If you are like most small business operators, looking for cheap or free ways to market your small business is an ongoing chore. Here’s a little motivation to get you thinking. Small dollar doesn’t always have to equal small results.
Know your competition
Regardless of how “niche” you are, somebody is your competitor. If you’re a specialty kids’ education center, there is likely a similar business the street positioned to sell a little differently. What makes you unique and what do you think isn’t currently being offered to your market? Slight adjustments in packaging, pricing, or business hours, may separate you from the competition.
Cross promote with area local businesses
Look for other area local businesses and figure out ways that you can benefit from supporting one another. Do you provide fun events for kids? Maybe there is a business that is selling fun events for parents – and they could benefit from putting together an “date night” package – drop the kids at one place and enjoy yourselves down the street for one price.
Keep in mind, the benefit must work both ways, with both organizations benefitting from the relationship. This can be very successful if you can find businesses nearby who provide a completely different product than you do, but to a very similar target customer.
Have a Facebook Page
This seems basic, but pageless businesses are more common than you think. Whether you are a substantial local retailer or an independent agent of any kind, your business page should be alive and flying on Facebook.
According to AdWeek:
- 81% of shoppers research products online before purchase
- 61% read product reviews prior to buying
Facebook business pages give you great ways to provide much of this information to prospective customers, often from the mouth of your current customers – which can be very powerful.
Post Interesting Info
The quirky thing about social media is that an inactive social media presence can be a frightening place. Having a channel or an account won’t cut it. You must make that channel active. Otherwise, the pages will feel like abandoned cemeteries. Your social media presence should feel warm, inclusive, and inviting.
The other challenge is that you need to post things that are actually interesting to your readers. You cannot only promote your business. That would be equivalent to a TV channel that only aired commercials.
You should post information about your industry, educational content, behind the scenes information, and then include information about your products and services.
If you haven’t already taken advantage of our free daily HOT!Content™, tailored by industry, get yours now.
Ask for reviews
Since we know that shoppers are conducting more and more online research prior to purchasing, you’ve got to have some good reviews that are prominent online.
Next time a customer raves about your business, ask if that person would be willing to write that down as a Facebook or a Yelp review.
We all know that marketing is strongly visual. The wonderful think about social media is that nobody expects you to hire a professional photographer to have a strong visual image on social. Simple photos can show off parts of your business. You may even have staff that love taking photos – let them in on the fun, if so!
Also, photography on social media gives you a great opportunity to make your business feel more personal. Using photos or video such as Facebook Live, don’t be shy to take out your cell phone camera and get reporting. You’d be surprised how much engagement you can get with a simple behind-the-scenes video or photo.
An effective way to get to potential customers is to look for customers who are actively discussing problems that you can solve. For example, I live in a very large suburban area. Our neighborhood is listed on NextDoor, which is a private social network for neighborhoods and communities. With one post, I can reach over 20,000 people in my neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods. We all frequent the same cleaners, grocery stores, restaurants, and roads.
People on the forum ask for all kinds of advice. Topics range from pool equipment repair, to restaurant recommendations, to plumbers. Get involved and answer questions, expecting nothing in return. If those people end up needing to hire help, they’ll most likely reach out to you. As an added bonus, all reading will view you as helpful. When posting a helpful tip, ensure you have a small signature including your business name.
Get creative and have fun, but get marketing, most importantly. We’d love to hear with other tactics you use that are affordable!