marketing 

Understanding marketing strategies also means understanding your limitations. For example, a brand new small business website can’t expect to rank high on Google, at least not right away. It takes time to build up your SEO ranking.

However, there are things you can do to balance the scales. Pay-per-click marketing is one such method.

PPC allows you to pay Google (or any other search engine) to place your website at the top of search result pages based on specific keyword searches. Your website will appear at the top under the promoted content list, which makes it more visible.

While some users automatically bypass promoted websites, having your site listed on the first page (in any category) is better than being several pages back. Few search engine users ever make it to the second page of results.

Furthermore, PPC marketing only makes you pay for measurable results. You pay the search engine for each click your website link gets based on the promotion.

Want to Know More About Marketing 101

It’s impossible to cover everything you need to know about the marketing basics in a single article. The field of marketing is expansive, diverse, and limitless. However, the more you can learn about marketing 101, the more successful your business will be.

For more insight into small business marketing, stick around and read through some of our other articles. Our blog was created to be a valuable source of information for entrepreneurs like you.

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