Running a small business can be challenging when it comes to marketing, mainly because of a limited budget. Big companies allocate six or even seven figures for their marketing campaigns, while smaller companies, that are in a desperate need of promotion, have to resort to DIY and makeshift methods for improving visibility and reaching their target audience. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and there are various effective and yet affordable marketing tactics that can help small businesses grow and attract more customers.
Leverage email marketing
This is one of the most cost-effective strategies, and it’s famous for its high ROI. Basically, for every $1 you spend you earn $44.25, and this stat can apply to any industry. Besides being profitable, email marketing has another upside – it’s a preferred channel of communication for many consumers. Startups and SMBs can gain significant exposure through this strategy. However, for email marketing to work, several factors have to be considered. First of all, only catchy subject lines will make recipients click. Successful subject lines tap into the power of FOMO, curiosity, customers’ pain points, humor, vanity, and other psychological triggers. Still, using clickbaits is not recommendable as they’re annoying and spammy, not to mention that consumers have come to see through them. Compelling copy is another key ingredient, and it should be as personalized as possible – the second person narration should dominate because the whole point is to talk about customers and the benefits that they can get from a product or service. In other words, the focus isn’t on the company itself and its product’s features.
Update social media
Social media platforms can do wonders for promoting a small business, and this isn’t just an empty phrase. There are more than 3 billion social media users globally, which is why Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram hold tremendous marketing potential. For example, there are 50 million business Facebook pages, while 32% of the users of this social media channel engage with brands on a regular basis. These numbers and figures illustrate the importance of building a strong social media presence and posting content frequently. Apart from sharing valuable and helpful blog posts, it’s also important to use visual content, especially on Instagram and Pinterest. Still, small businesses, such as local coffee shops, usually can’t afford to purchase decent images but fortunately, there are high-quality free stock coffee photos that will make their any social media post attractive and visually appealing. Social media isn’t just beneficial for raising brand awareness, but also for feeling the pulse of the target audience. Reading comments is an excellent way of finding out customers’ feelings about a particular business. Of course, it’s important to respond to their feedback in a timely manner in order to keep them engaged and build customer loyalty.
Produce relevant content
Customers don’t want to listen to a pushy sales pitch, and this obsolete marketing tactic can only damage any business. One of the best strategies to promote a business subtly is through storytelling. However, this approach will work only if it revolves around customers and their problems and interests. That’s why creating content that will address customers’ common pain points and offer effective and efficient solutions will bring them closer to the brand. Companies that carefully craft their content according to their target audience’s needs will make the audience feel valued and appreciated. Speaking of appreciation, showing your customer that you value them by giving away branded products with your company’s name is another way of making meaningful emotional connection.
Let customers have their say
Content is even more powerful when it’s generated by customers themselves. Reviews, case studies, and testimonials are an essential part of any marketing strategy. According to a recent survey, 83% of participants from all over the world rely on recommendations from their friends and family when it comes to making a purchasing decision. Similarly, another stat says that more than 61% of people read reviews before buying anything. It’s clear that consumers are more likely to believe other consumers than brands, which is why it’s important to enable them to leave comments and write their opinion about products and services. However, in order for these reviews and testimonials to be effective, they need to be sincere and genuine, since customers can tell that a review is fake from a mile away.
Spy on the competition
Gaining a competitive edge is crucial in a crowded market. Companies that keep an eye on what their competitors are doing on their blogs, social media channels, or when it comes to pricing, will be able to be one step ahead. This is particularly important for new businesses that still struggle to identify their target audience or determine the pricing. Besides this, it’s a good idea to start following direct competitors’ followers on social media and slowly win them over.
These five methods don’t require a big budget, and still, they are as effective as any other expensive strategy.