Digital Marketing for SMBs: 10 Data-Driven Tactics to Boost Sales

Published: | By Eamonn O’Raghallaigh

With innovations disrupting best practices seemingly every day, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often find themselves in a maze of new trends and technologies.

Keeping pace can be daunting, but it's manageable. 

This guide presents a dual approach for SMBs wanting to improve their digital marketing: basic strategies that SMBs can implement independently and advanced techniques where considering an agency's expertise might be beneficial. 




Whether a novice in digital marketing or ready to explore more sophisticated methods, this journey is about turning challenges into opportunities for growth and success.

What are some low-cost digital marketing strategies to boost sales?

SMB owners looking to implement low-effort and low-budget—yet highly effective—digital marketing strategies should consider claiming their Google Business Profile. 

Disseminating strategic press releases, implementing creative ideas, deploying NPS surveys, and initiating email marketing campaigns are also worthwhile.

These strategies require minimal specialist marketing knowledge, making them accessible to business owners who are juggling multiple roles or the one- (wo)man marketing team. 

1. Claim Your Google Business Profile

Local SMBs must prioritize their online presence to attract and retain customers. Claiming and optimizing a Google Business Profile is not just about being found online; it's about making a lasting first impression. 

For local businesses, this is a crucial step toward improving local search visibility and credibility. 

With a Google Business Profile, SMBs can position themselves effectively in local markets for increased customer engagement and interaction.


Examples of Google business profiles

Optimization Strategies

  • Complete and Accurate Information: Ensure that your profile contains accurate, up-to-date information about your business, including address, phone number, and hours of operation.
  • High-Quality Images: Adding high-quality images of your business, products, or services can significantly enhance the appeal of your profile.
  • Customer Reviews: Encourage customers to leave reviews. Responding to positive and negative reviews shows potential customers that you value feedback and are actively engaged with your clientele.
  • Add Content Articles/Blogs: To keep an SMB’s Google Business Profile up to date and satisfy Google’s algorithm, it’s best practice to add any content articles or blogs directly as one more option for users to interact with a business profile. 

The ultimate goal is to be featured in Google's 'Local 3-Pack,' the block of three business listings that appear at the top of Google search results for local queries. 

Businesses in the 3-Pack gain significantly more visibility and are likelier to be clicked on by potential customers​​. 

By effectively optimizing their Google Business Profile, SMBs enhance their local SEO and lay a solid foundation for broader digital marketing efforts.

2. Press Releases for Brand Awareness



While a more traditional tactic, press releases are still relevant and stand out for their ability to broadcast significant company milestones or product launches. 

Utilizing press releases is a strategic move to gain media attention and reach a broader audience. 

Additionally, SMBs can effectively communicate their unique value proposition, capturing the interest of potential customers and investors. 

This traditional yet powerful tool can amplify an SMB's voice in a competitive market.

Crafting an Impactful Press Release

  • Newsworthiness: Focus on aspects that make your announcement newsworthy. It could be a unique product feature, a significant company milestone, or a partnership that offers substantial customer benefits.
  • Clarity and Conciseness: Write clearly and concisely. The press release should quickly convey your story's who, what, when, where, and why. As press releases are written in a particular manner, look to artificial intelligence, like Chat GPT hive, to help write the announcement.
  • Media Engagement: Include quotes from company leaders or industry experts to add credibility. Also, provide high-quality images or videos that media outlets can use in their coverage​​.

Distribution and Visibility

  • Distribution Networks: Use online press release distribution services to help your announcement reach journalists, bloggers, and potential customers.
  • SEO Benefits: Include relevant keywords to enhance the SEO value of your press release, making it more likely to be found by people searching for related topics.

Similar to press releases in that they enhance brand visibility and reach, SMBs can implement creative marketing strategies to differentiate themselves further and create a lasting impact on their audience.

3. Creative Marketing Strategies 

A more modern marketing tactic — simple yet challenging to master — is embracing creativity. Creative marketing strategies can set an SMB apart in a crowded marketplace. 

Yet, it’s not just about standing out; it's about creating a memorable brand experience that resonates with customers. 

This approach is crucial for SMBs looking to establish a strong brand identity and foster customer loyalty

By injecting creativity into their marketing efforts, SMBs can engage their audience meaningfully, setting the stage for increased customer interaction and brand advocacy.

Thus, it’s essential to implement creative strategies that:

  • Understand Your Audience: Knowing your audience's preferences and behaviors is crucial in crafting resonating campaigns.
  • Leverage Storytelling: Incorporating humor and storytelling can make your brand more relatable and memorable.
  • Maintain Authenticity: Stay true to your brand's core values and message. Authenticity breeds trust and loyalty among customers​​.

Example: Engaging Users with Contests and Giveaways

  • Excitement and Engagement: Contests and giveaways are excellent ways to create excitement and engage your audience. They can increase your social media following, email list, and overall brand visibility.
  • Strategic Promotion: Promote contests on your website, social media channels, and email marketing to maximize participation.
  • Align with Brand Goals: Ensure the contests and giveaways align with your brand goals and values. They should be relevant to your products or services to attract the right audience​​.

