You can ask any entrepreneur that is just starting out what’s the most challenging part of their business. Most probably, they will tell you that it is the difficulty of reaching and retaining customers. Obviously, marketing a new business or product will require more time, effort, and money which a lot of entrepreneurs don’t have.
Generally, startups and small businesses don’t have the luxury of outsourcing their marketing needs to specialists. However, there are some marketing practices that entrepreneurs can use which do not require them to burn their invaluable resources so they can get this challenge underfoot and make their business humming.
Here are some valuable secrets on how you can market your business for free. These tips are shared by the CEO and co-founder of a media technology startup.
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1. Create local awareness.
Obtaining coverage in trade magazines, local papers, and websites can greatly help in boosting your name recognition. At the same time, this can make people learn more about your business which can lead to new customer acquisition. While a lot of growing businesses that are in the competitive industry might choose to employ a costly public relations company which can help small businesses, and startups in starting off with a few simple “do-it-yourself” PR.
First of all, you have to look for writers and publications that can cover your local business or industry. After finding the writers that you want to reach and the stories they commonly write for their publication try to create a pitch around your business that can arouse their interest.
For instance, if you are in the widget business, then you can demonstrate the impact of your widget business in the local economy or your industry. Small business owners and entrepreneurs can also choose to subscribe to Help a Reporter Out. This is a free service that offers inquiries for forthcoming articles which permits you to contact the writer directly.
2. Email marketing can improve customer engagement and increase lead generation.
Based on the latest survey conducted by Ascend2, one of the most effective digital marketing strategies is email. This is very easy to execute and can provide you with the best ROI. You can start by sending newsletters to your potential customers. Make sure that it contains up-to-date information about the business, special deals as well as an inside look at the firm. This can help in creating a community with your customers. At the same time, they will always be thinking about your product and business.
Building an email campaign can be done by an entrepreneur without the need to hire a marketing consultant t or an agency. You can make use of free services such as MailChimp. This can help small-business owners and entrepreneurs in sending automated messages, marketing emails and targeted campaigns to customers. You can also make it more personal by sending one-on-one messages. By using free products such as Sidekick, you will be notified immediately when somebody opens the email that you sent.
3. Leverage Social Media.
Getting started is very easy and most of all it’s free! You can even create a huge network of potential customers. Perhaps the difficult part is growing your followers without spending a lot of time on it. Always focus more on value rather than on quantity. Try to learn which of these social channels can help you in reaching your customers. It could either be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or the new addition, Ello.
Keep in mind that your main objective should be to offer something interesting, useful, and shareable. You could start small by creating posts a few times each week and try to discover who your audience is.
After you have discovered who are reading your content and what are their interests, then you can start doubling up your efforts.
Additionally, there are some tools that are available which you can use in turning your post into an online ad outside of the social network. This can help in improving your post’s reach.
4. Stand on the shoulders of your customers.
Always remember that the best marketing tool for your business is your satisfied customers. Keep on engaging with your present and previous customers through social media, email, and PR.
For instance, pitching your business and a satisfied client to a writer can be advantageous to both parties. Typically, this type of strategy can lead to more compelling stories and a more solid relationship between you and your customer. Your satisfied customers will become your army of spokespeople. So, let them share their positive experiences and in the end, they will be telling your company’s stories for you.
The success of a new or small business will greatly depend on its marketing. However, it does not necessarily mean that you have to make a huge investment to it. Smart, scanty entrepreneurs can search for products and services that can help them in increasing visibility and driving more customers without spending too much overhead.
How To Market Your Business Online?
We are living in a fast-paced world, that is why it is getting more difficult to be remembered by clients and customers. You need to understand that marketing is all about face-time. This means that it is important to be always available online. Most especially, in places where there are new people that can see you each day.
Get Out Of Your Website And Proceed To Social Media
If you are wondering how you can market an online business, then your top priority is probably having a website. However, this is wrong!
These days, a large number of transactions originates from platforms other than websites. It would be a great idea to use an omnichannel strategy. This means that you have to make sure that you are influencing more than one platform. If you fail to do this, then you will just be leaving money on the table.
