A question we are asked time and time again is how a small business with a small budget can make the most out of their marketing.
Yes, it’s true that the bigger your marketing budget, the better your marketing can be. Take John Lewis for example, they spent £7 million on just their Christmas campaign, but it worked. (And I bet you still talk about Monty the Penguin today!)
If, like the majority of people, you don’t happen to have £7 million spare for your marketing budget, we have some great tips to get your business booming on a budget. Every business has to start somewhere!
There are a number of “free” marketing activities you can do that can help you to create big opportunities for your business. We use the word “free” loosely here, because it will cost you your time and effort, and your time is valuable.
I guess you knew this one was coming; social Media is a brilliant tool that allows you to connect with your target audience directly, and you can do it for free!
Don’t believe though that this means instant results, and you must remember you won’t gain a lead for every post you put up. You have to work hard at it for leads to blossom, but it is proven to work.
Social media tips:
- Find out which social networks your target audience use
- Read up about best practice
- Test when is the best time to post
- Analyse what your audience react well too
If you are struggling, but feel this a marketing activity that will benefit your business, there are many courses around to improve your social media skills for business, though there will be a cost to those.
Want to know more on social media? We recommend 14 common social media mistakes and what to do instead as further reading.
Blogging is a huge part of inbound marketing that will help to attract your target audience. But it is also a good way of keeping existing customers coming back to your website.
As well as giving you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge and share advice, it gives prospects a chance to learn more about your business and your services / products.
Blogging tip: focus on creating high quality content – think, the best content someone could wish to read around a particular topic.
Once again, you can find courses and sessions that will teach you how to blog, or you can even get someone to write them for you. Of course, there is a cost implication to that.
Blogging caught your eye? We recommend: How to improve your blog posts + free downloadable template
Testimonials and Case studies
The words of others speak wonders; studies have found that 88% of people are influenced by online customer service reviews when making buying decisions.
Testimonials teamed with evidence of the work you have done with them is some of the best advertising you can have. Take the time to write case studies on the projects you have worked on, and don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials from your current customers.
Not sure how to ask for your reviews and testimonials? We recommend Why customer reviews are important and how to get them as further reading
Your elevator pitch
When it comes to small businesses, people can be the best marketing tools your company has. By taking the time to perfect an elevator pitch (or two) you give yourself the best change to market to people when opportunities present themselves, and you have nothing else to hand.
This is another method you may have heard a lot about. In fact, 98% of B2B marketers say content marketing is core to their marketing strategy.
For those of you who haven’t heard of it, content marketing is using content (blogs, ebooks, guides, recipes, videos, etc) to provide your target audience with something useful and helpful.
As we mentioned above, you should be creating high quality content that provides the reader with some value. This will help them move through the buyers’ cycle and get them one step closer to buying.
There are a number of methods for making your content more SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) friendly, so if you are considering this route, I would advise committing to a little more research into SEO. Once again, options are available for courses or someone to do this on your behalf, but this would incur costs.
Want to be the best at content marketing? We would recommend How to create the best, most useful, content in search results as further reading
Creating strategic alliances with non-competitive businesses can work really well for a smaller business.
Find local companies that compliment your services, and you can refer customers between yourselves, create offers for going between your businesses, and even guest blog for each other once you have worked together for a while.
Make sure your find a business that not only do you like, but who believe in providing an excellent service as much as you do, and whose work you trust. It will look bad if you refer your clients to a business who lets them down.
Great Customer Service
Nothing can ruin a company quicker than bad customer service. According to a study in 2014 58% of consumers will never use a company again after a negative experience.
And just as good reviews will spread to bring you new customers, bad reviews will spread like wildfire, taking twice as many customers with them.
Interested? We would recommend LEGO’s excellent example of customer service as further reading
Many businesses will offer free consultations to see how they can help potential customers, but the mistake they make is not promoting that particularly well.
If you offer free consultations, promote this and let your target audience know. Seeing that you offer a consultation, or a review, where they can find out more about your offering can encourage more people to get in touch.
Positivity and Persistence
Regardless of which activity you decide to use, remain positive, and stick with it!
Marketing is not all instant results, some activities take a little longer to produce results.
Good marketing will bring you consistent results over a long period of time; don’t lose faith if things don’t pay off as quickly as you think. However, always make sure you measure your marketing efforts and their results so you can judge when it is perhaps time to move on to the next idea.
If you would like to take advantage of our free marketing consultation to see how marketing could gain you more customers, improve your business position or create more opportunities for you to sell, speak to one of the team on 01543 495752.