Four Digital Marketing Best Practices for Small and Medium Businesses Moving to the Cloud
A strong digital marketing strategy is critical for the success of your small business. More than 4.6 billion people use the internet, and 46.3% of them use it to research products before they purchase. With all of the tools and content out there, it can feel overwhelming to get your business on the right track. Making a plan to grow your marketing efforts over time is the perfect place to start.
You might be aware that cloud technology enables your business to move faster and improve collaboration across different offices and time zones. Files that were once stored in one location can be now be accessed virtually anywhere. Unpredictable IT costs are now easier to predict. But did you know it can also modernize your marketing efforts?
I lead strategic partnerships at Hubspot, a US-based software company focused on enabling better marketing, sales, and customer service experiences for small and medium businesses (SMBs). I recognize you may not have a marketing team—or even a full-time freelancer—which is why the following recommendations can be implemented by colleagues who work in data and sales-centric roles.
I’ve outlined four ways to implement a marketing strategy that focuses on growing your audience, reach, and collecting leads along the way.
1. Create a smarter contact engagement strategy
A powerful cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can offer major benefits to marketing and operations teams at B2B and B2C companies. A CRM makes it easy to store all of your customer information and interactions in unified contact records, removing any need for spreadsheets. It allows you to easily take next steps based on customer actions. When your whole business uses a CRM, you’ll be able to better communicate with each other, with your customers, and with tools you already use through strong integrations.
Roughly 62% of marketers use a CRM—if you’re part of the 38% that don’t, it’s time to get started with HubSpot. The HubSpot CRM is perfect for SMBs, allowing you to better understand your customers and prospects, automate emails, schedule meetings, track customer service issues, and keep contact information updated across all your platforms. HubSpot integrates with many of the tools and apps you already use helping resource-constrained teams in marketing, sales, and support use their time efficiently. As an AWS Partner, HubSpot is dedicated to helping SMBs grow.
Start with the HubSpot CRM for free or get 20% off to impact these three common engagement programs:
Targeted email campaigns
A great CRM can easily integrate with your cloud-based email marketing software. Using a CRM allows you to add details to every contact, as well as track their actions on your website, making the segmentation potential endless. You can send an email to everyone who has clicked on one specific product page on your site, for example, or everyone in a specific location. If you’re an e-commerce store, you can use email to help users who abandoned their shopping carts before checkout. Ultimately, when including CRM data in your email marketing strategy, your emails get more relevant to your audience.
Paid social media advertising
Using CRM data in your paid advertising campaigns creates stronger, better targeted, and more relevant ads. For example, you can create a list in your CRM of everyone who has interacted with a certain blog post. Then, create an audience on Facebook to send an ad to people with similar demographics.
Lead generation campaigns
Bringing marketing and sales efforts together is critical to a successful business. Marketers need to know that the leads they’re bringing in are high quality—in need of the product/service your business offers, and interested in learning more about how you can help them solve their problems. Having weekly meetings with sales and going over new leads in the CRM can align both groups around your mutual goal and help you understand what kind of leads to go after.
With these three main tactics, you’ll have the upper hand on your marketing strategy. There’s always room to iterate and improve on your tactics—embrace testing and learning as a part of the strategic process.
2. Support sales efforts with content creation
For today’s SMBs, content creation is important—it’s what gets your business in front of your audience. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have a full-time marketer—anyone can create with the right tools. Blogs and social media content make up a central piece of a successful marketing strategy, whether you’re a bike shop, a technology provider, a manufacturer, or anything in between. Conduct an informal email survey or read some recent industry research to see what social channels your ideal audience might be using.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be major, low-cost traffic generator, and an important discipline for your business. If you want search engines to rank your website on the first few pages, setting up a consistent content strategy will establish your business as a trusted thought leader. The more your business shows up in search, the more likely people come to your website seeking information and solutions. Make sure your content strategy abides by these do’s and don’ts:
- Do create consistent content: Businesses with blogs get 55% more visitors than other companies. Make sure your blog has an active presence—try to post on a weekly cadence. Sticking to the right cadence will keep you top of mind for your audience.
