In order for your small business to successfully market itself, the endeavor will need to be seen and treated as an investment. If this means your small business needs to outsource one tactic for the sake of quality and time, you ought to assess the efforts that can be taken care of in-house and on a dime. The following tips will get you thinking about extra efforts you can apply to your small business’ marketing strategy without having to pay the extra money.
No. 1: Produce likeable content. If the size of your team allows for it, delegate content strategy to specific staff members. In order to sustain your target audience(s), your small business will need to offer entertaining and informational content on social media, in the form of blog posts, or even through email newsletters. If this type of content marketing is outsourced to a third party, it will still be necessary for your small business to have a clear vision along with unique ideas, which are inherently priceless.
No. 2: Develop instructional or behind-the-scenes videos. In the YouTube era, consumers would rather watch a tutorial than read a how-to article. You can create high-quality videos for your small business on an iPhone or even hire a film student on Craigslist. Another way to produce informational yet visual content is through slide decks that can be shared on SlideShare.
No. 3: Familiarize yourself with Reddit. This social platform calls itself the “front page of the internet” and can be used as a marketing tool for appealing to niche target audiences. Reddit will give your small business the opportunity to answer and discover key questions that are pertinent to consumers in your industry.
No. 4: Try StumbleUpon’s paid advertising. Starting at ten cents per click, this discovery engine offers the lowest prices for online advertising space. With an additional two cents per click, your business can target individuals who use the website based on age, gender, and device.
No. 5: Design your own informational, industry-related infographics. This type of content is useful for increasing website and referral traffic because it turns hard data and analysis into a visual graphic. It’s no wonder they are a hit with consumers and social media users. Posting infographics to Pinterest and linking your infographics to landing pages for your services are just a couple ways to use them to your advantage. If done right, infographics have the capability to boost engagement and even generate leads.
No. 6: Revitalize existing data on the Web to use as content for your small business. If your team or freelancer(s) are at a loss for fresh content ideas, consider conducting some online research for data related to your industry. Add your own spin to this existing information in the form of imagery, charts and graphs, or predictions. As long as the information appeals to your target audience(s), this method will maintain engagement without costing your business a single dime.
No. 7: Spend time networking on LinkedIn. Like all social media platforms, LinkedIn is a great tool at your small business’ fingertips. To gain the full benefits of this site, you will need to do more than just add network connections. By joining groups, starting conversations, and sharing blog posts, you can use LinkedIn to promote content and generate new ideas just by interacting with other experts in your field.
No. 8: Don’t be afraid to reuse evergreen content. Similar to regenerating online data studies, evergreen content is information that remains relevant and interesting to your target consumers long after it is initially shared. Start off with auditing your business’ past content for subjects and details that your target audience still demands. Once the evergreen content is identified, brainstorm ways to revitalize this information. A couple examples include turning webinars into video tutorials or creating an ebook from a collection of blog posts.
No. 9: Come up with a customer referral program. Even in the digital age, word-of-mouth is still very powerful when spreading awareness of your small business’ brand. Consider offering rewards to referring and/or referred customers for their support and loyalty. To ensure success with this endeavor, make sure your business has a system in place to track referrals.
No. 10: Implement online contests. A great way to engage consumers and give your social media profiles a boost (for free) is by crafting a small giveaway. The prizes don’t need to be expensive, but they should show off your brand name or logo. Ultimately, the winner of the contest will feel special, and your small business will be in the minds of those who participated and didn’t win. Platforms such as Rafflecopter have simplified the art of giveaways, making it easier than ever for your small business to utilize this strategy and build loyalty with your customers.
No. 11: Establish partnerships with other businesses in your industry and/or nonprofit organizations. Another way to maximize your brand’s exposure organically is by joining up with similar small businesses in your area. These businesses should not be direct competitors, but at least related to your industry. Together, your businesses can plan a special event, collaborate on a webinar, or pool resources for an online giveaway. Similarly, getting involved with a local charity or nonprofit is a great way to build ties with your community as well as drive traffic to your business’ location.
No. 12: Apply for industry-related business awards. If you’re looking to build credibility and share exciting news with your audience, consider applying for online awards. If your small business is recognized, it will be furnished a digital badge that can be posted on your website at no cost to you. If awards in your industry are lacking, consider creating your own. The businesses that apply for your award could become part of your network for a future partnership. Hosting an event for your award will draw even more attention to your brand.
No. 13: Re-think of creative ways to share your existing business cards. Tried and true, business cards remain relevant in almost every industry. In order to use this around-the-block, proven marketing method to your advantage, have your team brainstorm creative ways to share these cards. For a limited time, you could run a promotion for any customer who showed your business card at a time of purchase to receive a special discount or free item.
No. 14: Use guerilla marketing tactics. Like most of these tips, guerilla marketing relies on creativity more than actual funds. An example of a guerilla tactic is to brand water bottles with your own logo and hand them out at a local event. Your small business could also write its Twitter and Instagram handle in sidewalk chalk at one or two corners of the neighborhood. The possibilities are endless, and it will be up to you and your team to think outside of the box.
No. 15: Host a speaking event or class. Plan an hour-long session at your place of business focused on information that is valuable to your target market. Two weeks before the event, promote the meeting through physical flyers and social media posts. Not only will this draw potential customers and clients to your business, but it will also position your brand as an expert.
No. 16: Create a business card drawing. Somewhere conspicuous in your office or place of business, set up an empty fishbowl that invites visitors to enter the business card for a chance to win a free giveaway. At the end (or beginning) of each month, draw a winner from the fishbowl and invite the remaining participants to your email list in order to receive updates on future special offers and happenings.
No. 17: Use email marketing to your advantage. In order to continually establish your small business’ presence with target markets, start an email marketing campaign. Your brand’s email marketing will yield the best results the less it resembles spam. Customize the message for each subgroup of your target audience or even individuals in your list of contacts. To expand your email campaign’s reach, consider offering bonus content to website visitors who sign up for your business’ newsletter.
No. 18: Build brand awareness with car magnets. If your small business possesses a company car, you can ensure that it showcases your logo at very little cost to you. Besides car magnets, you can also utilize window decals and bumper stickers for a similar purpose. With this tactic, driving around town becomes a form of mass marketing.
No. 19: Hand out balloons customized with your business’ name and logo. At an event or outside your storefront or office, offer your brand’s balloons to passersby. This is a fairly inexpensive method that will expand your brand’s visibility in the local area. Also, who doesn’t love a freebie?
No. 20: Participate in local contests. If your small business is experiencing a lull in hosting contests or giveaways, consider donating your product or service to another local event or cause. Participating within your community will position your business as trustworthy and foster customer loyalty. Marketing your brand will definitely be an expense and investment for your small business, but it shouldn’t be a chore. Continually thinking up creative and cheap ways to share your marketing message will keep your business fresh, exciting, and relevant within your industry.