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Marketing 360® Blog

Top 10 Digital Marketing Channels for Small Business by ROI

Now, more than ever, business owners are looking to make their digital marketing budget go as far as possible.

Thanks to the coronavirus and the recession it’s led us to, small businesses across the United States are tightening their belts. However, that doesn’t mean that marketing should stop. Marketing during even the worst economic downturns is the key to staying ahead of the curve; however, not all marketing channels are made equal.

Now is not the time to have a willy nilly marketing strategy or the time to throw money at many different channels to see what will stick. You want to know which marketing channels will give you the biggest return on your investment (ROI).

The Best Marketing Channels for Small Business by ROI

#10. Multi-Channel Brand Campaigns

When people think of your brand first when they think of products or services in your industry, you know you’ve really made it. This is best accomplished through multiple-channel brand marketing campaigns.

Rather than marketing your products or services, this strategy is all about marketing your brand with the goal of creating recognition and building trust with consumers. However, recognition and trust do not happen overnight, and since these types of campaigns involve multiple channels, they’re also expensive.

#9. Highly Targeted Social Ads

Social media advertising is a great way to extend offers and introduce your brand to more users, and with targeting, you can ensure that you’re only advertising to people who are interested in or could benefit from what you have to offer.

Most products and services don’t benefit everyone. For example, bridal photography packages do no good for a mom looking to take family photos. That’s why advertising to everyone is a bust; you’re paying to get your name in front of people who will never want or need what you have to offer.

#8. Highly Targeted Search Ads

Search advertising is another effective option for getting the word out about who you are and what you do. And, just like on social media, you can make your search advertising campaigns more effective by targeting people who are actively searching for what you have to offer.

In a search advertising campaign, your ads only show up when people search for specific search terms, like “Mexican Restaurant in Loveland” or “Pink Platform Boots.”

#7. Multi-Channel Retargeting

When someone visits your website after clicking on a social ad or a search ad, they may or may not be ready to make a purchase immediately. Some people need some time to think about it for a whole host of reasons. Some people will get so far as adding the product to the cart before abandoning it.

Don’t despair. Visitors who don’t immediately make a purchase aren’t lost forever. You can often get them back with a simple reminder that you’re there, ready to help. This is most effectively done through multi-channel retargeting ads.

#6. Paid Brand Search Ads

Search advertising is usually about specific keywords that have to do with your products or services. In other words, search advertising is traditionally about advertising what you’re offering instead of who you are. But, brand search ads are all about advertising for your brand.

Why do brand search ads have a better ROI than traditional search ads? It’s because not many other companies are going to be out there competing for your brand. With less competition, each ad is more affordable.

#5. Social Media Management

Social media management is the organic side of social media, and it’s a powerful way to connect with your audience online, to build more recognition in your brand, and to gather feedback about your business.

While social media advertising leads to immediate sales and growth, it costs more and doesn’t lead to the kind of lasting connections that social media management does.

Social media management is a long haul. It involves regularly posting fresh, engaging content, keeping the conversation going with your customers, and staying in the moment. It takes time and energy, but it pays off in the end.

#4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If social media management is the organic side of social media, SEO is the organic side of search. Sure, you won’t show up at the top of the rankings right away like you would with paid search ads, but over time, those organic clicks will mean a lot more visibility for a lot less.

SEO has a bad reputation for being complicated, but the reality is that it’s just time-consuming and energy-intensive. The three basics of SEO are keyword research, content, and backlinking — none of which are particularly challenging.

You can’t write one blog and expect to rank on page one for competitive keywords. It can take months to start reaping the rewards of investing in SEO, but once you get there, your site will be more visible than ever before.

#3. Listings

Marketing success online — and offline — is all about being where your target audience is looking. If you’re a local business, lots of people in your community will be looking for listings on local directories and review sites. It behooves you to be there when they do.

Making sure that your business is listed — and that your listings are updated with your current NAP (name, address, phone number) — is critical to any local business’s success because it ensures that people who find your listing are actually able to get a hold of you.

With so many different listings out there, how do you ensure that your business is listed on the most important ones? Using a tool like Marketing 360®’s listings program allows you to get your business listed across the most important directories in minutes.

#2. Email and SMS Marketing

Most of the channels I’ve talked about so far are about getting your name out there and introducing your brand, product, or services to a new audience. Email and SMS marketing are a little different, but they are all about nurturing the customers you already have.

Email and SMS are digital marketing channels that are dedicated to deepening the relationships you have with your existing customers. They can range from happy birthday messages to special offers, but it’s all with one goal in mind — to increase the average lifetime value of your customers.

#1. Referrals and Reviews

As social beings, people are greatly influenced by their peers. So, when their peers recommend a plumber, a nail salon, or any number of products, people are going to listen. This is called social proof, and it’s most commonly seen in the form of reviews and referrals.

Reviews and referrals give you the biggest return on your investment because they are the most effective way to market your business. You can have the best ads or social media posts, but nothing quite compares to getting a recommendation from another customer or, better yet, a friend.


From pay-per-click advertising and SEO to social media management and email marketing, Marketing 360 has what it takes to help you make the most of your digital marketing budget. Learn more today.