As the year comes to a close, most people are thinking about their new year’s resolutions. However, small business owners are likely thinking about how to keep their businesses going (and hopefully growing) in the coming year. Since 2020, small businesses have been through a lot, but they have also learned a lot. Marketing experts have worked hard to analyze consumer behaviours throughout the pandemic to identify the best marketing strategies for small businesses going into 2022. With these 11 strategies, you are sure to step into 2022 on the right foot!
Search engine optimization, or SEO, has been a significant marketing trend in recent years and it’s not going anywhere. SEO is important to marketing strategies for small businesses because it allows consumers to find your business online through keyword searches. Beyond integrating keywords into a small business website to increase search traffic, SEO marketing involves the integration of written content such as blog posts. According to recent studies, roughly 47% of consumers buy from a website that has blog content.
Within the world of SEO, there are subcategories that can be helpful for small business owners to take advantage of such as utilizing a local SEO expert. These experts can teach companies about the best SEO principles to follow and help develop content to drive website traffic. For example, searching for “SEO Company” will probably result with a broad selection of companies from across the world. However, searching for “SEO Company Toronto” gives local consumers direct, relevant content to pursue and narrow their decision-making process.
Voice Search Optimization
Beyond regular keyword searches and other SEO marketing strategies, voice search has become increasingly popular throughout 2021 and is expected to continue growing into 2022. Voice search optimization is different from SEO because it considers how someone will speak to a device for searching rather than typing. Making simple changes to keywords can open opportunities for driving traffic through smart speakers and other devices that were previously unaddressed.
Reevaluate Your Target Audience
Shifting behaviors in consumers throughout the pandemic has changed the market outlook for many products and services. These shifts did more than just impact the market size and competitors, but also target audiences. It is important to understand what consumers are currently leading a market as this will inform the marketing strategies for small businesses throughout the year.
By providing personalized options, consumers are up to 80% more likely to interact with a small business. Each market has different personalization options to consider. However, any small business can take advantage of online personalization options through Artificial Intelligence (AI) or customizing messaging to refocus on the current target market.
One way to personalize AI is through webchats or chatbots. Consumers value customer service and webchat provides an effective form of direct communication between your small business and your customers. This can assist customers with simple inquiries and help them navigate the website to direct traffic more effectively. While some small businesses may not have the ability to integrate chatbots into their own website, social media platforms like Facebook have customizable options to help companies get their feet wet.
Taking customer service through communication a step further, consumers have a more positive experience with companies that provide several forms of communication such as customer texting. Integration options for texting may include rewards programs, order updates, or customer service communications.
Virtual or Hybrid Events
The COVID pandemic accelerated the transition to digital platforms for many businesses and individuals and, unfortunately, the threat of the pandemic has not yet passed. Continued virtual or hybrid events, meetings, and interactions with consumers in 2022 will play an important role in consumer engagement and perception of a brand. With virtual interactions likely to continue long after the pandemic subsides, creating virtual marketing strategies for small businesses is essential in the coming years.
Social Media Activity
Obviously, when talking about marketing social media marketing is to be expected. For small businesses, the importance of social media marketing can not be overstressed. Consumers trust brands with a strong social media presence and active, engaging content. Small businesses can benefit from posting regularly, sharing positive reviews, and engaging with customers.
Customers want to feel valued by the brands they interact with. Sometimes, this is as simple as being acknowledged. Engaging with customers both online and in-person can increase brand perception and drive more traffic and sales through word of mouth. Customer engagement can be achieved through interactive social media marketing campaigns, in-store promotions, and engaging in relevant online conversations such as responding to customer comments or sharing relevant content.
Inclusion and Diversity Campaigns
Consumers are showing more and more that they want to interact with socially responsible and empathetic brands. Studies show that one of the most important issues for consumers in 2022 and moving forward is inclusion and diversity in the workplace, in the pipeline, and in consumer and community engagement activities. Beyond implementing campaigns and initiatives that practice and communicate inclusion and diversity, small businesses should consider developing ongoing strategies to address customer loyalty based on these factors. This includes collecting customer feedback and making changes as necessary.
Last, but not least, small businesses can benefit greatly from prioritizing reviews. Consumers use customer reviews to inform their purchasing decisions and differentiate between competitors. In order for a small business to stand out, they can promote positive reviews on their website and mitigate damage from negative reviews by interacting through comments and professional moderation. In addition, focusing on providing great customer service will naturally increase the likelihood of receiving positive reviews. Promotions are also a good way to direct consumers to leave positive reviews.
Small businesses rely on marketing strategies now more than ever and brand perception plays a huge role in that. Using some or all of these marketing strategies for your small business is sure to set your 2022 on the right course from the start!