You might be wondering how to market yourself as a small business without spending a fortune on advertising. Knowing where to promote your company and how takes a lot of foresight. You can study marketing and still walk away feeling uncertain about your next steps.
According to IMARC Group’s latest ads forecast, global ad market revenue will hit $769.9 billion by 2024. Companies spend more money each year on marketing and if you don’t nail your small business marketing, you risk falling behind.
What if you can’t afford to hire a marketing professional to handle your ad campaigns? There are some basics that will help you navigate promotions and get the most bang for your buck. Here are the top ways to advertise your company on a budget.
An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Navigating Small Business Marketing
1. Know Your Customers
Before you market your business, you must fully understand who you’re talking to. Take the time to dig into your customer database and analyze details about your typical buyer. Where do they live? What is their profession? How much money do they make? What drives their emotions?
Once you have an idea of who your customers are, create buyer personas to represent two or three segments of your audience. Any marketing you do must be run through the filter of the personas.
2. Study the Competition
Spend time getting to know your competition and their tactics. Approximately 90% of people who use online mapping do so for sales territory details. Start by seeing where your competition saturates the market. Look at what areas you reach and how you might expand.
It might be easier to reach out to underserved areas than fight an already established brand for their customers. If you need to move some of their customers to your corner, look at their business model and see where you can improve on it and excel for customers. Make their weaknesses your strengths.
3. Add Videos
Video marketing continues to grow in popularity and works well on websites and social media. YouTube is one of the most popular social media sites in the world, but you can also live stream to several platforms.
Think about what information people might need to know that establishes you as an authority in your field. How can you share wisdom without giving away trade secrets? Your videos must offer some value to the viewer and not simply be sales propaganda.
4. Get Customers Involved
If you’re on an extremely tight marketing budget, work on user generated content (UGC) to spread the word without spending a lot of money. Ask your regulars to share a review, make a video of them using your product and share on social media or contribute an article to your blog.
You can even run contests and aware prizes to the best UGC. When you’re just getting started, you’ll develop a few super fans. Learn how to utilize their love of your products to spread the word. People are much more likely to listen to what others say about your brand than what you say.
5. Embrace Social Platforms
Datareportal indicates there are around 4.48 billion social media users globally, which equals 90% of internet users. Not only will you reach your target audience on social media, but you’ll do so with less investment than offline formats.
Start by looking at where your buyer personas are most likely to spend their time online. If most of your customers are Gen Z, then you should seek out a platform such as Snapchat or TikTok. On the other hand, if you sell to a lot of Gen Xers, you might do better on Facebook.
Study the different audiences and choose the social platform that matches your users most closely. Once you pick one or two, begin engaging your audience and advertising within very specific demographic and psychographic parameters.
6. Develop Strong Content
The content you share on your website and other places online needs to have a consistent voice and solve problems for users. Study content marketing to see what length of articles and types of materials work best to reach people.
Track the results of different pieces you develop. For example, if you release a how-to YouTube video, how many views do you receive and are people sharing it? If you put up a new blog post, are people reading it all the way through? How many are clicking on the call to action at the end?
7. Tap Into Automation
Since your marketing efforts are either on a budget as a small business or you are taking the efforts solo, your time is limited. One way you can get more done and keep up your promotional efforts is through automation.
You can set up social media posts through third-party sites that automate posting and let you schedule ahead. You can create ads and run them indefinitely once you figure out which ones bring the best results for your business.
How Do I Market My Small Business?
Look for every opportunity available to get the word out about your business. If someone invites you to guest post on their blog and their audience matches yours, take the chance. Go on local radio shows and offer some insight in exchange for a plug about your brand.
You can also team up with other business owners in your area and run promotions in conjunction with one another. Stretch your marketing dollars however you can but be careful not to eat into your time too much as you’ll have many other tasks to complete, especially in the early days of running your business.
This is a guest post from Eleanor Hecks, Editor-in-Chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.