The Guide To Marketing Your Small Business On A Budget

The Guide To Marketing Your Small Business On A Budget

Digital Marketing + Advertising That Doesn’t Break The Bank

Are you a small or medium-sized business looking for new, cost-effective marketing initiatives to add to your current strategies and campaigns? Believe it or not, you don’t always have to increase your marketing expenses to expand your reach or exposure. Sometimes you just have to think outside the box. For over 15 years, GoMarketing has remained committed to online growth and reputation for businesses across all industry sectors–from home services digital marketing to healthcare and real estate. As a full-service digital marketing and advertising agency, we offer campaigns and initiatives that any small business can benefit from, including:

  • SEO
  • Local Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Link Building
  • Content Marketing
  • Pay-Per-Click
  • Facebook Ads
  • Press Releases + Earned Media
  • Video Marketing
  • Web Design + Development
  • E-Commerce
  • Software + Apps

If you’re a small business marketing on a budget, read on to learn more about new approaches you can take to maintain and even increase your brand awareness onscreen and off screen!

Gear Up With Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing is a form of advertising and brand exposure that seeks to surprise your target audience(s). Instead of requiring a big budget, the success of a guerilla marketing campaign will depend on the amount of creativity, imagination and originality that goes into it. The more creative the ideas your marketing team can generate, the more your business will stand apart from other local competitors and even bigger corporate entities. Here are some guerilla marketing ideas you can try for yourself:

  • Create eye-catching art with chalk outside your brick-and-mortar store.
  • Hit the pavement and ask potential customers to use your product by means of an undercover agent or someone standing outside your store.
  • Organize a flash mob to generate crowd attention and promote awareness of your brand.

Expand Your Offerings (And Sources Of Income)

During a lull or slower season for your small business, promoting the same old services isn’t going to cut it. This is not a matter of the medium (i.e. your website or social media); it’s a matter of the focus of your content. If this is the case for your local brand, you should consider diversifying your offerings and sources of income.

Get Social

According to the Pew Research Center Report of Social Media Usage, over two-thirds of American adults use social media now in 2019, which is ten times more than just ten years ago.
Depending on your industry and niche, your business should post and interact on the social media platforms your target audience(s) uses the most, including but not limited to:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • Snapchat.

Instead of creating an account on every single social media platform, we recommend choosing 1 – 3 to master and build your digital brand.

Bonus Tip: Social media platforms are also a great tool for researching trends when trying to appeal to new and existing target customers!

Consider Content Marketing

These days, people not only look for information on the internet but also products and services As a result, potential customers AND Google prioritize valuable content from businesses online. There are many ways to go about content marketing to increase your brand’s domain authority and exposure such as: blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, and/or articles for third-party platforms. This last approach leverages your business as an expert while you benefit from the free web traffic.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to create all content in-house. Consider hiring freelance writers, graphic designers, local agencies, and/or personal assistants. You can also repurpose old content and give it a new spin to keep your business relevant.

There are many ways to go about our content marketing

Free Contests + Giveaways

It’s no secret that everyone loves free stuff. Be generous with your audience by setting up contests and giveaways that offer discounts or fun items. This opportunity helps your business in three ways: gaining goodwill, building brand awareness, and connecting with potential customers. Keep in mind that free giveaways don’t have to be costly. They can even incorporate valuable content as the reward (i.e. online ebooks, white papers, checklists, and etc.).

For physical gifts to give away, people tend to enjoy to small items such as balloons, smartphone wipes, key chains, fridge magnets, pens and notepads. Remember: you want to choose items that are easy to put your logo and branding on.

Partner Up With Local Businesses

If you’re a local business with a smaller marketing budget, it just makes sense to partner with other nearby businesses such as manufacturers, suppliers, vendors, and more. This is not only a win-win for both businesses by increasing exposure for each brand, it also adds proven credibility when another business recommends you. Some examples of savvy partnership ideas include:

  • Exchange customer lists with a local business and offering commission for every sale they make on your behalf. Just make sure that you have verified permission from your customers to share their contact information!
  • With direct mail, offer to share postage costs and include your flyer with the other businesses’ mail. If the other business has a physical retail space, ask to put your business cards in their customer waiting area–if applicable.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek out partners within your existing customer base. You can jumpstart a referral rewards program where you reward your customers for referring friends, families, and acquaintances.

Enhance Your Reputation With Earned Media

Ending up in the local news is another opportunity for free exposure and third-party validation. Here are some ideas for appealing to local news outlets and reporters looking for timely and relevant happenings that people want to read or hear about.

  • Give back to the community in some way, and send out a press release a couple weeks before the event or donation to generate awareness. For example, some innovative hairdressers have offered free haircuts to the homeless in their locale.
  • Sponsor an event by donating your products or services as giveaways or prizes–your business can even offer to host a contest or charitable event at your brick-and-mortar location.
  • Nominate yourself for a business contest or award–even if you don’t win, you will gain exposure just for being a valid contender!

