10 Proven Internet Marketing Tactics for Small Businesses with Small Budgets

Internet marketing, or digital marketing, is a phenomenon that gives small businesses an incredible opportunity to expand their market.

Think about the reach you can now have through the digital world – you can have customers all over the globe if you want. You’re no longer confined to a specific area or number of people, which makes marketing in the digital world an opportunity you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

The only problem is, a lot of small businesses are missing out on it. Many are still intimidated by the thought of even trying to take advantage of the opportunity, and as a result, they’re missing out on an enormous amount of potential customers. 

When discussing internet marketing for small businesses, we often hear questions and statements like:

  • Where do I even start? There are already so many businesses online. 
  • How will I be sure I’m not wasting my time and money?
  • Not many people will notice my business online. 
  • I don’t need a website.

If you’re a small business owner and you have this perspective, you need to change it. The truth is, “More than half (51%) of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphones” (Think With Google, 2018). And that’s just smartphone users!

Digital marketing gives you a chance to market in a way that’s both cost-effective, and measurable. It’s also cheaper than your traditional advertising methods, and helps your business keep up with today’s competitive landscape. If you’re still not convinced, we’ve listed a few more benefits you can gain from using internet marketing for your small business.

Internet Marketing for Small Businesses

Internet Marketing for Small Businesses

Internet marketing offers small businesses many benefits, but if you feel like you might need some assistance getting started, you can always contact your friends at Just Digital Inc. We’d be happy to help you!

So, are you finally convinced that it’s time to try internet marketing? If that’s a yes, then let’s get you prepared for battle!

…Just kidding! Let’s get you prepared to take the next right step for your business!

Here are 10 proven internet marketing tactics (that actually work) for small businesses with small budgets:

1. Produce Shareable Content

Producing the right kind of content is an integral part of internet marketing for small businesses. The right content can turn viral, get you more followers, and increase brand awareness, thus boosting your internet marketing strategy. 

The goal here is to create valuable, relevant, and high-quality content that’s seen and shared by the right people. Your content needs to help your business reach its marketing goals and grow its reach, while providing your audience with the valuable information they’re seeking.

The obvious question is, how do you do it? How can you find the right content to post, that’s educational and shareable? Here are some tips:

  1. Make it emotional. Emotions will always be a big part of our decision making process. Consider producing some content that brings out an emotional response from your audience, whether it’s a cause that your business supports, or a story about how your product truly affected someone’s life. Emotions = sharable.
  2. Make it useful/valuable: tips that are actually applicable for your target market, or guides that are related to what you do. And don’t worry about giving away industry secrets and lowering the value of your service or product – by providing value to your audience, you’re establishing yourself as an industry expert and their go-to when they do need what you offer.
  3. Tell stories. Stories are powerful – they can instantly turn casual strangers into brand ambassadors . People like sharing things they find relatable, so try to engage with your audience by appealing to their human side.

If you need inspiration, you can always look to your competitors. See what kind of content gets them the most shares and likes, then do something similar. 

As we’ve mentioned, only post content that’s relevant to what your business offers. Remember, you’re creating content for your customers, not your business. Try not to talk too much about yourself – constantly ask yourself, “What does my target audience care about? What are they interested in?”

Get into the mindset of always making your customers the priority. Make content they need and want. The more value your content offers them, the more likely they are to like and share it.

2. Start a Blog

Once you’ve created your content, you’re going to need somewhere to publish it. That’s where blogging comes in handy. 

“Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads.” – TechClient

Research says that blogs are the 5th most trusted online resource. Having a blog where you can post your content will increase your online credibility and create more leads for your business.

Internet Marketing for Small Businesses

Some of the top benefits of blogging are:

  • Boosts SEO Rankings – This is the main reason why so many businesses are blogging these days. Search engines love content, especially if it’s fresh and relevant. The more relevant content you post, the more likely your business is to show up in search results. If you’re consistently posting on your blog, you’re providing search engines with new content to index. Just make sure you’re including relevant keywords in your content – just because your blog is about a specific topic, it doesn’t mean relevant search terms will always appear in the text. We suggest placing your keyword – NATURALLY – in your meta description, title, headline, subheaders, body text, and image alt text.
  • Builds and Strengthens Customer Relationships – Engaging with consumers is a crucial element of any effective internet marketing and branding strategy. Blogging gives you the opportunity to engage and connect with your existing customers in a more casual way. You can also use it as a platform to build relationships with new potential customers. Publishing valuable, relevant, and high-quality content on your blog can help you build trust with your consumers. Remember to include a comment section on your blog page so you can give your audience a chance to interact with your posts. This way you can directly reply to their comments and start building a relationship with them.
  • Establish Your Authority – If you want your consumers to value your opinion, you better start by establishing your authority and expertise in your field. Your blog is one way to do that. Start by providing content that’s valuable and includes expert information. The content you publish in your blog will prove to your audience that you’re knowledgeable and have plenty of experience in your field.
  • Brand Awareness – There are many cases where consumers discover a brand through their business blog. Blogging is a way to attract people to your brand. You can use your blog as another way to relay your branding message to your consumers. If the person reading your message through your blog is convinced, they’ll want to support your brand and its cause. Blogging will give your consumers a sense of your business’ vision and personality, as well as your corporate standards and business character.
  • Sharing, Sharing, and More Sharing – Blogging creates an opportunity for sharing. Now we’re putting internet marketing tactics 1 and 2 together. Apply the tips we’ve given above to create more shareable content, then post it on your blog with shareable links. You now have the potential for viral traffic and exponential market growth. People can share the direct link to your blog via social media, email, or the many other sharing platforms available.

