The small and medium sized businesses are the ones that are really starting to change the world.
— Alix Peabody, Founder, Bev
Running a small business takes hard work, relentless determination, and the ability to do just about any job. From building a brand from the ground up, to navigating a perpetually changing business environment - the work for small business owners never stops.
Starting a business isn’t just about your product offerings, that’s just the beginning. As most small business owners know, the journey only starts when they ‘open up’, growing your business is about:
- Building awareness for your business and how your products, goods or services can improve the life of your customer.
- Growing your customer base to ensure you’re reaching as many potential leads as possible, thus maximizing your sales or conversions.
- Re-engaging interested or past customers to build brand loyalty and repeat buyers.
The goal of marketing is to invest in areas where you can connect with the right customers, those that will find value in your products, goods or services. This blog will walk through 9 marketing strategies proven to help drive small business growth on Snapchat. Before you get started with building your marketing strategy, it’s important to have a basic understanding of:
- Who your customers are: what demographics make up your customer base, where are they located, how old they are, their interests, and more.
- How your customers interact online: What websites, platforms, and apps are your potential customers using to search, shop, browse, learn and discover. Where do they communicate with friends? Where do they get their information from?
- What influences your customers: Who your customers listen to, or how they are entertained - influencers, celebrities, TV/news/media?
While there is no ‘one size fits all’ magic formula to growing a business, most marketing strategies are relatively simple and can be achieved using a laptop, some planning, and a growth mindset.
Now, let’s dive into 9 marketing strategies to help you grow your small business:
1. Establish your brand
Customers want to know what your company does, what you stand for, and how you stand out amongst your business peers. Once you’ve established a company mission, it’s important that your business’s name, logo and marketing materials are consistent with that mission and clearly convey the essence of your brand. Small business owners might consider working with a freelance designer or creative agency to build a strong and consistent brand identity system - logo, brand colors, guides, and more. While this step can be expensive, it’s a smart and worthwhile investment as it helps establish awareness for your business and helps your customers associate your mission and goals with the look and feel of your brand.
Small business owners can leverage a number of online design and creative tools to help sustain the look and feel of their business, and build creative assets that are consistent. At Snapchat, one of our core values is creativity - that's why we’ve invested heavily in free tools that help you build advertising creative and re-purpose existing marketing materials in an effective and inexpensive way.
Here’s just a quick view of some tools Snapchat has that can help kickstart your creativity and keep your branding consistent within your advertising and marketing materials:
- Snap Publisher: Design ad creative from scratch, or use one of our templates. Convert your existing video assets to vertical videos for full-screen mobile ads. Snap Publisher is free to use, and makes creating ads for mobile easy and simple.
- Instant Create: Create an ad in 5 minutes or less by importing photos directly from your website. Instant Create allows you to publish engaging creative on Snapchat without additional design resources.
Not sure where to start with ad creative on Snapchat? Check out some of our creative tips for boosting ad engagement.
2. Know your audience
Marketing is not only about reaching customers, it’s about truly connecting with those you reach. Knowing your audience can help you make true connections with potential customers and help persuade them to buy your product, invest in your services, and come back for more. That said, every business caters to a certain demographic that has unique needs, characteristics and qualities, and therefore all businesses require marketing plans that are specific to their target market.
To develop an effective marketing approach, small business owners should be able to answer the following questions:
- What is my target audience's demographic?
- How old are they?
- Where are they located/where do they live?
- How do they interact online?
- How do search for and find products/goods/services?
With Snapchat Ads, you can target Snapchatters based on their online and real world interests and behaviors, target Snapchatters by location, whether that’s multi-country, metros or a point radius around a specific address, and reach Snapchatters by certain demographics such as age, gender, language, device type and more. Additionally, you can layer existing customer data with behavior seen on our platform to fully leverage the power of the Snapchat audience. Additionally, Snapchat’s Audience Insights shows you how Snapchatters engaged with your ads, so you can create more relevant content and surface additional targetable segments to grow your reach.
With Audience Insights, you can:
- Create relevant audiences that can be activated with Saved Audiences
- See the interests of people in your Custom Audience
- See the demographic breakdown of people in your Custom Audience
- Expand the reach of campaigns by adding segments that resemble your target audience
3. Build your online presence
It goes without saying that today’s world is heavily influenced by what’s online. Having an online presence is essential to getting discovered by those searching and browsing online, quickly and easily. Oftentimes, the first step to build your online presence is by launching a website for your business. Depending on your business, it might make sense to create a profile or listing on a platform where potential customers are looking for products like yours. For example, if you run a restaurant, you’ll want to make sure your business is easily discoverable on map platforms, food ordering apps, user-review and recommendations platforms, and booking websites.
4. Track online traffic and behavior
In today’s digital world, the path to purchase is anything but linear. Having real-time insight into what actions your customers are taking online along the buying journey is key to optimizing your digital marketing and getting the highest return on your advertising investment.
