Marketing as a small business can be a challenge. You don’t have the resources that big name corporations have, and you may feel that you’re adrift in a sea of competition. But there are ways to effectively market your small business, especially when leaning on your community or focusing on customer experience. Here are some of our favorite tips for marketing as a small business.
Know Your Audience
Do you have a small local business, or an independent ecommerce store? Are the people most likely to do business with you friends and neighbors? Or does your brand speak to a niche market online? It’s important to know your audience so that you can know how to reach them.
Consider offering an incentive in exchange for a customer survey. This will help you get a sense of what your business does most effectively and what your customers are most interested in. You can also do some market research to learn the challenges most facing your customers so that you can know how to meet them.
Figure Out Where To Invest Your Resources
Most small businesses dedicate about 5% of their revenue to marketing. As a small business, you may not be able to afford high production ads on every platform, boosted to reach just the right audience. Instead, figure out what you can afford. A website is absolutely necessary to be found online, and will look more professional if you purchase your own domain and website layout.
From there, active social media accounts with engaging posts can offer a free alternative to expensive ads — at least until you can afford those ads. Boosting your SEO with keywords and high quality blogging content can be a cost-free way to boost your visibility without having to pay for a sponsored boost from Google.
Create Gated Content
Give people a reason to engage with your business. Gated content is engaging, informative content specific to the interests and needs of your audience — and held behind a form designed to gain more leads for your business. A landing page will introduce the content and then let users know what they have to do to download it.
The content usually does not cost your audience any money. It simply requires them to provide their email address and sometimes a little more information. After doing so, they can easily download the content. Meanwhile, you have a new email contact with whom you can share special offers and news about your business.
Some ideas for strong gated content include:
- An informative PDF or whitepaper
- A template for a particular document relevant to your client
- An online tool, such as a generator or a keyword search
- An industry specific report chock full of statistics and data
Get Involved In Your Community
If you’re just starting your small business, you can start some community buzz by getting involved. Sponsor community events to put your business name out there. Go to industry networking events to make connections. Community is invaluable for new businesses, especially small businesses.
Community may mean different things depending on your audience. For instance, a business with a local physical location may benefit most from involving themselves in their local community. This can help to connect them with their local area and get some word of mouth going. But more and more businesses are working primarily online.
For an online business, getting involved in your community may mean getting involved in your industry. Consider starting a blog or a YouTube channel — or even a TikTok account — that offers industry insights. Sign up for online conventions, workshops, or networking events. Regardless of where your community is, the more you give, the more you’re likely to get.
Offer Coupons and Discounts
When you’re starting out or you have a tight budget, offering things for free may seem like a risk. It is, of course, but it’s often a risk that pays off. By offering a free sample, free limited product or service, or a discount, you allow your customers to see what you can do before they make a commitment. It’s a show of good faith, but also a way to bring in more cautious customers who might not have been willing to risk buyer’s remorse.
By offering a discount or free sample, you’re likely to bring in customers who like what they see and are willing to commit to a full purchase. In the best case scenario, those customers tell their friends about the current special offer, widening the net of new customers that you can gain.