The Top 10 (Low Cost) Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses
So you own a small business. Great! But you have a small business marketing budget. Limited budgets can make marketing challenging, but certainly not impossible. In fact, there are more low-cost/no-cost marketing strategies and tools out there today than ever before.
Here are the top ten we recommend to small business owners:
Love it or hate it, Facebook offers exceptional advertising opportunities to small and medium-sized businesses. With nearly 3 billion active users, it also has the greatest potential reach.
Facebook ads use advanced targeted techniques that allow you to specifically target your audience based on location, interests, age, gender, behavior, and a whole lot more. It’s also super easy to get started: create an attention-grabbing headline, a line of description, an image, and a link and voila! Your ad is getting served up to thousands of new eyeballs.
The same highly targeted ad approach also works on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. If your business offers eye-catching products or lifestyle services, this visual medium could be the perfect place to strut your stuff.
2. Google My Business
We tell small business owners this all the time: optimizing your Google My Business profile is one of the best things you can do for your business. For instance, if you’re a florist and someone types in “florists near me,” Google will automatically surface Google My Business profiles of florists near that user.
Rank in the top three of results and you could be rolling in more leads than you know what to do with - without spending a penny.
Just claim and optimize your Google My Business listing, then solicit reviews from existing customers. It’s easy to add a Google My Business link to an email send or on your social media accounts.
3. Google Ads
The biggest search engine out there is also the world’s biggest advertising platform. Google is both ubiquitous and well-established, which also makes it pretty competitive and not always cheap, depending on the audience you want to reach.
That said, no other platform (even Facebook) gives you the potential to reach as many people. This is a paid marketing channel, but worth the investment if you have the time to test and optimize the sorts of ads you’re running.
You can also limit your budget to pretty much whatever you want. Spend $50 or $500 - it’s up to you!
4. Local SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a tactic that takes a little bit of time and a little bit of skill, but it’s worth it.
Google’s algorithm is designed to return relevant and accurate results for each search query. To do this, the algorithm measures a whole host of variables - some of which you have control over.
Some great ways to improve how your company’s website ranks in local search results are below:
- Add location-based keywords to your website copy, title tags, and meta descriptions (don’t overdo this! A little goes a long way). If you’re a Boston florist, then giving your home page the title tag “COMPANY NAME | Boston Florist” will help you rank higher in search results for those in Boston searching for a florist.
- Craft location-specific blog posts that celebrate the various communities and neighborhoods where your customers live. Customer profiles or stories are great for this purpose.
- Find online directories related to your business and ensure your business is on them.
5. Content Marketing
Lots of marketers throw around the word “content” these days, but there’s a good reason for that. Creating and distributing your own content is a great way to entice new users to your website and drive them to take action.
Note that content creation isn’t the fastest way to get eyeballs on your brand. It can take a while to see long-term, sustainable growth in visitors and eventual leads. Content marketing does require some specialist knowledge of your industry, what your customers are searching for, and what their pain points are, and it doesn’t hurt to have a firm grasp on SEO (search engine optimization), either.
But at the end of the day, content marketing is evergreen content that you own and that can live on your website and get refreshed again and again.
6. Organic Social Media
What the heck does “organic” mean in this context? It means driving traffic and interest in your brand and website - without paying to do it. Think: viral tweets and viral videos that take off without any ad spend behind them.
The best part of organic social media is, of course, that all it costs is your time. Choose two or three social media channels that you know your target audience is using and start providing them with valuable content and engaging your audience. This is also a great way to build trust with your customers and potential customers, humanizing your brand.
Whichever platform you choose, focus on posting there consistently, and always focus on providing informative and entertaining content that provides value to your customers in some way.
7. Email Marketing
You have an email list, right? How often are you using it?
Email marketing is the holy grail of marketing right now, as it’s generally being sent to a list of subscribers who have opted into receiving communications from you. There’s no algorithm standing between you and your audience, either, putting one message above another or deciding not to show any of your content at all that day (looking at you, Facebook!). When you email them, they receive it.
Email is also a great place for lead nurturing, which is about creating a relationship and a rapport with leads to build trust and finalize a sale. It costs very little, allows you to reach a global audience, and is easy to set up.
We recommend weekly or monthly emails, at the very least. Just ensure that every time you are sending to your list, you’re providing valuable information that’s of interest to them.
Webinars are a marketing tool? Surprise!
There are many forms that webinars take, whether that’s a lecture, demonstration, or discussion between two or more professionals about a specific topic.
When you host a webinar about a topic of interest to your target audience, it can result in a flurry of email signups that you can add to your marketing email list (always ensure you include opt-in language!). It’s also a good way to provide value to existing customers.
Additionally, you can record and edit webinars to use snippets in your social media advertising, on your website, and more. There are numerous webinar software providers. Find one that works for you, and get started.
9. Speaking Engagements
Who are we most likely to do business with? People we like. How do we meet people we like?
Often, they are the people we meet at various events or conferences - either in-person or virtual. Being a speaker at an event automatically bestows authority and credibility.
Start with smaller events, like giving a lecture at a local club that’s in your niche, or at the Chamber of Commerce. Business networking events, schools, and churches are always looking for speakers as well.
As your rapport and ability grows, so will your invitations. Post snippets of your speaking engagements on your website or on social media and mention that you are available to speak on specific topics.
10. Give Something Away
We all like free stuff. Free donuts, free trips, free services.
Whether you are a brand new business or an established landmark, offering a sample of your product or service for free is a great way to get people talking about your brand, and allows you to connect with potential customers.
If you are offering professional services, promote a free consultation. Give away one free hour of financial or legal advice. All it costs you is an hour, but if your potential client finds value in it, they may come back for more - and tell their friends!
Strategic Marketing, Remarkable Results
At Marketing Essentials, we’ve worked with hundreds of regional, national and global brands just like yours to achieve remarkable results. If you’re not seeing the results you want from your current marketing efforts, consider a complimentary marketing consultation (see, we practice what we preach!).