5 Tips to Market Your Small Business Without Breaking the Bank

February 26, 2014 | 3,323 views

Breaking the Bank

Breaking the Bank

For small businesses, if it ain’t essential, it’s not getting a budget. And while it’s hard to feel like marketing always has a direct return on investment (believe me; there have been plenty of arguments about whether you can measure the ROI of a Tweet), marketing still remains essential if you want to grow your business.

 

Fortunately, your budget doesn’t have to be very big, if you’re willing to put some effort into DIYing your marketing. Here we look at 5 of the best marketing tips to get more bang for less buck.

 

5. Blog Useful and Shareable Content

I’m willing to bet you’ve answered more than your fair share of questions about your products or services and given plenty of free advice. Congratulations; you’re halfway to blogging. Because that’s what blogs do: provide informational content your target audience can find through search and help build trust with them. That, in turn, increases the chance of them becoming customers.

 

Focus on those topics your customers ask about frequently, or talk about trends or tips. You can probably come up with a giant list of topic ideas fairly quickly.

 

4. Get Social

Here’s a statistic we can get behind: 92% of small businesses say social media is an effective marketing tool. That many people can’t be wrong, can they? But it’s all in how you use it. And it takes continual effort, not a one-time session. Your social efforts should be divided among:

 

– Following people that fit your demographic
– Monitoring what’s being said about your brand and your industry
– Sharing your own content (see #10)
– Sharing others’ content
– Commenting directly to others on social sites
– Creating new conversations to get the dialogue flowing

 

Notice I didn’t mention promotions. Social media is more about building relationships than telling people about your latest sale. If you connect with them, they’ll want to sign up for your emails to be notified of those sales.

 

3. Stay in Contact Via Email

Speaking of email, it’s a fantastically affordable option to stay in touch with existing and future customers. MailChimp has a free account that meets the needs of most small businesses, and others offer $10/month and up plans.

 

Send very targeted emails. Segment your lists. If you have a customer who always comes into your coffee shop and orders tea, don’t send her coffee promotions. Send a monthly newsletter with an informative article (reuse what you’ve got on your blog), as well as a promotion or two throughout the month.

 

2. Get Out There

While I rely heavily on Internet marketing, I can’t deny the power of in-person networking. Shaking hands and handing out business cards is extremely useful, especially if you run a brick-and-mortar retail store or restaurant.

 

Find business mixers or meetups that attract your target audience. Attend local conferences and don’t be a wallflower. Have your elevator speech ready to recite. Then follow up with all your new contacts afterward.

 

1. Offer Phenomenal Customer Service

But that’s not marketing, you say. I’ll argue that customer service is indeed marketing. Simply because if you strive to make customers happy, they’ll keep coming back. They’ll bring friends. They’ll leave 5-star Yelp reviews. And that’s something money just can’t buy.

 

Even a little effort in any of these categories can send more traffic to your website or through your doors, so it’s worth the time investment to market your business.

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