If you’re a small business, odds are you’re also dealing with a small budget (and staff). It may feel like an uphill battle to gain customers and grow your business at the grassroots level. How are people going to find your business? How do you nurture a loyal client base?
Good news: You have many opportunities to market and promote your small business online, and most are fairly inexpensive:
- Online research: This can be done for free (minus your time spent searching). You can find a lot of information about your target audience and competitors through basic Google searches, and cater better to your audience.
- Email marketing: For just a minimal monthly fee, you can use email management tools like Constant Contactto consistently communicate with your customers. This keeps your company top-of-mind for these customers, and more likely to respond to a sale or promotion.
- Content marketing: Customers would rather be wooed rather than sold to. By starting a blog and sharing relevant content, you’ll gain interest and credibility…which eventually leads to more sales.
- Social media marketing: This one is a given. Every business should have a presence on social media, because it’s free and offers another communication channel to reach customers. If used regularly (and correctly), social media marketing can be a powerful tool.
- Online advertising: You may think that online advertising is too expensive to invest in, but you’d be surprised. Sponsored posts and ads on Facebook cost just a few dollars, and you can reach hundreds of potential clients. Better yet, you can target ads by geographic location and interests.
- Cross-promotion: Work with other local businesses to leverage your mutual client bases to cross-sell or cross-promote your products or services via social media or events. This low-cost tactic can potentially expand your client base, and is a win-win situation for all parties involved.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): By just making sure your website copy and content is keyword optimized, you will get higher search engine rankings. That means more customers will be able to find your product or service online, resulting in more sales.
- Online coupons and promotions: Offer some coupons or promotions to your client base, or reach new clients through a daily deals website like Groupon.
- User-friendly website: If you have an existing website, you can make some small tweaks to for a more user-friendly site. Consider adding an online storefront, updating links or navigation, and making sure your website is compatible with all mobile devices.
- Empowered employees: The best kind of marketing is word-of-mouth marketing. If your employees are happy and believe in your product, they’re likely to share their experience online. Your online reputation is important, so don’t underestimate the power of your own employees.