A budget should never be a constraint for small businesses to implement some marketing strategies because all marketing techniques are not as costly as you might presume. The expenditure on marketing depends on what you want to achieve from it, and there are many ways to implement it even without spending a dime. Although free, these marketing techniques are quite useful, and small businesses can derive enough mileage from it when implemented correctly. It allows small businesses to make better use of their budget and stay competitive as well as take on bigger players in the market and drive the business in the path of growth.
Small businesses must follow the advice of Eric Dalius, a marketing expert, and use a set of marketing strategies instead of relying on any single strategy to get the best results. Select the strategies by understanding its effectiveness for your business so that you can get the best return from it. The opening of the internet has expanded the marketing options for small businesses that otherwise had limited ways to market their products cheaply by sponsoring some local events or through methods of printed publicity. Now there are numerous online opportunities for marketing for small businesses, as explained in this article.
Eric J Dalius says – #1 List your business in the major local listing services
Small businesses must ensure maximum online visibility of the business by listing the business on the listing services or directories of Google, Yahoo, and Bing, so it gains maximum attention. As most of the searches happen on Google, listing your business on Google Places will help to gain wide exposure during Google searches, and your business will also show up in Google maps. To enlist your business in Google Places, you must complete the registration process by filling out a form and then complete the verification process for the business by following the confirmation protocols either through a snail mail or over the phone. Follow a similar procedure to list the business on Yahoo Local that maintains a huge database for small businesses. Signing up for Microsoft Bing is also easy. All the services are free and take a few minutes to set up.
#2 Start a blog
Listing your business on local directories provides a solid foundation to widen your marketing activities. The listing helps to popularize the name of the business whenever someone searches the business directories for some requirements. Instead of waiting for others to find out your business, it is important to become proactive and move forward to connect with the targeted audience that helps to gain wider exposure. The best way to communicate with the audience is to start a blog. It connects with them directly and helps to spread the company’s name. Blogging allows you to gain the trust of the audience by demonstrating your authority that lends more credibility to your business provided; you can meet the expectations of the audience. Publish blogs regularly and choose topics that are relevant to the audience so that they derive some value from it.
#3 Embrace social media
Using social media for business promotion adds more punch to your marketing efforts because it is the most powerful platform for enhancing brand name recognition. The audience can quickly recall your products or services by looking at the brand that gains high visibility across social media through sharing. The audience can explore the brand very closely through social media interactions that help to build the right expectations and make the task of marketing easier. Today, social media does much more than merely helping in gaining brand exposure, which makes it mandatory for businesses to devote exclusive time to social media activities. You can publish advertisements and sales offers on your Facebook page and connect directly with customers through Twitter. Networking on LinkedIn both at the company level and personal level stimulates your marketing activities.
#4 Implement SEO for your website
Search engines are still the prime drivers of quality traffic to businesses, and small businesses must reap the benefits of local SEO by optimizing the website by following the best practices in search engine optimization. SEO helps to create a strong online presence and gain higher visibility. Since most of the searches happen from mobile devices, it is mandatory to create a responsive website that displays well on mobile devices. As consumers use mobile searches when looking for products or services in the local market, small businesses need to reach out to them by practicing local SEO supported by content optimization.
#5 Post video content on YouTube and Flickr
Create promotional videos of your business that have a higher engagement rate with the audience and upload it on YouTube and Flickr platforms for free. These are excellent means of distributing your content across a wide section of your audience that might not be much interested in consuming text content. Create content that meets the expectations of the audience and conveys value so that it generates their interest and draws them closer to the business and brand. You can use the Flickr platform to compile all photos related to your business and even leave a link to connect to your website, which adds a new avenue for driving traffic to the website.
#6 Join an online community
You must carry your business along with you across all places on the internet. Avail every opportunity of giving it as much exposure as possible, even when you are interacting within your online community. Stay actively involved in online communities and build a rapport so that you can use the opportunity to promote your business. Instead of engaging in customary interactions within the community, create a plan for promoting your business passively during the online interactions whenever any context arises or even tacitly providing a link to your website during some interactions as deemed appropriate.
#7 Press releases
Lose no opportunity of turning the focus on your business by arranging for press releases every time there is something newsworthy happening in the business arena. Press releases are powerful tools that generate quick publicity, and there would be people to take note of it.
All these techniques are useful for business promotion, and when used together, can create a lasting impact on business.