Pandemic or not, with or without an Internet advertising agency, your business still needs to remain operational. The show must go on, right? Well, if you are looking into ways to make drastic improvements on how you advertise and conduct your business with as little a budget as possible, you are in the right place. We have outlined 11 awesome small business marketing strategies you can readily apply today. This is part of our small business tips blogs, so feel free to check out the others in our Blog section!
Keep in mind not all industries and strategies are created equal, so you might have to adapt to fit your specific niche and capabilities. Since these are testing times when many believe a deepened recession 2020 is on the rise, it is absolutely understandable you will want to keep your advertising costs at a minimum. Most of these small business marketing strategies require nothing but your time and creativity. Others will yield maximum results if you delegate them to an agency, but that choice rests entirely on you.
The most important thing you need to understand is that there isn’t a one-strategy-fits-all type of a solution. Each business is unique, even if most owners face similar challenges.
Time to get some sound business advice for your company. Let’s get started!
#1 Facebook Advertising
Millions of small and medium-sized businesses use Facebook to advertise its products and services. It doesn’t require a huge budget to start using its ads feature, and in the beginning, you can simply start by making a company page of your business and try to gather an audience organically.
Creating a Facebook ad has been extremely simplified, and the targeting options allow you to be as specific with the people who will see your ad as possible. You can target based on location, age, sex, interests, online behavior, and much more.
The main components of an ad are a captivating headline, a descriptive ad body, an image, and a link. Four things you can easily piece together, especially if you have a friend who is in marketing or even an employee who can give you a hand (in case that’s not your forte). Check for online tutorials and best practices on Facebook Ads for your specific niche before you begin crafting your ads.
If the core of your business has a strong visual component, you might have more success with Instagram, and its ads feature. It offers the same targeting options as Facebook, but it will allow you to connect to an audience that is better influenced by visual pitches.
#2 Google My Business
When it comes to small, location-based businesses, Google (the most widely used search engine in the world) offers plenty of opportunities for companies to stand out and grab the attention of potential clients. One of their most important and free to set up features is called Google My Business, which is a business directory. You may have seen it once or twice when you have searched for things online. It is the map with local results that appears above any other organic result (and after paid ads).
Do you want your business to be on there? Well, what are you waiting for?
If you are looking to target local clients and maximize your reach with little to no resources for online advertising, GMB should be at the center of your marketing strategy. That is the most basic business advice any marketing consultant will give you.
#3 PPC – Google Adwords
Every second, there are more than 40,000 search queries made on Google. If you’re willing to dedicate a budget for advertising, there is no other method that can potentially get your company in front of that many users.
Even though it is a paid marketing channel, AdWords is all about offering relevant search results to users, which can turn out to be a less expensive way for you to utilize it. As long as you target the right audience and your ads lead to informative and eye-catching web pages that promote your work, the result can be a sustainable channel for leads.
The best thing about AdWords is that it can be paired with just about any other small business marketing strategy. It can help give your company an immediate boost while you’re laying the foundation for attracting organic traffic to your website.
#4 Content Marketing
It’s safe to say content marketing is the backbone of any advertising strategy. It’s not one single thing, but the engine that drives all your efforts. It is the strategy you choose for how to create and distribute your marketing content across certain channels and platforms. Your business or brand needs to have a unified, easily identifiable tone of voice that can be recognized by users. It is how you build up a following and boost your credibility by being consistent.
Unlike using Google AdWords (paid ads), content marketing focuses on attaining long-term results. The goal is to build an audience and drive visitors to your website, so you can have a sustainable conversion strategy.
Are you still wondering what type of mystical being content marketing is?
It’s Coke’s “Share a Coke” Campaign. It’s Nike’s “Just Do It.” It’s creating branded content that creates a unique voice only your company has. It’s the type of voice that people can recognize from your website, social media profiles, other online platforms, and marketing collateral.
For 2016 alone, nearly 20% of marketers stated that content marketing had the greatest commercial impact on the success of their business. For all marketing channels.
Below you can see the results of a study made by SmartInsights in 2016 on the marketing activities that proved most impactful for businesses.
#5 Organic Social Media
What is organic social media? It is all your efforts to engage your audience that don’t include paid advertising. The main goal of social media is to identify where your target customers are and how they like to be approached.
