240,000 new establishments – this 2016 record from the Business Employment Dynamics – Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that these startups were able to generate 872,000 jobs across the United States.
An interesting record, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, 215,000 establishments had to exit in the same period that resulted in 749,000 unemployment.
Many people think to startup business is easy. But it’s not. Aside from the initial investment, you might be wondering where in the world you can get a rock-solid blueprint of your business, so no matter what happens, you’ll know you can survive?
But it’s even more difficult to know on how to stay in the competition when all of your rivals are now going online to boost their marketing strategy. Want your small business to catch up? Then you need robust online marketing ideas.
Below is listed our marketing 101, simple yet effective plans you can implement to help grow your business without breaking the bank.
1.Know your target market
Cost: Free of charge (but you need to exert a serious effort)
According to the DigitalMarketer, a premier online community for digital marketing professionals, if you want your business to grow and reach new heights, then the very first thing you need to do is the making of your customer avatar. HubSpot calls it “Buyer Persona.”
You need to know who your target markets are. This way, you would know how to effectively deliver your products/services’ message to them.
In researching your ideal audience or buyers, you need to include their demographics, needs, desires, pain points, and characteristics to know how you could offer your services to solve their problems that they would hardly refuse it. It’s simple but effective.
You can download The Customer Avatar Worksheet JUST CLICK HERE.
2. Utilize social media + mobile marketing
Cost: Free of charge (if you can do a DIY mobile-friendly site implementation) or with a cost for your developer’s effort of course
Most people these days spend a huge chunk of their time on social media than any other activity online. In fact, 60% of all online traffic comes from accessing social media thru smartphones and tablets where 81% are on Facebook while 78% are active on Twitter.
Also, J.D Power and Associates show 67% of customers are seeking customer support online which means if you don’t consider social media to market your business, you’ll surely be left behind. Nielsen also found that instead of doing phone calls, 33% of consumers prefer reaching out to brands through social media platforms.
Source: Mohamed Hassan @Pixabay
These small business marketing strategies don’t necessarily mean that you have to spend on some paid advertisements like Facebook Ads to get more visible online presence. A simple copywriting, an interesting photo, or anything you can post that’s valuable to your prospects will surely work free of cost. But please keep in mind to choose the right platform.
3. Include the making of great contents in your small business marketing
Cost: Free of charge (if you have spare time doing it yourself) or get a writer based on your budget
Content will always be the king in online marketing and key for a website to succeed in getting a good spot in the result pages of search engines. However, your content should be valuable to the readers for them to take an action on what you want them to do.
Source: Mary Cullen @Flickr
Then after creating a shareable article, report or video, please note that the content creation and content marketing are inseparable. You should create their strategies together so you would have a more precise path in giving valuable contents to your target markets. This step can help you acquire significant traffic to your website and get new leads.
4. Get and nurture leads with email marketing
Cost: Free up to $20 to $199 and $1000 per month depending on your preferred platform
A lot of marketing professionals do still believe in one of the old marketing concepts which is the “rule of seven.” This means that your ideal buyer should see or hear you for at least seven times before they take an action to contact you or buy your product or service. And email marketing is one of the effective ways to interact, nurture leads, and get good revenue. In fact, according to Campaign Monitor, for every $1 spent, email marketing generates $44 in ROI.
However, you can’t start doing email marketing without contacts. You can create an email opt-in on your website or a lead magnet that you will offer for free in exchange of their contact information or it can also be a tripwire offer (a low dollar offer).
And when you already have enough list of your leads, you can send them a weekly or a monthly newsletter, a discount coupon, free guides and tutorials, a free service trial, etc. Email marketing will surely work in all types of industries.
5. Get your business listed on Google My Business
Cost: Free of charge
One of the most powerful small business marketing strategies you can do to make your business searchable on the internet is to work on local Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Get your business listed on Google My Business directory as it can surely help you achieve your marketing success.
According to the site Think with Google, it appears that 76% of consumers who search for a nearby business in their area thru their smartphones decide to visit the store they saw within the day and 28% of them have turned into customers.
For instance, when you search for “restaurants in miami,” Google will first show the paid ads followed by three (3) Google My Business listings.
You can work on this without spending a single dime while getting a good number of qualified leads. With the said directory, Google will your show your contact information, physical address and even Google Maps profile, the ratings and reviews that your previous clients have made, etc.
Doing this strategy, however, will require you a good knowledge of keyword research, specifically long-tail keywords. Keyword Tool can help you better understand how long-tail keywords work with your SEO and PPC.
6. Do public speaking as a guest speaker (that also serves as a practice in pitching to venture capitalists)
Cost: Free of charge (Only confidence and expertise)
To speak at events is free of charge. Plus, this will allow you to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Being a thought leader will help you form a connection with potential clients.
So what you are going to do is to offer yourself to be a speaker in both small and big events such as in universities, forums, interest clubs, and business networking groups where you know you can give a significant impact to the attendees. Just make sure to keep the speech conversational with key points that are easy to remember.
Source: Matt Harasymczuk @Flickr
Also, in the long run, this guest speaking will hone your public speaking to help you gain more confidence and find the right strategy to pitch effectively to venture capitalists or even in angel investors. This strategy is excellent should you wish to expand your business or even if you just want to make a promotional talk. It should work.
7. Build a relationship with local business groups and do joint ventures
Cost: Free of charge (But some business groups do charge membership fees)
“Two heads are better than one” — it sounds cliche but it really works up to this time most especially when talked about small business marketing. Teamwork is always better than doing things on your own. Not only that it will give you good support but when you build a relationship with business groups in your locality, they too can be your clients.
Source: Geralt @Pixabay
Eventually, when you got the chance, you can offer joint ventures to your colleagues that you think may possibly combine your resources to theirs. Through this way, you can manage to accomplish some things that you might never do on your own especially if you have a tight budget for new investments.