Insufficient capital leading to tight budgets, improper planning, poor management, limited time, poor marketing, and sometimes tough competition are some of the top reasons why a good number of small businesses barely take off or find it hard to grow.
Some of the reasons can be linked to administrative failure, whereas another good number are related to marketing failure. Now, given the role marketing plays in lifting a business, that’s an area you may want to put much of your focus on now. As for the administrative part, that’s an area we’ll tackle another day.
Even with a small budget, you can still market your small business effectively. A few creative ideas and some little innovations could be all you need to turn around your business. Below is a closer look at some fresh and practical techniques you may want to give a try.
1. Embrace Digital Innovations
So far, social media, email marketing, and websites continue to dominate digital marketing. A study on the impact of social media on small businesses published on Emerald Insight under the Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development mentioned increased awareness, improved customer relationships, and an enhanced ability to reach a wider audience as some of the benefits such platforms provide.
Year after year, new digital marketing trends continue to come up. Right now, ‘mobification’ (leveraging the increased use of mobile phones), video marketing, influencer marketing, and chatbots are few inexpensive digital innovations your small business can embrace to reach new heights.
2. Try Online Advertising
Both small and large business have an opportunity to leverage the potential of online advertising, which includes driving leads, ROI, and sales. As with most marketing techniques, you have to identify your target audience first, know their interests, and where to find them. More importantly, come up with an advertising strategy tailored to help you achieve your most important goals.
Examples of effective online advertising innovations include:
- Google Adwords – A paid search marketing platform that lets you place your ads in the search results pages, specifically for people searching for things related to what you offer. Even with a limited budget, you can still utilize this platform.
- Bing Ads – Bing, like Google, offers a paid search service that is relatively cheaper and designed to help you achieve maximum results from their platform. It’s popular with the older, more affluent audience and in the travel industry.
- Social Media Ads – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn all have paid advertising services designed for all types of budgets and with detailed targeting options to help you narrow your ads to the right audience.
3. Refine Your Local Search Marketing
For those hearing it for the first time, local search marketing involves optimizing your business’s website and other online platforms to be discovered by local traffic. As you can guess, there’s a good number of potential customers scouting the internet hoping to find a business offering what they need locally, say, a property management firm or home cleaning service.
Many prefer to search and evaluate a business than try out those they get from unsolicited advertisement. As a small business, you should make sure you have a presence in all the search engine business directories, maps pages (Google and Apple Maps) and that the information you provide is relevant to your local area.
Also, use relevant keywords and have your customer share their reviews on your maps pages and listings. Make an effort to respond to the reviews and, above all else, tailor your website to match their needs and expectations.
4. Consider Branding
Branding is a way of giving your business identity. It makes the business well-defined, not just to you, but also to your team and customers. If done well, branding will connect customers emotively to your brand because they’ll feel that they share the same beliefs and values as the business, a situation that later leads to increased sales, loyal customers, better brand differentiation, and improved customer relationship.
It’s not true that only huge companies and corporations have what it takes to brand their business. Small businesses too have the capacity to do the same, thanks to increased availability of free and inexpensive digital tools designed for such purposes. However, if you can afford to hire a professional to do it, go right ahead and get one.
5. Create A Buzz
As a small business, you may not have the money to hire a professional public relations firm to help you ignite useful discussions that may impact your business positively. Nevertheless, you have a chance to accomplish the same in several ways.
For example, you can subscribe to platforms like Help A Reporter Out (HARO), a website full of reporters searching for resources, story ideas, and other newsworthy or useful information. Major news outlets like Reuters, Fox News, Time, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, just to name but a few, use this service, in addition to many other small media.
The Bottom Line
You are probably aware that in this era, both the business and the consumer have to constantly adapt to the ever-changing technologies and trends in order to leverage the potential new innovations have to offer. Marketing has not been left behind and, as a small business, you have to stay creative and continue to come up with new ways to retain your customers, attract new ones, and reach a wider audience. Of course, having sufficient money for this endeavor would be great, but more importantly, you’ll have to invest reasonable time and effort in order to make maximize the potential all these ideas have.
Sabine Ghali is Director at Buttonwood Property Management, a rental property management company in Toronto. She is an entrepreneur at heart who endeavors to help investors create real estate wealth over time in the Greater Toronto Area. Sabine is published in a number of media outlets, including Toronto Sun and Gulf News, among many others.