7 Online Marketing Strategies for Small Business to Win Sales

Struggling to spread the word about your company's services? Learn these online marketing strategies for small business to scale your growth.

7 Online Marketing Strategies for Small Business to Win Sales

Learn How to Grow Your Small Business with Smart Marketing Strategies

So you went out on your own and launched a really cool business to sell your services and help improve your clients’ lives. And now you’re wondering how to do online marketing for a small business.

Launching a small business is an exciting venture, but many business owners don’t come with a background in marketing or sales.

This new frontier challenges many small businesses to find steady profitability. In fact, about one in five small businesses fail within a year—often because they struggle to spread the word to gain new customers and rarely due to a lack of expertise.

How do these struggles happen? Managers face marketing challenges for small businesses where they try to do too much without a solid plan, resulting in inconsistent execution.

And for many companies like agencies and advisory firms, developing a strong reputation with a compelling brand helps attract new clients and is also a pillar in customer retention strategies for small business.

But a great business reputation, as reflected by your online presence on LinkedIn, your website’s performance and the strength of your customer reviews, won’t materialize with smart marketing strategies in place.

Below we’ll break down some online marketing strategies to help your small business increase sales, develop your brand reputation and scale operations.

7 Online Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

If you’re running a small business and have hit a wall in finding new clients, these are the seven online marketing strategies to help get you over the hump.

  1. Strong Website and Company Pages
  2. SEO
  3. Quality Content
  4. Influencer and Affiliate Marketing
  5. Competitions and Giveaways
  6. Social Selling
  7. Email Marketing

1. Strong Website and Company Pages

Having a strong online presence begins with your website. Your online presence can make you discoverable, build your credibility and ultimately convert prospects into clients.

First, start with best practices for small business websites, focusing on a homepage, About section, Contact page, FAQ and a page about your services.

Your About page is a great place to feature what you do, how & why you do it and some of the values your business operates with.

Your site can be simple, but it should still look good. If your website looks like it’s from the early 2000s, people are likely going to find another option. Use a consistent aesthetic (brand colors, logo, fonts) to increase brand recognition.

Every business page you set up (e.g., LinkedIn) should also mention your core messaging that answers your what, why and how.

Finally, enhance your discoverability by implementing some of the SEO principles below into your webpages.

2. SEO

If you’ve done any research on creating content, you’ve probably heard of SEO.

SEO, or search-engine optimization, is a strategy that focuses on making your webpages more discoverable on search engines like Google.

The better your SEO, the more organic traffic you will bring to your site. That translates to a free audience coming to you for information or services.

Every webpage you create, from your homepage to a blog post, should be optimized for search engines.

SEO tips for small businesses include keyword research, effective headlines, images with metadata and much more. If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, hone in on the basics like regularly publishing helpful content, organizing the website navigation intuitively for your visitors and keep the design simple but modern.

3. Quality Content

Creating high-quality content is a great way to establish yourself as a knowledgeable, helpful and trustworthy business.

But what qualifies as high-quality?

High-quality content is informative and digestible. Create content that answers questions or solves problems your audience has.

Different types of content for small businesses include “how to” content, interviews, case studies and testimonials.

For example, if you’re selling insurance, you could create a post that breaks down some of the most-used jargon in your industry.

For the best content, play to your strengths. If you communicate better verbally, publish podcasts or YouTube videos. 

If you’re better behind the scenes, written formats like blogs or LinkedIn posts could be your best bet. Creating valuable content is part of the initial planning process in developing a LinkedIn sales strategy—to optimize your success from outreach campaigns, sharing your expertise with LinkedIn content is important.

And study different blogs for sales professionals to learn more about best practices for selling & marketing and for inspiration to create your own customer-facing content—it’s a win-win!

As a small business, you likely don’t have the capacity to compete with larger companies on every channel, so pick one or two that you have the time and skills for.

4. Influencer and Affiliate Marketing

Influencer or affiliate marketing are great ways to expose your business to a relevant audience, while incentivizing them to try you out.

Affiliate marketing is a conversion-based strategy. You provide a coded link from an affiliate software for another brand or individual to share to their audiences and you pay a commission every time you close a deal from a referral. With a strong brand, you can also partner with others to become an affiliate yourself for secondary revenue.

Influencer marketing is similar (often,  many influencers are also affiliates), but is better  for awareness and may not generate a ton of immediate sales. With influencer marketing, you typically pay individuals upfront to promote your services, with an option to add commissions for a code or link.

5. Competitions and Giveaways

People don’t necessarily want to follow another account or subscribe to more emails. But they’re a lot more willing when there’s free stuff involved.

How many times have you signed up for emails to get 20% off an order? Maybe you’ve followed an Instagram account as part of a giveaway? There’s a good chance you’re still getting those emails and following those accounts.

Creating a competition, discount or informative freebie (like a webinar or ebook) helps build a following for your digital marketing efforts. Simply exchange a giveaway entry, discount or freebie for an email subscription or follow. It’s a one-time cost that will build your email-subscriber list or increase your following on social media. 

6. Social Selling

Social selling is a popular category in a LinkedIn lead-generation guide of sales that encompasses all social media efforts.

Promoting your business with ads, creating informative posts and interacting with your audience are all forms of social selling. It’s essentially about being active on social media, especially LinkedIn, to develop a great online presence to help close deals.

If you’re selling software or a service, like financial management or online marketing, LinkedIn messaging is how you leverage social selling. Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can search for prospects in your target demographic and reach out to pitch yourself. Then from social selling on LinkedIn, you’ll strengthen the success of your sales messages with your online reputation.

7. Email Marketing

There’s a reason it feels like everywhere you go, someone is trying to capture your email address. That’s because email marketing is nearly 40x more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined.

But not all email-marketing efforts are equal.

To really reap the rewards and increase sales as a small business, send relevant emails to your audience by building out customer-lifecycle campaigns and segmenting one-off emails well to push prospects through your funnel.

For instance, a prospect who hasn’t converted yet will likely unsubscribe if they receive emails about add-ons to existing services they haven’t purchased yet.

Which Online Marketing Strategies Are Best for Your Small Business

The best online marketing strategies for your small business are ones that optimize ROI while fitting your budget. In other words, what can you afford that gives you the best bang for your buck?

Once you’ve nailed your marketing strategy, decide which channels to focus on. A good rule of thumb is to always go where your audience is. If you don’t have lots of money to invest yet, stick with simple areas like social selling, SEO content and email marketing.

As you start to scale, then you can invest in more online marketing strategies that save you time while generating income.

The key is to automate processes as much as possible. If you’re spending too much time on social posts or website content, use AI tools to help you write. If you struggle to scale LinkedIn outreach to win more sales, then LinkedIn lead automation will optimize your ROI so you can grow your small business.

Send more messages to prospects, generate reply suggestions and learn about your contacts from AI to increase response rates and book more meetings with leads and start increasing sales!