3. Get Featured on Industry Blogs

Having your own blog isn’t always enough. Once you’ve mastered the art of blogging, it’s time you get featured on other influential blogs that are within your industry. 

So, what exactly is guest blogging or guest posting? To put it simply, it’s the act of writing content for another company’s website. The benefits of guest blogging are: 

  • Building backlinks and thus domain authority
  • Attracting traffic to your website
  • Increasing your credibility 
  • Boosting brand awareness
  • Building a relationship with peers in the same industry as you
  • Establishing your authority in your field

Guest blogging benefits the website hosting your guest content as much as it benefits you. It’s a win-win for everyone!

How To Get Started:

The first thing to do is ask yourself what you hope to gain from guest blogging. Once you’ve established this, start looking for industry blogs, by non-competitor companies, so you can deliver real insight to their readers.

Make sure you choose a blog that’s from a respected background, and make sure you consider their message – your message/personas/interests should be aligned.

Here are a few more things to consider when potentially guest blogging. Does the blog have:

Internet Marketing for Small Businesses

4. Social Media as an Internet Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

“As of January 2020, there were 3.75 billion active mobile social media users worldwide.” Source: Statista

With that many users, clearly you should never ignore social media as an effective internet marketing tactic for small businesses. If you want to broaden your reach, it’s kind of a no-brainer to invest in social media marketing. 

In order to optimize your efforts, ensure you use popular social media channels that your market actually spends time on.

If you’re unsure which social media platform to use, start by doing a little research. Find out your market’s likes, dislikes, interests, wants, needs, etc., then look into which platforms generally match with those. If you want to learn more about this, make sure you check out our Social Media How-To blog post! 

One way to optimize your social media efforts is by focusing on organic growth. Content that isn’t made for promotions will create long term stability and increased trust with your social media followers. It also has the following benefits:

 

Internet Marketing for Small Businesses

Organic social media growth is a slow process that requires a lot of time, effort, and consistency, but the rewards can be just as good as what you gain from paid promotions. The best thing to do is try both. Try an 80-20% or 70-30% approach. Focus most of your efforts on organic growth, then leave the other 20-30% to your paid promotions.

5. Get Social Proof

Having the best product or service is useless if no one knows your brand. This goes for most small businesses. No matter how good your product or service is, people won’t care if it doesn’t grab their attention or if it isn’t marketed properly. 

You need to grab your market’s attention and win their trust – you need social proof! 

These days, people aren’t easily swayed by marketing tactics. Most have seen it all before. People now seek validation before committing to any brand. They want to be sure that what they’re buying actually works. 

This is where the importance of reviews comes in. People want to know the experience other people have had with your product and/or service. The more customers rave about your business, the easier it will be for others to make their purchasing decision. 

76% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.” Source: Bright Local

Even major retailers are gunning for product reviews, because social proof matters. Leveraging the power of social proof is just one weapon you can use to influence your buyers into purchasing your product or acquiring your service. 

The power of social proof is backed up by the results of Dr. Soloman Asch’s (psychologist) famous Conformity Experiment. Asch found that people were more likely to choose an item when everyone else was choosing that same item. Interestingly, he found that the choices people make are influenced by others in two ways:

  1. They want to fit in with the group.
  2. They believe the group is better informed than they are.

If the psychology behind social proof isn’t enough to convince you that it matters, here are a few more reasons you need it:

  • Asking for feedback from your existing customers shows them they are valued. They see that you care about them and their opinion, which helps improve the relationship between you and your customers.
  • Real social proof can strengthen your SEO. Your brand looks more trustworthy when users see ratings displayed in the search results.
  • Text, audio and video testimonials make your brand appear more credible and trustworthy.

If you’re finally convinced by the power of social proof, we’ve listed a few online ways you can increase it for your business.

Internet Marketing for Small Businesses

Clearly, focusing on consistently generating and improving your social proof will make a difference for your business!

6. Respond to Your Reviews

We just mentioned the importance of asking for reviews, now let’s talk about the importance of responding to these reviews. Even Google acknowledges and approves of it. 

