Marketing

Take Your Small Business to the Next Level With These 4 Digital Marketing Tactics

Mar 31, 2022

Growing your small business online? Use these four digital marketing tactics (and learn from real-life examples) to take it to the next level.

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Gary FroniewskiContent Writer at GetApp
Take Your Small Business to the Next Level With These 4 Digital Marketing Tactics

Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and it's a challenge to make sure you're employing the right tactics at the right time (even with a well-crafted strategy). If you're a marketing manager or small-business professional that is taking on the task of growing a business, you've found that it's not enough to simply set up your social media profiles and do occasional email marketing to be successful in marketing your business.

Luckily, we're here to help. In this article, we'll share real-life examples of four digital marketing tactics you can leverage to promote your small business and delight your customers in 2022 and beyond.

Ready to get started? Let's dive into the first tactic.

In case you missed it, we recently covered seven types of digital marketing you should be engaging in as a small business, as well as a step-by-step guide on developing a successful digital marketing strategy.

User-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is any form of content (videos, images, text, audio, etc.) that is posted online by an individual rather than by a brand or other entity.

This marketing tactic is being leveraged increasingly by digital marketers due to its inherent authenticity and the trust it elicits from consumers. This authenticity and trust stems from the fact the content is created by people sharing their genuine preferences and opinions versus a brand pushing a marketing campaign.

In fact, Embed Social found that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other individuals more than any other source. Additionally, Embed discovered that UGC increases conversions in an online buying process by 10% on average.

Recreational balance board brand INDO BOARD has really taken UGC to heart. Let’s examine their digital marketing strategy to see what we can learn.

INDO BOARD

INDO BOARD is a lifestyle sports brand that has been selling balance boards for surf training, yoga, and other recreational activities since 1998. As a leader in their space, they’ve crafted an online marketing strategy using UGC as its main pillar.

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A screenshot of INDO BOARD’s Instagram page (Source)

With their main social media marketing centered on Instagram, they utilize UGC from INDO BOARD brand ambassadors called Team Riders as well as regular INDO BOARD owners to showcase the use of the board and the lifestyle surrounding it.

This type of content serves to establish a loyal community and shows potential customers what they can expect from the board itself. INDO BOARD has also adapted UGC to their website, placing an “INDO BOARD in action” section with UGC from Instagram below their product listings.

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An example of UGC from social media being adapted to INDO BOARD’s website (Source)

If you’re a small business looking to adapt a UGC approach to your own social content, start with a call to action to your community requesting content. You can do this by simply posting social content asking for user submissions or going so far as to create a campaign around the call to action with regularly scheduled posts reminding your audience to submit content.

If you’re engaging in this digital marketing tactic on a social media platform such as Instagram or Twitter, the use of hashtags will allow users to feel even more engaged with each other (and your brand) while providing you an easy way to collect the UGC for later use. Consider using content management software to help store and organize the content.

UGC is excellent for establishing a sense of community like INDO BOARD has done, showcasing real-world uses of your product or service, or even establishing an overarching brand narrative that tells your small business’s story. Consider working UGC into your digital strategy especially if you have a smaller marketing budget or a dedicated fanbase.

Brand storytelling

Brand storytelling involves using narrative techniques to connect a brand with customers on a deeper level than traditional marketing can achieve. This tactic generally focuses on supporting a brand’s values and/or creating an emotional connection with the audience through authentic content that can be shared on a variety of marketing channels.

In a 2021 report on how to Win With Narrative Design, Gartner found that effective narratives are becoming essential to driving successful engagement (full research available to Gartner clients). Additionally, 5W Public Relations’ 2020 Consumer Culture Report shows that 71% of consumers prefer buying from brands that align with their values.

Together, these findings indicate that not only do customers engage more with brands that have a genuine story, but they also purchase more. Now we’ll take a closer look at a brand that’s taken their storytelling to the next level: Warby Parker.

Warby Parker

Warby Parker is an eyeglasses brand founded in 2010 with a mission to “inspire and impact the world with vision, purpose, and style.” This includes the brand’s Buy a Pair, Give a Pair initiative which involves Warby Parker donating glasses and eye care services to those in need.

Warby Parker brand storytelling

A screenshot from Warby Parker’s Buy a Pair, Give a Pair webpage (Source)

They’ve stayed true to this mission since their inception to become a massive success valued at nearly $3 billion as of June 2021. And as you can see by their wording “the whole story begins with you,” they’ve tied their customers into the journey as well.

What started out as a small business run by four students is now a multi-billion dollar enterprise, and a major component of that success is the brand story they’ve so expertly told along the way.

And knowing that nearly three-quarters of surveyed consumers are more apt to buy from brands who share their values, it’s clear to see how their success has unfolded. Not every business is positioned to develop a story quite like Warby Parker’s, but small businesses can still adopt the same type of thinking to make authentic storytelling part of their digital marketing plan.

Operating your business with a mission-and-values first approach will naturally lend itself to more genuine storytelling for your brand, and you can amplify this through the type of content you choose to post online.

Do this by featuring your mission and values prominently on your webpage, appealing to your customers’ own values through thoughtful social content, and more than anything else: Be human.

In an era when consumers expect businesses to be genuine, transparent, and responsible in all they do, striving to tell a genuine story is more important than ever. Brand management software can help you accomplish this by providing a source of truth for brand materials with the goal of maintaining cohesion and consistency.

Native advertising

Native advertising is paid media designed to blend in with its surroundings by matching the stylistic and/or thematic elements of other content on a website. This tactic is generally associated with influencer marketing.

