‘No Cost’ Marketing Tips for your Small Business
Small Business Marketing doesn’t necessarily require a large budget and our ‘No Cost’ Marketing Tips will help!
For many small businesses, marketing has often been regarded as an out-of-reach luxury. Buying advertising space in the local paper, specific trade publication or engaging in a direct mail campaign was beyond many’s financial means. So they remained mute and opportunities were left untapped. But marketing and advertising your small business does not require large amounts of cash. Even a business with shallow pockets can find many ways to get its name out there to promote its service offerings and products.
Below are a couple of ‘No Cost’ Marketing examples that can get your business services in front of clients and prospects today!
1. Social Media
LinkedIn is a very useful tool, but for this post we are primarily talking about Twitter and Facebook. While burdened with a ‘social’ tag, their business potential is increasingly being utilised. SO GET SOCIAL!
Corporate Twitter accounts don’t always work – a personal approach can be a more effective marketing avenue for your small business. Rather than using ‘Joe Bloggs Design’ as the Twitter handle, the user might be the owner, Joe Bloggs himself. As for content, establish an identity by linking to interesting design-related news stories, or great pieces of printed material; chat to fellow designers; chat to clients; give people an insight into your day job, tell them what you are up to and why. Twitter is not for hard sells.
Do Tweet regularly (or as regularly as you can); link to things that interest you; engage other users in conversation; give an insight into your work.
Don’t Aggressively push your firm; be overly corporate; be rude/controversial; fail to engage with others; have a long list of followers, but not follow anyone.
Setting up a Facebook page is easy and here the promotion can be much more at the forefront. The aim is to create a feeling of exclusivity for users. Offer Facebook-only deals and sneak previews of current work. Offer insights that others would not get (for example, how did you create that shadow effect on your latest logo design?). Users will ‘LIKE’ your page if you offer them value for doing so. The more you post and the more photos you put up, the more people will engage with you and your business brand.
Do Offer exclusive deals, post lots of pictures as these will be shared with other users; encourage comments on work and the page as these will show up in users’ newsfeeds and encourage more to ‘LIKE’ your page.
Don’t Contact users too frequently; abuse your power by sending group messages to all your fans; fail to update your page frequently – you have to keep things interesting or the page will go dormant.
Successful networking can reap serious rewards.
If you see a sign for a local business show, school fair, art market or a summer fete, why not head down for an hour and show your face. Talk to people and help out; explain what you do; be active in your community.
Engage with your local Chamber or Lions Club or get some local business owners together once a month for a chat and a drink in the local pub. Suddenly you have a network of potential clients who, in turn, will recommend you to others.
Trade Shows and Business Fairs
Visit stands and get your face known; talk about what you do and how you do it. Emphasise what makes you special. These people will be talking to clients all over the country and they can be your messengers.
Do Talk to as many people as possible; attend every event you can; when chatting, ask as many questions as you answer; engage in debate and discussion; emphasise why your business is special and what you can do.
Don’t Hide in a corner; mumble replies; bore people – ensure you know when attention is waning; get stuck talking to one person all night – it is okay to excuse yourself with a “It’s been nice chatting, let’s catch up again, I should just go and have a chat with…”
3. Building Trust
One of the most important concerns one has when considering working with a new company is trust: is this a business or individual I want to work with?
Trust builds through repeated contact — meetings, emails, phone calls — and ultimately by working together. Eventually, you become a trusted advisor or the “go-to” company for your particular product or service. But this process may takes weeks, even years. Imagine shortening that timeline substantially and “speeding up” this trust.
You can accelerate trust in your company in several ways:
- Ask your existing clientele to refer other potential clients to you
- Get testimonials from previous customers and include them in emails, on your website and on your social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook
- In your promotional materials, talk about how you conduct your business – in particular, your approach and solutions to specific problems or situations
- Become a thought leader and document your expert status – use content marketing like blogging, articles, whitepapers, ebooks and videos to highlight your extensive experience and expertise
- Speak about your business or industry at chambers of commerce gatherings, association meetings, networking groups, conferences and seminars
- Use networking opportunities to familiarise contacts, one-on-one, with your business
- Present case studies documenting business successes you’ve had, on your website, from the standpoint of how your clients benefited from working with you
- Name recognition and exposure often equals trust: distribute a press release and stay active in social media through status updates and being active in groups
“Tooting Your Own Horn”is an important component to building trust – letting new customers know that you are the “go-to expert” in your field.
Trust me! The sooner they trust you, the quicker they’ll want to work with you.