Small business owners are required to wear many hats. One of the toughest to wear is the marketing hat. What a challenge it can be to find effective ways to reach the right audience without breaking the bank. Below is a quick list of free marketing strategies you can use right now to market your small business. The ideas have been taken from my eBook, “Small Business Marketing on a Budget” and if you like what you’re reading you can download the eBook for free here.
1) Tell everyone you know about your business!!
It may seem obvious, but have you gone through the exercise of telling EVERYONE you know? Just because you think about and work on your business non-stop does not mean the people in your life know about it.
Sure Mom and Dad support your business, but do they really know what you do? Maybe Aunt Susan and Cousin Andrew have overheard you talking about your business at a family dinner but never checked out your website. Take some time to send an email to everyone you know – yes everyone – and tell them about your business. And remember that people tend to distill what they hear into a handful of key words, so be careful to give them a core message that they will be able to recall exactly.
Photo Credit: Leo Grubler https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
2) Recruit Partners
Forging an alliance with another business that is talking to a different segment of your target market is a cost-effective way to increase your marketing power exponentially. This is a long-term plan that can be invaluable across the life of the relationship.
Look for businesses that offer a different product or service but have a similar target market. You could do something as simple as swapping Facebook posts to promote each other or as elaborate as partnering on an event.
3) Look for Outside-the-Box Networking Opportunities
By analyzing your target market and your target market’s behavior, you may open up an array of options to network with them that you never considered. This is about thinking through the day-to-day, week-to-week life of members of your target market. Where do they go to unwind? To get focused for the day? Be there with a friendly face and a listening ear, and be there consistently if you can.
Photo Credit: Neil Rickard
4) Connect With Your Current Customers
Maintaining the relationship with existing customers is just as important as getting brand new customers. If someone has already bought your product or service, it may seem like you closed them once and now they are yours forever. Unfortunately, your work is not done with this audience.
Think about how nice it feels to receive a genuine letter or email from one of your service providers. No sales pitch, just a nice note to say hi, thanks, Happy Holidays, or to just check in because they haven’t heard from you in a while.
5) Build Your Contact List
In some cases, you can look up specific contacts from your target markets in online searches and build your own list. Although you are building a list of cold leads, those cold leads are in your target market. As such, doing outreach to this list could still yield interest.
The trick here is to know exactly who is in your target market. Even if the lead is cold, by addressing the right pain point you have a strong opportunity to convert the lead into a paying customer over time.
Blogs allow you to provide context for your offerings. They let you tell all the backstory, give all the insider knowledge, and share all the benefits of your product or service. Through a blog, you can show the personality of your brand and clarify the values of your business. Blogs done well can bring the mission and vision of your company to life. A person who finds out about your company and checks out your blog can immediately start to develop a connection to you and your offerings.
Another benefit of blogging is that it’s great for SEO. Do it correctly, and it will help your website rank higher in Google searches.
7) Interact With Your Audience on Social Media
Social media is about being social with other people online. People turn to social media to be informed, to be amused, to procrastinate, to get other people’s thoughts about certain topics, to reconnect with friends, to make plans with friends they see frequently. They usually do not go there to shop. Give them a chance to build a relationship with you and get to know more about your business.
Rather than spending time sharing and retweeting everyone else’s content, create original content for your audience. Take time to see what your community is up to and engage with their posts. It will be time well spent.
Do you find these ideas valuable? Want in-depth information about various low-cost and free marketing strategies you can use to build the audience for your business? Download my free eBook “Small Business Marketing on a Budget” here.