For many years, advertising was a hefty expense. For a small business, paying for billboards, commercials, radio ads, etc., was somewhat unattainable. However, with the dawn of technology, the marketing and advertising strategy of a small business doesn’t require a large budget to be effective. Today, you can promote your business in many different ways.
As COVID-19 ravages through our country, it has left many businesses scrambling to adjust to the new lifestyle. Many have closed their doors while others continue to be negatively affected by it.
As the business landscape changes, now is the perfect time to reconsider your marketing strategies and engage with your audience.
When developing a marketing strategy for your organization, you should consider the following:
Understanding your audience is a key concept for any organization. Why do they purchase from you? What is driving them to your company?
Answering these questions will help you craft a message that resonates with them while making a case to sell your product or service.
Ideally, creating a buyer persona is the most effective way. However, buyer personas can be difficult to maintain. Thus, it is understandable if you choose a different route.
To better understand your audience, a good way to start is to think about your current customers and take notes. One suggestion is to offer discounts and in turn, they fill out a questionnaire.
To create a better advertising and marketing strategy, it is essential to connect with your audience.
2. The 4 P’s of Marketing
There are some arguments over the number of P’s in marketing. But for the purpose of this article, we will focus on only 4.
The product is a physical product or a service proposition. The key is to promote something that people want to buy. In other words, if there is no demand for your product, regardless of your marketing strategy, you will not create demand out of thin air.
For instance, if you are in South Florida, you will never be able to sell ice melt regardless of how great your marketing strategy is.
Therefore, the first thing is to find out what channels are available for your product. Are there opportunities for an online or mobile audience? Does it provide real value to the consumer?
One example is a book. Three people might purchase the same book. Jack buys a hardback, Lewis an audio version, and Laura the ebook. Jack wants to display the book in his library. Lewis wants it to listen on his way to work, and Laura likes to read at night on her iPad.
In the digital age, it is vital to understand the different motivations and usage of the products to promote your business more effectively.
The price is the most complex of the four. Prices are directly entangled with other subjects. Before setting the price for your product or service, you must consider the competitive positioning and other economic issues.
However, the critical factor in this element is whether you ask for a price that people are willing to pay. Of course, the willingness can drastically vary depending on a range of factors — quality, value, online reviews, etc.
In short, the price of your product must be well researched before setting it.
If you have a storefront, having your company in the right place will increase footfall, which means more sales. Moreover, having the right product in the right place is the recipe for success.
What if you only have an online store? The look, feel, and usability of your site are the key to its success. Site images, navigation, product information are all part of your “place.”
Ultimately, if people cannot find what they are searching for, they will move on to your competitor.
Today, the promotion element has moved far beyond simple advertising. Smart marketing is not about your product, but it is about taking the prospect on a journey.
There are different approaches to promotion. One, in particular, is communicating the features and benefits of your product and creating a clear call to action.
3. Understand Your Existing Customer
Attracting new customers can cost five times more than retaining an existing one. Therefore, identifying opportunities to up-sell, cross-sell, and repeat purchases to current customers can be very beneficial for your business.
Moreover, it is crucial to provide a memorable experience and fantastic customer service to all your clients. This gives them a reason to do business with you again. Even if the purchase is one and done and there is no room for up-sell, your customer service should be top-notch. A satisfied customer will spread the word. Keep in mind that word-of-mouth is the most powerful promotional tool.
Ways to Advertise Your Business
There are many ways to advertise your business, even when you are on a tight budget.
Due to the real-time nature of today’s advertising platforms, creating a clear plan and acting accordingly becomes one of the most crucial elements for a successful strategy.
Here are some effective methods to advertise your small business even on a limited budget.
1. Online Presence
Creating a professional-looking website is one of your most crucial assets. It shows who you are, where you are, what you offer, and much more.
Even if the bulk of your business is conducted in person or on a storefront, a website still very important. Locals will search online before heading to the physical store.
Moreover, the capability of generating traffic is a method of advertising on its own. While it might take time to build a powerful website, once you understand the traffic, you can turn it into a 24/7 lead machine.
Ultimately, it is important to build a useful website and work with an SEO to ensure you generate organic traffic.
One way native way to advertise your business is by maintaining a blog. It helps generate organic traffic, and it can establish your company as the industry’s thought leader.
Creating a blog is very inexpensive. Most website platforms — WordPress, Joomla, Square Space, etc. — offer a blog section. If not, many different services provide free blogs.
Even a weekly post can increase the exposure to your site. Once you start writing, remember to add a call-to-action for each post. Also, it is important to allow readers to subscribe so that you can build your own email list.
3. Social Media
Promoting your business on social media is an excellent advertising method. It is a powerful tool, and it can help improve your search engine ranks.
Another perk of social media is that your content can go much further than any other way. When a follower shares your content, it is now on their timeline, and all of their friends or connections will see it. It generates a snowball effect.
You can also use social media as a hub for word-of-mouth referrals and your customers to review your business.
4. Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the best ways to advertise your company. When you create content that is interesting to your target market, it will raise awareness of your company while establishing authority.
As previously mentioned, blogging is a powerful tool to drive prospects to your site. Posting on social media is also a content marketing strategy. Building followers on such platforms can help increase sales of your products or services.
Additionally, creating content and posting on other sites can also increase engagement. You can become a guest blogger for other websites.
5. Email Campaigns
With today’s cyber technology, newsletter and email campaigns are an absolute must. Your website should contain a subscription form that allows prospects to sign-up.
It is highly suggested that you should maintain a website, but if you don’t, there are other ways to collect email addresses.
For instance, if you have a storefront, you can offer forms to your clients requesting their email. Though a paid service, Facebook offers a unique and proficient way to collect email leads.
When it comes to email marketing, it is important to maintain constant contact with your list. Do not allow several months to lapse between campaigns.
6. Groups and Forums
One of the best ways to promote your knowledge and your business is by joining online groups and forums. The method requires time and patience, but it will pay off.
When joining a Facebook group or a forum, keep in mind that the primary purpose is to nurture relationships. Don’t be reluctant to share your knowledge. For this idea to work, you must connect with the users and get to know them.
Once you are an established member of the community, the members will trust you, which allows you to promote your business without raising an eyebrow.
Collaboration is one of the best methods to advertise and market your business. Several years ago, when I first started my apartment maintenance business, I quickly learned about collaborations. While my company offered painting and cleaning services, I began to work with a carpet cleaning company. I began to offer carpet cleaning services; in turn, the company would pay me a small commission for any job I got for them. Similarly, they did the same for my company.
Ideally, you should partner with a company that complements your services. However, you can also benefit from competitors. During my time in the apartment industry, I had plenty of painters and cleaner partners. When I couldn’t make the schedule, they were on my Rolodex, and for the most part, they kept their end of the deal.
Technology has opened the doors for new methods of advertising. But the same technology allows many others to promote their businesses with ease. Amid fierce competition to catch prospects’ attention, it is crucial to tailor a strategy to best fit your target market.
Thus, before aimlessly creating content and advertising, it is important to understand your clientele and the people who are more likely to purchase from you. Moreover, your strategy should be created around the 4 Ps.
When it comes to advertising, there are many different ways you can get your business to be seen. Your goal is to catch the attention of your prospects while guiding them to your product.
Originally published here.