7 Ways to Promote and Market Your Small Local Business Without Burning Cash (Both Online and Offline)
If you are a small business owner or a startup entrepreneur, then you are probably working with a strict marketing budget. If so, then how do you channelize this little money in the best possible way so that you can make your brand shine in the market, give your competitors a run for their money, as well as compete with big-name brands in your niche?
Well, there is no single method that can help a small business achieve the above feat but there are a couple of internet marketing techniques that will certainly help any small business grow without breaking the bank.
However good the quality of your product, it won’t help you excel in business if consumers don’t know about you, and that’s where digital marketing comes in the picture. These to-dos will help you increase your brand’s recognition, earn more potential consumers, and heighten the conversions.
These techniques are all proven strategies with guaranteed returns, which have helped many a business achieve their profit goals. These powerful strategies can help you too in your business if you start employing them quickly in your digital marketing blueprint.
Here are the top 7 digital marketing strategies that are a must-do for any small business.
1. SEO and SEM
Being a small local business usually means a poor online footprint and overall less recognition. To grow such a small company, your first and foremost goal must be overcoming the visibility roadblock. And to do so, you need to have a full-stack digital footprint in the form of content, social media, and most importantly the search engine rankings.
If your potential consumers cannot find you on the internet then how are they going to recognize you, trust your brand, and finally buy your product? So, to increase the much-coveted brand visibility, the main weapon in digital marketing that you can employ is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing).
SEO is the process that helps you optimize your website’s structure and content to make it easier for search engines to crawl and index. By creating high-quality content focusing on relevant keywords, and building backlinks from niche relevant authority websites you can rank your product pages on search engines. The better the rank, the more exposure your business gets in the form of more visitors, increased customers, and whopping profits.
Another important aspect of SEO is taking advantage of local SEO. If your consumers are looking to buy something locally using their mobile devices, then optimizing your content for local SEO will increase your company’s chances to appear in the local search results and Google map. It is effective and a game-changer for any business with a brick and mortar store or those who provide services locally.
Where SEO is cost-effective but takes a relatively long time to show results, SEM is paid but shows your business right after you run the campaign. Google Ads (aka AdWords) has been around for long years and it’s the boss when it comes to ranking your ads on search engines and getting you the coveted traffic and sales quickly.
Here you have to create the pay per click campaign and bid for the key phrases you want to target and rank for. Based on your keyword-content relevancy, landing page quality/metrics, Google decides the Quality Score. This influences the bid amount that you pay to get visitors to your website’s landing page. Usually, the higher your Quality Score, the lesser the bid cost.
Google Ads is a beast of a tool that can do wonders for your business if you know what you are doing. And along with it, if you are also using SEO to strengthen your organic rankings, your brand will be the talk of the town in no time.
2. Facebook and Instagram Marketing
Social media has upped the game of digital marketing to a whole new level. Reaching your target audience has become easy by placing ads on popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It’s easy, inexpensive but highly effective when it comes to driving traffic to your site and increasing sales.
Two million small to medium-sized businesses advertise on Facebook and Instagram with stellar results. With the high incoming traffic that these platforms get daily, along with exposure to potential customers, an increase in traffic to your sites and eventually increased sales is a given.
Unlike Google Ads which is a little complicated and very competitive, not mentioning expensive, advertising on Facebook and Instagram is a child’s play. All you need is a complete understanding of your customer persona and demographics, a solid headline, a bit of descriptive copy, breathtaking images, and a link and voila your ad is complete.
The Facebook Ads Manager is fairly simple to use and allows you to test several ad sets before settling on one which gives the best results. It also lets you narrow down your audience so that only relevant customers see your advert. You don’t need any advanced technical expertise for Facebook ad creation, but what you will need is patience, persistence, and performance monitoring. Tools like AdEspresso and Pagemodo will help you in this regard.
Instagram is more effective if your business involves strong visual assets. Similar to Facebook, you can place ads on Instagram but with more focus on visually stimulating images of your products or services. It gives you the same ad creation setup like Facebook and is very effective in reaching consumers more inclined towards visual content.
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing must be the go-to strategy for every small business trying to gain a foothold in the digital market. It generally involves creating content that adds value to your targeted consumers’ life. So, before creating content be aware of who your consumers are, their challenges, and specifically what are their wants and needs.
Unlike paid marketing, content marketing focuses on benefitting your business in the long run. You can use quality content to improve your SEO and thus your organic ranking. These contents will help you gaining your consumers’ trust, establishing your brand’s authority, and cultivating a lasting relationship with your leads and customers.
