Small Businesses Need to Embrace Alternative Marketing Strategies Rather than Copy the Big Brands

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5 Digital Marketing Ideas Small Business Owners Should Embrace

You’ve created your business plan, got your website looking spick and span, and updated your payment details. Now, you’re sat there twiddling your thumbs, wondering where all the customers are. After coming from a recent state of nonexistence, it can be hard for a new business to build up a client base. But the early stages are crucial, and a big push is required if the company is to be a success. Do you want to be one of the 60 percent of businesses that fail in the first three years? Or do you want to turn your new venture into a thriving success?

Why Can’t Start-ups Copy the Big Companies?

New companies should look to replicate the big guns in their industry in any way they can. If it’s worked for those at the top, it must be a recipe for success, right? But there are some aspects of these businesses that can’t be copied from the outset. Marketing strategies, for example, change as a business grows.

Take a competitive market like the online casino industry. One of the ways that businesses try to wrestle customers away from their rivals is to offer a welcome bonus. For instance, Betway gives all new players a 100 percent match bonus to get started. This way, they can try out the various slots and table offerings at no initial expense of their own. This is a common theme at the top end of businesses, with numerous other sites in all sectors offering a free trial first. Website designers can get a ClickFunnels account for free for the first month, and fans of audiobooks can get a 30-day free trial of Audible.

Valued at around $53.7 billion, the companies offering these things have much higher capital than start-ups and can afford to give away such great value in the initial stages. But if a new business decides to run promotions like this, they could find themselves losing money and unable to get off the ground.

Decide If You Need Facebook or Google Ads

For start-ups to get recognized quickly and easily, social media marketing could be the way to go. For this to be effective, you would have to start by only targeting the specific location in which you are based. This will help you reach the right people without having to fork out too much in ad spend.

You can use Facebook or Google ads to target the specific demographic you’re interested in attracting. Advertising methods of old used a hose-like approach, spraying ads in the direction of as many people as possible with the message. But this new form of marketing uses laser-like precision. In other words, you can ensure that your adverts are only seen by the type of person who is likely to need your product or service.

Google ads are more effective for people who are actively searching for your business. For example, if someone has found a leak in their bathroom, they are most likely going to search in Google for a plumber. There are between 100,000 and 1 million Google searches for plumbers every month in the United States. So, businesses need to make sure they are targeting their own area and bidding for the right keywords.

Facebook ads are the better option for people who may not be actively searching for your business but could be interested in what you have to offer. By doing extensive market research, you can discover some similarities between people in your target demographic. Using the Facebook algorithms, you can target these people in your area and have your advert show up in front of them. You’ll need an intriguing message and attractive images, along with a strong offer to get people to click.

LinkedIn Can Be a Goldmine for Some Businesses

Facebook and Google ads may not be the right fit for every business. For example, an accountant that wants to deal with high-level companies may find that his clients aren’t using those platforms as much. In this case, LinkedIn can be a treasure trove of opportunities.

Sticking with the accountant example, if they want to find business owners to work with, they can search using detailed parameters on the site for businesses. The way to do this is to upgrade to a Sales Navigator account and then search for potential clients through there. Sending out 40 connection messages each day, compounded over time, will yield a high number of potential clients. This is also a good option for mortgage brokers and estate agents who want to find referral partners.

If you’re a small business owner starting out, you may be intrigued by the marketing strategies of the big companies. However, you need to remember to start off small and scale up over time. Using social media marketing techniques, you can get your name out to a high number of people without having to spend much money on your advertising budget.

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Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post,, and Yahoo Small Business.