When starting out in business, you barely have the resources for your own desk, let alone a marketing budget. Fortunately, marketing doesn’t have to take up a large chunk of your capital. You can increase brand presence and drive customer acquisition without spending a cent. It’s not top secret, but many entrepreneurs underestimate the importance of setting aside a couple of hours each week to grow their online presence. You could have the best idea in the world, but if you’re not thinking of effective ways to get it out there, you just become noise in an already polluted market.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing isn’t new, but you need to stay up to date with current processes to ensure you’re not just flogging a dead horse. LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube are all great platforms where you can grow your company brand and culture, and tap into a market of billions of users. With more than 2 billion people on Facebook, every business should be taking advantage of this massive network of potential customers. Organic reach has become harder to achieve, getting to an all-time low of about 2-6 six percent, so you need to make sure the content you are sharing gets noticed. Never post without an image and make the content direct, interesting and sharable. By the end of this year, it’s estimated that video will represent 74 percent of internet traffic. Of the marketers and small business owners surveyed who have used video marketing, 76.5 percent said it had a direct impact on their business. Even though Facebook has the biggest impact as a social marketing tool, do not underestimate Google platforms such as Google My Business and YouTube. YouTube allows businesses to reach an audience through both organic and paid targeting. The platform is projected to see the most growth in paid advertising over the next 12 months. Social media management can be time consuming, but with the number of free social schedulers out there, there’s really no excuse.
Word of Mouth
Your business is nothing without its reputation. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool your business has. A client relationship should never end with a deadline. Pick up the phone and check in from time to time. You can be the most technically skilled and brilliant person at your job, but if you lack that relatability and customer experience, you lose that customer/client connection that always leads to recommendations and more work coming through the door. Networking is an effective way to extend your connections in the industry. Attend every networking event you can, even if it’s with a room full of people you can’t stand the sight of; a bit of schmoozing goes far. To build your network digitally, LinkedIn is a fantastic tool. People can endorse you for your skills and you can build a reputation for all to see by utilising your existing network.
As annoying as they can be, email campaigns are still the most effective digital marketing tactic. As well as announcing a new product release or offer, eDMs (electronic direct mail) are a good way of checking in with your customers and keeping your brand fresh in their minds. Just don’t overdo it.
Once you have a database, you can force your message into their inbox and use your creative copy and punchy subject line to make sure it gets opened. The best thing about platforms like Mailchimp is that they send out an email to up to 2000 email addresses for free. Got more than that? Well I’m sure you can work out how to keep it free. Most email campaign platforms also leave you with a bunch of usable data, so you can see who’s reading your message and who is clicking on the links. These platforms do not take a genius to work out. With a bit of time and patience, you can have a pretty sharp-looking campaign with the best ROI at minimal execution.
Unless you’re a revolutionary, chances are you’re going to get out there and do your own bit of trumpet blowing. Modesty aside, a bit of self-promotion never hurt anyone in business. Approach everything that is relevant to your industry with the exciting news of your new product or service launch. These sites and publications need material to publish, and you are making it easier by handing it to them.
Your website isn’t free marketing, but if the content is crap, it could end up being pretty costly. Do not underestimate the importance of search engine optimisation (SEO) to stay visible. There are sites out there that will carry out a free analysis on your site to mark you for SEO compliancy, or get an expert in to do it. Ensure your content is relevant, loaded with keywords relevant to your industry and reads more than just a marketing pitch. Get online and research what you should be doing to stay on the right side of Google.
Blogging isn’t just for teenage girls any more; it’s an extremely important and effective way to deliver useful content and ranking for SEO. Write about your industry, your services and anything of value to your target audience.
Marketing doesn’t have to be costly. You can achieve big results by putting in a bit of effort and thinking outside the box.