You’re ready to market your small business, and you have several strategies available to you. Will you market yourself through Facebook or Twitter, pay for ads on Google Search, invest in great website content, or start to build out your email list?
When you’re developing your marketing strategy and funnel, and utilizing the best CRM software (opens in new tab) to keep track of your project, it can be helpful to split your approaches into two broad areas:
- Organic marketing strategies for small business, which help your website, articles, and other content appear on search engines and arrive in people’s inboxes
- Paid promotion, where you pay for ads to be shown next to search engine results, on websites, and in social media feeds
Getting a foundation in small business marketing
Below, we’re going to discuss organic marketing strategies for small business, and how these can become an essential part of your overall marketing strategy. We’ll dig into the three main organic channels, and look at the best resources, software, tools, and platforms for each one.
We’re building on topics we’ve explored in our previous guides, specifically:
- Marketing 101: marketing basics for small business owners (opens in new tab), where we introduce basic marketing strategies and the main channels you can use to reach customers
- Six small business marketing strategies that work (opens in new tab), where we dive into several strategies and how you can apply them to your small business
- What is a marketing funnel and how does it work? (opens in new tab), where we pour ourselves into the idea of the marketing funnel, and discuss why it’s such an important approach to attracting and persuading customers
- The best digital channels for marketing funnel stages (opens in new tab), where we bring together the marketing funnel with various marketing channels, so you can build an end-to-end marketing plan
- What is digital marketing? (opens in new tab), which provides a helpful overview of how to market yourself online
We recommend you scan through the above posts to get a good grounding on the concepts we’ll be exploring in this guide.
Let’s get into it.
The basics of organic marketing
Organic marketing is about promoting your business in three main ways:
- Website content marketing (opens in new tab) that you post on your website or other sites that will attract people to your online business
- Social media content (opens in new tab) that you share into various social media networks, so that your followers and fans can see and react to that content
- Newsletter and email content that you send to people who have joined your mailing list
Organic marketing is distinct from paid advertising, because you don’t pay for your content to be shown to your audience. You may still need to pay for the original content creation, but once you’ve done that, you’re relying on organic search, social media feeds, and emails to promote your business.
Website content marketing strategies
You can use website content marketing in several ways:
- Create content that you publish on your own website, so that your pages show up in organic search when people are looking for keywords related to your industry, products, and services
- Create content that you publish on other websites, with a link back to your website to help boost the likelihood of appearing in search (by creating backlinks)
- Create content that you publish on third-party platforms like YouTube, Medium, Reddit, and so on, which drives interest in your business
- Create organic social media content (we’ll get into that a little later)
How to create website content marketing
Here’s a breakdown of the steps you can follow to develop excellent website content marketing:
- Develop a content strategy: You don’t just want to be creating content at random - it should all be part of a cohesive marketing strategy. That means building a marketing plan, and aligning your content and channels so you’re communicating in the right way, to the right people, at the right time.
- Decide on the type of content you want to create: You have plenty of options here, including: blog articles; videos; explainers; landing pages; images and illustrations; podcasts and audio; branding and graphic design; website design; and more.
- Define the content and create instructions: Decide on what you want the content to be, how it should look, the approach it should take, and other key factors.
- Find someone to create the content: Depending on your skills and abilities, you can create the content yourself, get an employee to do it, or bring in outside freelance help. For example, the author of this article is a freelance writer who specializes in business and technology.
- Work together to create the content: Go through a content draft, creation, review, and feedback process, so that you get the content you want.
- Decide where you will publish the content: You might choose to publish on your own website, on a related site as guest content, or on a third-party platform.
- Publish the content and track results: Use analytics and other tools to see how your content does, so you can tweak, refine, and create high-performing content in future.
Best content marketing software and tools
- Project and content tracking: GatherContent, Monday.com (opens in new tab), Clickup, Asana (opens in new tab)
- Content creation: Adobe Creative Cloud (opens in new tab) (Illustrator, Photoshop, Premier, etc), MS Office (opens in new tab), Google Office Suite, Canva (opens in new tab)
- Tracking visitors to your sites, how they got there, and what they did: Google Analytics
- Content marketing keywords and tracking: Google Search Console, Google Analytics, HubSpot (opens in new tab), SEMRush (opens in new tab), and other tools
Best freelance content marketer hiring platforms and companies
The best platforms and companies to find and hire freelance content creators from include Fiverr, Fiverr Pro, Upwork, Toptal, 99Designs, LinkedIn, and individual job websites (opens in new tab).
