It’s a great time to be a small business owner. With the internet changing the world on a daily basis, there is a multitude of opportunities available for anyone who’s looking to make their mark in the world through their business. For businesses, in particular, the ways to promote your products and services has gone up exponentially.
Like anything, though, online marketing costs money and small businesses, with their limited capital, cannot afford to employ every strategy to boost their businesses. Keeping this in mind, I’m going to tell you about six kickass, low-budget, online marketing strategies.
So, whether you own a restaurant, a clothing line, or a consulting line, here’s how you can improve your online marketing without breaking your bank account:
The first step to creating a kickass online marketing campaign is determining your end goal and budget. You may think this step is pretty much a given, but you’d be surprised how many businesses dive into something without knowing what they want from it.
It’s at this point that you decide what should be prioritized and what shouldn’t. Is your final goal an increase in your reach or greater local exposure? What about brand awareness?
It’s important to determine these steps to ensure everyone in your team is working towards the same goal. If you have a remote team, you need to ensure their strategy is in line with the business’s overall strategy to avoid disconnect.
For a small business owner, email marketing is one of the best ways to build customer loyalty. If your customers and potential audience are open to sharing their email addresses, it allows you to send emails once in a while about sales and events to keep them interested in your business. Managing the customer’s loyalty isn’t an easy feat at all, so you need to ensure you have the right tools for it.
You should also send them weekly or bi-weekly newsletters just to ensure your business stays on top of their minds. Customers are more likely to engage with your business if you showcase the people behind it; include your employees in your emotional content and celebrate them.
Here’s what you can do to take your email marketing up a notch:
- Use it in combination with an easy to use CRM software
- Sign up for MailChimp to avail a free email marketing service with other useful features, such as predesigned templates
- Try different combinations of subject lines and email timings to determine what works best
- Ensure your emails are mobile-friendly
Social Media Advertising
Today, over 5 million businesses are using Facebook to get their message across to their audiences. Online marketing through Facebook is an effective and inexpensive way to market your products and services to your target market.
Facebook ads are the best of the bunch where targeting is concerned. You can easily target an audience based on various demographic and psychographic factors, including age, gender, location, interests, online behavior, etc.
To top it all off, creating Facebook ads is a piece of cake. All you need is a catchy headline, an aesthetically-pleasing image, a description, and a link. Apart from this, the Facebook Ads Manager is extremely simple to use and test numerous ad sets, giving you the chance to see what works best.
If your business works with a strong visual component, you should also consider using Instagram Ads. Since it’s a subsidiary of Facebook, the algorithm is pretty much the same where targeting is concerned, allowing to target an audience that will respond more to visual content.
Search Engine Optimization
Many small business owners have no idea what SEO is, so let me give you a brief intro if you’re one of them. Well, SEO stands for search engine optimization which is a combination of tactics used by marketers to rank higher on search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, to increase the number of people who visit their website.
It can take a long time for SEO to start yielding results, but it’s a strategy that’s extremely useful for the long-run. One of the first, and most important, things you can do to increase traffic is keyword research.
Keyword research gives you insight on what words and phrases your target audience searches for when looking for products and services that meet their needs. Smaller businesses often get intimidated by the idea of competing with bigger business, which is why you should always start with long-tail keywords which are relatively less competitive.
For starters, identify keywords that will bring the right kind of visitors to your site using a tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner. You should also try to determine the type of problems your target consumer could be facing and offer a solution to that.
Once you know what keywords are popular, you should incorporate them in your content to increase its likelihood to rank higher on search engines. Keywords should ideally be included your body content, headlines, title tags, image file names, and meta descriptions.
If search engine optimization seems too complicated and intimidating, you can always outsource internet marketing to a company that knows its way around it.
Start A Blog
Blogging is an extremely fun way to draw customers. It’s great for brand awareness and exposure since it’s your chance to show your target audience the human side of your business. Not just that, but your business blog is where potential customers can witness your expertise and look to you for advice and guidance. It’s also a chance for you to brag about your business blog through project completions, hitting milestones, award announcements, and demonstrating your business savvy.
There a few tips to keep in mind when you’re blogging for your business. Remember, quality, not quantity, is key, but consistency is also important. You should aim to publish a new post at least once every week. You should also ensure you’re optimizing for SEO so people can find your content.
If you try to implement these six strategies at the same time, you’re probably going to end up spending more than you want to. The aim isn’t to try everything; the objective is to try and see what works for you.
Not every business is the same and, hence, not every customer is the same. Similarly, what works for you may not work for another business which is why it’s essential for you to use a trial and error approach. Mix and match different combinations to determine how you can make the most of your marketing budget.
Have you tried any of these strategies before? Or would you recommend any other strategy? Let us know in the comments below!
Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me.