Small businesses often struggle to fit their growth plans into tight budgets. Marketing becomes an area of ideas but not always action, due to concern over expense. Here are a number of tips from major online marketing sources to help you get the word out about your business – without getting too complicated and without overspending.
12 Small Business Marketing Tips
- Give it away, now – Inc.com recommends giving your product away. Frozen Pints has had success with this technique, handing out their microbrew beer ice cream at independent beer events and open-air markets. A free sample allows customers to test your product and, if they like it, look for it locally or online.
- Create a nugget-sized pitch – Constant Contact suggests that elevator pitches are crucial because our adult attention spans are much tinier than we might think – 7 seconds on average. That little window of focus gives you a chance to hold attention for just over a minute. Make sure you can explain what’s special about your business in a minute, frontloaded with a great hook.
- Socialize – AllBusiness states the obvious, that putting effort into social media can pay huge dividends. Just make sure your focus is on relevance and value, not promotion. LinkedIn groups, Google+ communities, and joining the #smallbiz conversation on Twitter are all viable avenues to engage consumers and other businesspeople.
- Network – Not all of your interaction should be on social media, though. According to Inc.com, in-person networking events should not be neglected. Bella Web Design has found that by getting involved in as many local get-togethers as possible, their firm has become a respected and trusted source of information and service.
- Engage locally – Constant Contact notes that marketing within your community can incorporate simple techniques beyond networking. Look for sponsorships of children’s sports teams or nonprofit fundraisers. Create bookmarks and distribute them in libraries, for example. Think about where your target audience is so that you can effectively introduce your company.
- Publish a white paper or e-book – Your product or service meets a need, says AllBusiness. You also have expertise related to your area of business that could be of high value to your customers. Spread that knowledge. Set up the e-book or white paper download so that a user has to provide their email address – just that and possibly their name – to access the document.
- Talk to everyone – How about a podcast? Inc.com notes how SMB owner Todd Schnick interviews business owners on his podcast, creating synergy between himself and the other party. Beyond synergy, you can learn about various fields of business in the process.
- Generate teamwork – As with a podcast, collaborative marketing can be extraordinarily effective. Constant Contact recommends teaming up with other companies in your community that are not in competition with you. You can cross-promote through flyers and coupons, as well as online means such as mutual website recommendations and social media campaigns. Everyone gets broader access to customers through this method.
- Create a contest – If you have a great idea for a contest, it’s easy to get attention online. Get it into 100 people’s hands, says All Business, and the contest could expose you to thousands of potential customers. It should be simple to take part in the contest, and it should be fully integrated with social media. Video contests are generally unwise because many people are uncomfortable making them.
- Offer help – Offering help in creative ways can be a great way to stand out and provide value that goes beyond a quick social media post. According to Inc.com, it’s worthwhile to try something interactive, such as the effort of Iconis Group. The company conducts a twitter chat on the subject of QuickBooks for SMB’s who have any confusion related to the bookkeeping software.
- Get in the news – Constant Contact mentions that small businesses often struggle to get press, but there’s now a simple way to improve your chances of PR: the website helpareporter.com. Journalists use the site to find article ideas. They also might be in need of professional expertise in your field.
- Get video going – AllBusiness has two suggestions for video content, one of which is informational or “how-to” videos. Turn answers to FAQ into video explanations. You can also explore interesting topics related to your product. Anything that would make sense for a blog post could be turned into a video as well – possibly using the same content in both places for visual and verbal versions. The other idea is Vine Videos – which are perfect for the 7-second attention spans discussed above because they are only 6 seconds in length.
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By Moazzam Adnan; comic words by Kent Roberts & art by Leena Cruz.