When you set out to market your new online business, I doubt very much that you are going to have the backing of a million pound float.
Sure, the six-figure budget of a multinational organisation IS powerful…but it shouldn’t really stop you from trying to take them on (and win!).
Over the years I’ve noticed that when an online business starts to struggle the website owner decides to cut down on the marketing and aim at other avenues.
This is really strange…because, at such times, it’s essential to keep your business/product/service in the public eye.
So, in this article we will be looking at options on how to market your business on a shoestring budget. Get out there and get noticed…without the dent to your wallet…
Social Media For Small Business Marketing
The effective yet dated traditional (or press) advertising is going to hurt your wallet in ways you can never imagine!
Social media for small business marketing is cost-effective and relatively easy – it should already be in your marketing armory.
But hold your horses a second there – jumping into the social world, feet first, is really not going to do you any favors in the long run.
Before you start a social media marketing gig you are going to have to have a pitch and know a little about your target audience.
Social timelines are busy, busy bees and you are going to need to get your point across in seconds…not minutes. Failure to do so will lead to your target audience spotting something else in their timeline (look!!!! There’s Beyonce’s new single!!!!).
If you manage to get their attention you are going to need to keep it…so often this can turn into a missed opportunity!
Therefore, it’s a pretty awesome idea to create a marketing strategy outline beforehand.
Local Marketing For Small Business Ideas
For some reason, many online businesses decide to stay just that – they get stuck in the ‘internet world’ and they don’t want to venture out for some physical help.
If you give you get…so why not involve your business in aiding local community events?
I know, I know – if you’re anything like me you shudder when the kids come home with something new to get involved with in the community…but it really doesn’t have to be that bad…does it?
I mean, pick a subject or hobby you like yourself – and then sponsor it locally…
For me it would be football (or soccer if you’re based in the US). In the UK we have thousands of Sunday league teams built up of overweight pub goers etc.
Why not step in and offer them some sponsorship? Give them the ability to buy a kit and get some pretty decent advertising in return!
The same things goes for rugby teams, local golf tournaments…think outside the box a bit!
Networking Your Way to The TOP!
It makes good sense to try your hardest to build relationships with local companies close to your niche – maybe you could help each other out at some point in the future?
This networking lark really doesn’t have to be that hard. Simply start off by scratching each other’s back from each other’s websites!
Simple really – you mention them, and then link to their website, then they can mention something about you…and link to your website.
Don’t do it in an obvious way – maybe one link each way a month would do.
Just make sure the content containing the link relates to a product/service/subject that you cover.
Networking is an effective marketing strategy. It’s a great way to meet people and pick up some free marketing tips…it’s also a chance to get out and have a couple of drinks with like-minded people!
This means you can actually relax and be genuine with your business, instead of trying too hard to be a salesperson all the time.
Slow & Steady Wins The Race…
Now I know how hard it can be when you first take on a marketing campaign – please don’t be under the impression that all of my campaigns have been successful.
It’s sad to say but…even the smartest marketing strategies may not make you money overnight.
You have to think long term.
You have to always be on the lookout for new opportunities to market your business, online and in the ‘real’ world.
You need to be getting your message across as often as possible and at the same time…hold it back a bit (we don’t like a pushy salesperson do we?).
This dedication WILL eventually start to make you look like an authority within your niche…as long as you are giving the right impression (and as long as you stick at it!).
The most important thing to remember here is that you need to look for opportunities – not wait for them to come knocking.
Customers Can be a POWERFUL Tool
Regular customers are already marketing your product or service for you – why not help them become even more efficient at it?
Something as simple as discount codes or vouchers can go a really long way.
When existing customers buy something, offer them a discount that several of their friends can use on their first purchase.
Once again – think outside the box!
Internet Marketing – What Else?
Interaction is the first hurdle of brand marketing and the internet can make this a relatively simple hurdle to jump. Social media is an extremely powerful tool for marketing interactions.
Don’t be afraid to go down a negative route with your business on social media. Simply ask your existing customers what they like or dislike about your current services or products.
Why did they dislike it?
What would they suggest about improving it?
This sort of interaction is a pretty awesome way of grabbing a few email addresses and building up a list. This list can then be used to stay connected and keep customers up-to-date with your business.
Whenever a new product or service becomes available you have a direct line to your customer’s inbox. Getting them involved early in the process will increase the chances they become a new customer all over again!
Don’t forget that people LOVE to find free stuff on the internet – why not build up a brand connection by offering some?
Again, social media is an awesome starting point for this.
Simply get some pens, mouse mats, T-Shirts….whatever, printed up with your businesses logo and dish ’em out. Maybe try an online quiz to distribute them through?
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