Three Keys To High-Performance Small Business Marketing

Published: | By Mick Essex

If you run a small business, you're probably used to doing more with less. It's the only way a small business can punch above its weight and find a growth path, particularly in markets with larger competitors. 

Deciding where to invest scarce resources can be challenging when a single misstep could seriously harm your bottom line. 

Nowhere is this a bigger challenge than when it comes to building a digital marketing plan.


  1. Focus on Email, Content Marketing, and SEO
  2. Aggressive Social Media Engagement
  3. Maximum Performance, Minimal Investment



It's a challenge because a small business relies on its marketing strategy to keep customers coming and to do it without eating up the lion's share of the profits. 

As a result, a single failed marketing strategy can create a chain reaction, beginning with wasted marketing dollars and cascading into weakening sales. 

The good news is that there's a tried-and-true way to avoid that fate. 

To illustrate, here are three keys to running a high-performance small business marketing strategy on a limited budget.

Begin With SMART Goals

Believe it or not, the most crucial step in running a high-performance marketing strategy happens before you do any actual marketing at all. 

It's to define precise, achievable goals for your marketing efforts. With those, measuring results and making incremental changes to improve them is possible.

The simplest way to define your marketing goals is to use a goal-setting system with the acronym SMART

It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

In other words, you must define goals that fit all those descriptions, and if you do, you will stand an excellent chance of making them happen.



It may seem difficult if you've never defined SMART goals. However, it becomes second nature once you get the hang of it. 

For example, set a SMART goal to increase your small business's blog traffic by 5% in the following month by increasing your content frequency to four posts per week from two. 

It is a perfect SMART goal, assuming you have data from previous content changes suggesting that a post-frequency shift could conceivably produce a 5% traffic bump. 

Check out this list of SMART marketing goal examples for some specific ideas to consider. 

They broadly apply to most small businesses and can even serve as a template for other marketing goals you wish to pursue.

1. Focus On Email, Content Marketing, and SEO

These days, every marketer you'll encounter will claim to have some secret formula to improve your small business's marketing results. 

However, you don't need to pay someone for that formula. It's simple. For best results, make three specific kinds of marketing the core of your efforts. 

The first kind of marketing to focus on is email marketing. The reason is that email marketing offers the kind of ROI that small businesses dream about. 

Depending on whose data you believe, email marketing has an ROI between $36 and $42 for every dollar spent. 

Simply put, there's no better way to invest scarce marketing dollars than in a well-executed email campaign.



The second type of marketing to focus on is content marketing. It should involve the creation of the most evergreen content possible. 

Doing so will create a beneficial loop of results that increases the ROI of your content marketing efforts every year as older content continues to drive results and newer content broadens your reach. 

A great place to start a content marketing effort is with a business blog. 

There's ample information available to help you learn how to start a blog, and you can get started with nothing but your existing expertise in your business's chosen industry. 

Plus, it will dovetail perfectly with the third kind of marketing you should focus on SEO.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the art and science of adjusting web content for maximum placement on search engine results pages. 

It's also something you can mostly handle without help if you invest enough time. 

Of course, you can also invest in some SEO tools and additional expertise after your initial efforts pay off. 

That way, your SEO costs can become largely self-sustaining rather than acting as a drain on your existing marketing resources.

2. Aggressive Social Media Engagement

The final key to running a high-performance marketing strategy on a limited budget is to do everything possible to aggressively engage on social media. 

It acts as a force multiplier to improve the performance of every other aspect of your marketing strategy. 

For example, you might partner with other industry figures on various social channels to cross-promote your content and theirs. 

It can unlock new audiences for your content and give you a chance to add to your email campaigns simultaneously.



However, if you try to increase your small business's social engagement rate, you need to develop realistic performance targets first. 

Again, beginning with a SMART goal is critical. Begin to formulate them by researching the average social engagement for members of your industry

From there, you can determine if your social channels are over or under-performing. 

If they're underperforming, you can see how far off the average you are and use that as an improvement target. 

There are several social media analytics tools, both free and paid, to help you with measuring this.

Once you have defined a SMART social media engagement goal, you can deploy various technologies to help you achieve it. 

Countless excellent social media management and automation platforms are available to help you execute your chosen strategy. 

Plus, they can help you do it without investing too many resources and needing an on-staff or freelance social media manager. 

Some even have free tiers that can help you contain your spending.

3. Maximum Performance, Minimal Investment

With nothing but the three keys detailed above, any small business can create a high-performance marketing strategy without spending a fortune on it. 

You'll notice that none of the above keys require mandatory spending. You can take a DIY approach for all of them if you wish. 

Better still, all will guarantee the results that will guarantee more money to work with as your business grows. 

Eventually, it should be feasible to offload all your marketing efforts to an agency or a freelance team so you can get back to running your small business and doing what you love.

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