If you own a small business or have considered starting one, you’ve likely run into marketing concerns. Unlike the big corporate powers of the world, you may not have a bank account bursting with funds to market your business.
Lucky for you, it’s the 21st century and there is a myriad of possibilities for anyone with Internet access to help market a small business. What’s more is that many of these tactics are a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing strategies, meaning you can get more bang for your buck.
So if you like the sound of making your dollar stretch further, this article is for you. We enlisted a handful of marketing pros to reveal their best tips and tricks to help you make more with less. Here are their best small business marketing tips:
1. Get active on social media
Having a social media presence is a no-brainer for small businesses, according to Katie Bisson of Technology Seed. It’s free of charge and a large percentage of your audience is likely already using some form of it. She says it’s a great marketing platform that allows you to interact with your customers in real time.
“The trick with social media is to post consistently and interact with your social community,” Bisson says. If used correctly, she believes social media has the power to help you build a solid pipeline of customers.
2. Don’t be over-promotional
Bisson mentioned the importance of using social media correctly, and that’s where this tip comes in. It’s easy for businesses to abuse their social networks by bombarding followers with sales material, according to online marketing consultant James Blews. The key is to use these platforms to spread your brand message and provide helpful and entertaining content to your audience.
“Accounts that are strictly for sales, offerings and pushing product over the brand’s own message usually fail to grow and succeed,” Blews says. It’s important to ensure you are sharing a broad mix of content – like news from the field or industry trends – rather than exclusively your business initiatives.
3. Start blogging
“Blog, blog and blog! Nothing says ‘Hey Google, Look at me!’ more than content,” says Frank Gatlin of Sites Align. Providing helpful answers to your audience’s questions is a great way to build loyalty.
"Nothing says 'Hey Google, Look at me!' more than content."
“Think of questions you regularly receive from customers and use that question as a blog topic,” suggests marketing specialist Matt DeMargel. He urges small businesses to incorporate a blog on their website to add informative content that reaches clients in the exploratory phase of their purchasing decision. He suggests keep your content informative and genuine; try not to sound too “salesy.”
4. Give your website a makeover
Your website is often the first impression a client has with your brand, so make sure it’s polished. Companies often make the mistake of burying important information on their site, according to Marilyn Heywood Paige of Fig Advertising.
“Look at your website through the eyes of a new customer,” she suggests. “What information are they most likely to be looking for? Make that content obvious!” She recommends always placing your contact information in the header and footer of each page.
Another pointer from the pros is to simply review your site periodically. Paige urges small business owners to keep a lookout for broken links and outdated content or photos.
5. Reveal your brand in a video
“If you want to increase sales or traffic to your store, mobile video is a must,” says Ashley Cisneros of Chatter Buzz Media. Research has found that 73 percent of U.S. adults are more likely to make a purchase after watching an online video explaining the product or service.
Cisneros has witnessed recent increases in the production of mobile-friendly videos from small businesses. These can be as simple as a one-minute how-to video explaining your product or service. Hiring a professional crew to produce these assets can be expensive, so she suggests using simple video apps to create your video on a minimal budget.
6. Become an authority in your industry
“Earned media is better than advertising,” says consultant Paul Dillon. He says volunteering to write articles for trade publications or offering to speak at an industry conference can create some buzz around your company and help you build authority in the field.
"Earned media is better than advertising."
This also can be done in the form of guest blogging, according to Kelsey Goeres, marketing associate at MyCorporation. She recommends reaching out to bloggers in your industry to inquire about contributing to their website.
“It’s a great way to get your name out there in front of an audience who’s already interested in your product or service,” Goeres says.
7. Tell a story
Journalists have used this tactic for years – nothing captures interest like a compelling story. One of the best methods of grabbing your audience’s attention is via email, according to Adam Dukes, creative director of Social Sinergy. When executed the right way, he claims this is one of the cheapest and most effective ways of marketing.
“The secret to successful email marketing is storytelling,” Dukes says, “Facts tell, stories sell!” He reveals that his secret recipe for composing compelling emails is to always integrate his business messages in a real-life scenario. By tying his everyday life and current events into his campaigns, his emails come off as authentic and amusing – not pushy and promotional.
8. Listen to a story
If there’s one thing people like more than hearing a good story, it’s the chance to share one. Simply paying attention to your clients comments and concerns can go a long way, according to Paige Arnof-Fenn, CEO of marketing firm Mavens & Moguls.
“Your customers are more than happy to tell you about their problems. If you just listen to them, you can follow up with ways to help,” Arnof-Fenn says. She suggests asking some prospective customers some open-ended questions and just sit back and listen. The more you understand the priorities and pain points of your demographic, the better you can serve them.
Get more bang for your buck
These small business marketing tips illustrate how you can create a winning marketing strategy even without a million-dollar budget. These expert tips and tricks are just a few of the countless ways you can creatively stretch your marketing dollars to spread the word about your company.
Do you have some small business marketing tips to add to our list? Share them in the comments below or on our Rasmussen College School of Business Facebook page.