Best Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

The most common question entrepreneurs ask these days is “how can I improve my marketing with no or little money?’

That’s literally a million-dollar question!

But wait, even if there are numerous ideas to do so ; which will be appropriate for your company?

Will it work? Will it meet your budget constraint?

Remember it only takes only ONE good idea, well implemented, to launch you to greater heights.

Whether you have just started a small consulting business, or you run a local shop, or opened a café, you are constantly looking for ways to attract business without breaking the bank.

Social media is about connecting with the people in your niche:  customers, potential customers, people who are interested in what you do, or who share similar interests and circles or hubs with you.

Marketing Strategy

Here are some of the best strategies, digital and off-line, to market your business while ultimately saving you money! I’m betting you’ll find at least one in the batches below.

#1: Setting up a GAME PLAN within budget

The first step to marketing is obviously to define your final output and strategizing your budget. When a big, bad corporation goes through restructuring, the first question consultants ask is, “What do you want?”
This is when you firstly and fore mostly need to decide what are important for your business; extension or maximization of local exposure?
Are you looking for brand awareness or conversions?

Tips to try :
Start prioritizing your goals.
What are your most immediate needs and most importantly whats your long-term objective?

#2: Pay to earn back returns

For Online marketing one has to spend money to earn money —if you want to make a positive impact, you are going to spend some of your budget on paid search ads, display ads, social ads, etc.
Your head is likely to spin with questions like; how to get started? , how much it costs ?, how to know if Facebook Ads or Ad Words even work ?,whether you tackle this yourself or hire someone else to help?, it can be so worth it!
Why do I need to pay for Facebook Ads,? Maybe because Unpaid views on Facebook posts may be as low as 1% due to some Facebook trickery .

Tips to try :
If you’re using any medium, check if it’s working.
Use a cost calculator to see what you could get out of a small Facebook ads budget.

#3: Capitalize on Google’s Local Offerings

Google being the most widely used search engine has a surplus of offerings that can help your small business.
By creating a Google My Business account, you can take control of the information about your business, such as hours of operation, address, phone number and website. Now, with the new local search ads, your business can appear on the Google Maps App or website.

Tips to try :
Get a Google My Business account.
Google your business daily—check out the what information is already there, see what you can do to improve it.

#4: Choose One Social Channel, instead of all at a time

How much ever it be useful, social media is hard and irritating too.
Especially when you are try to juggle between Facebook and Linked In and Instagram and Pinterest and Google+ and Twitter…all at a time.
It’s hard to tell if it even works at all!
Having a presence across many channels is definitely great, but it is more effective to choose one channel that your customers are mostly present on or active on.
For example, if your customers are constantly tagging your location or handle in Instagram posts but rarely re-tweeting you on Twitter, invest more time in Instagram (which is conveniently easy to share on Facebook as well).

Tips to try :
Where are you seeing the engagement? On which social media platform? For this you need to analyze your current social media presence.
Sign up for some social tools! Hootsuite and Buffer will link up to your social accounts, allowing you to schedule posts for the future.

#5: Frequent Blogging

Blogging is not only, it can be hugely useful for exposure, branding and of course engaging.
Use effective blogging on your company blog where you should demonstrate to potential customers and fans that you’re an expert in your field . explain how you are dependent upon for guidance and advice.
You can also utilize this platform to brag!This could be anything from award announcements, project completions, hitting big milestones or preaching about your business.

Tips to try :
Quality over quantity but consistency is important. Advance to blog, a new blog post at least once per week.
Make sure you’re optimizing for SEO so people can find your blog content.

#6: Email Marketing

Email marketing is a perfect and well effective opportunity to establish loyalty, when you’re a small business.
If your customers and prospects are handing over email addresses, it opens the door to send out sale or event notifications. Remember it involves NO investments.
You can also think about sending a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter. People are more likely to be loyal and engage with a business that shows its humanity.

Tips to try :
If you’re looking to save money here,then sign up for Mail Chimp. They have a free email marketing service with great features, including predesigned templates.
Lots of people check their email on their phones, so make sure your emails are mobile-friendly, using CSS or smaller pixel width (smaller than 600px).

#7: Do Keyword Research for SEO

It is very important to have an idea what SEO is. Search engine optimization is a series of tactics used by marketers to obtain higher placements on the search results pages of Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines in order to increase visits to their website.
The good news is It’s free! The bad news is It’s tricky.

Tips to try :
Start by identifying a list of keywords that will bring relevant visitors to your site. Utilize keyword tools to help:  Word Stream’s Free Keyword Tool, Google’s Keyword Planner, or KWFinder
Think of the problems you’re trying to solve for you customers. Search Quora, Reddit, or Yahoo Answers to see what words are being used to talk about it.
Incorporate those words in your content which are being used by your customers, to make it more discoverable.
Get all eyes on you with effective SEO

#8: Share Your Knowledge

Knowledge shares can be anything from YouTube tutorials to webinars, to speaking at local conferences. You could re-purpose your presentations and put them on your blog!

Tips to try now :
Choose a hot topic in your industry to address.
Timely Follow ups with both attendees and non-attendees.

#9: Leverage Existing Customers

Most companies do a poor job of leveraging existing customers to create new ones. If your company does events, give people a discount or free gift to bring a friend.
Be active on Linked In! This is a great way to find others in your industry, join chat groups and forums for advice or event invites.
# Basically bonding?

Tips to try :
Find a local Habitat for Humanity project.
Check your calendar—is your business seasonal? When is an opportune time to have an event?

#10: Listen. Tweet. Listen. Listen Again.

Identify your ideal clients and find them on Twitter. Then start following them! Spend weeks listening to them; you’ll be amazed what they will tell you about their concerns, their ideal products, their current frustrations with their vendors. It’s a great way to get open honest market research.
Get a Twitter account in your business name. Post links to your articles educating people in your niche market. At the bottom of the article have links to your products & services. Also offer discount coupon codes to twitter members. This has worked very well for me.
Look for feedback, because the best companies are constantly improving. After completing a service, ask your customer to comment on their experience. The feedback is great in two part; it can inform on your business’ best practices and highlight the areas that need improvement.

Tips to try :
Choose an area where you need feedback.
Look into the survey tools.

#11: Apply for Awards

Its best when you are presented with a trophy, or a medal, or even just a badge, that you can then place in a prominent place to assert that your business savvy is. Award shows are also another great place to network! You would be surprised at the sheer amount of awards available

Tips to try :
Curate a list of the type of awards you could apply for, i.e. Best Design Team, Best Blog Post, etc.
Check these awards out!

#12: Maintain Relationships With Clients

The difference between a successful company and a mediocre one often boils down to an owner’s commitment in building and sustaining relationships with clients and prospects.
While it’s important to keep up traditional communication and PR, business owners should also be extending their relationships through online forums – website, blogs, and social networks. Conversations are happening all around you – are you listening, are you participating? Are you a thought leader? Be visible!

Tips to try :
Extend your relationships with clients through online forums – website, blogs, and social networks.

#13: Get Out of The Store: Be Different

Stand out from the crowd. Be a unicorn in a herd of donkeys. Be original and quirky and uniquely represent your business through advertising and marketing. Show everyone not only why your business is awesome, but why it is head-and-shoulders above everyone else.

Tips to try :
Take the time to create a striking “About Us” page that showcases your unique mission statement and staff.