If you’re reading this, it probably means you need marketing for small business. Luckily for you, I have all the answers. Since marketing has become so accessible, small businesses find it easier to gain a foothold in the market. Here are 13 sure-fire ways to market your small business successfully (without creating a deep hole in your pocket!):
#1. Create a marketing plan
If you have a plan, you’ll save tons of time. An effective marketing plan should consist of the following:
- Measurable goals
Employees will be much more motivated to perform well if they know that their goals are achievable. Set challenging but practical goals that bring out the fullest in employees. Setting goals will also help set a clear direction for employees to work toward.
- A timeline
Is it just me or does everyone work the hardest when deadlines are near? Similarly, without a timeline, your employees may take too long to complete tasks. Suppose your online business offers home delivery. If your employees are told that delivery should be within 3 days, they will make sure to send it on time. However, if there’s no specific delivery date, a longer delivery time is more likely; thus, unhappy customers.
This is one of the most crucial aspects of marketing for small businesses. Due to limited resources, they need to opt for affordable solutions. Doing your research on costing beforehand can save you a lot of time. For example, a furniture business needs a hire a good quality wood manufacturer. Visiting different manufacturers will help the business strike a good deal that is affordable, while also providing high quality. Small businesses often opt to carry out the production process on their own as it less expensive on a small scale. When budgeting, utilize your R&D (Research and Department) team to the fullest.
While consumers fret over the fact that robots and machines are replacing human labor, it is very advantageous from a business point of view. According to research, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are the most popular investments of 2019.
Aside from startup costs, automation is very budget-friendly in the long run. How? Less manpower means a lower payroll, thus increasing cash flow. Moreover, machinery eliminates the aspect of human error which eventually leads to customer satisfaction as production is consistent. This means that your business will be able to create customer loyalty and higher revenues.
Automation is the future. Here’s how you can implement it:
- Email marketing – platforms like MailChimp will keep each customer engaged and happy through automated emails. However, consider this platform only if your business is doing well and you can afford to sign up
- Social media: Hootsuite is a great platform that allows you to schedule posts and get creative with social media apps like Pinterest and Instagram
#3. Affiliate program
Sometimes, hiring a marketing team, conducting market research and advertising can be quite costly. Instead, businesses have started to conduct affiliate programs. Affiliates is similar to outsourcing your marketing needs to another firm and paying them a commission for the revenue that they generate.
If you’re hesitating to rely on another firm, you should know that 81% of brands rely on affiliate programs. The global affiliate industry is currently worth $12 billion. Read about the best affiliate programs, as told by Small biz trends.
On the other hand, your firm can also act as an affiliate in order to earn some extra revenue. Here’s how it works:
Source: HubSpot blog
Your SEO structure should be a crucial part of your marketing strategy. If you’re not willing to spend money on PPC ads and visitors, a good SEO strategy will get you loads of organic visitors. Why? If your website or content is Search Engine Optimised, it will automatically rank higher, thus making it visible to users.
A few good SEO tips and tricks will cost you nothing but a bit of research. It’s best to create a blog if you don’t already have one, because the more content you have, the higher your website will rank. However, make sure you use relevant keywords that users are likely to search for, otherwise your blog may not end up in the first page of search engines.
You can use software such as Image Compressor to optimise images on your website so that your page loads faster. Statistics show that 53% of users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load! Moreover, a mistake that almost all small businesses make is not registering their website with search engines. If your website is not secure, Google will warn visitors; thus making them hesitant to make purchases on your website.
Source: Google Developers
This is why your SEO structure can make or break your marketing strategy.
#5. Social media apps
Currently, there are 3.4 million social media users and this number is only growing. This is because the millennial generation is addicted to social media platforms. As a business, you need to take advantage of that.
Here’s what social media has to offer:
- Automation: Features such as scheduled posts and automated replies will make your life much easier. Take a look at the Top 11 best social media automation tools.
- Analytical tools: Tools like Facebook Analytics will help you track the performance of your social media campaign i.e. user activity, funnels, engagement reach, competitor analysis, and revenue generation.
