Marketing Technology for Small Businesses
This post was originally written as a part of a blog series with my friends over at Evermo.re.
With more than half of the global population using the internet and smartphones, small businesses must be able to reach their audience digitally if they hope to remain competitive. Marketing and technology are becoming more and more intertwined for today’s businesses, making marketing technology (martech) an essential tool for growth.
According to Scott Brinker, editor of chiefmartech.com, “Martech is the blending of marketing and technology. Virtually anyone involved with digital marketing is dealing with martech, since digital by its very nature is technologically-based. The term ‘martech’ especially applies to major initiatives, efforts and tools that harness technology to achieve marketing goals and objectives.”
Many small business owners struggle to adopt marketing technology despite the value that it can bring to their business. It can be difficult to know where to start, considering that the landscape is rapidly growing and can be very chaotic to navigate.
The good news is that small business owners can harness the power of marketing technology to help grow their business — they just need to know where to start.
Use marketing technology to fill the gaps in your buyer’s journey
The best way to know where to start with marketing technology is to identify the greatest challenges you are facing in trying to grow your business. The next step is to identify where in the buyer’s journey (awareness or consideration) you are facing these challenges and use marketing technology to help you fill in the gaps.
If getting the word out about your business is your greatest challenge, start here.
SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION)
SEO is a crucial part of increasing brand awareness. Google alone processes over 40,000 searches per second. To begin to generate site traffic from search, invest in a website that is optimized for SEO and begin developing SEO friendly content. Use Google Analytics to track keywords that are already bringing traffic to your site, Google Adwords to research new keywords that you can optimize for, and tools like Yoast to make sure your site is fully optimized.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans use social media each month, making social media an important way to increase brand awareness and lead generation. Social media can also support your SEO goals by creating avenues for your audience to discover and share your content online. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer help small business owners schedule their social content, curate relevant content to share on social channels, and monitor social conversations about their brand.
If your biggest challenge is converting the people who are aware of your business into customers, start here.
Creating content that is valuable to your audience is one of the best ways to grow your brand’s influence and move people toward a buying decision. You can create and post content on a blog, or you can publish and promote ebooks or whitepapers on topics relevant to your industry. Use Google Trends to help you explore popular topics and BuzzSumo to find highly ranked content and influencers in your industry. You can also use a tool like CoSchedule to help you manage your content calendar.
Landing pages are web pages that are distinct from your website, specifically designed around a single call-to-action. Landing pages are great for promoting content or specific offers and help to convert visitors into customers. You can use tools like Landing Lion or Leadpages to easily create conversion-optimized landing pages.
Email is still one of the most effective ways to move your audience toward a purchasing decision. You can use email as a way to promote your content and offers, but email marketing is most effective when you send the right message at the right time. Use marketing automation tools like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor to help you get started with this. These tools allow you to automate your email marketing, sending emails based on a user’s behavior triggers (like a website click or form submission).
Use marketing technology to design compelling experiences
Using marketing technology to help accelerate your audience’s journey toward purchase is the first step in martech mastery. Once you have the basics down, the next step is to begin to treat your marketing as “experience design”.
The buyer’s journey is becoming increasingly complex with the growth of the internet and digital technology. Today’s marketers must think very carefully about the people on the other side of the marketing technology tools they are using and develop sophisticated digital journeys that create delightful and compelling experiences. Here are three tools that will help you move to the next level of martech mastery:
This isn’t a technology tool, but it is crucial for using technology effectively. Your marketing will do very little for your business if you don’t understand the person who is interacting with your brand. While the best way to develop empathy is to talk to your prospects and customers, you can also use tools or worksheets to better understand your buyer personas and what/when they want to hear from you.
Marketing technology can also play a role in helping you understand your audience. Tools like Crazy Egg or FullStory give you deeper insights into interacting with your website. The more you understand your audience’s behavior, the more successful you will be at designing compelling experiences for them with your martech tools.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of marketing technology and are seeing results, it might be time to invest in a marketing automation tool that provides an integrated set of marketing technology tools. Tools like Autopilot and ActiveCampaign provide more robust marketing automation to support your buyer’s journey and help you design compelling user experiences.
Marketing technology can be overwhelming. Nonetheless, as long as you’re willing to work to understand your audience and honestly assess the trouble spots in your buyer’s journey, you can effectively leverage the power of marketing technology to accelerate the growth of your business.