Marketing plays a key role in the success of every business, large or small. The online nature of modern commerce, however, places small businesses – with limited marketing budgets – in competition with corporations backed by big money. Therefore, marketing is even more crucial for a small business to stand out.
Despite this competition from corporations with millions of dollars at their disposal, marketing for a small business doesn't have to be expensive to be effective. The rapid growth of the internet offers small businesses plentiful opportunities to economically compete alongside national brands, and a growing demand among consumers for personalization gives small business owners a natural advantage in this arena. If your business is running on a shoestring budget, consider these ideas to help your business thrive.
Employ social media effectively
Nearly 2.5 billion people worldwide use social networks. For many users, social media is part of their daily routine, meaning businesses have repeated opportunities to build awareness, earn new customers and drive sales. If you haven't already incorporated social media into your marketing strategy, now is the time to start.
Facebook is a leader among major social media platforms, although Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter are also capturing wide audiences online. Whichever platform you choose, focus on efforts that will immediately benefit your business. For small businesses, it's about connecting with a community that engages with your content.
Don't simply post and walk away – interact with your audience to promote conversation and make sure to be prompt. A study by Harvard Business Review found that leads are nearly 7x more likely to convert if a company responds to their inquiry within one hour, compared with companies that waited more than an hour. Be sure to always respond quickly to any feedback or or questions you receive for a higher chance of conversion.
Create a value-driven blog
Blogging is a cost-effective way to promote your company while providing useful content to your target audience. Blogging provides you the opportunity to connect with your existing and potential customers in a meaningful way, subsequently increasing leads and conversion rates.
By posting high-quality and informative blogs, you can build trust and establish clout in your industry. Blogging also allows you to showcase the personality of your business, giving customers insight into the heart of your company.
Keep in mind that search engines reward original and relevant content. According to Business Insider, there are more than 2.3 million Google searches each minute. To ensure search engines favor your blog, craft original and relevant content on a regular basis so you can demonstrate your business's unique value proposition.
Leverage your community
Every day, large corporations spend millions of dollars flooding consumers with advertisements via traditional channels such as television, radio and print media, but they lack a powerful personal touch that establishes credibility and trust with customers: community.
A small business has the ability to cultivate personal relationships with potential customers by leveraging the local community. Consider expanding your reach by joining a local networking group or hosting an event in your area. People trust their friends and family more than they trust advertisements. Word-of-mouth marketing is, after all, the most traditional form of marketing.
In the era of the internet, there is no shortage of economical ways to market your small business. Current consumer trends value authentic and personal experiences, giving small businesses an advantage over larger competitors. If you're operating on a tight budget, you can ramp up your brand presence through powerful, yet inexpensive, marketing. Investing in social media, launching a blog and leveraging your community are all effective ways to flourish in your local market.