Small Business Marketing Essentials
Part of what has strengthened small business has been a mix of cost cutting and digital technology that enhances brand development. Self publishing alone with a website and a blog can attract a substantial targeted market. Small business marketing has come down to building relationships through online communities. Social networks have opened the door to easy access for two way communication. Interactivity is what makes social networks exciting, as social networks help build marketing lists and can be analyzed for market research.
21st Century Marketing
Last century’s marketing philosophy gambled on a numbers game. At the same time, marketing messages were limited by the cost of advertising, which also limited ad space in newspapers and commercial time on radio and television. Thanks to the internet, marketing has been revolutionized to become more than a guessing game. Email marketing led the way with newsletters that included links to product pages. Then social networks opened up a new world that didn’t exist before, which is instant multi-channel communication with networks of people around the world. These factors point to a paradigm shift from outbound to inbound marketing.
Avoiding expensive media advertising is essential since you are more likely to achieve better results with online advertising aimed at your target market. Investing in graphic design software is a way to cut marketing costs in the long run. But if you are not constantly creating new ads, brochures or graphics you may be better off outsourcing those tasks to experts. Another cost reduction that has naturally accompanied the internet revolution has been market research. Internet audience measurements, called analytics, along with social media data, have become low cost solutions for gaining and evaluating instant feedback from your market.
Using Print Effectively
A more cost-effective use of print is creating brochures or colorful postcards that offer deeper insight to your brand.
The best media exposure comes from public relations, which for years has been a clever way to market brands through news stories. Simply by being part of such an event can gain interest from television newscasts that make an effort to cover community events. Use your imagination to come up with an angle that seems worth sharing. If you do gain television coverage and the story is available online, link to it with a story behind the story.
You can expand your business through inbound marketing, in which blogs have become a driving force. Not only do blogs give your business authenticity, they can also direct readers to your products.
The foundation for this strategy should be firmly rooted in crafting original unique content. If you use your imagination, you can figure out creative ways to associate your products with other popular topics.
Search Engine Optimization took a substantial turn in 2012 when Google’s algorithms began to focus more on quality content than SEO guidelines. Keywords still matter, along with organic link building, but useful relevant content has become the main objective to gain high search rankings. The more information you provide about your niche, the more authority and higher rankings your site will be given by the search engines.
These local search engines are high traffic sites than can help steer local traffic to your business, especially if you are listed in several directories. You may also find popular directories that exclusively track your region. These websites are valuable because they already attract your local market. Try to get listed in as many popular sites as possible, but also avoid low quality sites that do not provide much content.
The key to Facebook, like blogs, is to not use it for sales pitches. Instead, use it to inform people about your business and give them valuable information they are already looking for. The idea is to engage with people by offering unique content that cannot be found anywhere else online, which leads to comments and responses.
Call To Action
Ideally you want your business to convert visitors to customers. But the way you do that now can be a longer process than hard selling a prospect who just walked through the door. At the same time, by building an online community of loyal followers, you will eventually build a loyal market of buyers who do not need to hear sales pitches.
Stay tuned for more marketing strategies for small businesses!