You have to create relevant profiles on various social media sites and communicate with the users there. If you are having a brick-and-mortar business, then you have to build your presence on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. This gives people the chance to ask questions, submit reviews, search for information about your business as well as read your blog posts or product reviews.
Communicate with People
Interacting with other people is very important. You have to ensure that you can address people’s needs or disappointments about your business or your product.
The fact is, at least 85% of jobs consist of networking, according to HubSpot. Unfortunately, one in four people won’t even try to network. If you won’t talk to people, then you are just ignoring potential clients and customers.
Social media platforms are very important since they are the best place to interact, from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to Reddit, Yelp, and Quora.
Most importantly, you should only make conversations and not sales pitches. Never try to sell something, instead just try to talk to people. When the time comes that they will feel curious, then they will simply go to your profile and learn more about you.
Leverage Your Brand
Whether you have a personal or corporate brand, it is important that you have to leverage it. But how can you do this?
The first thing that you can do is to ensure that your story is relatable to your target audience. Building up your trust and credibility is an essential part of a brand. It would be a big help if you can provide some testimonials on your site. You could mention your clients and talk about your project with them just make sure that you have the permission to do so.
Be Consistent Wherever Your Brand Goes
It is important that people should be able to identify your brand whenever they are online. Colours and logos can greatly help but so does catchphrases and faces. However, it is also essential that you have to reach out to your target audience wherever you are. So as much as possible try to spread consistent messages and avoid rebranding yourself every now and then.
Talk About Yourself
If people want to find out more about your business, then they will visit your About page. Your goals or mission should not only consist of ambiguous words. Instead, keep it real by adding some personal touch on anything that you do. You must also mention how others describe you.
If you want to create an excellent About page, then you should incorporate a personal tone, data-driven stats, and try your best to talk directly to the target market.
Create Email Campaigns
Email campaigns serve as a reminder to your former customers. It is a great way of reminding them of what you do, who you are, and what you have to offer. Potential customers can also use these emails to decide whether they are interested in doing business with you or not. Just make sure that people can find something valuable in each of these emails, such as a holiday special, a new product, or a relevant blog post.
Always remember that in order for your emails to be effective, it must add value to the customer. In case your email is not providing any value, then it can’t help in improving your conversions.
Know What Your Customers Want
Just because you are offering great product or service, it does not actually mean that you already know what they want. The greatest way of discovering this is to do some research and create buyer personas.
A buyer persona will consist of all the detailed descriptions of your target customer. It should include everything, from their hobbies and demographic information to family size and income bracket. It should be written in such a way that the person looks real.
However, just because your product can solve the customer’s pain, it doesn’t mean that they will instantly make a purchase. At first, you will have cold traffic, hence, you should concentrate more on warming them up.
Ask People to Talk About You
As much as possible try to encourage your customers to provide feedback, whether it is positive or negative. Let them know that you will be reading all their survey answers and reviews. As much as possible try to treat all your customers fairly with equal respect, regardless if you don’t agree with their opinions.
Keep in mind that it is more costly to acquire a new customer compared to maintaining your present customer, hence, it is important that you should concentrate more on how to keep your current customers happy.
Work with Influencers
Social media sites permit people to share and discuss what is relevant to them. Search for people who are engaged within your niche and start making some conversations so you can build relationships with them. This is an excellent way that you can be recognised as an influencer. Additionally, you can create high-quality resources where people might want to link to and inform their friends about it.
There are times that these influencers might be hard to get in touch with. So, what can you do? Well, you can think of ways on how to help them. Do some research so you will know how to solve one of their problems. Do you know what keeps them up at night? When you are trying to reach out to them, make sure that you are speaking on a personal level.
Talk About Others
The best way to get someone’s attention online is to flatter them. For instance, you can send them a remarkable amount of web traffic.
The first thing to do is to follow them on social media, you can read their articles or watch their videos and add your thoughts in the comments. In this way, you can establish yourself as a fan. Afterwards, you can write blog posts and link them to their articles. Make sure that your post is written well and it should have a relevant link. Share it with them and don’t forget to include a note expressing how they inspired you.
Also, don’t forget to flatter the small guys, as well. Remember that it is not just the big brands or personalities that are relevant. Although most likely they will become loyal to your business, yet you should understand that even if you keep on giving, you should not expect anything in return.