Marketing is expensive and no easy task for a small business owner, but you cannot neglect the fact that marketing is also one of the most important building blocks for your business. You’ve got a great idea and when it’s time to find customers for your business, reaching out to the right people with your marketing efforts will be important.
Word of mouth can help you get started, but you want to reach out to a much broader to create a sustainable business. It is difficult to run a business on a budget and like many others, you may end up cutting your budget on marketing. The good news is that you don’t need a lot of money to start marketing your business and in this post, we share 7 essential marketing tips that every small business owner can adopt to start and grow their business.
Establish your identity
When starting your business, your first focus should be establishing your unique identity in the market. If you manage to get your branding right, then your business can benefit from it in years to come but if you get it wrong at the beginning, it may prove to be a very expensive mistake for you.
In order to establish your identity, you need to identify some important aspects of your company by asking yourself these questions: What does my company stand for? Who are my target customers? Who are my competitors? What is my niche in the market? How am I different from my competitors? What values will my company have? What kind of a personality do I want my brand to have?
Once you have answers to the above questions, you have clarity about your business identity and you can go ahead to find a suitable name, a logo, and colors that will represent your business. Research color psychology to find out which colors are most attractive for your audience and try to incorporate similar colors in your logo and branding material.
Once you have your own logo, you will have an identity for your business which you can use across all your advertising material, your business cards, envelopes, email signatures and so on to increase the visibility of your business. However, we would advise you to not depend on the logo completely, but build an experience with your business that your customers can relate to.
Have a great website
As the internet continues to become an integral part of people’s lives, a good website design becomes a key factor of success for many small and large businesses. If you do not have a technical background, you may be worried about spending a huge amount of money to build a website that you may not even be able to maintain by yourself. You don’t have to worry about that anymore, because there is a lot of easy-to-use, free tools to help you build a beautiful website without any technical background at all.
First impressions are the most important, and a business website adds credibility to your business when you promote yourself. A website is a simple yet cost-effective way to share information about your business with potential customers. Consider your website as a free marketing channel where you can share and boast about your company’s achievements and developments. It’s also a great opportunity to generate leads and find more information about people who are actively searching for your business.
If you have an offline business, then you might ask us why should I even care to be online? Well, if you want to attract new customers and grow your business, then having a business website is an essential step towards more promotion. Refer to this quick list to find out which important features you should include on your website.
Learn more about marketing with free online courses
We often hear from small business owners that even though they don’t have a good understanding of marketing, they’re willing to learn. But they just are not sure where to start. We offer a list of top free marketing courses you can do at your own pace and learn all you need to know about marketing.
The advantages of these courses are that they can be taken at your own pace and are accessible across multiple devices, so you don’t always have to open up your laptop to start the course. All of the courses on the list are completely free of cost and provide you a free certification to prove your expertise.
We would recommend you to start from the Google Digital Garage course if you have absolutely no knowledge about marketing. The course will help you understand different marketing concepts and will help you get a lot of ideas you can implement for promoting your business. Take these courses and stay in charge of your own business. Also, when you have sound knowledge about the concepts, you can be more confident in asking for the help of professionals to scale up your marketing efforts.
Claim your free listings
Finding new customers is a demanding process for small businesses, especially at the beginning when you’re just setting everything up. Your business can gain advantages with better exposure online, and you can start building your online presence by claiming free business listings.
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You can start by creating a free business email ID for your business and building a Google plus profile for it. Using Google plus is an important step since millions of people prefer Google as their search engine, and it gives more preference to posts via Google plus. Then, you can claim your free listing on Google My Business. The information you add to your Google My Business profile appears on the right side when people search for your business and gives an opportunity to your customers to leave their feedback and comments about your business.
Here’s the complete list of websites where you can list your business for free and attract new customers, while also building your online presence.
Start experimenting with social media
Once you’re ready with your website and free listings, the next logical step is to create social media pages for your business. One of the most common mistakes many small businesses make is to create a page on every social website as possible. It’s a great way to get another website to link back to your website and for a quick start. However, it is important to prioritize the most important platforms for your strategy, and not try to work on all of them at once.
You are excited to set up your business, but it’s impossible to maintain the momentum of your content and posts on social media once your business is up and running. So, it’s smart to choose the platforms where you’re most likely to find new customers. For example, if you’re a hair salon then a Facebook page and Instagram are great platforms, to begin with. Facebook gives you the opportunity to share content and information about your business while Instagram allows you to share lovely pictures from your salon and allow your customers to see what magic you create with your business.
Ensure that your business profile, contact information, and website links are always up to date. Try to include keywords in your profile. Join conversations and groups where you can talk about your products and services, and find people who would be interested in them. But make sure you don’t end up spamming the channel and creating a negative image for your business.
If you find yourself in a constraint for time, we recommend you to schedule your posts and promotions with free tools like Buffer. Buffer allows you to schedule your promotions and automatically posts on your social media page at the scheduled time. If you’re not sure how to build a creative for social media then watch some competitor pages to get some ideas, and start creating your own materials with a free software like Canva.
Selecting the right platforms for your marketing promotions, will not only ensure that you reach the right customers but will also keep you away from the stress on creating content for all social media channels.
Promote product/service awareness in the local community
Networking is important and a quick way to start promoting your products and services is by creating more awareness about your business in the local community. Find out how you can benefit your community and how your products/services can make their life better. Next step is to get more involved with the community in different activities, for example, volunteer at events or participate in community activities.
Many towns and cities host parades, festivals and small community events throughout the year. Get involved with the community, connect to people and share information about your business. It’s a great way to build a positive vibe for your business without appearing too promotional. You can also plan and host some events to build community engagement and to attract new customers toward your business.
Remember, building connections are more important. You can get amazing feedback from people who you connect to, and this is crucial for your business success in the long term. You can also use referral schemes and incentivize referrals to encourage people to bring in more customers for you.
Invest time in networking and never forget to take your business card
Once you have a strong reach within your community, try expanding your network by participating in networking events. Meetups, small business conferences, new product launches, and trade shows are a great way to start.
However, before you start networking you must prepare yourself for these events and get into the networking mindset. First, create a draft of your elevator pitch, and then create your professional online appointment booking system. One of the best ways to encourage people to connect with you is to give them a call to action. A call to action is text or content which urges the users to take action. Adding this to your business card and website will generate curiosity about your business in your leads and persuade them to find out more about you. Interesting ways to add a link to your booking schedule is to add a QR code which links to your booking schedule on your business card. It makes the business card look more professional and interesting. Your potential leads are also encouraged to find out more about you and what you offer.
Once you’re confident about your elevator pitch and your business cards, you’re ready to rock and roll. Enjoy meeting new people, talk about your business, share your experiences, learn from experiences of other entrepreneurs you meet, and focus your efforts in building your business. Networking is important for any type of business and can give you a lot of new ideas and open gates to many new opportunities for your business. So you should definitely start networking.