Marketing is an essential part of the mix if you want to have any hope of growing profits, finding loyal customers, and building a positive profile for your business. Lots of people like to think they’re marketing experts because they once bought some ad space, but the truth is that a successful marketing strategy can be a complex thing, spanning many different channels and constantly in a state of flux, due to being highly responsive to audience needs and data driven. However, don’t make the mistake of assuming that complex equals costly. Great marketing doesn’t always require a blue-chip corporate budget at all. You should never underestimate the importance of branding for a small business, but great progress can be made with some very effective low-cost methods.
Put On Your White Hat
Effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a great channel for a small business to increase their share of voice and size of audience without spending a fortune. Using ‘white hat’ SEO techniques on your website that fully comply with the policies of search engines is entirely free of charge, other than your time and ingenuity. It relies on creating a consistent stream of evergreen content that is adding value for users, and encourages them both to share and to revisit your site as a source of information. A good idea can be to try setting up a blog or a series of videos introducing your brand, explaining a product or service, or talking about a relevant currently topic of interest. Quality content takes time, so don’t try to rush it. And never be tempted to use so called ‘black hat’ techniques such as click bait articles or keyword whiteouts.
Polish Your Networking Skills
As much as our worlds and our interactions are increasingly happening online, never underestimate the value of in-person events for spreading the word and creating a deeper understanding about your organisation and it’s values. Find local networking events and not only attend, but ask for the opportunity to speak on something topical related to your area of work. Have some printed material that you can give out to encourage people to remember you and what you do. And always take the opportunity to foster knowledge – whether that is through attending conferences to gain the latest know-how or creating events that give you a chance to share knowledge relevant to your business and introduce yourself. Find the balance between sharing a taster of what you do and giving too much away for free.
Use The Power Of Freebies
Everyone loves offers and giveaways – and for a very small investment, they have the power to push your brand out there in a major way. Whether it’s a one off competition with a tempting prize or a loyalty system which rewards repeat customers or recommendations to others, if you make the people you come into contact with feel appreciated, then you usually get a really positive response. Think about what you want out of it first – it could be a certain number of extra sign-ups to your newsletter or more conversions, or simply fresh customer data. And remember that, a lot of the time, a simple thank you – for free – can go a huge way towards making people feel good about your business. And when people feel good, sales generally increase!