The Future of Small Business Marketing

Maria Grimm

Pre-2020, small business owners were constantly thinking of new ways to gain new customers, keep customers happy, pay the bills, and manage their 962 other responsibilities. Then March of last year happened and owners lay awake in bed thinking about how to stay open and pay employees.

As a result, we saw businesses get creative.

From restaurants creating DIY cooking kits and turning into marketplaces, to local shops creating at-home entertainment kits, to brick-and-mortar stores creating their first shoppable website.

While we are still not out of the woods from things like social distancing and having to operate under complex situations, things will eventually get back to “normal.” But make no mistake: the effects of 2020 will have a lasting presence on the future of small business marketing.

Your message matters.

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in. Insurance agency, boutique, consultant, restaurant, etc… what you do and say matters. It can cost you customers. It can capture customers.

We saw how this affected brands when they reacted to social issues that came knocking on their front door. We saw consumers get vocal online with how brands reacted to the pandemic. To mask or not to mask.

Your brand message has now become as important as the product or service you are selling.

Gone are the days where you can simply buy an ad, send an email, post on social, or meet with customers and expect to get sales. What you say and how you act will tell someone if you are the kind of business they want to give their money to.

Get smart about digital

Imagine you are an architect. Years ago you would sketch out your renderings or build prototypes to show clients. Then technology started to ramp up. You saw CAD programs emerge and enter the market. Imagine if you refused to ever learn how to use these programs.

Today, you may not be in business.

The same can be said about digital marketing. Learning the tools of the trade is essential to ensure your brand stays relevant.

Since the world went into digital overdrive last year, you can no longer sit on the sidelines. You have to be proactive about standing out. From SEO tactics, digital ads, visual and emotive storytelling through email, to Instagram reels and your website, learning how to connect to your audience through online platforms will be a key ingredient to your success.

Get a fresh coat of paint

Speaking of websites. You need one. And if you have one, it probably needs a new coat of paint.

Consumers are moving online. In fact, there are 4.66 billion people who were active internet users as of October 2020. That’s 59% of the global population. And most of them are probably viewing your website on their mobile device. In fact, studies say 91% of them are.

By now, the future without the internet is unimaginable.

For small businesses, we know money is scarce. So the thought of either updating your website or creating one from scratch seems like a daunting (expensive) task. But if your website is not mobile-friendly, you won’t just get penalized by Google, you will lose out on sales.

With platforms like Shopify, Squarespace, and Elementor for WordPress, creating a mobile-friendly site is easier (and less expensive) than you think. But it’s not just about having a website people can view on their phone. It’s about writing words that connect with them and motivate them to take action.

And you have about 3 seconds to catch their attention to do it. So make it count.

Be personable

Talking about making it count … let’s get personable.

Imagine you are walking down a crowded main street. How would you feel if every store owner came running outside and said “buy this, buy that! You need this! Buy! Buy! Buy!” it would get pretty annoying.

That’s how it can feel online when brands are not personable. Unfortunately, it’s a common mistake many businesses make.

Personable brands create connections that last a lifetime.

Your content means nothing if it does not connect to it’s desired end-user. You need to serve your audience and serve them well if you want to create any kind of buying relationship with them.

Being personable is not just about how you present yourself online. It’s how you communicate with your audience in other ways, too. Do you respond to their emails quickly? Do you send handwritten notes (no, snail mail is not dead)?

If you want to keep up with the future of small business marketing, learning how to keep customers engaged and closer to your brand is the number-one way to win the day.

Want to make sure you are up to speed on the future of small business marketing? Join Relly for as little as $14.99/mo and get access to on-demand courses, DIY content templates, and expert guidance to get BIG marketing results, even with a tiny budget.

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