It’s important you maximize your dollar as a small business owner, and marketing is no exception. Check out these seven ways to effectively accomplish all of your marketing goals while sticking to your budget.
By Nachum Langsner
For a small business, marketing is often one of your biggest financial investments. How much you invest needs to be carefully considered. After all, once your product or service is up and rolling, it’s marketing that takes spending to build awareness, SERP ranking and grow reputation.
As a small business, you need to do more with less. Your budget may be limited, but your need for growth is great. How do you make a small marketing budget go big? By getting creative.
Let’s dive into effective, innovative and low-cost marketing tips for small businesses.
Small business marketing tip no. 1: Build your brand personality in content
The best way for any small business to make a big splash today is with content. Combining hardcore inbound marketing with efficient outbound marketing is the way to reach your potential audience with as much force and magnetism as possible.
Create a ton of content: So, get creating and get writing! Build interesting series of content. Write guides. Write thought leadership about your industry. Write cool ideas and lifestyle tips for the kind of people who make up your audience.
Make videos to compliment your most compelling written pieces and broaden their reach and consumption. Build up your social media post campaigns—the kind you can fire automatically for months keeping it interesting. Build up your web pages. Plan an entire year or more ahead in blog ideas. Content is king and small businesses can create powerful content using just the expertise in your shop.
Create an automatic publishing schedule: What do you do with all that content? Schedule it! Get your content marketing engine running while you focus on the next stage of your marketing strategy. An automatic scheduler can fire blog posts, keep your website current and publish social media posts to create an ongoing campaign.
Small business marketing tip no. 2: Craft incredible visuals
If you have artists, photographers or just great chart-makers on the team, you can boost your brand with great graphics. Visuals are powerful assets for both inbound and outbound marketing. Brand assets power up your outbound and specialize your on-site content.
Great photography: Take compelling, beautiful, creative or extremely practical photographs. Make your own original stock photos or find the photography that will catch readers’ attention.
Powerful infographics: Infographics win backlinks and can make your content creation legendary. If you can explain something that is hard to understand or interesting, other people will share it and link back to your original content. This positions you in a place of authority and interest.
Memorable brand graphics: Make your brand stand out with stunning visual designs. Create graphics that make your website feel like a unique place. Make memorable assets that your customers will love to associate with your products, services and community.
Original digital art: Original art has a similar influence as infographics but in different circles. Graphic artists on your team can create assets that other artists and art fans will want to collect, link to and share.
Small business marketing tip no. 3: Email Marketing is a must
Email marketing is such an important weapon to have in your marketing arsenal. Of all forms of marketing, email marketing has the highest ROI, averaging about $42 in return for every $1 spent. When compared to PPC marketing for example, with an ROI of $2 for every dollar spent, email is the best bang for your buck. Once you’ve invested in creating your branding, visuals and content, email marketing is a great way to get it in front of your target audience.
Subscriber list building: But first you need to build your subscriber list quickly. For the majority of small businesses, websites are where email list building begins: From opt-in forms and dynamic pop-ups or overlays to dedicated lead capturing landing pages.
To that end, even small but strategic adjustments to your website and content can pay big dividends. Providing free but valuable content, such as white papers or e-books, is the most obvious and effective way to entice potential customers to subscribe to your emails.
Small business marketing tip no. 4: Consider pay-per-click marketing
PPC or pay-per-click marketing is the most efficient way to go outbound—and sponsored inbound—in your marketing strategy. PPC means you pay for clicks, not impressions. You only lose ad spend when you get a potential lead who follows the ad link to your website.
Google AdWords: Google AdWords will get you sponsored and boosted positions in SERP results for your chosen keywords. The key is to find great general and specific keywords for your business that do not have a lot of competition with other brands—especially brands in your region. Google often gives away free AdWords spend to new and small businesses.
Facebook Advertising: Facebook is another popular PPC platform with extremely customizable targeting controls. Facebook is great for reaching out to individuals and groups based on interests and Facebook usage patterns, as well as more general targeting metrics like geographic region.
Small business marketing tip no. 5: Leverage social media marketing
Social media marketing is all about building an online network and community. Your regularly scheduled posts can be interesting mixed with live comments and topical posts to actively engage your audience.
Outreach and Networking: Build a network by reaching out to other brands and users. Be nice and find interesting things to say. Start sharing industry expertise in the voice of the brand, or deploy your team to become a friendly swarm of brand representation. Get active. Support other people’s projects. Become part of a network for your niche, local community or both.
Community Management: Once you have activity on your page, become a cohesive group with discussions, events and social media activity. Keep the posts lively and respond when people comment on your brand or products.
Small business marketing tip no. 6: Understand how to best use local sensation marketing
Get out there and let your local community see your team. Sometimes, the best way to build awareness is in the physical world where people are actually living and shopping.
Signs and flyers: Create a visual canvas leading to your brand or local store. Sidewalk signs help to attract foot traffic and a flyer in the right place could pique a pedestrian’s interest during their day.
Community event involvement: Get involved in local events. If there’s a festival or a charity drive, become a vendor or supporter. Host a local school choir performance, sponsor a local team or become part of the business sector’s trick-or-treating event. Let locals see your brand involved and invested in the community. You’ll build awareness and a sense of shared connectedness at the same time.
Small business marketing tip no. 7: Don’t underestimate the power of networking groups and events
Finally, one of the most effective tried-and-true methods of building and marketing your small business is in-person networking and referrals.
Why? People do business with people they like and trust.
By putting a friendly face and a warm handshake to your business and developing relationships with other like-minded professionals, you stand a better chance of getting higher quality clientele.
Join business networking and referral groups like BNI (Business Networking International) or a local chamber of commerce. The BNI weekly meetings with the singular focus of giving and receiving quality referrals, to and from your chapter’s members, effectively extends your business’ sales team.
Attend local chamber of commerce and small business networking events to broaden your reach amongst your local business community.
The low cost of entry to any of these groups or events makes this one of the smartest and most cost-effective ways to market and grow your company.
Nachum Langsner is the Co-Founder & CMO of LocalBizGuru, a full-service digital marketing agency based in Cleveland, OH. He has over 14+ years of experience in the SEO industry and is a frequent presenter and instructor of digital marketing and SEO seminars for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Greater Cleveland area for organizations such as COSE, Jumpstart, the Better Business Bureau, Score and the Ohio SBDC at CSU.