A small business or start up can tend to be in a constant budget crunch. Growing your customer base, after all, is difficult if you don’t have the money for effective marketing.
Fortunately, not all is lost. In the last few years, digital marketing has evolved to be more beneficial to small businesses than more traditional alternatives ever could be. Now, you can get your audience’s attention without having to spend a fortune. Below are just a few of the many ways in which your small business can generate more clients on a lower budget.
Table Of Contents
1) Be Active on Social Media
If you’re reading any type of literature about 21st-century marketing, you probably already know about social media. Networks like Facebook and Twitter have exploded to become the most popular digital medium across the globe. In fact, we now spend almost 2 hours every day on our favorite social media networks.
The beauty of social media for a small business is simple: it’s free. Anyone can set up a business account and start to engage in organic marketing without spending a dime. The only resource you’ll need is time, and an understanding of the type of content your audience wants to see.
Strategy, of course, is key to success. Social media follows the 80/20 rule, which means that you only 20% of the content you share should be promotional or even about your brand. The rest should aim to provide actual value and relevance to potential followers.
Sharing industry news, for instance, can help to receive more initial engagement. Similarly, analyzing trends will cause your audience to want to learn more, and establish your credibility. The key is to stay visual through images, video, and infographics, which results in a more attentive and engaged audience
This comprehensive guide can get you started in building a successful social media presence. Over time, you can build an audience and promote your business needing nothing more than 18 minutes per day.
2) Leverage Your Existing Customers
Potential customers like nothing more than hearing from their peers. As much as you can tell them about the benefits of your products, they won’t believe it until other customers concur. That’s why leveraging your existing customers is both inexpensive and crucial to small business marketing success.
A recent survey found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews from strangers as much as personal recommendations from friends. Testimonials are scientifically proven to work. Your job is to find happy customers and get them to share their excitement with you and on social media.
Once you get testimonials, you can use them in a variety of ways. Share them on your website, as well as on social media. Use them in email marketing and in sales calls. Create both text-based testimonials to share and more visual alternatives such as videos that can live on your landing pages.
Wherever you proclaim the benefits of your product, use existing customers to support your points. The third-party credibility you add, for no additional cost, will play a significant part in increasing your lead and customer conversion rates.
3) Take Advantage of Email Marketing
Despite a continuous stream of new marketing opportunities, sometimes the older alternatives still perform the best. Email marketing continues to work throughout a variety of industries, especially in B2B environments, because it provides exceptional ROI compared to other digital opportunities.
The best part: for a small business, it tends to be entirely free. If you have an existing contact list, services like MailChimp only begin to charge fees once your list grows beyond a certain threshold. Until then, you can take advantage of an immensely effective digital marketing tool without a dent in your budget.
The tactic also tends to be versatile. You can use it to increase your lead generation or nurture existing leads to becoming consumers. At the same time, you can also increase your retention and loyalty through regular, value-adding emails for existing customers.
Make no mistake: your marketing strategy needs to include email. The rare combination of cost-effectiveness, versatility, and audience goodwill makes it a crucial piece of growing your business and generating more clients.
4) Start a Business Blog
Over the last few years, blogging has moved from a seeming fad to an invaluable marketing tool. It’s your opportunity to share valuable content with your audience, while at the same time increasing your website traffic.
The key to success: search engine optimization. Each blog is an opportunity to increase your SEO ranking for a specific keyword relevant to your audience. As a result, businesses who blog have 97 percent more inbound links and increase web traffic by up to 30 percent.
But that is far from the only benefit of blogging. The same strategy also builds your credibility. Similar to social media, you can post updates about relevant industry topics, building your thought leadership as a result.
Through your blogs, you can establish the fact that you know what’s going on in your industry. In addition, you can use it as a content curation tool by regularly sharing (and giving your own thoughts on) other industry sources. When your audience is ready to buy, they’ll remember your value and credibility, and as a result become more likely to choose you.
5) Build an Inbound Marketing Strategy
Finally, we’ve come to what might be the holy grail of digital marketing for small businesses. Inbound marketing is a strategic approach that combines all of the above aspects. It places your website at the center of your efforts, focusing on lead generation for lasting success.
The key to success is simple. Rather than pushing a promotional message to your audience, draw them in by adding value. Through blogs and social media, establish yourself as a relevant resource. Then, offer them opportunities to sign up for more in-depth information, and nurture them with email marketing.
The success of inbound marketing has led industry experts like Neil Patel to proclaim it essential for any small business. Most if not all of the tactics used are free to use, making it an ideal fit for limited budgets.
Simply adjust your website along with a more traditional, more promotion-oriented mindset. Build all of your tactics with conversions in mind, providing streamlined calls to action that naturally lead visitors to become leads, and leads to becoming customers. Account for and answer your audience’s pain points and preferences. Then, build the content they’re looking for when researching products or services like yours.
Of course, these are just a few of the many ways in which you can market your small business inexpensively. For instance, working strategically to create positive PR, as well as personal networking and prospecting, can also be immensely beneficial for your efforts without a major budget commitment.
But ultimately, in this digital environment, everything comes down to your website and strategic mindset. If your audience can find you easily and finds content that can actually help them, they will engage with it. And if they love what they see, they will convert. Now, you can take advantage of strategic lead nurturing through email to turn them into customers.
Can your small business marketing strategy hold up to these expectations? Building a business does not have to include a major marketing budget. As long as you know what digital tactics you can take advantage of, you are well on your way to position yourself as a valuable resource in your industry. Build it strategically, and your audience will begin to seek you out.