Marketing your small business on a budget can feel especially challenging. It may seem like without a large budget, you won’t have the ability to reach new customers. While a small budget will mean that you won’t have as many marketing opportunities open to you as a Fortune 500 company, it doesn’t mean that you have no options. You’ll just have to tailor your approach to focus on items that are the most likely to lead to results. Marketing is an investment in your small business’ future. As with all investments, you should do your research in advance, for example making sure that you’ve identified your target market. Successful marketing strategies, just like investments, will give you a return over time. To help you get started with your marketing plan, we’ve put together seven steps that you can take to get your business noticed without breaking the bank.
1. Get a Website (Or Spruce Yours Up if You Already Have One)
If you don’t already have a website for your business, you need one. In many instances, your website will be responsible for the first impression that customers get of your business. So it’s important to make that impression count. Customers frequently don’t have much patience for sites that have complicated navigation or an outdated appearance. You should strive to create a responsive website that’s aesthetically appealing as well as easy to use. These details will go a long way in ensuring that once customers get to your site, they take time to look around.
Alternatively, if you already have a website, how does it look and perform? Take some to click through all the links and double check all the pages to make sure that everything works as it should. Does it seem intuitive to use? Have you taken a look at your site on multiple devices and using different browsers? It’s essential that your site is mobile-friendly as search engines take this into account when ranking websites. Different browsers can affect the appearance of a website’s layout so it’s a good idea to check that everything looks as it should across the board.
Getting a new website is probably not as cost-prohibitive as you might think. You will have to pay for website hosting. However, hosting can be very affordable, sometimes as little as several dollars a month. With regard to designing your site, you can easily do it yourself. There are a number of free or low-cost design and building platforms out there that offer great results. If you don’t have the time to take on this project yourself, you can find freelance web designers on sites like Fiverr or Upwork.
2. Set Up a Google My Business Page
Small businesses frequently overlook setting up a Google My Business page. But in fact, it’s essential for local businesses (and it’s free). Now more than ever before, search engines are focused on providing the best results for local searches. This is because over 80% of smartphone and tablet users conduct local searches to find business information like hours, address, and directions. When you have a verified and completely built out a Google My Business page, this increases the chances that your website will show up in local search results and map listings. A prominent presence in these types of search results also makes it easier to get customers in the door. Almost 90% of consumers who search for a type of local business will go to or call that business within a day.
3. Work on Your Social Media Presence
Thanks to social media, it’s incredibly simple to connect with your customers as well as to reach out to potential customers. Profiles on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube make it easier for your small business to interact with consumers in more of direct fashion. This can be extremely helpful in developing a positive brand reputation and improving customer service.
In order to establish your social media presence, you (or an employee) will need to post regularly. This is a great way to keep your company front and center for your customers. In addition, the stronger your presence is, the better your search results ranking will be. Search engines take social media into account when determining site rankings. A better presence on social platforms tells search engines that your business is real and trustworthy.
If you need to increase the number of followers or likes your company profile has, you may want to consider advertising. It’s almost always more affordable and cost effective than traditional pay-per-click campaigns. So, even if you’re limited to a $1 a day budget, you can still see results.
4. Don’t Forget About Search Engine Optimization
If you’ve ever done any research on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you’ve likely read lots of articles, each of which probably offered a different opinion on the topic. SEO has changed dramatically as search engines’ algorithms have become more advanced. It’s still an important part of ranking well in search results, it’s just needs to be tackled differently than it did a few years ago. What’s most essential now is that the pages of your site feature quality content that has been written specifically for your target audience. The quality of a guest’s experience factors into your site’s search results ranking.
It’s always a good idea to periodically check and see the keywords for which your website is ranking. This will allow you to see if you need to make any changes to your site. You can do this on your own by going to a search engine and typing in the various queries that you think a customer might use to find you. This can take some time, however. There are some free online tools that can make this process a little easier like SEMRush and RankScanner. Sites like SERPS and Moz are subscription services, but they do offer free 30-day trials.
Keep in mind that some elements of traditional SEO still factor in results ranking. So take some time to make sure your web pages have informative and accurate meta titles and descriptions as well as appropriate header tags and alt tags for pictures.
5. Embrace Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the most important factors that Google uses to rank your website. It’s extremely effective at driving traffic to your website and attracting new customers. However, it does take more time than other forms of marketing. Not only will you, or someone else, have to research and create the content, but you’ll have to wait for it to make an impact online.
You’ll have a lot of options for creating content, though, as it’s not limited to just things like blog articles. Videos and infographics are other content pieces that people love to share. Thanks to social media and email newsletters, you can show off your content to a good number of people as you wait for your pieces to rise in organic search results.
The key to content marketing is creating informative and engaging pieces that cover topics that people are searching for online. This type of marketing is focused on helping customers as opposed to making sales. Not only does it allow you to give your customers what they want, but it gives you a chance to build your brand as a trustworthy authority on the topic at hand.
6. Participate in Online Forums or Groups
There are online forums and groups out there for just about everything. Take the time to research the forums and find those that give you the best opportunity to connect with your target market. The initial goal here is not to promote your small business or your products/services, but to become a part of the online community. Answer questions, provide feedback, and engage in discussions. After some time, you’ll feel like you’re one of the group. It’s at this time that you can put a link to your website in your profile or maybe in your signature. Still, you’ll want to refrain from any aggressive sales tactics. Building quality relationships with potential customers significantly increases the chances that they will become actual customers.
7. Play a Part in Your Local Community
Find out what events and other goings-on are happening in your community and see how you can take part. You might have the ability to hand out promotional items or coupons during one of these events. Focus on the types of things with which your ideal customer will be involved and then find them. Sponsoring or volunteering for charity events and festivals gives you the opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause while also showing your small business’ involvement in and commitment to the community.
Need Help With Your Marketing Strategy?
The marketing experts at Green Monkey Marketing would love to help you out! We provide Full Service Marketing Packages that will take care of just about everything you need. Take a look at our Get Started page to learn more about the types of businesses with whom we partner. Or, if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at (720) 389-0564.