12 Small Business Advertising Ideas To Grow Your Sales & Leads

Small business advertising
When it comes to growing your small business, there's no better route than putting your efforts into advertising to grow your sales & leads.

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When it comes to small business advertising, most still think with words such as billboards, radio ads, infomercials and much more! In today’s digital world, advertising in those places is arguably a waste of money. The world of marketing and advertising has changed and we want to help you ride the wave.

What is Small Business Advertising?

Small business advertising is about using the best method to show your brand & website to your target market by leveraging up-to-date digital marketing strategies. Here are a few examples of digital marketing strategies:

When it comes to social media, you can create content on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Linkedin to make sure your target market sees your content and feels compelled to visit your website. By visiting your website, those people can become your customers or prospects.

For instance, Facebook has more than 1.6 billion active users. It’s why we always recommend that your company advertises on Facebook through Facebook ads. If you need help with your Facebook ads, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Facebook ads agency.

If you want to gather more Facebook statistics, I highly recommend our article “Facebook Statistics: The Top 40 Valuable Stats For 2020“.

Apart from impressive statistics, there are numerous advantages to leveraging social media marketing for your brand:

  • Paid advertising: by leveraging social media marketing, you’ll also be able to create advertising for which you can pay to play. By paying for your content to appear in front of your target market’s eye, you can have control as to how much you spend, who you are targeting, which content you are showing and much more.
  • Strong targeting: you can target almost anyone with social media marketing. For example, if you know your customers are women aged between 18-34, then you can show your advertising content only to those people if you wish to.
  • More brand loyalty: being active on social media creates more trust and loyalty amongst your audience. Why? They see your content more often and thus you have more chance of being on their mind and connecting deeply with them.
  • More sales & leads: social media advertising can bring awesome results when it comes to generating sales & leads. If you want to grow your business, it’s an amazing venue to take!

We are aware you still have tons of questions for small business advertising such as:

  • How can I leverage all the online small business advertising tools?
  • What does a good small business advertising strategy have?
  • How do I advertise for my small business online?

If you have those questions, then reading our article will be truly helpful. It will allow you to better understand what you need to create a strong digital advertising strategy while giving your new ideas to try for your small business. The goal here is to improve your small business by leveraging online advertising methods!

Top 12 Small Business Advertising Ideas

1. Create more UGC content

Some of the best content we’ve seen nowadays is what we call UGC content which stands for user generated content. A lot of brands are leveraging pictures or videos taken by their customers to showcase their brand. We recommend taking a look at where your brand has been tagged to see if users have already posted pictures of your brand online.

Why does UGC work? It’s because it conveys trust, social proof and stunning pictures of your product. Most of your brand photography can be simply amazing but no matter how you present it, it won’t have the same impact on trust and social proof UGC has. We’ve seen those extremely useful for Facebook ads.

User Generated Content
UGC from Starbucks

If you want to get some creative ideas for your next Facebook ads campaign take a look at our amazing article “34 Facebook Ad Examples You’ll Want To Steal in 2020“.

Before using UGC content, we always recommend brands to request permission from the user in question to use their picture. They might ask for compensation which they should be entitled to since you’ll make money from their own work. In our experience, most users are more than happy to let you run a social media ad with their content.

2. Create helpful content

If you haven’t heard about inbound marketing, you should. It’s a marketing philosophy that believes the more you help your clients, the more you’ll grow your company because you create trust.

The first step in creating an inbound strategy is to find what your customers are struggling with. Once you’ve found that, it’s time to find a strategy to create content that helps your customers with those areas of struggle. You can also ask your customers directly about how you could help them more and then create a piece of content. Take a look at this article, it’s exactly what we’re doing!

SH1FT Inbound
SH1FT Inbound Wheel

If you are looking for great places to find questions your customers might have, I recommend also taking a look at your reviews or reviews from your competitors on Amazon, Facebook, Google or even their own website. You can create relevant helpful content and then share it with your audience to see their reaction.

It’s time to attract new customers to your business! If you are looking for an inbound marketing agency, don’t be afraid to reach out to see how we could help your business. It’s free to ask!

3. Leverage customer reviews

Prospects love taking a peek at your reviews to see if they should trust your product and company. In fact, most people trust other’s opinions to make a decision, it’s why it’s essential to have reviews on your page. Your reviews can be on Facebook, Google or even on your website!

In fact, according to Brightlocal, 91% of Millenials trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends. It’s why asking your customers to leave you reviews even if they aren’t five stars is really important. The more reviews you have with different ratings, the more genuine and trustworthy you appear. The worst thing you could do is put a bunch of fake five-star reviews as people wouldn’t trust your reviews anymore.

