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The Secret Ingredients to Grow a Healthy Brand

  • Writer's pictureNicole Powell

2020 Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Updated: May 29, 2023

The marketing landscape is ever-changing, with new applications, trends, and opportunities always on the horizon. As a small business, it can be challenging to stay up to date on this evolution.

According to MailChimp’s 2019 report, 31% of small business owners cite marketing as the number one challenge in their business. Not having the time to figure out what the latest innovations or best practices are, or how to implement them, is a big factor. So how can small businesses cut through the noise to get the strategies that will REALLY help their business grow?

We’ve done our research and put together the top marketing strategies for small businesses that are having real results, and that we expect to continue making an impact in 2020. We’re telling you right now; they might not be what you think!

1. Create multi-channel strategies

Rather than creating plans for each individual platform, more and more businesses are crafting overarching strategies that play out in all of their various channels. In this way, you can reach your audience when and where they are ready to engage with your content. This might look like Instagram and Facebook ads that both direct to the same lead generation page, a series of emails to introduce a new product you are launching, website improvements and SEO to drive traffic to your new products, and freebies and giveaways to encourage initial adoption.

2. Show your personality through Instagram stories

If you aren’t using stories as part of your brand strategy, now is the time to get on it. What started as a simple add on feature to Instagram is poised to take over - it’s expected that the percentage of Instagram content coming from stories will exceed that coming from feed posts this year. Aside from sheer numbers, stories offer an invaluable way to connect with your audience in a more fun and authentic way. Businesses are leveraging stories to build their brand personality and drive engagement. Some tips to try are sharing behind the scenes videos, polling your audience, and facilitating Q&A sessions.

3. If you thought email is dead, think again

It often feels like social media is the main focus of small business marketing these days, but according to a report from McKinsey, email marketing is up to 40 times more effective than social media. Consider the fact that you can never own your social media channels, meaning you can’t completely control your audience’s experience. And with the algorithm in place, a percentage of your audience may not even see your content on social media. Another plus for email marketing is the ability to segment your audience and deliver personalized content straight to their inbox. Consider how to start or level-up your email marketing this year and automate it (see below) to drive sales and build your brand with your customers.

4. Save time with automation

With so many small businesses claiming lack of time as a significant barrier to their marketing efforts, automated systems would seem like a no-brainer. Yet, according to the same report by MailChimp, up to 80% of small businesses are not taking advantage of digital tools. In our view, there are two key areas automation can make a big impact for small businesses: social media and email.

The practice of crafting and posting fresh content each day rarely - if ever - works in practice. That’s why there are tons of social media schedulers out there (Hootsuite, Planoly, Later, Buffer), to name a few, which allows you to manage all of your social media accounts in one place. Dedicate a few hours at the beginning of the month to plan out all your content so that you maintain a consistent presence in these channels, and then tune in for just a few minutes each day to engage with your audience. The same applies to email marketing. Set up your welcome and drip sequences in advance so that they are constantly running and working for you, even when you are not online. While automation has huge perks, don’t set it and forget it! Check-in monthly or at least quarterly to evaluate how each of these strategies is performing.

Trends to watch

One trend that we’re keeping an eye on this year is the explosive growth of Tik Tok. With around 800 million monthly subscribers, this video sharing platform barged onto the social media scene in 2019. While the relevance to business marketing is still yet to be seen, what we can glean from this trend is the move towards more unfiltered, user-generated content. We can bet that businesses large and small will be exploring how to incorporate this trend into their strategies this year.

We want to hear from you, which of these strategies are you already employing in your business? Tell us in the comments below!

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Nicole Powell

Meet Nicole Powell, an expert whose journey spans from Manila to the Midwest, helping businesses transform into profitable and brag-worthy brands with research, creativity and neuroscience. With a determination to uplift fellow entrepreneurs, Nicole draws from her experience and mentorships with industry leaders for the past 15+ years. Her mission is clear: pay it forward, sharing the knowledge and skills she's acquired to empower others.

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