If you run an electronics store, you can turn to Instagram and Facebook to promote new trends in the tech world, upcoming product releases, and product reviews of items you have in your inventory, as well as items on sale. That way, tech-savvy people will easily find you and will be incentivized to follow your social media accounts. It is a sustainable way for you to build a consistent and direct sales channel.
Earlier, we said you need to know how your customers like to be approached and how they prefer to approach a business. About 67% of consumers turn to social media when they want to contact a company, and over 33% prefer social media rather than calling a business on the phone.
The simple truth is that if consumers can’t find your company on social media, they will look for businesses that have accounts in their preferred social media channels. Many of those businesses are your competitors.
#6 Coupon Deal Sites
This is one of the small business tips very few people will recommend. Mostly because it still hasn’t become a popular thing among small businesses, and also because many people aren’t aware of the possible benefits, such as mass exposure of your brand and targeted local advertising.
Every American, and possibly every person in general, loves to get more value for their money, and this includes using coupons. There are many popular sites like Groupon, where you can list a coupon for your service or product. It will both be one more way for people to find you, and a smart strategy to boost your sales.
#7 Email Marketing
You’ve probably heard this term before, and it’s among the most common business advice there is: invest in email marketing.
Why is email marketing even worth your time? It:
- Comes at a low cost
- Offers the potential for global outreach
- Is easy to segment and automate
- Opens a line for immediate communication between you and the client
- Is easy to set up
- Is incredibly easy to optimize and track results
How does email marketing work? It starts with something called a “lead magnet.” This is essentially the compelling offer you can provide to your website visitors in exchange for their email address. This offer can be anything from a free trial, a coupon, a membership, a free download (of a demo, product preview, etc.), you name it. People will be willing to share their email when your offer brings enough value to them.
This may not apply to many industries, but it is generally a good option for the types of businesses whose work can easily be presented, demonstrated, or spark a discussion. A webinar can also serve as a lead magnet, which we discussed in the previous point about email marketing. You can make a recording with tips and tricks relevant to your industry or business and use it to raise awareness and hype people about your work.
The best thing about well-made webinars is that they can also be used as standalone products. So, no matter if you do it live or pre-record it, webinars can be a major game-changer for many businesses.
#9 Join Local Business Groups
These can be both broad entrepreneurial groups or niche-specific networks. The best thing about them is that you all share something in common – owning a business. Joining a local business group is a smart way to get business advice from people who’ve been through what you’re currently dealing with, as well as to source talent, share referrals, find new opportunities, you name it.
#10 Partner with Local Businesses
There is no better arrangement than the mutually beneficial one. When you partner two local businesses together, regardless of how different their industries are, you’d be surprised by the amount of good ROI both sides can get.
What if you have a landscaping business, and you’ve just made friends with the owner of a local coffee shop? You can brand your truck with the coffee shop’s deal and add a tagline saying something like, “Our team runs on teamwork, expertise, and X’s coffee!” In exchange, the coffee shop can put up flyers and other collateral advertising your services.
Sometimes an unlikely business partnership can turn out to be a good boost for both companies involved. Especially in times like these when every effort can make a huge difference in increasing your customer base.
#11 Promote Free Consultations
This is probably one of the most underrated yet effective small business tips out there: when it comes to getting a professional service, consumers want access to expertise. That’s where the value of free consultations is. If you have positioned yourself as an authority or an expert in your niche and/or location, promoting your free consultation offer is an amazing way to generate new leads.
The main concern people have (including some of our clients) is that they worry they might disclose their know-how during the consultation. They feel like they’ll offer their expertise for free, and the lead will just take that information and run. While there are people who only want to get the info and go, these are customers who were never interested in buying anyway. However, the people who are indeed interested in booking a quality service will actually be impressed by your expert consultation, and it can make them all the more convinced they want to choose you and your business.
The Bottom Line
Most of these small business marketing strategies require little to no financial investment, but they all need you to dedicate your time and effort to your business. Go through each strategy, figure out whether it is something you can afford to do at the moment, and if it can be adapted to your niche. Don’t sign things off before you’ve even given them good consideration. The most thriving businesses are the ones that don’t miss out on opportunities.
Stay tuned for more small business tips and tricks!