Customer Reviews digital advertising
Customer reviews from Burst Oral Care

You can even ask your customers to create video or image testimonials which are even more trustworthy. You can take all your best video testimonials and create a Facebook video ad for example.

4. Create video tutorials 

Video is probably one of the most popular media formats of today. They are interactive and dynamic which users tend to love. If you want to learn more about videos, I highly recommend our article “Facebook Video Ads: Ultimate Guide & Best Practices in 2020“.

Although videos can seem daunting to create, it’s not always necessary to create a complicated video. The goal here is to focus on something entertaining yet native. Social media users love when brands post native content meaning something one of the users could have posted.

You can teach your audience how to use your product and also what they can do with your product. You could also create a live showing how your product is made. You can create videos easily with your phone!

By crafting great video’s, you’ll be able to help your customers and make them more loyal to your brand. You’ll also attract new customers who are happy to be helped by your company. If you need help making great video’s for your advertising, don’t hesitate to reach out!

5. Launching your social media contest

Social media contests are quite awesome for generating engagement in your post. By creating a contest, you’ll gain popularity, new prospects, visits to your website, new followers and much more. You can also ask your customers to take pictures of them with your product which you can later use for your business advertising. I’m sure you get the point, contests allow for tons of upside and very little downside.

The downside of a contest is that you do it wrong so you waste time and money from giving away your big prize. We’ll try in the following few paragraphs to give you a good social media contest foundation as it’s an awesome way to advertise your business.

This small business advertising idea is one of our favourite for clients who struggle with gaining more popularity in their area. Creating a social media contest is a great way to do this. Here are the important factors when it comes to making a great contest:

  • Have clear guidelines as to what people have to do
  • Set a clear deadline
  • Say what the prizes will be and make sure they are big enough
  • Spend money on social media advertising to make your post seen

When it comes to choosing the right social media channel, we recommend either going with one or two or using all channels if you have some advertising budget to test them all. For instance, Facebook & Instagram are usually are preferred channels for contests as they tend to generate better results and their advertising is quite amazing.

If you want to learn more about Facebook ads, I recommend our article “How to Leverage the Facebook Ads Manager: A Guide for Starters“.

6. Guest blogging

Guest blogging is an amazing advertising strategy for your business to improve your authority and trust. The concept is to publish a blog article on an authotirative website which improves your credibility or the credibility of your business. It also allows you to piggyback off of someone else’s audience.

Guest post SH1FT
Guest posting from SH1FT

When it comes to guest blogging, the hard part is being able to write on someone else’s blog. Writing an article once you’ve been accepted to write as a guest should be the least of your concern. In our experience with SEO at SH1FT, we recommend writing content on other companies website that clearly shows your expertise as well as ranks for SEO. If your piece of content ranks well, then you could generate tons of visits to your website.

We recommend guest post articles to be informative yet unique. You want to stand out enough from the crowd for people to want to learn more from you. Once of the best way of doing that is talking about your experience as well as bring your unique perspective to the crowd. We also recommend sharing your guest post to your audience. If you have a following on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter and so on, then you should post this.

How does one find guest posting opportunities efficiently? Most big websites such as socialmediaexaminer.com have a page for you to apply to become a content contributor. Another strategy is to use Google to make your own search.

You can search for keywords related to your industry alongside “guest post”, “guest blog” and “write for us” to find new guest posting opportunities. Not every company likes guest posting because if your piece of content ranks well then this blog will not benefit as much as you. For your business, this business advertising idea has tons of upside and little downside apart from the difficulty of being accepted as a guest blogger.

7. Set up digital advertising retargeting

Most of your customers have interacted with your brand multiple times before they became your customers. It’s where retargeting advertising can be really powerful as a reminder to those who have interacted with your brand to become customers.

You can retarget your website visitors or even just people who have liked your post on Facebook. It’s a great way to take someone from unknown to customer in a very efficient method. Facebook & Instagram ads are amazing for their retargeting features.

If you want to learn more about Facebook ads retargeting, I highly recommend our article called “5-Steps To Create A Facebook Retargeting Campaign in 2020“.

Facebook ads retargeting digital advertising
Facebook ads retargeting

Compared to normal advertising, retargeting tends to be more contextual. The ads you show the people who already know your brand should be different than the ads you show to everyone else. Your goal is to bring them closer to become customers with relevant digital advertising.

For instance, if someone saw a product on your website and added it to their cart but didn’t finish their purchase. You could offer them a 10% discount to incentivize them to finish their purchase on your website.

8. Digital advertising with statistics 

As you probably realized, people are often convinced with statistics. Want to get your potential customers to trust that they need your product? Add relevant powerful statistics that clearly shows why they need your product to generate the outcome they want. It’s also nice to have some key statistics handy to close your clients as you speak with them.

