In the modern age of unlimited marketing books, the digital marketing space and everyone selling you online marketing courses, many small business owners frequently feel intimidated by the sheer amount of knowledge available. Its simply a case of too much choice!
Marketing is simply the business of letting people know who you are and what you do, it’s the process by which you communicate the essence of your brand/service to as many people as possible with the intention that they engage with you as a customer either at that point or at some point in the future. Marketing does not always lead to an immediate sale, but is very much a part of the sales process as it will pay longer term dividends, once people have a good idea of who you are and what you do, at some point in the future they may return to buy your services.
You can spend a tonne of money to get your business out there, and many large brands have a huge marketing budget, however when you're starting off you may have only have a small budget, if you have one at all. Here are some tried and tested FREE ideas to get your marketing off to a good start.
1. Word of Mouth
Small business owners usually get bamboozled by all the online marketing courses being advertised on Facebook that they sometimes forget the most important source of new business is word of mouth referrals. Take 20 minutes of each day to get in contact with your existing customers, either face to face or via the phone. This small act shows your customers you care about the service they have received from you and or you team and is likely to increase your word of mouth referrals as they share this with friends and family. You will also get a good idea of where you are offering a excellent service and where you may need to improve.
2. Blog Blog Blog
Blogs are a great way to generate leads and new business to your website, they provide a fantastic way to stay in contact with and upsell your existing customer base.
Give away lots of good quality relevant content. A blog should be informative and relevant to your audience. A lot of business owners are afraid to give away information as they believe once the client has it their service may become redundant, in fact nothing could be further from the truth. The more quality information you give away, the more trusted you will become. Blog regularly, create a schedule for your blog posts and stick to it. If you decide to blog once a week on a Friday, try to maintain your schedule, this consistency will hep you to gain a regular following who will keep returning for more of your content Research Key Words, use keywords but only where relevant to your article. This will ensure your blog post is picked up by google search engines driving you more traffic in the long term.
3. Social Media Marketing
Most small businesses will already have social media accounts set up, if you don't then you need to do this NOW. Social media is fast becoming one of the key go to methods for people researching products and services. Set up business pages on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, and post regularly. Share any posts on your business pages to your personal accounts and ask your friends to share, better still, encourage your friends to follow your business accounts and share directly from there. Do not underestimate the power of your own social network to drive your business.
4. Introduce a Friend's Discount/Free Service Offers
Everyone loves to feel appreciated, especially if this happens as a consequence of them helping you to grow your business. Offers which encourage existing clients to introduce a friend for a discounted or free service will do wonders for generating you new business, whilst at the same time making your existing clients feel valued.
5. Networking Events
There are lots of free business networking events (particularly if you live in cities), that you will have access to. Select a minimum of 1 per month that you would like to attend, as a way to introduce your business to other business owners. Make sure you get out there and share share share what you do with others, it’s the only way to guarantee growth.