Whether you are an Instagram blogger, a home baker or the owner of a company worth billions, every business needs a marketing strategy. Many great business ideas have fallen flat due to ineffective marketing. If we remove the jargon around marketing, it’s simply a way of telling people what you sell and how you sell it.
Here are some easy ways in which you can locally market your small business. Check them out.
Plan Your Marketing
You don’t want to waste your precious time and money at random and unstructured marketing activities. No matter the scale of your business, the key to a successful business is to define a marketing strategy before doing anything else.
Think about your customers and how they would search for your product. Younger customers tend to be highly active on social media while the older can be reached over traditional marketing channels. Ask yourself who your target customers are. Read our guide on How to Make a Business Plan to know your audience.
Think about these questions when you plan your marketing strategy. Be as specific as possible.
- Identifying who your best prospects for marketing your business are?
- How can you reach them at the best potential?
- Is it through Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or YouTube?
- What about in-person networking? How do you plan to spread your reach?
- What about advertising?
Write your answers down and refer to them each time before you start any new marketing tactic.
Logo And Brand Image
The next essential step is to create a brand logo. Your goal should be a widespread brand recognition as it will give your business credibility and inspire others to spread the word about your business. Grow your brand by placing your logo in your business stationery, business cards, email signatures, brochures, signs, website, and merchandising materials.
Advertising is one of the most vital aspects of marketing your business. It is the most direct and important connection to the consumer. When consumers feel personally connected to an advertisement they are more likely to frequent your business. Some businesses question if investing in an advertising budget will be worth it and that is a big mistake. Advertisement produces continuous business by attracting new customers and generating brand loyalty.
Here are a few ways you can advertise your business.
1. Use Email Marketing
Email marketing funnels begin with a ‘lead magnet’. This is something compelling you offer your website visitors in exchange for their email address. Attractive options include a free digital download, a free service trial, webinar access, site membership, a coupon, etc. Capturing contact information for marketing and lead nurturing is the best way to sell. Once the person subscribes to your email list, you’ll have the opportunity to display your authority and credibility by providing valuable content to them via email.
Make sure your email doesn’t get marked as spam. Avoid these points to avoid content-based filtering of the mailboxes.
2. Use Direct Mail Marketing
As online channels become more and more saturated with content, fewer companies look to direct mail marketing, and that means opportunity for you. Like most offline campaigns, direct mail is typically run in conjunction with the online marketing funnel. You need to compel mail recipients to open your letters. Do whatever you can to grab their attention. Like any other marketing strategy, success comes down to targeted creativity in direct mail marketing.
3. Build A Website
Having a working website is important for marketing a business. If you don’t have a website, get one set up. It serves as a lead generation tool, online brochure, catalogue, and information source for your potential customers. Make sure your website looks good and is easy to read on mobile devices as well as on desktop and laptop computers. You can get your website custom-designed or you can design using one of the free portals like WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace, etc that provide templates and tools to easily create a basic website.
4. Use Content Marketing
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and reliable content to attract and retain your target audience and drive profitable customer action. It focuses more on long-term results. The initial payoff tends to be low, but the sustainable growth in visitors, leads, and customers can single-handedly carry a business.
For content marketing to work, make sure you provide quality content on relevant topics that are optimized for readers as well as the SEO. For better results, offer content in varied mediums such as text, videos, podcasts, webinars, and other platforms through which your audience consumes information.
5. Use Print Media To Market Your Business
While much of the world has moved online, print media still exists and thrives in some niches. Yes, the overall popularity is decreasing, but that lowers the pricing for ad placement which makes it possible to run effective ads at incredibly affordable prices. Print media is best used in conjunction with online marketing strategies, with the two channels arranged to complement each other and create an engaging experience for potential buyers.
Reporters are also constantly looking for sources to quote in their stories. One way they find those sources is to use services that distribute their request for sources to publicists, experts, marketers and others who want to be sourced.
Other major print media of advertising include newspapers, newsletters, magazines, banners, billboards, books, brochures and flyers.
6. Use Social Media To Market Your Small Business
Using social media for business is really non-negotiable in these times. If people can’t find your business via social media, they will look for your competitors who are present on their preferred social channels. Social media marketing is all about how much time and resources you are investing in growing your social audience. The key is identifying where your customers are and how they like to be approached. If social media is the answer to both those questions, it’s the perfect channel for your business.
