If you are running a small business, your marketing budget is likely to be very limited, don’t be discouraged though, that just means you have to be smart with your ideas.
The internet offers hundreds of low- priced or free tools and techniques that can help you find your target customers and market your business to them directly and effectively. But don’t put all your eggs in the internet marketing basket, just as often, tried and tested low-cost marketing techniques can deliver excellent results for your business too.
Use Social Media
Social media is the front line of modern marketing techniques and an essential part of any small business’s marketing strategy because it can deliver a big bang for your buck.
The first step is to open accounts across all the popular sites; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest and any others where you think you might reach potential customers. The second, and most important step, is to use them effectively by posting quality content about your business that people will want to read. Post instructional videos that demonstrate your product or services’ effectiveness. Post photos and information that will interest your target market. You need to build a following too, so don’t be shy about asking people to like your Facebook page or to follower you on Twitter. Last of all, remember that social media is supposed to be fun – a funny video or photo is much more likely to get shared and reposted than a boring bit of information, no matter how useful it might be.
Ask For Testimonials and Referrals From Your Customers
Word of mouth is still the most effective form of marketing, and it’s something that money can’t buy. If you have a happy customer ask them if they will give a testimonial about your business.
A simple way to do this is to have a form letter or questionnaire that you can ask customers to fill out or reply to over the phone. Ask them why your business or product worked for them specifically, what problem did you help them solve? There are doubtless many other people in the same situation and hearing a specific description of how you helped someone can really motivate people to give you a go.
Don’t be afraid to shout it from the rooftops either, use these testimonials on your social media and other marketing platforms and let people know.
Offer Coupons, Discounts and Free Trials
Everybody loves a bargain. One of the best ways to tip people over the edge and give your business a try is to offer something for free or a special price. A potential customer may be weighing up the costs and benefits of using your business for the first time – make the decision easy for them by offering a first-time customer discount or freebie. This can also be used to create customer loyalty, by offering discounts and bonuses for repeat customers or for those who refer there friends to your business.
Build networks and relationships
You should be building an email list from the very first day you start your business, this is an invaluable tool to reach your existing and potential customers and offer them reasons to use your business again and again. But, don’t abuse peoples trust in giving you their email by spamming them, send a monthly email newsletter with information that your customers will want to read, if you overdo it, your will get lost in the noise of the internet. Attend trade shows and consumer events in your field and get to know the other people who are in your industry or one related, and complimentary, to yours. You never know which connection could provide a huge boost to your business, so get out there, network, and be an ambassador for your business.
So if you want to learn how to market smartly, make sure you get plenty of practice using the above techniques. Cast a broad net at first, and overtime you will begin to see which techniques work for your business and which don’t and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. Alternatively, it doesn’t hurt to get targeted advice from a professional, or attend workshops conducted by Market Smartly to learn how to effectively apply your newly discovered techniques.