- Brand awareness & identity: Social media is a great way to make people get to know your brand. Use infographics, video content, eye-catching photos, trending hashtags and interact frequently with your followers to effectively create a social media presence.
Learn more about how to create a powerful social media strategy.
After Google, Yelp is the next go to for consumers. That is big. 45% of customers claim that they check reviews on Yelp before visiting a business. This app has the power to influence customer decisions and purchases, so make sure to list your business there and earn a great online reputation.
Learn how to boost your business on Yelp.
#7. PPC Advertising
This form of marketing is great for small businesses because payment depends on the success of the ads. Businesses are charged a fee every time their ads are clicked on. On average, businesses earn $2 for every $1 that they spend on Google PPC ads. If you’re relying on organic visitors, you should know that 50% of PPC visitors are more likely to purchase a product as compared to organic visitors.
Incase you want to add PPC ads to your marketing strategy, here’s how the process works:
Source: IMG Web Design
#8. SMS Marketing
At present, SMS is the only marketing channel with an open rate as high as 98%. It is also one of the cheapest ways to get the word out. One text will cost you pennies on the dollar, along with the added features which SMS platforms offer. A great SMS platform that is inexpensive and helps to generate revenue is ExpressText. All you have to do is create an account and upload your contact list, and you’ll be able to send thousands of messages at once!
Since it costs less, you can interact with all the potential customers in your area and let them know that your brand is in the market. Companies also use text message marketing services for promotions and discounts, customer helplines and a number of other services.
#9. Online contests
This will cost you nothing but a few of your products, and it brings in a HUGE number of followers. Google sets a great example of this. It hosts an annual programming contest which is open to professionals as well as amateurs. The prize for the winner is a hefty $5000! This type of money could help individuals create their own startups.
The idea is to create awareness and attention surrounding your brand. Your promotion does not necessarily have to be related to your brand. If your brand is new with limited resources, you can always start out with smaller prizes e.g. salons offering free services for customers who win their contest by promoting the brand.
#10. Guerilla Marketing
Using unconventional ways to grab consumer attention does not necessarily have to be costly. You don’t need a huge billboard to display your idea, you just need a creative notion. That is the true essence of guerilla marketing for small businesses.
A distinctive example of guerilla marketing was displayed by Steal Jeep. To market their Jeep’s powerful drive, take a look at what they did:
While you probably won’t be allowed to park in these spaces, an advertisement that portrays how Jeep can easily park in these difficult spots is genius! For small businesses, an idea like this is usually possible at minimal costs, thus increasing Return on Investment.
Learn more about Guerilla Marketing tactics, tips and examples.
#11. Email Marketing
Just like SMS, email is one of the least costly ways of creating brand awareness. It’s Return on Investment is extremely high i.e. for every $1 you spend, you’re likely to earn $44! This is perhaps why it ranks third highest on the list of most effective marketing channels.
Here are a few tips to make sure your email marketing campaign is effective:
- Personalise your emails to each sender
- Keep your emails short and to the point
- Come up with a catchy subject line
- Use a lot of white space
To make sure your email campaign is effective, sign up with a good email platform like Drip.
#12. Google my Business
Google my Business is absolutely free and it’s great for attracting new customers on Google Search or maps. It helps you stand out as your business will pop up just as customers search for it. All you have to do is enter your business details such as location and a contact number, and Google will do the rest!
Sometimes, all consumers need is a little push to purchase your product or service. If your business or industry allows the flexibility of bargaining and you can tell that a customer is hesitant to buy your product, offer them a discount. If not, you can always sell them benefits of after sales service such as warranties. Give potential customers an incentive so that they try out your product.
All thanks to technology, marketing for small business is no longer a difficult task. You could reach the masses the same as any large corporation in the industry. Growing your business has never been faster and easier. Use these digital marketing tips to market your business effectively and at the lowest possible cost.
To read further on this topic, read the amazing online marketing tactics for small businesses with low budgets by Neil Patel, known as the top influencer and online marketer by the WallStreet Journal.