Being a small business owners has its own challenges. Most of the time, you have to deal with limited manpower, resource, and most of all, a very limited budget. Now you might think that these budget restraints will hinder you from actively marketing your business like other brands do, but this problem is actually a thing of the past.
1. Directory Listings
Online Directory Lists are one of the easiest ways to promote your business. They are basically the Yellow Pages on the Internet. Most notable listings are Google MyBusiness, GumTree and Yelp (and yes, they can be used for free!).
What you just have to do is fill in the required details in the directory. That usually includes your business name, contact details, address and a short description about your products and services. You can also provide links to your website and official Social Media pages whenever necessary.
So how does this help?
This helps your business become more visible in search engine results. People nowadays usually look for contact numbers and information about a business near their area. Listing your company in an online directory will help them find you faster and easier.
You might have heard of the adage “content is king,” but how can you exactly build up your content online? Blogging is one (and a major) way to do it. More than that, setting up a blog for your business helps improve your search engine rankings (with the use of relevant keywords), and improve engagement and customer relationships. This is because an official company blog is the best platform to use when it comes to addressing customer concerns and answer frequently asked questions.
Aside from that, constant blogging helps build your credibility and authority in your chosen niche. It is a good way to provide in-depth information about your products, its uses, and how it could be relevant to your customers’ daily lives.
Setting up a blog does not have to cost a dime either. There are platforms such as Wordpress, Blogger, and Weebly that lets you create blog pages without any cost! All you have to do is to fill up your blog page with details and content.
3. Website Design
To make your website more search engine friendly, you have to tweak some of its properties. You don’t have to hire a developer to do this, but you can consult a website designer to help you out.
You will need to use more relevant keywords when it comes to website design. Although this does not contain much content, the images you use should be optimized for search engines by adding alt tags. Alt tags help search engines index (or “read”) your image, so that they will appear in the results page once a relevant search is made.
A good website design should be simple, clean and straightforward to improve its loading time. Just go with no frills whatsoever. Minimize embedding video or audio tracks – this will only increase the loading time of your page and annoy visitors. Resize or compress images and photos to further decrease loading time and optimize your page.
A fast website is a customer-friendly site, and it will reduce bounce rates and welcome more prospects and sales for your business. To make your site more customer-friendly, you have to place key information in the right spots.
Make sure your contact information and about page are easily visible from the home page. Your contact number should be visible at the top, and if possible, add a tap to call feature. Promos and other important information should be placed above the fold, so customers can see it right away. And lastly, minimize the use of pop-ups, they should only show up as a sign-up form or as a discount offer for your products.
Most of all, your web design should be responsive and mobile-friendly. Remember, many people now search and shop using their smartphones and tablets. If your site is not responsive to smaller screens, mobile customers will have a hard time navigating it.
Will this cost you anything? If you are tech-savvy and you know a little about web design, then there’s no need to spend for anything. However, if you don’t have the knowledge to create a good web design or tweak some of its properties, then best to hire a designer and developer to fix it.
4. Social Media
Obviously, this list would not be complete without adding Social Media into the mix. Creating business pages or fan pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram come with no cost (though you may opt to boost some posts for a fee).
Like blogging, your Social Media presence can boost credibility and improve engagements with customers. It is also one of the quickest ways to reach consumers – especially if you have limited-time promos and product alerts.
Best of all, your Social Media pages can be used as a venue for customer support. With comment boxes, notifications and messaging, your company can address concerns and queries more quickly. These pages can also double as a space for feedback and reviews. Gaining positive reviews can help encourage more people to try out your products and services.
5. Email Marketing
A more intimate way to connect with your prospects is through Email Marketing. This is a good way to send announcements, limited-time promos, discounts and other informative pieces.
To be successful in email marketing, you have to build up your leads. Building leads is possible if you use a mix of the strategies above – this includes Social Media marketing, website design and blogging. You have to engage with your customers, earn their trust, and have them sign-up voluntarily to your email list.
Launching your email marketing campaign may require a lot of work and patience, but there are several free platforms that you can help you. MailChimp and Zoho for example have free email marketing tools where you can build and segregate customer lists, create customized emails and send them in bulk.
6. Content Marketing
Content Marketing is actually a mix of all the other marketing strategies that were already mentioned above. It utilizes blogging, Social Media and email marketing to build up content and online presence for your brand and ultimately connect with consumers.
Content Marketing is primarily useful for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) too. It is difficult for the two to not intertwine in one way or another. A huge part of SEO success is attributed to the use of relevant keywords which is a main component in content creation.
7. Joint Ventures/Partnerships
Joint ventures and partnerships is the act of finding and establishing a relationship with another business that shares more or less the same target audience as yours. people who are looking to improve their homes.
A wedding florist for example, can partner with a wedding planner/organizer, photographer or gown designer for weddings. The point is to expand the brand’s presence to a common target – people who are getting married.
Some entrepreneurs also opt to partner with influencers in their community. For someone who sells skin care products for example, creating a partnership with a local beauty blogger is a great way to expand the brand’s reach. With the influencer’s huge audience, your product will be exposed to girls and women who are looking to get rid of uneven skin.
If your business is in the health and wellness niche, like if you have a fitness center for example, you can partner up with businesses that sell organic products, sports wear, energy drinks and anything that can relate to living a healthy lifestyle.
You may have to take note that some influencers would require a fee, but some are okay with freebies or free samples. Either way, you still need to invest some time, effort and compensation to nurture your partnerships.
How does this help your business?
Again, it expands your brand’s reach. By establishing your presence in a related niche or through an influencer, you get exposure from their own audience/followers, who are more or less part of your target market.
With the variety of free tools that are available on the Internet today, entrepreneurs don’t really have an excuse to not market or promote their brand on a wide scale. But even if many platforms can be used to market your brand for free, this does not mean that you don’t have to do any work yourself.
Writing content, creating partnerships, and engaging with your customers on Social Media needs time and effort. If you are too busy to focus on all these things, you still need a good team that can handle all these tasks in your behalf – and this is where we come in!
Whether you like to make use of paid or free marketing strategies, The Marketing Angel can help you create and manage business pages, Social Media accounts and blogs. We take care of planning, strategizing and implementing all your marketing activities so you don’t have to! Tell us how we can help your business. Contact us today on 0435 527 930.