If you go to Google My Business’ support page, you’ll see them state that businesses should “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.” Followed by, “high-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”

Responding to reviews will build trust with your customers, and search engines as well. Google is very particular with the businesses they bring to the top of the search results. They only want to recommend the most credible businesses. This is why Google encourages businesses to respond to their reviews and improve their SEO. 

Whether the review is positive or negative, you should always make an effort to respond. It may seem like a better choice to ignore the bad reviews, but statistically speaking, that isn’t true. A recent study shows that 33% of the customers who received a response from a company after posting a negative comment, turned around and posted a positive review, while 34% of them deleted their original negative review.  

Now that you know the importance of responding to reviews, it’s time to learn how to respond to them. Save the image below to reference as your guide when responding to reviews.

respond to online reviews

7. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is another great way to increase social proof and brand recognition. If your budget can’t afford an influencer to advertise your product, you can always give them free samples. 

The challenge is, just like any marketing strategy, influencer marketing takes a bit of planning and targeting. Sending free samples won’t quite be enough. You’re going to have to do your research first. 

Research what influencer, and influencer platform, best suits your brand

  • There are many kinds of influencers, and influencer platforms, you can choose from. There’s the social media influencers, the YouTube reviewers, and the bloggers. Choosing from all of those can get a little bit overwhelming. You can start by doing your research and deciding which platform suits your brand best. Once you’ve done that, you can start choosing which influencers you want to send your products to.

Send them a message

  • After you’ve chosen which influencer, or influencers, you want to work with, send them a message. Make it easier on yourself by writing a message template that you can simply copy, paste, and send to each person you want to invite to advertise your product. Make sure this message introduces yourself and gives them a brief background about your brand and your values. Let them know you’d like to send them a free product, and post a review if they like it.

Send them your product and follow up!

  • After giving them enough time to receive and use your product, follow up to see what their experience was. It’s always a good idea to get honest, person-to-person feedback about the entire experience before their thoughts go online!

8. Build an Email List

Email marketing is still alive and well! You may think that it’s a dying marketing medium because of all the new social media platforms, but the fact is, email is here to stay (at least for a while). Email marketing actually still delivers a strong return on investment. Some small businesses would even say a responsive email list is more valuable than an active social media following as an internet marketing tactic. 

Email list building has continuously shown positive results for small businesses. Emails act as a trusted channel to drive repeat sales and build a solid relationship with your market. Email marketing allows you to stay connected and engaged with your customers, and make them feel valued at the same time.

In addition to what we mentioned above, here are 5 reasons why you should include email marketing in your internet marketing strategy:

 

Internet Marketing for Small Businesses

9. YouTube Video Marketing

Video marketing is a major trend that just keeps growing, and it won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Videos are ruling the internet marketing game, and YouTube sits on the throne. 

If you haven’t already, now is the time to start your video marketing journey. Host your videos on YouTube and expose your content to a new audience. You can also check out YouTube advertising, which is cheaper than Facebook or Google.

An incredible amount of videos are uploaded to YouTube every single day. There’s so much content, you may feel intimidated and reluctant to hop on the bandwagon. We understand that, which is why we’ve listed 4 trendy video ideas to help you decide what kind of video to upload first:

  • Video eLearning – Video tutorials/DIY videos are extremely popular on YouTube. Tutorials and explanatory videos include highly sought after content, they’re generally longer than entertaining videos, and people are happy to watch them longer. You can use this type of content to establish your expertise and authority, all the while providing value to your customers.
  • Vlogging – Vlogging allows you to show your customers a different side of your company. You can give your customers a more intimate look at your brand by showing your company in a more human way. This encourages your viewers to connect with your brand on a deeper level. You’ll be able to humanize your brand by taking your customers behind the scenes to meet your team, see your routines, and learn about your values. You can also tease them with a new product launch or event preparations.
  • Video Ads – Video ads are cheap and great for engagement. Try to incorporate more video ads into your internet marketing strategy to keep up with your competition. 
  • User Generated Content – In addition to making your own videos, try encouraging your previous customers to do it as well. Look for valuable content generated by users, then share it on social media platforms. This will increase your brand visibility and enhance engagement. You can also repost unboxing and review videos of your products. These types of videos provide an objective and trustworthy evaluation of your products or services to potential customers.

10. Automate Everything

Marketing automation will make your life much easier! It’ll save you time and allow you to focus on more pressing matters. If you have any repetitive and mundane marketing tasks, be sure to automate them!

Marketing automation is all about using a software to do marketing activities for you. Repetitive tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, and even ad campaigns, can be automated. Automation is efficient and great for providing a more personalized experience to your customers.

Internet Marketing for Small Businesses

 

It’s Time To Start Planning Your Internet Marketing Strategy

So there you have it! You have a handful of proven internet marketing tactics for small businesses like yours. Now it’s time for you to implement them into your marketing strategy. 

Do you have any marketing questions? We’d love to answer them! We’re passionate about helping small business grow through digital marketing. Leave us a message here and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!