Case Study — Barkbox National Squirrel Day

BarkBox, a monthly subscription service for dog products, executed a remarkable National Squirrel Appreciation Day campaign, turning this obscure holiday into a highly engaging social media event. 

They creatively simulated a 'hostage takeover' of their social media accounts by squirrels, claiming that a BarkBox walnut toy had depleted their food supply. 

This playful and imaginative campaign, which involved changing social media profiles and posting humorous, threatening messages from squirrels, generated significant user engagement. 

Followers enthusiastically participated, creating a buzz around the brand without any direct call-to-action for sales. 



This campaign is a prime example of how creative storytelling and audience engagement can elevate a brand's social media presence and foster a deep connection with customers​​. 

Should the idea of a full-blown creative campaign be too cumbersome, SMBs have other options to deepen customer relationships and loyalty, like through NPS surveys.

4. Implement an NPS Survey



Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys are a popular tool for preventing and managing customer dissatisfaction

They ask customers how likely they are to recommend your business to others, usually on a scale from 0 to 10. 

Understanding customer sentiment is essential for sustainable growth for SMBs. Implementing NPS surveys helps gain invaluable feedback and actionable insights into customer loyalty and satisfaction. 

This tool enables SMBs to pinpoint areas of excellence and those needing improvement, helping guide strategic decisions and change. 

Benefits of NPS Surveys

  • Customer Feedback: Provides direct customer feedback about their experiences and satisfaction levels.
  • Identify Areas for Improvement: This tool helps you identify areas where your business can improve, such as product quality, customer service, or user experience.
  • Track Performance Over Time: Regular NPS surveys allow you to track improvements or declines in customer satisfaction over time, guiding your long-term strategy.

Best Practices for NPS Surveys

  • Timing and Frequency: Conduct surveys regularly at meaningful points in the customer journey.
  • E-Word-of-Mouth (EWOM) Campaign: After a customer has submitted a positive review, SMBs should follow up by asking them to leave a review on Google and any other relevant platform. EWOM is highly influential and effective in driving sales.
  • Action on Feedback: Use the feedback to make tangible changes in your business. Letting customers know that their feedback has led to improvements can further enhance loyalty.

The insights gathered from NPS surveys provide SMBs valuable feedback for continual improvement. You can then use this insight for direct customer engagement strategies like personalized email marketing.

5. Email Marketing for Personalized Engagement

Email marketing offers an unparalleled opportunity to engage directly with customers. This is especially true for SMBs with a marketing team or technologically savvy owners who desire to learn. 

Those with limited knowledge of email best practices should start by incorporating a monthly newsletter. 

As knowledge grows, incorporate personalization (within reason) to help connect with audiences on a deeper level. 

This personalization goes beyond using the customer's name; it involves tailoring content based on their past interactions, preferences, and purchase history.


                 Email marketing campaign by

Successful email marketing hinges on a few key strategies:

  • Segmentation: Dividing your email list into smaller, targeted groups based on specific criteria ensures the content is relevant to each recipient.
  • Content Variety: To cover various aspects of the customer journey, incorporate a mix of welcome emails, promotional messages, abandoned cart reminders, and post-purchase follow-ups.
  • Automation and Consistency: Utilizing email campaign automation tools saves time and ensures consistent communication. Automated emails triggered by specific customer actions like signing up or making a purchase keep the communication timely and relevant​​.
  • Tracking Metrics: Metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates help show a campaign's effectiveness and guide future adjustments and improvements. 

Mastering email marketing empowers SMBs to establish robust connections with their audience, serving as a vital step in their digital marketing journey. 

This proficiency in email marketing can act as a springboard into more sophisticated strategies, encouraging SMBs to embrace a comprehensive digital marketing approach. 

Such a holistic strategy ensures that all marketing efforts are interconnected and synergistic, enhancing the overall impact on customer engagement and business growth.

Advanced Strategies for SMBs to Boost Sales


6. In-depth Market and Audience Research
7. Effective SEO
8. Investment in Advertising
9. Implementation of Remarketing Campaigns
10. Thorough Data Analysis

For SMBs looking to take their marketing efforts to the next level, several sophisticated and proven techniques are available. 

These strategies typically require more marketing expertise and are best executed by experienced digital strategy consultants or agencies. 

Because they involve a more significant investment of time and resources, they also promise a higher return by targeting the right audience and leveraging data-driven insights.

6. In-depth Market and Audience Research



Thorough market and audience research marks the beginning of a deeper dive into understanding the nuanced needs of an SMB's target audience. 