Post interesting and relevant information regularly to your social media accounts. Tips on how they can improve their life or business or special offers are likely to get the most likes and shares. Pay to boost your most popular posts on social media sites. Target the boosted posts at groups of people who are most like your customers. This can be an inexpensive way of getting your business in front of potential customers in very targeted locations or who have interests that match what you sell.
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7. Use Social Media Influencers To Market Your Business
Influencer marketing is a huge industry. Here’s how it works. A business pays or offers free products to a blogger or influencer who has a high following on social media. In return, the influencer shares your product on their social media channels. It’s extremely effective. The more popular influencers charge astronomical rates at times, but those with smaller followings, also called ‘micro-influencers’, have high engagement rates.
8. Event Marketing
Events can be used as another marketing channel. Being a speaker at popular events in your niche is an impactful step in terms of branding and establishing yourself as an authority. While invitations to speak at larger events are often extended because of accomplishments or visible influence, you can also work your way into these opportunities by becoming a talented speaker and delivering great talks at smaller events.
9. Use ‘Google My Business’ To Help Your Business Grow
Ranking your Google My Business listing is one of the most powerful things you can do for your business. It combines all your different Google platforms into one central place, which includes your Google+ profile, Google Maps profile, your Google reviews, access to data on Google Analytics and Google Insights, and more. It also immediately gives your business credibility and visibility. All you need is to optimize your profile and then collect reviews and citations.
10. Use Google Adwords
Google Adwords is sort of the godfather of online marketing channels. It’s been around a long time. It’s competitive. It’s expensive. But if you know what you’re doing, it can work very well for you. Despite being a paid channel, Adwords’ goal is to deliver relevant search results to users, and thus, it will be less expensive for you when you are utilising proper on-page SEO. Google assigns a quality score to your ad, which is dependent on ‘Click Through Rate’, relevance and the landing page your ad sends traffic to. This quality score factors into the bid rate you will need to get an ad displayed, with higher scores lowering the bid cost.
Market Your Business By Building Relationships
A key tool of marketing is simply building relationships. Remember why your mom used to buy vegetables from the same vendor every day? Simply because he built a relationship with her by giving her fresh vegetables at a good price. Building relationships is the most effective way of marketing. Here’s how you can do it:
PR is still a very powerful weapon in a marketer’s arsenal. Without hiring a dedicated public representation agency, it will be really tough for you to have a brand voice and identity of your own.
Meeting professionals from other, related businesses is an effective form of business promotion, as it provides you with opportunities to learn about your competitors, ask for referrals, form mutually beneficial partnerships in complementary industries and spread awareness about your business throughout a group of like-minded people.
Network with other professionals by attending networking group meetings. Joining local business groups will give you the opportunity to meet up with other like-minded people who already share some common ground with you. These groups are a great opportunity to bounce ideas off other smart people, share referrals, find talent, and identify new opportunities. Connections tend to multiply, and if your group takes networking seriously, you can leverage your seemingly minor connections into much more significant ones.
Introduce yourself to people at these meetings. Explain what it is your business does, what you offer that makes you stand out from your competition and what you are looking for in business relationships. Partner with other businesses. Teamwork is always more effective than singular effort, and combining resources with another business can help you do things you could never accomplish on your own.
Develop relationships with your customers. Customers are people, not numbers, and it is very important that you put consideration and effort into building personal relationships with them. Encourage customers to talk about their experience using your business. There is no tool more powerful than people talking with their family members or friends about your product or the quality of your work. If your customers are fully satisfied, then you should ask them to refer you or your product to their family or friends. It is important to realise that your customers may not do so automatically and sometimes a little poke requesting them to refer your business may work wonders. Go ahead, be bold and ask for more work.
Ask customers to review your business. When someone is ready to choose a product or a service provider, they want to be assured that they are making a good choice. One way they gain that assurance is by looking at the reviews. To increase the chance that customers will leave a review, send them a note thanking them for their business, and ask them to review your site online. Include a link to a place you’d like them to post their review.
Marketing is a great way to reach out to potential customers and letting the world know about your business. With the right marketing tools in your hand, you can go conquer the world.
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