For a strong and effective content marketing strategy, you must know your consumers and audiences first. Creating a comprehensive buyer persona will help you in this regard. It is a profile of your target customers with data like their problems, likes, buying preferences, demographics and other relevant stats that best define them.
Once you have done the above, you need to focus on what your consumers are searching for and what all the information they need before making a purchase. Based on these questions, you can start creating your content. The contents should be engaging and must have the relevant information your target consumers want and will appreciate you for providing.
Content marketing is a lifelong process and needs to be done consistently to reap better results and return on your investment. So make sure to produce and post relevant and top quality content at regular intervals. Make your content shareable and promote them through social media for better traction.
Being an entrepreneur or a business decision-maker you must consider content marketing as it gives you back three times on your investment. Long after the original post has been published, you can still use the content to generate traffic and interest in your brand which is an incredibly powerful feature of content marketing.
4. Brand Video Marketing
Images and written content are well and good but what about promotion through video? Creating videos that best describe and promote your brand is another must-do option for digital marketing. With platforms like YouTube being the second largest search engine in the market, you can skyrocket your brand to unimaginable heights with the ample exposure that it can provide to your brand.
Videos are more stimulating than any image or any written copy so why not take advantage of them. The same quality text content that you have been producing for your brand can be converted to quality videos that will engage your target audience and build interest in your brand.
Create videos that are intriguing to your audience as well as add value to their lives. Try creating videos like ‘how-to’ and ‘DIY’ to establish yourself as an authority in your field.
You can also create ‘Behind the Scenes’ videos which help in increasing transparency of your brand and enable your viewers to know your brand better.
The more your audience like and benefit from your videos, the more they will trust you and share your content online, thus helping you reach more targeted consumers.
Popular platforms like YouTube and Facebook have made the entire process of sharing and promotion of videos very simple. You can easily upload your video content, let your subscribers know through social media, wait and watch the magic happens.
5. Email Marketing
email marketing is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing and still highly effective if done right. It’s the best way to prolong contact with your potential leads through regular emails. This way you can constantly stay in touch with them and build their trust in your brand so that they can ultimately make a purchase.
Before deciding on email marketing strategies, you have to first capture leads and to do that you have to use ‘lead magnets’. These are special content assets like eBooks, online courses, whitepaper, or a special promotion that you can provide to your visitors in exchange for their email address.
Once you capture your lead’s contact information, you can start designing your targeted campaigns which help in building authority and nurturing relationships with potential leads. In addition to sales information and other promotional emails, you can also use email to deliver quality, value-added content like blog posts, infographics, eBooks, resource lists, and other informative content that you have created.
Email newsletters are also a great email marketing strategy to stay on top of your consumers’ minds while informing them about your brand’s latest news and promotions.
6. Speaking at Events
If you are paying close attention to all these techniques, then you may have guessed that the main motive behind all these efforts is authority and trust-building. Because if a consumer does not believe that you know your stuff and can deliver on your promises, then they are not likely to buy from you.
Speaking at events helps you engage with your audience on a more personal level and let them know that you do know what you are doing. You can portray your brand as an authority in your field and garner more interest as well as you can increase exposure.
It’s the best hands-on technique to communicate with your consumers and help them decide that your brand is real, the best, and a promising option to trust on, and finally, buy from.
For small businesses that don’t have much clout, in the beginning, to be invited to speak in big events, you can start from smaller ones and work your way up as your visibility and popularity grows. For starters, you can speak at local events, schools, business networking groups, niche-specific clubs (photography, cooking, tourism, etc).
7. Collaboration with Other Brands
Teaming up with like-minded people to achieve a common goal is always easy and less time-taking. So, why not collab with other brands, pool resources and help accomplish things that you never could have done on your own.
When you have a limited budget, target companies that are local to you, even if your target clientele isn’t local. Strategize a campaign that will be mutually beneficial while providing a ‘two-for-one’ offer to your consumers.
For example, a content marketing agency can collab with a graphics-designing company, start a campaign, and refer clients to each other, a local produce company can collaborate with a cooking blog. Similarly, a coffee cafeteria can provide free coupons to a local pizzeria’s customers.
There are endless possibilities. Identify the overlap between your audience and other brands’ audience and come up with unique ideas to create a campaign that will be mutually beneficial to both.
This way you can not only cut your cost and reap more profits but you can also plan something bigger, team up with larger brands, and take your business to a whole new level.
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Mentored by Mr. Soumya Roy, the Founder, CEO of PromozSEO Web Marketing Academy.