Don’t have the budget for a marketing agency? You can still promote your small business.
Marketing is a crucial element to making your business a success, but not all companies have the budget to hire an agency to handle it for them. Fortunately, there are steps you can take on your own that won’t break the bank, allowing you to build awareness and also keep your Donut-Fridays going. The key to marketing for small business is to thread authenticity through your efforts—if your initiative doesn’t seem natural, it could muddle your brand.
Here are five affordable small business marketing ideas.
Community InvolvementLocal high school events, 5Ks, youth sports teams, summer fairs, farmers markets, etc., are many opportunities for SMBs to get involved with their local communities while simultaneously boosting awareness for their brand. The most important thing to keep in mind is to associate your small business with a community cause or event that makes the most sense and has the greatest visibility along with the lowest anticipated risk.
NetworkingNetworking is one of the most affordable ways to get the message out about your business. And very often, it’s completely free! A simple gesture of handing your business card to someone at the local coffee shop counts as networking. Joining or starting a networking group is also a great way to get your business connected to others. There are many different types of networking groups to consider. Some are industry-specific (CPAs, marketers, manufacturers, etc.). Others may have only one person per profession. Attend a few until you find one that fits. The outcomes of networking are limitless; you never know where building new connections could take your small business...which leads to our next DIY marketing tip.
PartnershipsNetworking can lead to partnerships and partnerships can lead to increased profits and awareness for your SMB. Linking up with another local business that complements yours is a great way to expand your brand’s awareness. It’s important to consider partnerships that are mutually beneficial and, of course, feel authentic. It wouldn’t make much sense for the local butcher to partner with an organic, vegan coffee shop, right? (Turns out, there’s not much demand for veal macchiatos.)
Email MarketingTried and true, email marketing is something consumers have come to expect. With that said, it’s hard to cut through all of the noise and reach the top of your audience’s inboxes. The plus side is, it’s low-cost and can’t hurt! But going back to authenticity, it’s important to avoid outdated tricks of the trade, like purchasing address lists from uninterested consumers. Target those who have expressed interest in your small business and gain new contacts organically through sharing interesting content. Here’s a great Hubspot article with 23 simple email marketing tips for small businesses.
Social MediaAlong with email marketing, having a social media presence for your small business is something consumers expect. Depending on your audience, there’s a good chance they’ll search for your business on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn before searching for it on Google. Social media is relatively low-cost but it’s important to understand the algorithms you’re up against on various platforms. Facebook, for example, rewards brands that put a spend behind their content, which allows more users to see it. Instagram’s algorithm is based on three main factors: “interest,” “recency,” and “relationship.” Since chronology isn’t the only factor, be sure to include the date if you’re posting something that is time-sensitive. This infographic by Social Media Today gives a general idea of the current state of social media algorithms.
Contact us today to learn more about how your small businesses can operate more efficiently and productively, with RCN’s suite of communications products and services.