As a small business owner, chances are you have champagne taste on a beer budget due to startup costs and operating expenses. Industry competition can be difficult, since it typically requires a good amount of strategy, time and funds. It might seem impossible to compete with companies who have larger budgets for marketing, operations and more. However, if you take the time to create a thorough marketing strategy for your business and put in a bit of elbow grease, you’ll find that small business marketing on a budget is an achievable and rewarding goal.
In today’s landscape, more and more companies are investing in marketing for their competitive strategy, with 12% of company revenue spent on marketing in 2016-17 – up from 10% in 2015-15. Of that, digital advertising is expected to see a 65% increase of spend in 2017. What does this mean for you? A small business digital marketing strategy is the way to go to boost your presence in your industry. Get the biggest bang for your buck, and become a fierce competitor, by utilizing these small business marketing ideas.
Engage in Social Media
Share, post, tweet, repeat. If your small business isn’t on social media already, it’s time for you to log in and connect. Having a presence on big social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is vital to connecting with your audience. Each platform has its own benefits and formats to reach many unique audiences, and should be used to your advantage. Whip up some engaging posts to encourage involvement from your followers, and build up a brand personality to make meaningful connections.
A well-planned social media campaign can do wonders for a brand. Using Facebook Ads allows your small business marketing to reach a segmented and targeted audience, which means your spend won’t be wasted on uninterested users. You can specify your daily campaign budget to keep it within your needs, but be sure not to bid too low to ensure your ads get as much exposure as possible. If you bid higher, you’ll end up spending the lowest amount possible to deliver an appropriate number of ads.
While putting money behind your social campaigns will give an extra push, social media marketing for small business doesn’t have to cost a thing. When you engage with users and post new content on a regular basis, your audience base will naturally grow. Struggling to produce your own content? Look into reaching out to influencers. Influencer marketing results in authentic user-generated content, or UGC, that will really help your customers connect with and trust your small business marketing efforts.
Write Optimized Content
You may have heard the phrase “content is king.” While a study shows 56% of digital marketers agree effective marketing involves a balance of content marketing, SEO, social media and link building, some believe content marketing is the most important. If you think about it, writing optimized content is necessary for the other areas to survive. Without great content, what will you share on social media? Where will you optimize for keywords? How will you build links to improve domain authority?
Creating fresh content can come in a number of forms, and is the backbone to having a great site for your small business. This fresh content helps your SEO efforts, as it results in more frequent indexing, and signals to Google that you are keeping your site updated. From expanding upon or reoptimizing existing content on your site to adding new pages or publishing on a blog, you can improve both your chances of ranking and your user experience by making these updates.
Once the main pages on your site are as optimized for SEO and easy navigation as possible, one of the most important forms of content is blog posts. When writing posts, be sure to include your target keywords, insert internal links, and use high-quality external links when applicable for added authority. Many underestimate the power of a blog, but having frequently published posts keeps your website relevant, and proves to your audience your small business is an expert in your industry.
Subscribe to Email Marketing
The way to your audience’s heart is through their inbox. Utilizing email marketing is a great way to reach out to your community and keep them in the loop. The email inbox is one of the most frequented places of the day. Think about it, how often do you check to see what new messages have come in, a couple times an hour? Communicating via email allows your company to be on your audience’s mind frequently and time-sensitive content can be received when it’s still relevant.
Some people tend to shy away from using email, as it’s so frequently associated with spam. However, when done properly, it can make for outstanding results. Using email tends to lead to a higher percentage of conversions than most forms of marketing, and statistics show the average business spending $1 on email marketing will see a $44.25 return – or a 4300% ROI. It’s difficult to ignore those numbers when looking for low budget marketing with a high return for your small business!
For a successful email marketing campaign, you must take many things into consideration. As noted before, emails can easily be discounted as spam when they’re too frequent or do not contain useful information. To avoid this, ensure your newsletters or promotions are thoughtfully segmented and targeted. Track campaigns to see which approaches have been successful, and which have room for improvement. If in doubt, ask yourself if you would open and read that email if it showed in your inbox.
Outsource Services Efficiently
If there are any components left in your small business digital marketing strategy that cannot be done in-house, look for outsourcing opportunities. There are several ways to find professionals willing to work with you for a reasonable cost, or no cost at all. From sourcing content and designing logos to social media consultations and performing a website audit, you can find several services suitable for small business marketing on a budget.
Say your company needs a new logo:
- Reach out to friends and colleagues. You would be surprised what secret skillsets those around you may have. Ask around for those who have experience in design, and you might find a friend who is willing to help for free – or maybe a treated lunch. Don’t let your awesome network go to waste.
- Hire budding entrepreneurs. Many entrepreneurs are focused more on expanding their portfolio and experience than expanding their wallets. Try a site like 99designs, where an entrepreneurial design community produces content for a relatively small fee.
- Trade services for services. Bartering and trading is a great way to exchange skillsets so both parties benefit. It’s a fun and easy way to get something done while showcasing your mastery.
Competing with bigger companies as a small business can be daunting when you don’t have a plan in place. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor to rise to the top of your industry. When putting together your low-cost marketing strategy, sleep easier knowing you have these small business marketing ideas in your pocket. With the money you’re saving from marketing on a budget, you’re sure to have some extra left over to satisfy those champagne tastes – or crack open a cold beer.