Marketing tips for small and midsize businesses

Marketing for small business can be a difficult task. If you have ever wondered how to generate more leads for your SaaS business, trust me that you are not the only one. Generating quality leads for any business is a challenge and can quickly become frustrating. While offering free trials and demos is generally a good idea, website visitors rarely convert on their first visit. As a result, one has to find better ways to generate leads without being too pushy or sales-y.

This article will explore some ways in which you can start generating more leads today. But, I will not lie to you—it will require some work on your side!

Make a website

Creating a website is the first—and probably the most important step—to marketing a small business. It is the primary source of information about your products and services. That’s why your website needs to contain all the necessary information that visitors tend to look for (this, of course, depends on the type of business). 

But the information itself is not enough. Your website should also be structured in a way that makes it easy for visitors to find and understand information. In other words, good UI and UX are both necessary. Information becomes useless when its structure is bad. 

SEO optimization

Another important thing to consider is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). To have an effective website, it must be searchable and show up when people look for relevant keywords. For example, if someone searches for “clothing stores in Orlando” and your website appears on the first page of the results, chances are you have good SEO. The better the SEO, the more traffic and potential customers will come to your website.

There is no doubt that writing quality, SEO-optimized blogs can help increase your traffic, and eventually bring more leads. But, blog articles themselves have one major problem: site visitors will often read them and after they are done, they will simply leave your site without signing up for anything, and that’s how you lose potential great leads. So while blogs are great for increasing traffic, you must still find a way to turn this traffic into conversions.

Converting traffic into leads

One way of achieving this is through providing downloadable gated content (where the visitor has to fill in a form to download content). You might be asking what type of downloadable content you should be providing. That is completely up to you, but educational eBooks and webinars are both a great start. Neither requires as much commitment from the visitor as a demo or a free trial.

When creating lead-gen forms, ensure that the form includes fields that are necessary to make contact. Don’t add any unnecessary fields, as the number of fields tends to decrease conversions. Remember that you can always append data later when you have a phone call with your new lead.

But, let’s take this a step further. How do you tell your audience about all the great downloadable content that you are providing? The answer is simple: include the links in your newsletters (if you don’t send one—you should!).

Believe it or not, your database already contains potential customers that just need to be nudged a bit. The best practice is to place the links of your best content on top of the newsletter. Arrange your content according to its importance and value. The more important the content, the higher its position in the newsletter. Always optimize for performance.

Invest in online advertising

Building consistent traffic takes consistency and time. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t generate traffic to your website. You can speed up this process by investing in online advertising. There are different advertising platforms that you can use, with Google and Facebook Ads being the most popular. You will want to use a platform that best suits your needs. For example, Facebook ads might not be the best choice for B2B ads, but they will be more effective for B2C ads.

Most importantly, considering that PPC ads can increase your brand awareness by nearly 80%, it only makes sense that they can also increase your ROI relatively quickly. Bottom line, PPC advertising can be an effective way of marketing for small businesses.

There are two suggested ways of doing advertising. You can either create remarketing campaigns or target new audiences. Remarketing campaigns are an effective way of driving traffic back to your website and increase the likelihood of converting. In fact, it has been shown that only about 2% of first time visitors convert to a lead, and repeated visitors have much higher chances of converting.

But, if you decide to target new audiences, there are a couple of things that you should keep in mind. First, never redirect your visitors to a generic page (like the home page). Instead, always make sure that you have a dedicated landing page that specifically outlines your offer. For example, your landing page can be about your eBook or upcoming webinar (convenient if you’ve read everything in this article so far).

Yes, landing pages take time to create (if developed from scratch). If you have no developer on your team or if you don’t know how to do it yourself, it’s okay! Nowadays, there are many drag-and-drop website builders that will allow you to create landing pages without coding. Some examples are UNBOUNCE and INSTAPAGES, but there are many more similar products to choose from. Creating landing pages is easy and it can really pay dividends.

Build social media presence

With about 3 billion active users worldwide, social media platforms are an excellent channel to reach new audiences. But, this doesn’t mean that social media presence is necessary for every business; in fact, some business types will see little to no benefit from using social media. Before dedicating time to building a social media presence, you have to decide whether or not it makes sense for your business structure.

If you do believe that your business will benefit from social media, there are some things you will need to do to succeed. First, your strategy will have to focus on building a follower base. While there are many ways of achieving this, only one of them will stand the test of time: creating solid, eye-catching and relevant content. 

Establishing a solid social media presence takes time and consistency. Don’t be tempted to speed up the process by buying fake followers. The problem with fake followers is that they are not relevant and won’t generate sales for your business. Most of the time, they are merely bots that could care less about your products or services.

But, there is one effective way of increasing your follower count faster, and that is to recruit social media influencers. Social media influencers have a large follower base that tends to actively engage with the content. When they promote a product or service on their accounts, their followers have a high likelihood to go check it out. So you can use social media influencers to promote your products. Social media influencers are an effective advertising network. 

Use referral sites

It is not surprising that people tend to trust businesses more if they have an online presence, and this is especially true for SaaS. Referral sites are an excellent way of boosting your company’s visibility, but that’s not the only reason. Referral sites also bring higher quality leads on average, as their visitors often know exactly what they are looking for. There are many referral sites out there, but some of my favorites are Capterra and G2Crowd.

Referral sites usually also offer PPC opportunities, meaning that you can rank high in your category even if you don’t have reviews. Regardless, reviews are important to your business, so you should never try to replace them with PPC.

What’s great about sites like Capterra is that they will collect reviews for you if needed. All you have to do is send them a list of your customers, and they will handle the rest. In fact, they will even send $20 Visa gift cards to your reviewers—at no additional cost.

Email marketing

Email Marketing may not seem important in the early stages of running a business, but it becomes important as your audience grows in size. 

In fact, almost 60% of B2B marketers claim that email marketing is the most effective channel for revenue generation. This is hardly a surprise, as most of your revenue potential probably resides with your existing contact database, rather than outside of it. 

First, email marketing grants you full control over your audience segments. What does this mean? It’s pretty simple. For example, consider that you have a big audience on your social media platforms, but one day these platforms disappear, and, along with them, your audiences. Pretty tragic from a marketing point of view, and it’s not rare to have your social media accounts hacked or terminated for no good reason.

With email marketing, your contacts’ details can be stored, exported, imported, moved and so on. So even if one day your favorite email client disappears, you will still be able to stay in touch with the audiences that you have built over the years. The same can’t be said for social media audiences; once they are gone, it is extremely difficult to recover them. 

Email Marketing also allows you to directly inform your customers about new products, services, upgrades, promotions and so on. One of the advantages of email marketing is that you can personalize the message and make it more relevant, increasing the chances of reaching your customers more effectively.