Finding the best small business marketing strategies isn’t easy.

But what if you don’t have a massive budget?

Or, maybe you’re a small business owner who doesn’t have in-house marketing expertise.

The good news is you can get started small.

And a key step in that journey is learning more about the biggest digital marketing channels: Search and Social.

In this post, Lulalend’s digital marketing experts, Stacey Vermaak, and Michael Rampjapedi, discuss how to use these platforms to grow your business online.

Small business marketing strategies: search and social

Search and social are the cornerstones of most small business marketing strategies.

No matter what industry you’re in, chances are your customers are online.

It’s estimated South Africans spend more than 9 hours a day online, according to this report.

Vermaak explained the main differences between social media and search:

“The fundamental difference between the two is the basis of their targeting: how you tell each platform who you want to speak to.

“For search, this is based on keywords that tell Google what search terms you want your business to show up for; you are targeting people who are already looking for what you do or sell. For social media, you tell Facebook, or even LinkedIn, which types of people you want to show your ads to based on who your customer is and what their interests are.”

Search is an “always-on” types of media, explained Vermaak. This means your marketing is always visible to people searching for your business 24/7. This is because your audience is self-renewing; as new people start looking for your business or it’s products you want to be visible as long as you are profitable when including your ad spend.

In addition, both platforms allow you to narrow or expand your targeting based on age, gender, location, and device.

You can even include how your audience has interacted with your business before. And this targeting will help you to get better performance from your campaigns.

“For both, you need to install conversion tracking or use UTM tagging to understand if your campaigns are making you money. However, understanding the primary targeting for each allows you to understand the fundamentally different ways the two work.”

Setting up your small business in search

Getting started with building your presence in search begins with finding the right keywords, said Vermaak.

Rampjapedi added that you could use a free tool like Google’s keyword planner to find the right keywords.

Once your campaigns are live, it is very important to compare your keywords with your Google Adwords’ search query reports. These reports are available in your account and detail what searches are triggering your keywords, allowing you to expand or refine your targeting.

“These things will help you be visible for the most relevant searches that make your business money. Using your search query reports to refine what searches you are visible for becomes even more important to avoid wasted money and to help you achieve Return on Ad Spend (ROAS),” said Vermaak.

Once you start developing ads, you should make sure they’re relevant to your customer’s needs.

“Your search term should match what you are selling, which should match your advert (or organic result or business listing) and this should match the page you send a user to. When optimising your advert you are working to tell a searcher why your product is right for them.

“You want to give them as much information as possible so that they are hopefully clicking through to find the product or service they need,” said Vermaak.

Rampjapedi said it was worth hiring a professional to set up your website to make sure your technical SEO was correct.

This included, making sure:

  • Google could index your website pages
  • Your site is mobile-friendly

Missing this step could hurt your rankings. “When SEO is setup correctly this allows you to use Google Adwords DSA campaigns”, said Vermaak.

Using Facebook to find new customers for your small business

Most businesses are on Facebook. And it makes sense why.

By 2023, it’s expected 19.8 million South Africans will use Facebook, according to Statistia.

Vermaak said approaching FB was different:

“For Facebook, you are looking for the right audience targeting that finds the people who are looking for, and engage with, your product. Facebook has a lot of targeting options from interests to demographics that you can use to define and test users.”

Consider using customer information in other ways to reach new customers.

“You should at least test remarketing to offline customer lists, site users, site converters, page and advert engagers, and test acquiring new customers using similar audiences based on each of these.

“What this means is your primary targeting is a group of people who generally remain fairly consistent. The goal is to find the audiences that work for your business.

Because the audience remains fairly consistent, you should be creative with your content.

“You need to be constantly changing up and testing your messaging, with images, videos, and carousel ads. Consider combining ads featuring different campaigns, products and messaging. Invest in boosted posts to keep the audience engaged. “

“This is very different from paid search which is generally a self-renewing list as new people come into the market for your product or service.”

Looking for more on small business marketing? Read 5 digital marketing strategy tips here.

This article is part of our Open for Business campaign, a drive to set South African SMEs up for success when they re-open during the lock down.

If you are trading in these uncertain times and need funding to really get your business going, Apply Now for instant access to funds from a credit facility that increases as your business recovers.

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