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Marketing is an area of business that, while essential, can be difficult to understand especially for small businesses. Small businesses often have shortages in workers, money and time. This makes it hard to have a knowledgeable, dedicated, full-time marketing employee. Here at Inner Spark Creative, we are a full-service advertising agency that can assist with any and all marketing needs. These are our five essential tips to help your small business begin its effective marketing:

Is your business B2B or B2C?

Most small businesses can either classify themselves as selling to other businesses (B2B) or selling to consumers (B2C).

B2B relationships are ongoing and the sales process takes longer than B2C relationships. The B2B relationship involves trust and usually approval from multiple levels of the business, such as manager to owner.

B2C relationships are quicker because products go straight to the consumer. If a business is selling items online for a consumer to purchase straight from their website, they are a B2C.

It is important to use different marketing strategies for B2B’s and B2C’s in order to be most effective. Knowing whether your business is a B2B or B2C helps you decide where to advertise, in order to most effectively and efficiently reach your target audience - for example target ads on social media or at a trade show.

Create a website

You cannot thrive in today’s world as a business if you do not have a website. The first thing a potential customer will do is Google your business with the hope of finding your website to learn more. Even if you live in a small town where everyone knows one another, a potential customer will still want to get their first impression via your website.

Your website does not need to sell products, you just need to have information about your business. Your website must be easy to navigate, flow visually and deliver marketing to potential customers.

If you need help building, redoing or maintaining your website, learn more about our services and the importance of a great website here.

Choose which social media platforms to be present on

With data from Pew Research Center, it is found that almost 70% of Americans are present on social media. However, you probably don’t want to be on all social media platforms as a small business, and you don't need to be.

Facebook is the number one site for business marketing. With about 70% of Americans and a wide range of demographics between the 70% using Facebook, you can almost always reach your target audience via Facebook.

If your business is more visual, you might want to lean into heavier use on Instagram. You will find it is easier to express yourself visually via Instagram. Or, LinkedIn is very effective for businesses to connect with businesses which is probably the ideal option for a B2B company.

Whatever platform you choose, be sure to stay present on it and provide valuable content for your audience to maximize your marketing.

Implement SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of getting unpaid traffic from search engines.

You can implement onsite SEO by using relevant keywords on your website to help place your website on the top of the search engine list. Sharing your website with social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram is an example of something that will help you implement some offsite SEO.

SEO is an extremely complicated marketing tactic, as there is no one factor you can focus on, instead there is an exhaustive list of tasks that need to be completed to help SEO. SEO is a slow race that needs to be consistently done over time in order to see the best results. By engaging a professional to help monitor everything from an SEO perspective, you will be more likely to start to increase your ranking. You need to implement both onsite and offsite SEO, to help your website rank higher on search engines, and in turn, drive more people to your business.

Implement Content Marketing

Content marketing does not focus on your brand or products, it focuses on putting out content on your website and social media for your audience. This content must be valuable, relevant, authentic and consistent.

Releasing content to your audience that is not directly about your brand or product helps your consumer perception. For example, if you write a blog that offers valuable, relevant content for your website, consumers will be likely to read that blog, place trust in you and in turn, become loyal to your brand.

By releasing this content to your audience, you can also help your brand be found by the right people, who are potential customers. If an individual reads or hears about your blog and finds it to be valuable and compelling, they will come to you for the products you are selling. You can lead them to your products by linking your website in the content you are putting out.

Be aware that you cannot look for immediate results with content marketing, it is a long-term process. It is a worthwhile process, however, if you are willing to work and be consistent.

The Content Marketing Institute says, “It can be an ideal approach if you truly want to provide a better experience for your customers while making a positive impact on the business in terms of its perception and its bottom line.”

Digital Advertising

Social media is a great place to buy advertising . Facebook advertising is affordable and easy and when buying Facebook ads they can also be distributed to the Instagram platform too as part of the same budget. It is a great way to target your audience in almost all areas of business. Both Facebook and Instagram have algorithms that provide you with data on how your effectively your ads are reaching users.

Sites through the Google Display Network are also great for advertising . They will give you huge brand exposure, increased brand awareness and targeted advertising . The number of people that end up on sites owned by the Google Display Network are significant and therefore a great way to reach your audience. Digital advertising is so targeted and so easily trackable. This means you as a business can track engagement and conversions and ensure you are getting a good return on investment.

It is best to employ a multitude of marketing strategies for any business. You just have to find the right fit for you and your business. However you want to market your business, we can help get you started and keep you succeeding at Inner Spark Creative. Contact us today at (334)-826-7502.

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