“It’s not about the amount of time you devote but rather what you devote to that time that counts.” – Neil Patel
Marketing is necessary for a business of any size. You may have the best product or service in the world, but without marketing, no one will buy from you.
But marketing has one drawback – it’s costly, and not all companies have the financial muscle to execute regular or multiple marketing campaigns. That might sound like something small businesses don’t want to include in their budgets.
But, marketing isn’t an expense; it’s an investment. Without it, your business may fail unless you send word of mouth to potential customers, which is not usually enough on its own.
Small business owners can use cost-effective strategies to market their offers.
Here are four inexpensive ways to market your business.
1) Focus on one marketing channel
You may not have a big marketing team or budget to invest in big marketing campaigns. But that doesn’t mean you’ve no options.
Established companies with enormous resources can try several marketing campaigns at once. For example, they can invest in Facebook ads, Google Adwords, print media, and more, at the same time.
Small businesses, on the other hand, need to identify only one effective marketing method and go all in.
So, what marketing channel should you focus on?
Campaign Monitor surveyed over 1000 small business owners and discovered that the biggest and most effective channels for gaining new customers are social media and email marketing.
If you’ve to implement social media marketing, choose only one channel. For example, B2B businesses can focus on LinkedIn, while B2C companies can use Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.
Discover where your audience hangs out and focus on only one marketing medium.
And if it’s email marketing, look for an affordable email marketing app, create a killer lead magnet, and start sending powerful email newsletters.
2) Understand the needs of your audience
Companies spend a fortune on marketing because they don’t understand customer needs. If you know what your customers really need, it’s easier to sell to them.
If you can offer a service or product that suits their needs, they’ll keep coming for more and even inform their friends.
So, how do you know your customers’ pain points so that you can market to them quickly and inexpensively? There are two ways to go about this:
Ask customers what they think
You can send out a brief survey using tools like Google Forms or Survey Monkey. You can also include a question at the end of your emails or on the purchase page to let you know their thoughts.
A survey by Cint shows that 62% of customers are willing to buy a product from a brand that seeks their opinion. Besides, 56% of consumers would be loyal to a business that asks their opinion.
Read reviews from competitors offering similar products
When people get passionate about something, whether good or bad, their subconscious mind prevails. And that’s what happens with reviews like those that people post on Amazon.
People’s hearts and emotions drive them to write such comments. Thus, you can check the reviews from your competitors’ sites or even your product’s users and see what they like or want to be changed.
Use that info to improve your offers to reflect the desires of customers, and include the details in your marketing materials to let them know your offerings meet their needs.
3) Show expertise to potential customers
An inexpensive but effective way to market your business is to showcase your expertise to potential customers. Most of the approaches, in this case, aren’t time-consuming either.
For example, keep an eye on forums, such as Quora or Facebook groups, so you can always chime in and respond to questions when people post. Often, it takes a couple of minutes to respond to questions on such platforms, but the impact can be long-term.
Other than forums, you can write a blog post that answers most of the questions from potential customers. The idea is to provide help and have people perceive you as an authority in your niche.
Responding to people’s questions in forums or blog posts makes potential customers perceive you as an expert, which increases their trust in your brand. And once people trust your business, it’s easy for them to buy from you.
4) Content marketing
While there are several marketing strategies that small business owners can exploit, content marketing isn’t only cost-efficient but also result-oriented.
A recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute shows that 90% of the top business-to-business marketers put the informational needs of their audience above the brand’s promotional message.
In other words, these marketers prioritized the use of content marketing to educate and inform their audience. Specifically, they used educational content and email campaigns to nurture an audience, subscribers, and leads.
Using content marketing in your small business will enable you to:
● Develop and sustain a strong brand identity that your audience can connect with
● Differentiate yourself from the competitors who don’t use content marketing
● Establish a long-standing and trustworthy relationship with your prospects and customers
● Continually generate web traffic and exposure to services or products without breaking the bank
● Position yourself as a thought leader and industry expert in the minds of your competitors and customers
● Convert your traffic into leads and buying customers. Research shows that 88% of customers research online before they buy something on the internet or in-store.
● Rank in search engines. When you publish quality content that attracts tons of shares and traffic, Google will notice it and rank the page higher so more people can see it.
The three top content types that are popular among top-performing marketers are:
● Audio/visual content – Webinars, videos, and live streaming
● Text-based content – Blog posts, articles, and eBooks
● Images – Charts, GIFs, infographics, and photos
Whichever content type you go with, be consistent, and have a goal. For example, if you publish blog posts regularly, you may want to include a call to action that requires users to download a resource related to your post, in exchange with their emails.
You may also ask them to contact you, asking about the service or product stated in the post.
If you don’t know where to start, you can approach a digital marketing agency for guidance.
The importance of SEO
Just creating a lot of great content will not be enough. If you want it to reach your audience, you will need to make it easy for search engines to discover and display that content.
This is why you can’t neglect SEO.
In the simplest of terms, you need to optimize your content keywords, headlines, formatting, images, and other aspects to make it easier for search engines to index and serve your potential customers.
Implementing the best SEO practices is somewhat time-consuming, especially if you produce a lot of content. Also, there are many requirements that search engines impose on websites before they deem them worthy of the first search result page.
However, the great news is that there are many things you can do on your own for free, if you’re willing to invest some time and effort.
Best of all, the benefits you reap from SEO build up gradually and show results over a long time.
Establishing a content strategy and optimizing your content will bump your business website up in search results, which means more visibility and clicks for you – and consequently, more conversions.
By implementing the above approaches and other sound business advice, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors. You’ll also start attracting more customers and sales. You can use one or more approaches at a time.