Marketing your small business can be tricky; you’re often multi-tasking across different roles, operating on a tight budget, and trying to satisfy existing customers while also finding new ones. However, there is one way to take the stress off: smart promotions for small business owners.
To successfully market your business – and boost sales – it’s important to ensure you stay ahead of the game with a cost-efficient, high-impact marketing strategy. To help you come up with your own fantastic promotion ideas, we’ve gathered our top tips for effective inexpensive marketing to suit every SME…
- Understand Your Customer Before Any Promotion Work Begins
You don’t need us to tell you how important understanding your customers is for your business – if you aim your marketing at the wrong target market and don’t hit the mark, it’ll be your profits that suffer as a result. Luckily, there are a few easy ways of ensuring you understand your customers’ needs completely:
- Create a few corporate personas of the type of person who would buy your product and services – this’ll really simplify your marketing efforts, as you can target the channels they use the most, instead of wasting efforts on a ‘scattergun’ campaign that is too broad.
- Conduct some market research – having a deep understanding of your audience allows you to find out what people want to buy and why. You could ask customers directly, create surveys or even A/B test emails to figure out what kind of promotions work best.
- Produce content that appeals to your target customer – recognising the different ways people consume information is crucial; some prefer videos and GIFs, some like podcasts and others like to read articles and infographics.
- Use the opportunity to share information and position yourself as an industry authority – why not take advantage of the ‘AMA’ (Ask Me Anything) ‘subreddit’ on discussion website Reddit? That way you can put your brand in front of a huge audience and publicly answer direct questions as an expert in your field. (It’s also really fun!)
- Make the Most of Online Marketing – Especially the Free Stuff
Online marketing is a great way to reach customers, whether in your local area or worldwide. Many resources are free, or require a very low budget to get going. Here are just a few ways you can use online marketing to promote your business:
- Create a social media account for your business – as well as being an unbeatable way of reaching out to and growing your audience in 2018, it’s also completely free!
- Start engaging in online forums – search for questions around your industry, where your product is the answer; websites like Quora, Yahoo! Answers and Reddit are great places to start.
- Work on your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – make sure you research specific keywords people use when searching for your product/business and use them (but don’t stuff too many) on your website; that way, customers will find your site more easily when they’re searching for products and services that you offer.
- Try email marketing – once you have their permission, you can let customers know about any new products, sales or special offers you have and even target specific segments of your email list for unique rewards and loyalty schemes!
- Go Old-School and Use Networking to Your Advantage
While we operate in a predominantly digital world, old-school techniques are still incredibly effective. In fact, when done correctly, mixing your online and offline strategies will significantly improve your sales funnel and generate more, and warmer, leads.
People love people – so you’ll always find the results you want when you promote your business in a face-to-face setting. Here are just a few examples of how you can up your networking game:
- Attend local and national exhibitions and events (either as a delegate or as a stand holder)
- Make sure you’ve got business information to hand, whether that’s flyers if you’re running an information stand or brochures for your stall at a craft exhibition.
- Always have your business cards to hand – from breakfast networking events to an unexpected meeting on the school run, you should never leave the house without your business cards; you never know who you might bump in to!
- Go big or go home – when it comes to standing out at trade events and exhibitions, size really does matter! Why not boost your presence with a state-of-the-art exhibition stand? (Did we mention we have free design templates?)
- Make sure you’re prepared – if you’re still struggling to find the confidence to try networking for your own business, you can check out our beginner’s guide to networking here.
- Use Your Local Community to Your Advantage
You don’t need to have huge global ambitions when marketing for new customers. In fact, the more local you are, the easier it’ll be to build a relationship with your local community. Here are our top tips on marketing locally:
- Consider sponsoring your local sports team, or run a business networking event to bring local businesses together – you could even print t shirts with your company logo on!
- Explore digital avenues to target that ideal customer profile of yours within your local community, like through targeted Facebook Ads.
- Another great, and trustworthy, way of targeting specific geographical areas is through leaflet distribution, and with online printing getting more and more cost-effective, it’s a fantastic way of spreading the word about your business without breaking the bank.
- Gather some local testimonials – according to Yodle, 75% of customers said they rely heavily on online reviews when evaluating the quality of a local business. Having a testimonial or review from a local customer could just swing it for your business.
- Want to become a local marketing hero? Download our free local marketing guide for more!
- Create Snackable Content
(Source: Bandwagon Digital Media)
The most engaging type of content is that which can be easily clicked, digested and then shared. As 93% of all human communication is non-verbal, and as the brain can process images 60,000 faster text, the best kind of snackable content is generally something short and visual that a lot of people can relate to. Here are a few ideas for creating snackable promotional content:
- Infographics – even if you’re not a designer, there are loads of tools online for creating your own DIY infographics. These are visual representations of ideas or information you’d like to share with your customers, making it quicker and easier to digest than a block of text, facts and figures.
- Quick videos make for great snackable content – these could be how-to guides, tours around the office, or even a sneaky peak into where your products are being produced!
- Tempt customers in with a quote – taking a small quote from a longer piece of writing is a great way of tempting customers into finding out more. Motivational quotes also help produce that feel-good attitude that people love to share with others.
By targeting your ideal customer, in your local community, and combining your digital and online marketing strategies, you’ll be able to create a solid sales funnel that’ll help build your reputation as well as leads!