For businesses advertising on Snapchat, we always recommend implementing the Snap Pixel. The Snap Pixel tracks and captures data on how Snapchatters browse your website after seeing your ads. This helps you understand how your campaigns are performing, while also surfacing ways to optimize your Snapchat campaigns. For example, with the Snap Pixel implemented you can use goal-based bidding to bid on specific actions you’d like the viewers of your ads to take, such as add-to-cart and checkout. Another great benefit of using the Snap Pixel is unlocking the ability to create Pixel Custom Audiences which is a quick and easy way to retarget website visitors on Snapchat, helping move these curious browsers from considering your products to purchasing them.
5. Test and measure what’s working, and what’s not
For businesses of all sizes, it’s important to establish a regular reporting cadence when running any of the marketing strategies mentioned in this blog, as well as analyze what’s working with your advertising, and what’s not. Savvy marketers know that approaching marketing strategies with a data driven mindset can prove to help reduce churn, and turn sub-par programs into optimized and scalable business opportunities.
On Snapchat, we’ve built an ads platform that makes reporting and measurement simple, easy, and shows results in real time. Measuring your performance on Snapchat gives you actionable insights, allowing you to make data-driven decisions and enhance your Snapchat campaigns over time, optimize your ads and maximize your return on investment.
Another advertising tool we recommend at Snapchat is Split Testing. Split testing through Snapchat’s Ads Manager allows you to run A/B tests on your ads campaigns and various variables within your campaigns in order to find out what’s working and what’s not. A/B testing can show you what type of ads are resonating with your target audience, and why - giving you the ability to unlock maximum return on investment for your budget so you can grow your business.
6. Showcase your key selling points
When it comes to getting people to sign-up or pay for your services or products, potential customers want to know how your product will benefit them. When advertising your business or products, emphasize your key selling points up front, while also promoting any sales you’re running or planning to run. This may seem obvious, but sometimes businesses can 'bury the lead' by advertising or marketing with creative that has nothing to do with their product or service. On Snapchat, we offer full-screen mobile ads that inspire, educate, and move Snapchatters to engage with businesses to learn more. We always recommend featuring a strong message within your ad creatives, and encourage you to include any relevant offers or specials to help drive consideration.
Below is a quick guide on ad creative guidelines depending on your business type:
- E-Commerce or retail: Feature the products you sell front and center to drive purchase intent.
- App and games: Show the app UI, features, and benefits within the ad creative.
- Local businesses: Bring attention to key visual features of your storefront or location. Highlight what services or products your business specializes in. For example, a local restaurant can showcase popular dishes or specials in their ad creative to entice customers to visit.
7. Leverage testimonials and word of mouth
Leveraging word of mouth is an easy and inexpensive way to attract new customers, and convince them to give your products or services a try. A simple way to harness the power of word of mouth in your marketing is to use video testimonials of customers unboxing and reviewing products, or reviewing your business. Including a spoken testimonial helps Snapchatters better understand your products, relate to your brand, and see how your business can add value. Another tip for using user testimonials on Snapchat is to mirror the bite-sized and linear storytelling of Snaps, and keep ad duration to around 5-6 seconds. This gives your brand the opportunity to reach potential customers in a way that feels organic and non-intrusive to Snapchatters, and puts you right in the middle of their conversations. Ads featuring user generated content (UGC) and/or Snapchat inspired features typically get viewed in full compared to more polished ads, and make your ad feel more conversational.
8. Nurture customers through the buying journey to convert
Marketing is about building awareness of your brand or business, educating potential customers on your products or services, and converting those leads into new customers and repeat buyers. When advertising on Snapchat, we always recommend launching and maintaining a general, awareness focused campaign to start, with limited targeting in place. Having an always-on, broadly targeted campaign collects a wider range of impressions, which can help you interpret how Snapchatters react, respond to, and engage with your brand or business.
Once you have run ads on Snapchat, you can begin to understand how customers are engaging with your ads, and how to move them from engaged, to buying. Retargeting is the easiest way to move potential customers from awareness, to consideration, and finally into the purchase phase of the buying journey. Running reengagement campaigns is the best way to make the most of your digital ad spend, on any advertising platform. All this said, marketing can always be boiled down to a simple funnel, with awareness campaigns gathering the widest amount of exposure possible, consideration campaigns helping educate and engage the potential buyer, and conversion campaigns built to make the sale.
9. Think of digital advertising as an investment, not a cost
One of the most effective ways to market your small business is to invest in digital advertising. Why digital? It’s easy to get started, and relatively inexpensive to test out. Advertising digitally gives all businesses the ability to optimize online campaigns overtime, and spend their advertising budget in the most effective way possible. Additionally, digital advertising allows you to test your creative approach, business messaging, and more to find the winning combination for your business. To summarize, digital marketing is a great way for small businesses to reach a maximum number of potential customers in quick and cost effective way.
On Snapchat, you can get started with mobile ads for just $5 a day. With Snapchat Ads, you can reach a global audience and drive meaningful results, all from your browser window. From simple ways to get started, to advanced advertising capabilities, Snapchat has digital advertising solutions built with small business in mind. Learn more about how advertising on Snapchat works here, and how to get started here.
Snapchat for Business can help small businesses amplify their marketing efforts to reach their current and future customers. Depending on what type of business you run, you might consider a few (or maybe all) viable strategies from the above list. That said, always make sure you have a good understanding of who your target audience is, and where you can reach them. Measure every marketing program you run, and be sure to run small tests with each strategy to see what fails and what performs.