Bigger brands have enviable marketing budgets but for small business owners, making every dollar work is critical.
But there are ways you can take to make sure your business competes and succeeds – and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Less than $100 and want to promote yourself? It’s possible. Here’s how:
1. Know your market
Knowledge really is power.
With some careful research, you can gain the knowledge you need to hone in on your target market – then talk to them in a language they understand. Who is your ideal client? The more you know them – their likes, their needs, their emotional triggers – you can focus your marketing efforts with sniper-like precision.
While you’re busy with that research (and isn’t the internet an amazing tool at your fingertips?), don’t limit it to your own customer base. Who are your competitors targeting…and why?
By understanding the strategy your competition is using, you can beat them at their own game. Going head-to-head may not be the best solution for you – especially if their marketing budget is bigger – but what can work is identifying the opportunities they are missing, and focus your advertising energy there.
Awesome Free Tools to get you started:
Survey Monkey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/
Google Trends: http://www.google.com/trends/
Australian Bureau of Statistics: http://abs.gov.au/
2. Email Campaigns That Work
Cost: Small – depends on the number of contacts you want to reach via email marketing platforms that work for your needs. Can be between $20-$50 for up to 5000 contacts.
Email marketing can be incredibly effective – putting marketing power in the hands of small businesses and start-ups, at relatively low cost. Marketing experts who know their stuff regularly cite it as the best return-on-investment.
As a starting point, make sure you check out:
Campaign Monitor (a great Aussie success story): https://www.campaignmonitor.com/
Mail Chimp: http://mailchimp.com/
3. Optimise – for Optimal Business
If you take the time to do some keyword research and build your website with search engine optimisation (SEO) in mind, your business will be rewarded with better online visibility.
How often do you search beyond the page 1 of Google? Make sure your business is there.
Online research can teach you a variety of tips and insights you can apply to your own web content – for free.
2 of The Best Free Resources are:
4. Have a Social Strategy
Cost: as little as $40 a month
Sponsored Facebook posts, or sponsored posts on LinkedIn, help place your brand at the forefront or your connections.
Even a minor investment in social media marketing has the potential to produce a wealth of new followers, as well as increased web visitors.
Beginners Tip: Targeting is really important. Once you know your market, make sure you ads are going directly to them.
5. It’s All About Connections
Cost: $0 – $60
You know that saying about how it’s not always what you know but who you know? Well, it’s partly true. Who do you know in business who has connections to people who could help you. Align yourself with like-minded professionals in non-competing industries and build alliances. Say you’re a web designer…make friends with a copywriter. If you’re a real estate agent, connect with people who service your same property investor market – such as mortgage brokers, conveyancers and financial planners.
It’s all about leverage. You might have a solid number of connections yourself but by tapping into the connections of other business people, your potential clients just grew – a lot.
Not sure your colleagues have the connections you need? Look for a business networking function near you. For the cost of breakfast (or lunch) you can find yourself in a room with as many as 50 people – all potentially ripe for your business services.
If people refer work to you, be sure to thank them. It’s polite and it’s good business – making them far more likely to do it again next time.
The social media landscape has created a new democracy – where small business people can sit side-by-side with the biggest corporations. Don’t be afraid – just go for it. What have you got to lose?
Beginners Tip: Spend time on Facebook and LinkedIn Groups or grab a coffee with a potential partner once a week.
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