Smart + Savvy Email Campaigns

Emailing your customer base is a great way to stay in touch, send reminders, promote sales, and offer special coupons and savings. Be sure to leave a clipboard and pen out on your front desk to collect contact information at your physical location, and always remember to ask for emails on any online forms. Even though social media has become widespread for networking and sharing information, email still remains the most effective way to reach people online and maintain your customer base digitally.

Sending out the occasional newsletter or sale announcement keeps you fresh in people’s minds, making your products ever accessible. When customers receive a coupon delivered straight to their inbox, they’re likely to click through to the site and/or print the coupon for their next store visit. Plus, it doesn’t cost your business any physical resources or capital to send that email in the first place.

Bonus Tip: Create a unique, eye-catching email signature complete with a call-to-action (CTA) or click-through button to grab people’s attention. Your signature will show up on any email you send, even if you’re just sending an update, like announcing holiday hours or a reminder in regards to a new policy. Even if you’re not directly selling something in your email, that signature is a way to build brand visibility!

SEO For Success

As you probably know from your own experiences with Google, you’re more likely to click on (and buy from) the first few links on that first search engine results page (SERP). That’s why it’s important for your business to make it to the top search results and maintain a strong SEO strategy to keep that spot.

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it is essential for any modern business’ successful digital marketing strategy. Good SEO tactics help increase your overall web traffic and visibility, which will translate to better lead generation and more sales. The first step in any SEO strategy involves researching the high-ranking keywords that your audience is searching for on platforms like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, and then incorporating them effectively into your web content and website (but avoid keyword stuffing). This approach allows search engine algorithms to prioritize your business’ URLs and content, slowly building your domain authority over time.

Whether your in-house marketing and/or executive team handles SEO strategy or you outsource it to an agency or consultant, it is a worthy long-term investment for your business that costs less than traditional advertising.

Boost Your Business With Google AdWords

Google is a great resource for small business owners. For any local business, we always recommend claiming your Google My Business Listing, so you can show up on the maps generated for searches made in your immediate area. In addition to gaining a verified listing with the largest search platform in the world, your business will also have access to Google Adwords via your business’ Google account. One of the biggest advantages of utilizing Google Adwords is that it allows businesses to set their own budget and pay as they go.

You’ve probably already seen Google Adwords in action–you just might not have realized it! Google advertisements include search result ads that rank #1 on a SERP, video and display ads (which typically appear in your sidebar and YouTube videos), and in-app ads (for mobile device users). If you use AdWords correctly, your business can increase visibility and awareness on desktops, laptops, and smartphones without overdoing it–or over-paying.

Additionally, Google AdWords offers its account users a library of resources that can help business owners and executives with choosing the best keywords visual layouts when just starting out. Once you’ve learned how to make the most effective ads for your business, Google AdWords will walk you through actually creating one and launching an official campaign!

Video Marketing

Second place to Google, YouTube is the next largest search platform in the U.S., making it a great way to reach new customers while maintaining your current audience and fan base. From how-to and product videos to behind-the-scenes footage, YouTube is a great tool for producing content that engages your audience.

Although a YouTube profile and account for any individual or business is free, you will want to create quality video content that is high-res and appealing to users ready to watch. As its own search platform, YouTube better promotes content that makes it easy for its algorithm to categorize, so your SEO strategy should incorporate YouTube’s guidelines for overall success with the fastest branch of digital marketing.

Customer Review Management

Word-of-mouth advertising and social proof are alive and well in the Digital Age with online reviews and platforms dedicated to them such as Yelp. This corner of any business’ online presence is often neglected, but ensuring that your business has plenty of favorable reviews and ratings for others to see is a key tactic for any strong online presence.

That’s why we recommend that all small and local businesses claim their profile, add their location, upload pictures, and most importantly, respond to all reviews—both positive and negative. Remaining active on review sites will show any current and potential customers that you care deeply about customer service and that your business is proactive even when it makes mistakes.

Bonus Tip: Also, don’t be afraid to ask your customers to leave your reviews on Yelp or Facebook!

Trustworthy Is Key

These days, more people are using the internet to solve problems and find solutions. That’s why it’s important for your business to have the answers and share them via your website, online forums, or social media platforms. Not only does this build your own digital presence, it positions you as an expert that people can trust and turn to when they need it.

As part of your market research, try to figure out where exactly on the Web your customers like to ask questions and solve problems, which can be a Facebook group, Reddit, Quora, or an industry-specific online forum/community. A great way to subtly promote your business and increase your overall exposure and reach is to remain active on these platforms by answering specific questions and/or facilitating discussions.

Remember: Don’t spam online communities with heavy-handed business promotions. Providing valuable content is the way to establish and maintain trust among your digital audience(s). This way, they’ll remember to come to you with the next industry-specific question or dilemma they face!

Do you have any additional questions about how to better market or advertise your local business on a budget? Talk to our savvy marketing managers today about cost-effective digital marketing solutions that can help grow your business! Call GoMarketing at 805.413.7893.