You can even put all the statistics inside an infographic for your client to take a look and truly realize that they need your product. It’s an amazingly effective way of communicating relevant statistics that lead your prospects to become customers. The goal is to tell a story about your statistics.

In today’s digital advertising world, it’s extremely important to create content that is easy to understand, read and share. It’s why infographics or even gifographics (infographics with gifs) are amazing for small businesses. Most of us are visual learners and having an infographic can make sure you stay in your customer’s mind more easily. We still recommend making sure you are creating unique pieces of content for your small business advertising strategy.

9. Run an Instagram promotion

When it comes to generating visibility for your brand, there’s nothing quite like an Instagram promotion. All you need to do is create a great piece of content that incentivizes people to visit your website, call you or contact you by message.

By creating an Instagram promotion, you’ll be able to get more people to know that your brand exists and that they can buy from you. This will turn into more customers for you and more brand awareness, two very important things for small businesses.

Instagram promotion insights
Instagram Promotion Insights

You can select the audience you want to target by age, location, gender and interests. You can then set a budget, a deadline and choose which Instagram posts you’d like to share. Finally, you’ll have to select a strong call-to-action to get people to interact with your brand and start building a relationship.

You have to see Instagram promotion as a way to add fuel to your online advertising strategy. After creating all this awesome content on Instagram, it’s time to show it to as many people to see how they react and get faster feedback. What’s even more awesome is that if you generate a return on investment, you can choose to spend more and make more!

If you want to learn more about Instagram promotion, you should really take a look at our article “How To Run An Instagram Promotion & What Can I Expect?

10. Build a strong referral program

When it comes to small business advertising, generating more clients from existing clients is often the best method to grow your business. It’s also a great test to see if your customers are actually happy about your product or service. If your customers love your product, there’s no better way to get more clients then to create a strong referral program.

By creating this program, you’ll generate new customers and gain more visibility for free. As a small business, this is what we call paradise. Afterwards, you’ll be able to get more clients for every client you receive which will increase your business revenue. In other words, you are now able to put your customers to work.

These programs work amazingly well because people trust companies and brands they’ve been referred to. If their friends like your brand then why shouldn’t they? By rewarding your customers for bringing you more clients, you give them the extra push they need to start talking about your company. Rewarding your customers for your loyalty is one amazing strategy for small businesses.

Now, your referral program doesn’t need to be complicated. You can for instance just give a discount on the next purchase of the customer who referred you a client. It can be a dollar amount or a percentage. You can also make it into a small game where the more customers they refer, the bigger the discount they get.

Your job as a small business now is to allow your customers to share your brand. You should have social media sharing buttons on your product or service page and a way to share their review of your business. Sharing is caring!

11. Host an event & promote it

Nothing drives more word of mouth than creating an event. Social media makes sharing your events even faster and efficiently. You can get people to know about your event and spread the word with any marketing budget. To host a great event, you need a lot of people to attend and it’s where social media marketing comes in very handy.

For instance, you can create a Facebook event where you just have to upload your event’s information and start inviting people to join the event. Inside Facebook, you can allow people to say they are “interested” or “coming”. You can even have a link directly to allow people to buy tickets.

Facebook Event Digital Advertising
Facebook Event

Another awesome digital advertising strategy is to leverage Snapchat filters. Those are branded filters that people can use when they are at your event to post on their Snapchat. It’s a great way to spread the hype of your event. You can also create hashtags that people use when posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and such. Again, those digital marketing strategies are amazing to enable you to get more people to attend your event!

12. Online back-scratching 2.0

When it comes to small business digital advertising, helping others is the best way of making friends & building strong allies. Giving back to your community is probably also one of the best ways of making friends online for your business. In essence, it can be a strong digital marketing strategy.

The goal here is to show what your brand has been doing to help your community so that you can improve your brand image while helping others. It’s not selfish, as long as you actually help others and don’t share something false.

You can even have a small social media budget to make sure your audience seems your great endeavours. We recommend adding a hashtag related to the cause you are helping, tagging any non for profit-related, and so on.

Small business x digital advertising

When it comes to small business marketing, digital advertising should be your best friend. It might seem daunting to start spending money and efforts into something new, but in our experience, it’s more than worth it.

It can enable your business to grow faster and in a more sustainable way. Digital advertising is just getting started and the faster you get set up, the more you can benefit from it as a business.

Digital advertising does require creativity & expertise, but if you want your business to grow then you should get started. By being active on social media, ranking in search engines and having a well designed website, you’ll be able to bring more customers and keep them longer.

If you have the budget to skip the learning curve, don’t hesitate to reach out to SH1FT by requesting a proposal. You can also work with us on a consulting basis through SH1FT Consulting. If you just want more marketing ideas, reach out. We’d love to help!

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