Effective marketing is something that many small business owners struggle with. You may have a fantastic product or service, but without a marketing plan there’s a strong risk that the business will fail to thrive because it is not reaching an audience. As many as half of small businesses have no budget for advertising and no dedicated marketing strategy.
In a rapidly changing world, traditional marketing techniques are becoming less effective. Advertising is not only expensive, but it may not even reach the customers that it needs to anymore. Hundreds of millions of internet users now use ad blockers, and many more simply see so much advertising that they tune it out.
So, if paid advertising is no longer the way forward, what can small business owners do to put themselves on the map? Today there are more ways than ever to carry out digital marketing, even with a modest budget. Let’s dive in and look at some of the most powerful tools available to market a small business without breaking the bank.
Although it may sound obvious, email marketing is probably the single most successful way to connect with your customers. More than 80% of small businesses use email as their primary marketing tool, both to generate leads and promote new products.
Rather than sending blanket emails, however, it is smart to make the missives more personalised. You could break down your customers based on a number of criteria and make email more targeted. Remember that people these days receive a lot of mail in their inboxes, so make sure that the subject line is compelling enough to make it worth the click.
For your existing customer base, consider a newsletter with updates on the company and products, as well as special offers. Make sure that each email contains something actionable, such as clicking through to access an exclusive promotion.
Cold emailing can also be highly productive in connecting with new customers. Use this approach when making contact with other businesses that could be of benefit to you – for example, a retail outlet that could potentially stock your products. Research the right person to contact, and follow up with a phone call.
Everyone these days wants valuable content, and that’s why it should be central to your marketing strategy. It won’t happen overnight, but over time it will build your brand and create a strong connection to your audience.
Storytelling has become something of a buzzword in recent years, but it works. Use a variety of media to show the public who you are and what you do and invite feedback. Blogs are a good way to start – make sure they contain plenty of engaging visuals such as photographs and useful infographics. You should also include some search engine optimization here too, by incorporating key words and phrases that your customers may be searching for – just don’t make it too obvious.
Think about what it is that you do that would be of value and interest to your target audience. Maybe you can break down a production process or share interesting facts about your area of expertise. Short-form video content is also very popular and can draw people to you. This is a much better strategy than advertising. By creating something that interests people, they will seek you out themselves.
Several small-sized in the gambling affiliate marketing scene have been able to step up their game and gain considerably better rankings in Google’s SERPs by focusing on creating engaging, high-quality content. One such example is NewCasinoUK.com, a smaller-scale website that has been able to establish itself as a leading information portal for gambling aficionados in the UK, arguably the most competitive market in Europe.
This is absolutely critical to any small business’s marketing strategy. Almost everyone uses some form or another of social media, so leaving this resource untapped would be a serious missed opportunity. An active social media presence builds trust, enables customer engagement, and boosts the profile of your brand.
There are a lot of different platforms out there, so focus on the one or two that you think will reach your target audience the best. Facebook and Twitter are a common combination for many business owners. Facebook is great for posting candid pictures from your day to day, sharing stories, and highlighting positive customer experiences. Twitter is more about real-time engagement. If your target audience is younger, you may also consider newer platforms like TikTok.
Consistency is key with social media. Keep turning up, posting content, engaging with customers – if an account has no activity for a long time, it is a real turn-off for your clients.
Reviews, ratings, reputation
Positive reviews that are honest and genuine are incredibly powerful and also relatively difficult to obtain. Make it as easy as possible for customers to leave reviews by providing links and even incentives. The damaging effect of negative reviews can also be mitigated by swift responses that the public can see. If it looks like the business owner responds quickly, politely and helpfully to a bad review, it can almost be as useful as a positive one.
Finally, make sure that you regularly google your own company or brand name. Not only can it help to show how your marketing is working, but it can highlight anything potentially untoward that you may need to address.