Tips for Small BusinessesTips for marketing your small business
Finding innovative ways to save money is nothing new to small business owners. Entrepreneurs are a hearty bunch - thick skin and creative thinking are integral parts of the job. Additionally, tracking down funding requires tough decision making and determination.
Times have been especially tough during the recession years for small business owners, especially for those wanting to expand. Traditional lending routes are tight and business owners are having to look for alternative financing options to build their brands, or even just stay afloat. A study released by financial institution analytics company Trepp, LLC gave one in every eight U.S. banks a failing grade based on categories like earnings, capital and asset performance. The numbers were particularly bad for mid-sized institutions, historically the best lending partners for small businesses.
With such a bleak lending outlook, small business owners are digging even deeper into their ingenuity troves to pull out money saving ideas. Marketing is one area where every business can find some extra capital. Whether slashing traditional outbound marketing budgets in favor of a strong online presence, or ramping up business with a smart partnership, the right promotional initiatives can save and make your company money.
Small Business Savings Here are a few ways to kick start your money-saving small business marketing:
1. Content marketing. While the foundational reason to have an online presence is to increase sales, simply "advertising" your business is not enough. Make sure you are using inbound marketing techniques to bring in the greatest number of people interested in your products or services. The basic premise here is to draw a targeted group of consumers or businesses in need of your offerings, rather than blanket the entire market with your message. By looking at your website and figuring out exactly what it is you're selling and the type of customers you want to attract, you can better market your business.
Most businesses have already paid to have their website developed in addition to a monthly administrative fee. Revisiting the site and rewriting it to meet higher SEO and page rank standards is an inexpensive way to give business a boost. Make sure you submit your site map to all of the major search engines and online business directories as well.
2. Become an expert. In addition to attracting customers with the right keywords, you should keep them loyal with quality content. Think of your website or blog as the spot customers can find answers to all their questions related to your industry. This works on a B2C and B2B basis. Give advice, post well-researched articles and interpret industry trends within the confines of the online space you already own.
Clearly your customer base will benefit - but what do you get out of these "free" services? By positioning yourself or your business as an expert, you become a trusted name. Consider the development of quality content as an investment into the future. Maybe a person who visits your website to read your weekly industry roundup column isn't in the market for your services…yet. However, chances are that when that person is in need the type of items or services that you offer, he or she will reach out to you before competitors because trust has been established.
3. Seek out super users. It's pretty much taken for granted that word-of-mouth advertising is the gold standard when it comes to landing new business. But did you know that there are different levels of word-of-mouth advertising and effectiveness? If one customer gives your company a Facebook shout-out for a job well done, that recommendation has the potential to reach a few hundred people. If the same compliment is given by a super user (read: a person with a massive blog or social media following), the reach of that positivity expands exponentially.
So why wait for super users to discover your business? Reach out to them instead and offer free products or services in exchange for a review or mention. Do a little background research first to ensure that you are targeting the right people for your specific business demographic. All it takes is a few minutes each day sending inquires to a few super users to get the ball rolling on this step. The word of a trusted online persona reverberates across cyberspace, so take the time to establish this smart marketing initiative.
More from GalTime.com:
- Hot Jobs Right Now
- Why You're Not Where You Thought You'd Be By Now
- 6 Tips for Networking Success
- 5 Reasons Why Moms Make the Best Employees