As I continue to encounter small business owners, many still have the wrong perception of how modern marketing strategies can help them grow sales and generate leads. Here are the excuses I often hear:
- Too expensive.
- Don’t want to spend the money.
- Don’t have time.
Small business owners will put aside time to sit in on a free webinar, download a free guide or ebook that has tips on leveraging marketing for growth, but when it comes time to take action, very few make the leap.
However, here’s the problem… if you’re generating revenue and not contributing any of that back into your own business – specifically for growth – then you’re doing yourself and the business a disservice.
That said, here are a few cost effective marketing hacks you should take advantage of now:
1) Get Social
Identify the top social networks your target customers are active on and simply be present on those. Push for two-way communication by participating in conversations that are relevant to what you have to offer without being overly promotional.
Leverage social media to build brand awareness by sharing helpful content you write and curate from credible sources. Doing so will position your expertise in a more attractive way that doesn’t shout “buy from me now!”
Additionally, don’t be afraid to spend a little bit of money on advertising (anywhere between $100-$500). With targeting tools offered by Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can make sure your ads are shown to the right audience.
2) Local Press
For small businesses, the ability to grow your local presence within the area you’re targeting can help bring in new customers and build awareness. Therefore, knowing the local outlets and journalists, you can pitch to should be a part of your marketing strategy.
Key actions you can take and research:
- Local business journals
- Local TV stations
- Local radio stations
- Local online communities
- Connect with local influencers for partnership/cross-promotional opportunities
All of these can help you position your business offerings and gain exposure with a larger audience. The key to successfully gaining local press is to ensure that what you’re offering is something that people want, you build relationships and network with the right people, and not just in it for yourself — rather, you’re looking for valuable ways to help other people find what they need.
3) Capture Email Addresses
For every person who walks in the door or that visits your website, find a way to capture their contact information, specifically their email address. This is a great way for you to remarket to those who have engaged with your brand and also hyper-personalize the experience via email marketing.
Here are a few campaign ideas you can use email for:
- Company updates
- Promotional and discount offers
- Industry news roundup
- Contests and free giveaways
4) Run a Local Event
Hosting a local event is a great way to meet prospective and existing customers. It is also a way to put a face to the brand, get you out in front of the people who are ready to do business with you and for those who haven’t heard of you.
A few reasons why running a local event can help your business are:
- Media opportunities
- Build your email list
- Connecting with other like-minded professionals
- Build new relationships
- Collaborate with other companies for co-marketing opportunities
5) Blog Regularly
I know I’ve put a heavy emphasis on blogging because I believe it is a quick win for small businesses. Having a blog with engaging content enables you to give your target audience a reason to keep coming back to your website. The more they come back, the higher potential you have of building loyalty, driving recurring and new sales.
- Here are a few stats to remind you why blogging is so critical to business growth:
- 92% of companies who blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog. (Source: HubSpot)
- B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those that do not. (Source: InsideView)
- 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog. (Source: BlogHer)
- Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog. (Source: ThinkCreative)
As a small business owner, wearing many hats isn’t a choice but a must. But know that marketing your business is just as important as keeping the day to day operations in order. More importantly, marketing your business is critical to sustaining and growing sales.
Don’t fall into the trap of making excuses for why you aren’t marketing your business. Rather, start out small and prioritize to gain momentum.