The success or failure of any business depends on how effectively it can market itself. For small businesses, especially those just starting out, there may not be much in terms of revenue to spend on marketing. So what can you do if you have a limited budget?
Luckily, there are many ways that you can promote yourself online with a small budget. It is important to realise that marketing is essential to business; whether your business has a limitless budget or a very tight one, you should never ignore this significant process.
The Importance of Online Marketing for Small Businesses
If you have recently set up a small business or have been in business for a while but are struggling to attract customers, you must dedicate time and money to marketing. This is a vital part of business and one that can make or break your company. No matter how wonderful your products or services are, they are useless to you unless your customers know about them. This is where marketing comes in. Below are a few reasons why marketing is so important for small businesses.
- Getting noticed
You must make sure that potential customers know about your company and the products or services it provides. Marketing ensures that your company gets noticed, and it will help customers consider your products or services when they are in the market to buy.
- Increased sales
The aim of any business is to make money and to do this, you must increase your sales. Once potential customers become aware of your company, you are in with a chance of getting sales. With effective marketing campaigns, your company will become noticed and word will spread. If your products and services are as good as you say they are then you may find that customers will recommend your company to other people, therefore increasing your sales even further.
- Build your brand
Successful marketing helps to build a brand and the reputation of your company. If you can employ a successful marketing campaign, your company will develop a good reputation, which will help to develop a loyal customer base.
- Identify new opportunities
With effective marketing, it is possible to identify new products, services or potential customers. This will all help towards increasing your market share and boost sales.
How to Use Effective Online Marketing on a Tight Budget
It is not necessary to spend thousands of pounds on marketing these days. There are numerous tips and tricks that do not require a large budget but can be very effective when it comes to helping to promote your business online. As long as you understand the market you want to target, you should be able to boost your sales and generate a bigger profit. Even if you do not have a lot of time or money, the following tips should help in terms of getting your name out there.
- Use online review sites
Many people buy products and services online these days, and they will often check out reviews before buying. It therefore pays to have your business listed on these online review sites. This will help to drive traffic to your site and increase your sales. It will also help in terms of building your brand and improving your reputation. Some of the best sites to try are My Business Page with Google, Yelp, and Bing Places.
- Use social media wisely and consistently
Social media is becoming more and more effective in terms of marketing online. With so many people using social media every day, it makes sense for businesses to take advantage of this platform. Creating a Facebook business page, for example, will help you to promote products and services to your followers, and it can be used for running competitions to boost sales. You can also use other social media sites such as Twitter and Pinterest for posting product photos and for making people aware of discounts and promotions. Check out our using social media for small business post for more on how to promote yourself using this vehicle.
- Develop a business network
LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for connecting with other relevant professionals. You may be able to develop partnerships with other businesses that will benefit both parties as well as your customers. Also, sites like Meetup, offer an excellent way of finding local, linke minded people in your niche, as well as small business groups.
- Write a guest blog post
If you can contribute a post to a popular blog, this may help you to raise awareness of your company. Guest blogging can build credibility and will help with the development of business relationships. Make sure that your target audience follows the blog you are writing for or you may be wasting your efforts. If you do not have writing skills yourself, hire a professional copywriting company to do this for you.
- Create your own blog
It is so important to add relevant content to your website. Creating a blog is a great way to engage with customers, who may interact by commenting on relevant posts. Again, you can hire a copywriter to create the posts for you, which should not cost too much in terms of effective marketing. Sites like WordPress and Blogger offer great, free blogging platforms.
- Create infographics
People love infographics, and these are a hugely powerful marketing tool. Although it can be expensive to hire a professional designer, you could try creating your own – there are plenty of tips and tricks online for this. There are also a number of free online templates available that can be customised using PowerPoint.
- Create a customer reward or referral programme
Reward points for shopping or making referrals are a great way to encourage people to buy from your company. Many individuals are influenced in their buying decisions by the opportunity to earn points, so this is a great way to boost sales and promote your business.