It’s an accepted fact that the position of “small business owner” is actually several jobs rolled into one: project manager, salesperson, customer service rep, and marketer at the very least, and likely many others. The marketing duties alone can be a full-time job, and there’s no getting around them.
If you own a company, you know you have to get the word out to attract new customers — and you know that can get expensive. But don’t despair! With today’s tech and an investment of time, you can execute your own do-it-yourself marketing strategies that will bring in business without breaking the bank.
Here are six useful tips to generate a buzz without spending a fortune.
1. Create a modern website
If you’re still using a personal Facebook page, Blogspot site, or another old-school template for your website — or worse, you don’t have an online presence at all — it’s time to upgrade. You need a real website. Period.
Luckily, today’s cheap, or even free, DIY website options give you a lot more bang for your buck. You don’t have to be a tech-savvy expert to build a professional online presence. Currently, almost half of small businesses in America don’t have a website. Considering the exponential growth of ecommerce (and e-everything), this is a huge mistake you don’t want to make.
2. Participate in local promotional opportunities
In the job market, it’s about who you know more than what you know. It’s the same for small businesses, as well. If you aren’t already networking locally, it’s time to get going and leverage your physical presence. Here are some ideas:
- Sponsor local charities and events.
- Offer free services or discounts to locals.
- Join your local chamber of commerce and get active.
- Schedule workshops or other events to help your community.
If your business is solely an online presence, consider setting up your physical headquarters in a city with promotional and networking opportunities. Regardless of your business model, the current trend of “shopping local” is more powerful than you might think, so it’s a good strategy to invest in.
3. Film and share videos
Gen Z is steadily moving toward taking over the global consumer base. Current estimates suggest that by 2026 there will be 82 million Gen Z consumers, which will make them the largest generation of shoppers yet.
This generation comprises the world’s first true digital natives, and videos are an outsized part of their content consumption. The importance of video marketing cannot be underestimated for future commercial performance. Consequently, it’s good to get acquainted now with the variety of videos your company can share:
- Introduce yourself and your business, explain what you do, and share your company’s origin story.
- Ask loyal consumers to share their thoughts on camera about your products or services.
- Create a variety of videos to target different segments of your audience — new consumers, those on the fence, loyal longtimers, varied age groups, etc.
- Develop a series of “how-to” or “newsy” type topics relating to your product or your audience’s interests.
- Create a compelling video title that users can’t help but click on.
- Be animated in your videos. Like any other digital content, you need to snag attention in the first few seconds.
Video DIY marketing is not as complicated as you might think. The right strategy coupled with the capability of today’s tech can provide you all the tools you need to build and market great promotional videos. Even if you don’t, it’s easy to acquire them; cloud-based computing makes everything so much easier, safer, and more accessible for small businesses.
4. Monitor your finances
While this one won’t help you to generate a buzz per se, it’s still critical to growth. Sloppy finance habits will cost you in terms of both time and money — resources that could otherwise be used to continue building your business.
If you keep both your personal and business credit in good shape, you can focus your efforts on more buzzworthy activities. (Plus, you’ll never have to make a video explaining to your customer base why the company did what it did with their money.)
5. Start a blog
Once you get your shiny new website up and running, create an ecommerce blog to help your company stay relevant and visible in people’s feeds. Publish posts with helpful tips, related news, handy information, positive testimonials, or anything your audience will appreciate. (Maybe even including the occasional cute cat video or meme — because why not?) Here are some steps:
- Establish your online identity and voice. Once you do, keep it consistent.
- Research competitor blogs to see what’s popular, then put your own spin on topics.
- Conduct SEO research so you can align your content strategy with what brings in backlinks.
- Publish in-depth content. The quick two-sentence blogs of yesterday don’t cut it anymore; people want to see real stories with real worth.
- Use both licensed content and original content to fill your blog with a variety of engaging articles.
- Promote your blog posts on social media and send out email blasts.
You don’t have to post every day or even every week, but do try to set a consistent schedule so your fans will know when you’ll be publishing new content.
6. Build a strong social media presence
If you want to reach your target audience, you have to make an effort to establish a presence where they’ll see you. Today, this means social media, in all its many forms. The good news is, this isn’t as daunting as it might seem. Do a little research and see which social networks your market segments are likely to be hanging out on, then establish a presence on those. But be realistic about your approach and expectations:
- Don’t set up profiles on every platform that exists. It’s better to have a handful of active and engaged accounts than a bunch of dormant ones.
- Schedule time into your daily or weekly schedule to make regular posts.
- Be careful about establishing a purely promotional presence; that tone can turn off today’s consumers in a heartbeat. Instead be witty, share helpful tips, or link (even if they aren’t yours!) to content you think might interest your audience.
- Spend time engaging with others. Social media is by definition social, not just promotional.
Social media is a must nowadays. And if you approach it strategically, it won’t cost you much in terms of time or money to create an engaged community for your company.
Most small businesses don’t have the luxury of a massive marketing budget, but thanks to the power of today’s technology, even the smallest of companies can establish themselves as a big fish in the pond of competitors. Find your niche and voice, then get going on your new marketing strategy today!
About the Author
Laura Gayle is a full-time blogger who is passionate about ecommerce and the ways technology is helping to rejuvenate the American dream. She’s written about everything from crowdfunding and inventory management to product launches, cybersecurity trends, web analytics, and innovations in digital marketing.
She created her blog to be a trusted resource for women trying to start or grow businesses on their own terms. She believes that for many of us, entrepreneurship is the key to true work-life balance.
Find her at BusinessWomanGuide.org.
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