Small business marketing can be daunting, especially if you don’t have the budget to hire a dedicated marketing coordinator or to splash your advertising across every billboard in town. Luckily for you, you can experience high rewards from quite little effort in internet marketing. All you need is some nous and commitment when it comes to running your own online marketing campaign.
Online marketing can be as complicated and time-consuming as you let it, but with the basics, you can run a solid campaign for just a little bit of money, or even none at all.
Before You Start
Even if you’re not investing money, you’re investing time and effort. Any small business needs to take a moment to reflect on their audience, their competition, and their place in the market before they embark on any marketing effort.
Have a think about your audience and your target market. Get an idea about how your competitors are marketing themselves. Identify any gaps in the market or ways which you can leverage a unique feature of yours to put you above the competitors. Doing this will allow you to refine your marketing efforts to maximize the overall effectiveness of your campaign.
Now, let’s look at high-impact, low-cost options for marketing your business…
No cost: Setting up social media accounts is free on almost every platform. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube… They’re all free and super easy to set up. The benefits of marketing your business on social media are endless and are detailed in other blogs, but the major takeaway points are these: a social media presence for your business allows you to reach a wider audience, build and engage with a community, and promote your brand identity. Your business needs a social media presence.
Managing a social media presence does take a bit of input – you can’t just create a page a leave it. You need to be regularly posting new content and engaging with your followers. It’s important to think about which platforms will benefit you most and only join those, rather than joining all of them and never using them.
LinkedIn is a great platform for B2B marketing and for targeting professionals, whereas Pinterest is great for showcasing products. Think about your audience and which platforms they use.
Low cost: Each social media platform has a marketing option. Whether it’s sponsored posts on Instagram or ads on Facebook’s sidebar, there’s an option for you to promote your business or product to a far wider audience. The best thing about these advertising options is that you can set limits for how much you want to spend, and you can target very specific demographics of people whom you want your advertising to be shown to. This means you have control over your own budget and can maximize the impact of your marketing dollars.
No cost: Email is an integral part of marketing communications for many companies nowadays. Sending a message directly to the consumer’s inbox is a super effective way of increasing brand awareness and increasing sales through making them aware of new products or promotions.
It costs no money to manage your own email lists and to create emails which you distribute to your clients. To measure the success of your emailing efforts and to approach them in a targeted way, it may be a good idea to spend some money on an email marketing platform…
Low cost: Email marketing platforms such as Constant Contact or Campaigner will take your email efforts to the next level. They offer services such as email personalization, auto-responses, and contact management. These services take care of things like new subscribers, unsubscribers, and scheduled emails. The best thing is that they measure the success of your campaign and give advice as to what customers liked, how they interacted with your email, and how you can improve your approach in the future.
No cost: Maintaining a regular blog full of interesting and relevant information is the basis of search engine optimization. It also serves to establish you as a thought-leader in your field, build brand recognition, and establish a relationship with current and potential clients. It doesn’t cost a cent to put your thoughts into words and publish a blog which shows off your expertise.
Low cost: If, however, your grammar and spelling skills aren’t razor sharp and you don’t find it easy to write snappy, concise blogs for your target audience, it might be a good idea to invest some money in a ghost-writer for your blog. Outsourcing your blog to a content marketing professional can heighten the impact through more targeted articles and regular publishing. They know how to find the keywords which will drive the most traffic to your site, can create regular engaging blog posts, and can advertise your blog posts across social media platforms.