A very common misperception amongst small business owners is that in order to make their business stand out from the competition, big bucks has to be splashed on advertising.
Not true. Thanks to the ever-developing digital marketing landscape and online tools available, there is a host of creative marketing techniques you can employ to successfully market your business in a cost effective way.
It’s all about content
A great way to drive visitors to your website and acquire new customers is to do content marketing. Content marketing is simply creating and distributing relevant, valuable content that your potential customers want to engage with and share with others.
It is an effective method to generate leads and reach the KPI’s of your business and include things like blogs, videos, podcasts and social media updates etc.
Creating content that your target market will love is important, but driving traffic to that content is equally as important. It’s no use having incredible content, but it’s not reaching the people you want to reach and achieving what it’s supposed to. That’s why having a solid action plan in place for promoting your content is vital. Draw up a calendar that specifies how and when your content is distributed.
For content to be powerful and effective, it needs to be fresh and unique. Something that hasn’t been done before by competitors and that consumers want to bookmark or save as it provides valuable, helpful information.
Powerful content is also tailored content. Tailor your content to your specific target audience, their needs and internet consumption habits. And lastly, creativity is key in content creation.
Deliver your content in meaningful, new ways, using the latest technologies and methods to draw higher engagement.
If used effectively, social media can contribute greatly to the growth of your business. Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn are great ways to distribute your content and reach your target audience.
Using these channels is cost-effective as it is mostly free to use. However, most of them offer fantastic paid business advertising solutions that allow you to promote your products or services to new customers outside of your own geographic location.
There are also great free tools available online to schedule your content in advance and monitor and manage the engagement on it. From these social media insights, you are able to understand your user better and improve your marketing strategy accordingly.
You’ll be able to see the number of reach, likes, comments and other engagement your content receives and from this derive which of your content works and which doesn’t, the best times or days of the week to publish, which channels work best, and who to target with your content.
Optimise for the search engine
Another awesome way to spread the word about your brand and products or services, is through Search Engine Optimisation.
SEO, as it’s often referred to, is the effective process through which website content is cleverly optimised in order to rank higher in organic search engine results and consequently increase website traffic.
It allows you to rank high on search engines, like Google and Bing, for popular search terms within your niche, without actually having to pay for an advert.
SEO can get rather technical, but there are many effective SEO tactics you can apply to optimise your website. With a few clever tricks, like installing SEO plugins and using key worded titles and content, you can also optimise your Blog, YouTube channel and other distribution channels.
Not only will SEO enable you to drive traffic to your company website, but increase awareness of your brand, and give you the edge on your competitors when it comes to securing new and potential clients.
Send an email
It’s a myth that email marketing is dead. It is still very much an effective and inexpensive method to promote your business and products to your target audience, and an easy way to reach people on-the-go on their mobile devices.
You also don’t need to be a technical boffin to send out an email marketing campaign. There are great tools, like MailChimp, available online that will help you set up and distribute your email campaigns, and depending on how many emails you want to send, it is either free or very reasonably priced.
Targeted emails to smaller databases that contain content relevant to its recipients are proven to be more cost-effective yielding better results, than ‘blanket’ emails to large databases of people that are less likely to convert into customers.
Email marketing is great for introducing new products and services to potential clients, upselling existing clients, nurturing possible leads, driving traffic to your website or blog, and promoting special events.
Classifieds and business listings
Classifieds is another great way to market your business on a limited budget. Not only popular for advertising second-hand goods, cars and property, classifieds have fantastic free advertising benefits for businesses as well.
Websites like Junk Mail Classifieds even gives you the option to register a free trader account for your business, and create an online business profile that has the potential to reach thousands of customers and generate daily leads.
Classifieds are known to be very effective, as they are high-traffic websites that allow you to advertise in specific categories, sub-categories and regions. This enables you to target a specific audience with your products or services and makes it easier for people to find and enter into business with you.
So, if marketing your business seems a bit like conquering Mount Everest right now, then take a deep breath and relax, because it really is easier (and cheaper) than you think.
Just take the time to do some research and familiarise yourself with the multitude of helpful tools readily available to help you get the word out about your brand and products, without breaking the bank.