7 Ways To Turn Your Small Business Into A Marketing Machine
Marketing is an essential aspect of your small business.
You can’t avoid it. As a small business, you need as much momentum, influence and awareness in the market as possible. However, marketing is a big money industry. Marketers know the value of their work and they charge accordingly. For many small businesses, the cost of outsourcing marketing is unfeasible.
However, there are several ways that you can commandeer small business marketing and make your marketing campaign a success without the price tag.
How to start
Before you even begin marketing your business, it is essential to do some groundwork. Whether you have a shoestring or big budget, you need to target the right people. Dee Blick, marketing guru, recommends conducting an audit before starting your marketing campaign.
This audit aims to help you to position yourself in the market and work out how to take the right approach. Take the time to assess your offering fully. List all of the good qualities and great things that you do. So often, businesses work hard to condense all they offer and all the advantages into a short paragraph or mission statement. Instead, having more aspects to focus on can help you to drive different campaigns and work out what generates the most success.
You then need to ask the critical questions for your business. Most importantly; what do you want to achieve? Make sure to use the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) tactic when answering this question. If you just answer ‘more leads’ you won’t know when you’ve reached your target and whether your marketing has really been a success.
Once you know what you want from your marketing, you can start with your small business marketing techniques. Here are just seven of the ways that can help to boost your small business into a marketing machine without blowing the budget.
Seven ways for cheap, effective small business marketing
It is likely that your business cannot afford big-budget marketing, but you can learn the tricks of the trade which may be a more cost-effective option. If you have time and not money, then try to spend your time learning the marketing basics. There are so many articles, books and videos available that offer excellent marketing advice for your small business.
It is not essential to learn everything, so try and tailor your marketing knowledge on the industry or size of your business. Focus on the aspects that seem to speak specifically to your business and take away the tips and ideas that you want to try.
In some cases, it may be cheaper to enlist the help of a marketer for a video call, for example. They can help to get you started in the right direction and give you the confidence you need to make a go of it.
- Think lean
Agile may be the buzzword for businesses and is undoubtedly an approach you should use for your marketing. Marketing is an industry that is changing all the time, what is important to Google algorithms one week may not be relevant the next. For the most effective and efficient marketing strategy, you need to think lean and agile.
Be prepared to tweak your marketing regularly and change the structure of your efforts quickly. Continue to adjust, refocus and trial your marketing attempts. Stagnancy in your marketing will ensure it fails. Make sure to keep on top of it and keep trying new things. As soon as you spot the methods that gain traction, keeping honing on these until you have the perfect techniques to deploy regularly and succinctly.
- Partner up
If you are a small business with a limited marketing budget, you are not alone.
However, two or three small businesses can pool their resources for the benefit of everyone. Reach out to complementary businesses and team up for your marketing efforts. It is easy to find the best businesses to work with; you may even be sat next to them in your coworking space.
Working together with other small businesses can be a lifeline.
After all, you both win if you succeed and only costs half as much if it fails. The importance of teaming up is that you need to be clear about your marketing approach and focusing on the same types of customers. A referral rewards scheme can work wonders. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work when it comes to marketing. It needs to be targeted.
- Educate and entertain
Social media is perhaps the best free small business marketing tools, but it needs to be used correctly.
There are five stages of transforming a prospect into a customer, and social media can be a great method to conduct all five approaches. These are awareness, interest, evaluation, desire and interest.
Using social media to educate, entertain and assist your prospects is an essential way to build up rapport and trust. One excellent way of engagement is using customer stories. This is a great way to form a long-lasting relationship with your customer and also increase the likelihood that they will share it with their network which may land you more leads.
- Give something back
Your local community can be a great support network and an ideal place to market on a budget.
Holding a fundraising event or supporting a charity in your local community can be an excellent way to enjoy free exposure and show your business skills and add greater awareness of what you do and what your brand is all about.
You can further add to the exposure of giving back to the community by writing a press release for your event or community idea and distribute to your local press. Inviting the media to attend the event is also a great way to promote the business alongside the wonderful work you are doing for the community.
- Go for gold
Award nominations are another way to gain free marketing exposure.
Getting nominated and winning awards will ensure your name is out there as a leader in the industry. Often awards are easy to enter and may offer a valuable return on investment with exposure, interviews and backlinks on a range of websites. Nominations for awards can also help to increase exposure on social media too and be an excellent way to ask for support and sharing from your loyal customers.
Nominations and award will inevitably lead to blog posts, interviews and possibly even TV and radio exposure too. Make sure to make the most of each nomination however big or small.
It is important to consider yourself an expert in your industry.
You wouldn’t have set up your small business if you didn’t think you could offer a product or service that is better than others. You can use this expertise to contribute to the industry and beyond.
Blogs, articles and press are always looking for experts to comment on issues, trends and the state of the industry. By contributing, you are not only showcasing your business, but you are showing yourself as a frontrunner.
Start by running an interview yourself with your network and using the video and transcript to post online, alongside blogs, articles and press releases. Using people in your coworking community can be ideal for this, and you will get a range of opinions and skills.
Another way to contribute is through Help A Reporter Out. This is a comprehensive database of sources and information which could lead to contributions and backlinks as well as interviews that can all help to market your business for free.