No matter what type of business you run, marketing needs to be an important part of your business plan. Unless you are lucky enough to attract a lot of word of mouth or repeat business, without some form of marketing, you will have a hard time reaching new customers. So what are the best marketing strategies for small businesses and how can you make them work for you?
Before you begin formulating a marketing strategy, you need to work out how much money you have to spend. Most small businesses don’t have huge budgets available for marketing purposes, but the good news is that you can easily extend your brand reach without spending a fortune.
Prioritise your goals and work out what your long-term marketing objectives are. Once you have a better idea of where your business is going, you can start planning the most effective marketing strategies.
Social media is the best place to start if your budget is somewhere between zero and nothing. It costs nothing to create social media accounts and start engaging with your audience. Begin by opening accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other useful social media sites. Look for interesting people you can start following, such as people in your industry, or sites that you think are using the platforms well, like Sun Bingo. Engage with your followers and post useful content. It’s an easy way to generate interest in your business without expending a lot of cash, but you do need to post consistently if you want a good return for your efforts.
PPC ads on social media or search engines are a good way or promoting a business online. Google Ads are the best-known of all PPC ads, but social media ads are gaining traction and many small businesses find they enjoy a good return for their investment.
The great thing about PPC ads is that you don’t need to spend any more than you can afford. However, in order to make that investment worthwhile, you do need to ensure your landing page is optimised for visitors, or your effort will have been for nothing.
Email marketing is a useful strategy for small businesses to reach out to new and existing customers. Work hard at building an email list. Encourage people to let you have their email address by asking for feedback or inviting them to sign up in return for a discount or similar.
Once you have an email contact list, use automated tools such as Mail Chimp to send out emails on a regular basis. However, avoid bombarding people with junk emails, or you will do more harm than good.
Don’t forget about content marketing. Writing blogs and posting informative articles online (with a link back to your website), is a good way to build trust and show off your expertise.
Lastly, make sure your website is well designed and optimised for search engines. That way people will find you online more easily.