- Do write about topics affecting your buyer’s journey: Your content needs to speak to your audience’s buyer journey. What are the things your buyer cares about? Where are they seeing pain points and issues? How can you help them along their journey? Putting yourself in your buyer’s shoes will help you find topics for your content. If you’re still struggling, try the Blog Ideas Generator.
- Don’t be afraid to post on social media platforms: Creating social media content is about more than giving a visual aspect to your brand. Today’s buyers use social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok as search engines, making them even more critical to a successful content marketing strategy. Videos answering frequently asked questions, showing a product in action, or offering valuable advice perform well—and add to your company’s credibility. All you need is a smartphone to get started.
- Don’t just post about anything. Make sure your content topics are connected with your overall business strategy. Talk to your customers about their pain points and questions, get started with keyword research, and make a plan for creating content your audience will actually find valuable.
3. Optimize your website landing pages to drive stronger leads
Our email inboxes are as personal as our home addresses—today’s informed consumer wants to make sure their inbox won’t be spammed, and they know exactly what they’re signing up for. Whether you’re collecting interest for a sales demo or giving away valuable data in a new report or eBook, your landing page should be as easy to read as possible. Follow these three tips for landing pages that convert:
Make sure landing pages clearly and quickly communicate the value of your offer. The easier it is for a consumer to understand why your content is worth their email information, the more leads you’ll drive. Start with the value (what they’ll learn or get), share an example, and make it concise.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and a video is worth a million. Add an image that further conveys the value of your offer, or record a two-minute video explaining what’s behind the curtain. According to Vidyard, landing pages with video drive a stunning 86% more conversions, and are 53 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google.
Your audience wants answers, quickly. Don’t make them scroll to the bottom of the page to find your contact form. Placing it at the top of your page will help steer your prospect to the next step, as well as reduce the chances of them bouncing off your site.
4. Connect with your audience through email marketing
Email marketing brings in a high ROI—USD $36 for every dollar spent. As social media becomes more and more noisy, email marketing sets itself apart as a way to connect with your audience on a more personal level without algorithms choosing what you see.
More than just an avenue for sales emails or discount offers, email is an excellent distribution channel for content like blog posts, podcast episodes, product videos and more. Creating an excellent email marketing strategy starts with these pillars:
- Email templates: Don’t spend time creating email templates from scratch. Test a few great templates and see what works for you based on the types of emails you’ll be sending. An email newsletter should look different from an email promoting a discount, for example. Don’t be afraid to test!
- Nurturing emails: When someone signs up for your product/service, makes a purchase, or becomes a lead, nurturing emails come in really handy. A set of emails that go out over a certain cadence (say, four emails over the course of two weeks) can introduce your prospect to your business and what you offer. They can also share valuable content and help your prospect see you as a trustworthy source of information.
- Email segmentation: When sending emails, you want to make sure relevant content is going to the right audience. For example, if you’re a retailer, you don’t want to send an email about handcrafted leather goods to a customer who has only bought vegan products in the past. That’s where segmentation comes in. When asking your audience to sign up for emails, add a few questions into your form to help you understand their interests and needs.
- Email as a lead driver: Email isn’t only a great channel for distribution. It can be an excellent lead driver as well. Consider creating a series of lessons or tips about the goods or services you sell.
- Test, test, test: Testing your emails should become second nature for your business. A/B tests are an easy way to test two versions of an email and see which performs better. It will also help you get a better idea of your audience and their interests and needs. Test your copy, images, CTAs, and more for everything you send. You’ll get to know your customer better than ever.
Communication with your customers and organization of your data will take your business from growing to thriving. A CRM can help your SMB stay organized and align its sales or marketing efforts in a seamless way. Using HubSpot’s marketing tools with AWS Cloud can help set you up for success for 2023 and beyond. Here are some recommended next steps:
- Ready to modernize your marketing efforts? Get 20% Off HubSpot Marketing tools, or start for free
- Want to speak with an AWS SMB expert first? You can reach them here.
Disclaimer: The content and opinions in this post are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.