This type of research is not just about gathering data; it's about uncovering potential customers' specific desires and pain points, which is pivotal for crafting highly targeted and effective marketing strategies

It often looks like this:

  • Comprehensive Data Collection: Agencies use advanced tools and methodologies to collect data, including surveys, focus groups, and market analysis.
  • Insightful Analysis: With their expertise, agencies can analyze this data to extract meaningful insights, identifying market trends, customer pain points, and potential opportunities.
  • Strategic Application: Use the insights gained to tailor marketing strategies, product development, and customer engagement approaches specifically to the target audience.

As we move from understanding the audience to actively reaching them, the next critical step a digital marketing agency would recommend involves delving into an SMB’s SEO and SEM.

7. Effective SEO 



With a firm understanding of the target audience, the focus shifts to enhancing an SMB's online presence through effective search engine optimization (SEO). 

While SEO is considered a long-term strategy, it’s an integral foundation for implementing other strategies. 

For instance, if an SMB chooses to implement Google ads, the website’s SEO score can impact the ads' performance and cost.

Expand the prior market and audience research to create an SEO strategy, which will lay the foundation for the rest of the strategy.

  • Keyword Research: Keyword research consultants conduct in-depth keyword research to identify terms your target audience frequently searches for.
  • Website Optimisation: This includes 1) technical optimization, like making a website faster; 2) on-page optimization, such as improving website content and structure; and 3) off-page tactics like link building.
  • SEM Campaign Management: Agencies manage PPC campaigns, optimizing for the best cost-per-click and conversion rates.

The agencies' expertise in this domain elevates an SMB's search engine strategy and sets the stage for the next logical step in digital marketing — investing in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads.

8. Investment in Advertising


Building upon the foundation of SEO, investing in ads represents a direct and impactful way for SMBs to drive targeted traffic and conversions. 

This approach is particularly vital for those seeking immediate results. Well-crafted campaigns offer the dual benefit of precision targeting and cost-effectiveness. 

While varying in cost, these ads are essential to the marketing funnel, helping potential customers gain awareness of an SMB’s products and services.

At a fundamental level overview, agencies will take care of:

  • Ad Creation and Management: Agencies create compelling ad copy and manage the day-to-day aspects of PPC campaigns.
  • Performance Tracking and Optimisation: They continuously track campaign performance, making adjustments to improve ROI and reach campaign objectives.

Building upon standard ads, SMBs can turn to remarketing strategies, which allow companies to reconnect with users who have shown interest in their products or services but have yet to convert.

9. Implementation of Remarketing Campaigns


Example of a remarketing ad (source:

As the marketing journey continues, implementing remarketing strategies becomes critical for SMBs to re-engage with individuals who have previously interacted with their website. 

This tactic is not just about recapturing lost opportunities; it's a strategic approach to reinforce brand messages and nudge potential customers toward purchasing. 

An agency’s approach to remarketing often looks like:

  • Targeted Ad Creation: Agencies create ads tailored to the interests shown by users during their previous website visits.
  • Strategic Placement: They place these ads on platforms where your potential customers are most likely to engage, like social media or partner websites.
  • Performance Analysis: Continuous analysis of remarketing campaigns helps in refining strategies for better results.

The effectiveness of remarketing underscores the importance of the following critical aspect in advanced marketing strategies - thorough data analysis.

10. Thorough Data Analysis



Finally, thorough data analysis is a cornerstone of informed decision-making. For SMBs, it is essential to dive deep into data analysis to understand their marketing strategies' effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. 

However, this tactic involves more than just looking at reports, such as:

  • Integrating Analytic Tools: Collaborating with the SMB, agencies will meticulously set up analytic tools, such as Google Analytics 4 (GA4) or other third-party social media analytics tools.
  • Collecting and Interpreting Data: Agencies collect data from various sources, such as website analytics, social media engagement, and campaign results.
  • Providing Actionable Insights: They translate complex data into actionable insights, helping SMBs understand what is working and what needs improvement.
  • Strategy Refinement: Based on these insights, agencies help SMBs refine their marketing strategies for improved performance and ROI.

This step is crucial in closing the loop of the marketing cycle, ensuring that every tactic, from market research to remarketing, is continually refined for maximum impact and ROI.


In conclusion, this comprehensive guide illuminates the path for SMBs to navigate the complex digital marketing landscape. 

From basic, self-implementable tactics to advanced strategies that may benefit from professional agency input, each approach is designed to harness the power of data-driven decision-making. 

By adopting these strategies, SMBs can enhance their online presence, engage effectively with their target audience, and drive sales growth. 

Whether taking the first steps in digital marketing or scaling new heights with sophisticated techniques, SMBs can transform digital challenges into opportunities, steering their business toward sustained success and growth in a competitive marketplace.

Author's Bio

Eamonn O’Raghallaigh is a Teaching Fellow at Trinity Business School and Managing Director at Digital Strategy Consultants, which specialises in SEO, Analytics, and Digital Marketing Consultancy.

He is an accomplished professional with over 25 years of experience in life sciences, recruitment, digital consultancy, and academia.

He holds master’s degrees in Neuroscience and Digital Marketing and a PhD in Business from Trinity College Dublin.



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