Small business owners may have small marketing budget unlike their bigger competitors, but this doesn’t mean that their marketing campaigns will not already have a big impact to their target audience. Marketing, to work effectively, doesn’t only need money – it needs time, intelligence, skills, talent, creativity, and even some luck. When done properly, marketing can make a small business big and stand out from the crowd. That is why, as a small business owner, you should not only aspire to be a better business person, but also a better marketer. Here are 10 marketing tips for small business owners that will help you formulate better marketing strategies.
1. Establish quality control
Marketing involves not only promotion or advertising, but it also involves the product that you want to promote or advertise. Without ensuring the quality of your product or service, your advertising efforts may only be wasted because your consumers are not after what you say about your product – they are after the product itself. Your product is what will also determine if customers are paying the right amount of price for the value they receive. Thus, if you want to be a better marketer, you have to begin by producing and selling better products or services.
2. Build a blog
Blogs can be a powerful Internet marketing tool to build a strong online presence for your business. If you know how to write and influence people with your writing, then consider blogging about your business. By publishing useful blog posts or articles that are related to your target audience, you could earn loyal readers and followers. This will also boost your online reputation as a blogger, business owner, and entrepreneur. Creating a blog is not costly. You can use free blogging software like WordPress and Blogger. But to have full control and to show how sincere you are in blogging, you can invest some money to pay for your own domain name and web hosting. Check out these 12 reasons why you should blog about your business.
3. Be visible on the search engines
People use search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing to find the information they need. When they look for a product, when they want to know more about a brand, and when they want to learn who’s on the top, they use the search engines to provide them answers. Now, getting your business on the search engine result pages to be more discoverable by searchers can be done in two ways. It can be done either through paid search engine marketing or through unpaid search marketing (also called SEO or search engine optimization).
If you have marketing budget, you can try paid search marketing campaign through PPC (Pay-per-click) advertising – this is the sponsored ads you will see on Google and other search engine results pages. If you don’t want to spend money but can afford to spend some time, you can learn and try SEO. SEO is the process of improving the content, structure, and influence of your website or blog to increase its position or ranking in the search engines based on their respective algorithm. If you already have a business website or blog, you can simply create more and more quality content and let them indexed by search engines. Remember that the more quality content you have, the more pages the search engines will index from your site. Check out these 20 SEO tips for your small business website or blog to learn more.
4. Get attention from social media
Social media websites are among the most crowded and busiest online places today. If you want to reach more potential customers, promote your business on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other top social networking sites where you think your target market can be found. You can create a Facebook Business Page for free. However, you have to spend time and dedication to interact and provide valuable information with Facebook users to get their attention, trust, and loyalty. Remember that social media is all about people making human relationships. Hence, make sure that you should not only rely on technology, but you have to put emphasis on human behavior.
5. Include your business on the virtual map
Put more directions to your business in the online world. Add your business listing in various business directories on the Internet based on your industry and location. Also, submit your business to Google Maps or Google Places to get your map location, address, contact numbers, and other important company information appear on Google search results. You can also claim your business place on Foursquare to make it more discoverable by Foursquare users who are searching for business establishments using their mobile phones. And to make your business location be more discoverable on social media, you can check in your location using Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ every time you want to tell your friends that you’re inside or within your business place.
6. Educate people
Marketing is about sending information, and one of the best ways to send your business information is through education. There are many ways to educate your target market. You can create presentations and share this to the public using Slideshare.net and other similar websites. You can also create documents and PDF files, and share this to the public using Scribd.com and Google Docs. Creating educational and informational videos and sharing them on video sharing websites like YouTube is also a good online marketing tactic. Aside from teaching people online, you can do that offline. For example, you can conduct free seminars or be a resource speaker on topics of your expertise which is related to your business.
7. Entertain people
Another great way to get the attention of your target market is to entertain them and get rid of their boredom. With today’s Internet technology, making people happy and brightening up their day is becoming more convenient and efficient. You can make interesting videos, photos or memes that can encourage virality, and share them on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other top social networking sites.
8. Reward people
People usually love prizes, freebies, and anything they can get without paying money. This makes holding contests another way to make a buzz and get more exposure for your business. You can hold contests on your Facebook Page to get more likes and subscribers or any other contests to increase people’s awareness about your brand. You can also give discounts or free samples to convince potential customers that you have the right products that will satisfy their needs.
9. Teach marketing to your people
You don’t need to be a sole marketer to run your marketing campaign without spending too much money. If you have employees, you can utilize and teach them how to promote your business to their friends and connections. If you don’t have any employee, don’t be shy to ask help from your close friends and family members to spread the good news about your business. You can also ask them to promote your business on their Facebook Timeline and other social networking sites. They are your close friends and loved ones anyway. And as long as your products are worthy, don’t hesitate to ask favor from them.
10. Make your customers your marketers
Finally, wow your customers by providing them quality products, reasonable price, easy access, extra services, and engaging promotional campaign. You can be a better marketer and you can have a great marketing team inside your business, but the best marketers you could have are your satisfied customers or clients. Remember that to make your customers your voluntary marketers, you don’t pay them money – you pay them care, attention, and dedication.
Small business owners have to create big marketing campaigns to grow their business and achieve their goals. Big marketing doesn’t mean a marketing campaign that has a big financial budget, but it means something that has a big care for customers. If you only think of your customers when you are already about to sell your products, then you must be only thinking about making money or another else at the time you are producing your products. Remember that to be a successful marketer, you have to think about your consumers before you even plan to have a product.