As a small business owner you probably wear more hats on any given day than most people do in a lifetime. Being a jack-of-all-trades can be tiring, especially when you’re trying to manage your marketing while also managing the books.
When you’re low on time or cash, it’s easy to neglect the marketing side of things. Marketing is a hefty task, but forgoing the promotion of your business will end up losing you both customers and sales. In this digital age, marketing doesn’t cost the earth, and when done right rewards you with a steady stream of new customers and sales.
Here are five ideas to help you make a splash on a shoestring:
Google My Business
While this seems obvious, it’s worth reiterating for those that missed the memo. Every small business needs a Google My Business account, as it helps you harness the search engine’s mighty power. Easy to set up, it improves your business’ local visibility in any relevant searches. It literally puts your business on the map, and as it’s free, there’s no excuse not to have one.
Referrals, reviews and recommendations
Word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising there is, period. Personal recommendations from satisfied customers build trust and credibility in your business. The secret to getting them is to ask! Make it easy for your clients to leave a review by including a link on a thank-you email; reward clients that refer you; network existing clients and turn them into advocates for your small business.
Guest blog on industry & media publications
It’s a little-known fact, but media outlets are hungry for content. Turn this to your advantage, and pitch for a guest blog on any relevant website. This allows you to position yourself as a credible authority and industry expert, exposing your small business to a bigger audience. As a bonus, it’ll drive traffic to your website and increase your SEO by creating backlinks from a high-ranking site. Win-win all round.
Get social on online communities
One of the great things about the internet is that there’s an online forum (usually on Reddit) for everything, no matter how niche. Join relevant ones – but keep your marketing subtle unless you want to get flamed. You can’t spam the community with thinly disguised ads, or you’ll get kicked off. Instead, contribute to the discussion and build an authority for yourself without mentioning your business. Passively promote your business through your profile/sign-off instead. Only when the context is right is it appropriate to directly reference what you do.
Educate, don’t sell
All your marketing content (be this emails, blogs or Facebook posts) needs to be relevant and informative to your audience, otherwise you’ll find them unsubscribing and unfollowing in droves! The easiest way to do this is to provide useful information that educates and entertains. Restaurant owner? Share recipes for off-menu items. Interior designer? Write a blog on this year’s hottest design trends. Whatever you do, just make sure you’re creative, authentic and never ever hard-sell.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a large marketing budget to attract the attention of customers to your business. Done well, and done creatively, marketing increases the chances of your business succeeding in today’s competitive world.
Stuck for ideas, or not sure how to craft killer prose? At Hunter & Scribe we can help you target your customers with quality content. Contact us at [email protected] to find out what a Hunter & Scribe specialist can do for your business today.