Congratulations, you have a small business! People like you are what makes the world go round. But sometimes it can be hard to compete with bigger, better known businesses with higher budgets and bigger staff, especially when it comes to marketing. After all, marketing is a great way to boost awareness and therefore sales. But for us little guys, a little extra effort can go a long way, and on a budget.
Here are a few easy and inexpensive marketing tips for small businesses of any type. It’s all about trial and error and learning what works best for your clientele, but remember to give everything enough of a shot to be able to truly tell if it worked or not.
Communicating with your customers or clients is a crucial part of the process. How is the best way to do this? Many would say running email marketing campaigns. Services including MailChimp and Constant Contact offer freemium (free at first, with options to upgrade for cost) membership models for small businesses to send professional and beautiful email blasts. Collecting emails through a contest, loyalty program, and/or website field will give you a chunk of contacts to blast about sales, promotions, and updates.
This is a great place to showcase user generated content pulled from social media, highlight press or reviews, and promote your engaging online content you’ve created for your business, which we’ll discuss next. Some businesses send these multiple times a week, while others opt for twice a month or so. Test frequencies and check open rates to see what works best for your and your audience. All of these simple to understand analytics are available through the email marketing software. Create Engaging Online Content
A great way to get people talking about your business is to give them something they want to read or watch. An instructional video, an informative blog from the CEO, a beautiful image gallery, all of these can be done in house by the most word or photo savvy employee and post on your company’s website and social media. Figure out what customers in your niche are interested in and cater to that.
You don’t need these to be ads, people want more than just to be sold to. If you are a cleaning service, try a blog like “10 No Mess Recipes for Valentine’s Day,” or something surrounding an upcoming topical holiday.
This content is great for retaining customers who are already a fan of your brand
, but also those looking for your type of service or product online via search, come across the engaging content you’ve made, and end up learning about your business. Offer Local Deals
Another inexpensive and effective way to boost business and help introduce new customers to your business is to experiment with local deals such as Groupon or Yelp. While these often incentivize customers by offering them a discounted rate, this paired with amazing service and experience can help turn discount hunters into regulars.
Make sure these customers have an amazing experience, possibly leave a positive review if you can incentivize that, and are educated about your recurring promotions. Also grab their email to add to your email blast list as we mentioned earlier. Optimize SEO
When it comes down to it, word of mouth is just not enough these days. There are dozens, if not, hundreds of potential customers of yours looking to find your business via search and it’s up to you to be seen. Optimizing your website’s SEO
, whether it’s via a plug in or hiring someone to make sure everything is tagged with keywords, will help your business show up earlier in search results, which leads to a higher visibility and click through.
Focus on what your name your URLs (descriptive), the keywords
you use, meta tags, page content, linkbacks to your own content, and tags on images. Having other sites such as partners, former clients, or neighbors link from their site back to a page of yours can also help with search results.