Small Business Marketing Strategies You Can Afford
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Small Business Marketing Strategies You Can Afford

by Seth Worby

With so much of modern marketing happening online, it’s easy – and inexpensive – to join in the conversation. Today’s most effective marketing doesn’t need to put you in the red. Consider these simple strategies to promote and strengthen your brand, advertise your offerings, and showcase your company’s victories, as well as your clients’ glowing testimonials.

Start a referral program. Referral programs are easy ways to capitalize on the customer base you already have. Incentivize word-of-mouth brand promotion by rewarding customers who pass clients along. Your referral program could also include affiliate programs and partner programs as a way to broaden your reach. Spend some time researching which referral program you’ll implement, then prompt people to invite friends using tools like Facebook, LoginRadius, and WhatsApp.

Drive traffic to your site by means of content marketing, which uses words to lure customers to your page. With a content marketing strategy, you and your team will create white papers, e-books, blog posts, podcasts, case studies, or any other content pieces that describe your company’s offerings and processes. Valuable content paired with an effective content promotion plan will ensure that word gets out in a timely fashion. You might, for example, create a social media content calendar as a part of your content promotion plan. This ensures consistent outreach – even when your team is swamped.

Use email to reach potential customers. Email marketing campaigns are fairly easy to implement – use tools like MailChimp to get started. Email makes it easy to keep your customers informed about new products and upcoming events. Plus, you’ll save money – and paper – by keeping your campaign electronic.

Reach out to friends in high places. Mine your social media networks for real-life partnerships you can capitalize on. For example, consider working with a business partner on related content you can both use to bolster your websites. Or, team up with affiliates to put on a community event. Even Google works with their small business partners to host mini-events, which promote the small businesses in tandem with Google technology.

Make your voice heard. Stand out as an expert in the sphere by participating in online forums and groups, like Quora, Reddit, and Google+. Online communities make it easy to network, so you’ll be communicating directly with potential new customers. Showcase your expertise by commenting on topics of relevance to your industry. You’ll add credibility to your brand, since consumers will know you’re an expert in the field. Sharing your insights also means you can share your brand – at the end of an informative post; add a link to your site or blog so people can learn even more about your offerings.

Consider a non-monetary sponsorship. Nothing endears you to the public like some good old-fashioned support – and it doesn’t have to come in the form of greenbacks. Show local non-profits your support by offering a sponsorship in-kind, which means you’ll donate your goods and services rather than your funds. Choose organizations that aren’t too political to ensure that you won’t be isolating your potential customer base.

Speak out. Seek out speaking engagements large or small that will give you the chance to educate people about your products or services. Reach out to your local library or community college, or search for a MeetUp or large conference where you can make your voice heard. Speaking engagements help you to build your confidence, boost your public speaking skills, and get your brand in front of potential new customers—live. Whether it’s the local Better Business Bureau or your beloved alma mater, never turn down an opportunity to speak up.

Get recognized. Boost your search engine stats. Search engine optimization – SEO – is an effective way to bring customers to your website. By creating tailored written content that uses keywords effectively, you’ll enhance your website’s position on search-engine searches. By aggressively driving traffic to your site, you’ll be poised to earn more customers before the competition even stands a chance.

Keep your finger on the awards pulse, and apply for honors that suit your business. Awards validate your position in the industry and garner inexpensive, effective PR for your website or social media presence. Apply for local top business awards, but consider expanding your reach nationally, as well. Deloitte’s annual lists of the Top 50 business awards can get you started.

Don’t overlook social marketing. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest all make it easy – and fun – to promote your brand. Plus, these social media avenues also keep you informed, sending a steady stream of industry news to your daily feed. With an effective social media platform, you’ll be able to reach unconventional customers, validate your organization’s credibility, and share innovations with the click of a button.