Native advertising includes various paid content formats such as advertorials and sponsored content. It can also take the form of standard-format display or video ads that appear in a person’s news feed or social feed. While this tactic is generally best utilized in social media marketing, it can also be employed in content marketing, email, or other forms of inbound marketing.

Put simply: Native advertising is a marketing message made to look like regular content.

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An example of a native ad placement from Racquet Magazine (Source)

This type of digital advertising is compelling because it plays into the trend of consumers seeking authentic, genuine content from a brand’s online presence—not what we think of as traditional marketing messages.

In fact, web discovery platform Outbrain indicates that consumers are looking at native ads 53% more than their traditional counterparts, leading to higher visual engagement and an 18% increase in purchase intent.

On the B2B side of things, Gartner’s 2021 Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing also identifies account-based marketing (ABM) as a promising tool for digital marketers that has yet to reach maturity (full research available to Gartner clients).

ABM heavily utilizes native advertising, so as companies learn more about what consumers crave from brands’ online presences, ABM (and tactics such as native advertising) will reach mainstream adoption in the next two to five years.

One excellent example of native advertising in action is the Microsoft Audience Network. Let’s walk through what the Audience Network is and why it’s so effective.

Microsoft Audience Network

The Microsoft Audience Network is a program that allows brands to “engage meaningfully with a unique audience in brand-safe native environments.” Essentially, businesses can submit ads to the Audience Network which will then be natively placed onto various platforms that the system identifies as both agreeable in their subject matter and effective from an advertising perspective.

The network uses AI-assisted targeting capabilities to drive highly personalized engagements that still feel natural to the end user. While this is Microsoft’s application of the concept and we’re more focused on small businesses for our purposes, the results of native ad placement are still undeniable.

Microsoft reports a 2.2x lift in brand awareness, a 4.8x lift in brand consideration, and an impressive 4.4x lift in conversions when utilizing native ads in the Audience Network. As a small business, you can utilize the same type of strategy when creating your own native ads.

Prioritize ad formats that fit contextually with other content on the platforms you’re posting on, and focus on being genuine in your approach to the story you’re trying to tell. This works especially well for lifestyle content and for brands with easily demonstrable products and services.

Whether you use a service such as Microsoft Audience Network or create and deploy your own native advertising with brand ambassadors and campaign management software, it’s an excellent option to consider to grab the attention of your audience and convert new customers.

Short message service (SMS) marketing

SMS marketing is a form of marketing that uses text messages to send promotional materials and business updates directly to consumers’ phones. People are using their phones more than ever before, and so they are naturally primed to receive communications from businesses.

A staggering 56% of web traffic is now channeled through mobile devices, and even more startling: 91% of consumers say they would opt in for text messages from brands, according to the Attentive Mobile Consumer.

This incredible rise in popularity has led Gartner to predict that 80% of customer service organizations will abandon mobile apps in favor of messaging by 2025.

What does this mean for your small business? As one of the more simple-to-adopt tactics in this list, SMS is low-hanging fruit for your marketing team to adopt.

SMS marketing can be used for a wide variety of purposes: welcoming folks into your community, sharing promotional messages, sending reminders, and notifying people of limited-time events are all fair game.

To boot, the data says these messages are more likely to be received. According to reputation management firm Birdeye, text messages have an astonishing 98% open rate. Furthermore nearly half (45%) of SMS marketing messages receive responses from the consumer.

Now let’s take a look at some examples of SMS marketing fulfilling some of the roles we discussed earlier.

SMS examples

Promotional materials: One of the simplest ways to utilize SMS marketing is to send out promotional messages to your customers. In the example below, men’s clothing brand Rhone is capitalizing on the winter season by sending shop links for cold-weather wear.

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Promotional SMS messages sharing shop links from Rhone (Source)

Appointment reminders: On the more practical side of things, appointment reminders are another excellent use of SMS marketing. Keeping important information top of mind and establishing a convenient line of communication with customers can be the difference between a subpar customer service experience and a standout one.

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An example of an appointment reminder text from MyEyeDr (Source)

Information and updates: A third use for SMS that serves to keep your audience in the know is utilizing text messages to send relevant information or updates to customers. This example from local food vendor Mother Culture welcomes a new customer to their system and provides a receipt for a recent purchase. This is a great tactic to engage in because it both welcomes a customer into the community and provides timely info.

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An example of a text message welcoming a customer to Mother Culture’s community and providing order information (Source)

If you’re ready to take advantage of SMS marketing but don’t know where to start, consider adopting SMS marketing software to help schedule message delivery, manage contact lists, and gain insights on your target audience.

Experiment with new digital marketing tactics to engage your audience and drive success

Today we’ve discussed four digital marketing methods that can be used to drive increased awareness and engagement for your brand while also offering customers a more delightful and genuine user experience. We’ve also shared some examples of these tactics as well as tips for how to utilize them for your own brand, including software solutions that can help you get started.

The digital marketing landscape is ever evolving, and adopting tactics such as the ones listed above is becoming increasingly essential to staying ahead of the curve, providing a fulfilling experience to your target audience, and getting the most out of your marketing effort.

The next step is coordinating an overall digital marketing strategy to take full advantage of these tactics. Check out the video below for a sneak peek into that process then read our article here for a more in-depth walkthrough.

Note

The applications mentioned in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.

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About the author

Gary Froniewski

Content Writer at GetApp
Hey there, I’m Gary 👋. I’m a Content Writer at GetApp. I bring you insights about digital marketing trends and best practices for small businesses. I studied Communications at The University of Texas at Austin. Home base: Austin, TX.; Things about me: I love home cooking, I play tennis nearly every day, and I like meeting new dogs more than new people.; The tech trends I think you should keep an eye on 👀: immersive experiences like experiential marketing and the metaverse.
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