Social media organic content marketing strategies
You can use social media marketing through several different methods:
- Building an overall social media strategy of what you’re going to post and when
- Setting up pages, groups, and accounts that your audience can like and follow
- Creating and sharing content on your favorite social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn
- Managing groups and discussions on social media
- Engaging with customers, comments, and other interactions with your brand
How to manage your social media organic marketing
You’ll follow some of the same steps with organic social media marketing as you would with regular website content marketing, so we won’t get into too much of that detail here. Instead, it’s helpful to focus on content marketing approaches that are specific to social media. You will want to:
- Develop an organic social media content strategy: As per website content marketing, but with a focus on the social networks where your customers are likely to hand out.
- Decide on the type of social media content you want to create: As per website content marketing.
- Define the social media content and create instructions: As per website content marketing.
- Find someone to create the social media content: As per website content marketing, except you’ll want to find someone who specializes in social media content creation, as it’s a very specific skill set.
- Find someone to manage your social media: Hire a social media marketing manager/coordinator who can monitor, manage, and communicate through your social media accounts.
- Work together to create the social media content: As per website content marketing.
- Decide where you will publish the social media content: As per website content marketing, except you will need to match the content with the social media channel: for example, very visual posts for Instagram and Pinterest, professional posts for LinkedIn, short posts for Twitter, and so on.
- Publish the social media content and track results: As per website content marketing.
Best social media marketing software and tools
- Social media content creation: Adobe Creative Cloud (Illustrator, Photoshop, Premier, etc), MS Office, Google Office Suite, Canva
- Tracking visitors to your websites, how they got there, and what they did: Google Analytics
- Social media marketing, monitoring, and tracking: Google Analytics, HubSpot, Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social
Email and newsletter organic content marketing strategies
Email and newsletter marketing are slightly different from the other methods we’ve mentioned, as you’ll be marketing to people who have already signed up for your email list. This does mean a slightly different approach, as you’ll be sharing information with leads who already know about your business. The process tends to work as follows:
- Encourage people to sign up to receive emails from you, normally by incentivizing them through a lead magnet or similar marketing
- Build an email list of interested leads
- Create an email marketing campaign that sends out helpful news, guides, and information about your products and services
- Setup email automation to send out your emails
- Track the effectiveness of your email campaigns
How to create emails and newsletters
You’ll follow some of the same steps with newsletter and email marketing as you would with regular website content marketing. We’ll cover that briefly, but focus more on the aspects that are unique to email and newsletters.
- Develop an email and newsletter marketing campaign: You’ll want to put together a step-by-step marketing strategy and campaign for the specific mix of emails you send out, together with a timeline for emailing after a customer has signed up.
- Decide on the type of email content you want to create: As per website content marketing.
- Define the email content and create instructions: As per website content marketing.
- Find someone to create the email content: As per website content marketing, except you’ll want to find someone who specializes in email and newsletter content creation; also consider the other parts of the email campaign, as these emails will “drip” out and build on each other.
- Work together to create the email content: As per website content marketing.
- Use email software to automate your drip campaign: We’ve listed some helpful software below.
- Send out your emails and track results: You will want to measure open rates and how often people click through.
Best email marketing software (opens in new tab) and tools
- Email content creation: Adobe Creative Cloud (Illustrator, Photoshop, Premier, etc), MS Office, Google Office Suite, Canva
- Email marketing and tracking: Constant Contact (opens in new tab), MailChimp (opens in new tab), and other tools
Marketing automation software can be incredibly helpful for managing your organic channels. From scheduling social media posts to sending out emails on the right timeline, here’s a guide to creating an automated marketing flow (opens in new tab) that works for you.
Organic marketing is incredibly useful for businesses. Used well, it can create powerful connections, share helpful information, and build trust—which are great starting points for selling your products and services.
Further reading on marketing
Learn more about marketing, including automating functions between businesses or just in general, in our explainers answering the following questions: what is digital marketing (opens in new tab); what is marketing automation (opens in new tab); and what is B2B marketing automation (opens in new tab).