As a small business owner, you have the advantage to be nimble with your marketing. You can get creative investing in guerilla marketing activities or learn from big company victories – and big company mistakes. While you might not have the budget that larger companies have, you can still produce effective marketing. Here are a few simple tips to help grow your small business:
- Leverage Free Tools & Agency Services
By now, you should be familiar with the advantages of creating a social media presence. It is a free way to connect with existing and potential customers and build your brand. Chances are that people are already talking about you or the services you offer, so you should be online and part of that conversation.
It is not enough just to get online, however. You have to actually connect with people by posting relevant content. Many small businesses with limited staff find it is most effective to work with a content marketing company like for social media marketing & lead generation.
- Use Automation & Technology
Small business staff members don’t always have the time to invest hours every day into marketing. There are great products that can do the work for you, like SocialSync. These help you build your web presence through updating Facebook and managing your website simultaneously, taking the burden off your shoulders. You can also use products to analyze website data, giving you tools to better understand and build your audience.
- Organize a Marketing Plan
Just like you put together your business plan, you need to spend time creating a marketing calendar. This should include a timeline that incorporates seasonal themes like promotions you might run during the holidays.
Make sure your calendar covers every marketing tool you have available, such as your website, social media outlets, blog, advertisements, trade shows and networking events. Putting it all on paper will ensure that you cover your bases and have a clear, coordinated plan.
- Traditional Networking
Networking is typically cheap and can have a great return on investment. You get a chance to attend an event where you might learn something about ways to improve your business. Even if the event has nothing to do with your industry, it enables you to talk to other people about what you do and the services you offer.
- Partner With a Nonprofit
Take some meetings with local organizations to discuss sponsorship opportunities. You may be surprised at how affordable it can be and the kind of exposure you stand to gain. While you can always cherry pick and sponsor individual events from a number of organizations, you might find a partnership with a well-established charity may be more beneficial. This is especially true if the product or service you offer jibes with the mission of the nonprofit.
Who doesn’t like free stuff? There are so many different ways to do freebies, such as:
- Setting up a booth at a fair or trade show
- Creating a campaign via social media centered around a tradeoff, such as a freebie for a follow
- Coupons (10%, 20% or 40% off the second purchase)
Be careful with handouts, however, as you certainly don’t want to give away the farm or give the impression that your business is desperate. Free samples or discounted services for first-time clients, however, are a great way to introduce your company to the market.
- Survey Your Audience
Take a moment to take your market’s pulse: How do customers feel about your company in specific or about your industry in general? There are a number of affordable products that enable you to create an online survey you can easily email or blast through social media. You can use the results to make changes when necessary, or you can turn the results into content.
For example, if you own a cleaning company, you can survey people about their house cleaning habits. What type of products do they use? How much time do they spend cleaning their homes? Would they benefit from using a service? You can take the responses you get to create a blog about how time-consuming it can be for a homeowner to add cleaning to their to-do lists and how your company can help.
- Real-Time Marketing
Thanks to social media, your brand can immediately take advantage of current events. There is always a topic trending online, whether it is a sports event or celebrity news. You can inject yourself into that conversation by creating a marketing angle that calls attention to your company.
Pro tip: Be careful which topics you choose, as you do not want to appear insensitive. Humor can be great, but it has its place.
Small businesses have a number of opportunities to make a splash with marketing. The most important part of marketing is to recognize its value and invest in it.
About the author: Cody Jensen began his career with the corporate giant, Google Inc. He has been in search engine marketing ever since. Cody has a specific acumen for PPC, SEO, and Web Analytics.