If you’re starting a new business, marketing may seem like an expensive thing to consider, but it’s more costly to not market. You may not begin with 1000s of marketing dollars to promote your brand or your products. Here’s a comprehensive list that can serve as a base to help you get started for free. Because each business is unique and faces different challenges, a marketing strategy should be tailored.
1 A Website
Yes, now more than ever, every business needs a website to market their business. Ask yourself, How often do you Google or check reviews before purchasing? We live in a world where we Google everything, including symptoms of our illnesses before heading to the doctor. Now, think of your business. If you want your customers to Google your business, or want to market your business online. Then you’ll need a website. Here are the top 6 reasons to have a website for your business.
- A well-rounded professional website will make your business look professional. Your business’s image, branding, color, and logo all play a part in how people perceive your business.
- You can create multiple lead funnels to generate additional business. When it comes to business promotional content, customers still prefer to be contacted through email. You have to offer something valuable to your visitor for them to give you their email address. For example, a local vegan restaurant can provide a free recipe book to customers who complete a short survey.
- Set up a shopping cart or showcase your products, services, achievements, or awards. You can showcase your products online, even if you are not selling online.
- Show off your raving review. Social proof is one of the best and free forms of marketing. You can display reviews and testimonials from your customers on your website.
- Engage with your customers when they visit your website with Chatbots. ChatBots can give your visitors personalized experience. Chatbots gather information about your site visitors and offer them products or services based on their purchase history.
- Economical – Websites don’t cost as much as they did a decade ago. There are plenty of resources available online where you can build a website for free.
2 Claim Business Profiles
Here is a list of 6 business listing sites you should claim and update immediately. Remember, NAP (Name Address, Phone Number) all need to match and be updated regularly.
- Google My Business (GMB)
- You can manage your business profile, reviews, add posts, and engage with your customers with Google My Business listing.
- Yelp business profile
- Claim your business profile and manage reviews on Yelp.
- Facebook Local Page
- Now, you can set up a shop and sell your products on Facebook.
- Yellow Pages
- Yellow Pages is one of the oldest business directories.
- Bing places for business
- Bing has made it easier to claim or enter your business.
- FourSquare for Business
- Over 50 million people use Foursquare to discover businesses.
3 Email – Reason why email marketing is important
If you’re in business to sell products or services, then you need to implement email marketing. It’s one of the best & Free marketing tools available in your arsenal.
- Building Relationships:
- Email marketing is essential for building relationships with potential and existing customers. It’s the only method of marketing that lets you connect with customers at their convenience. Which you cannot do with other traditional marketing channels.
- Email marketing is affordable
- It’s FREE – There is no cost to use email marketing, the real cost is your time.
- Automate the process
- You can automate the email marketing processes by using email software. Daily, time-consuming tasks such as onboarding new customers, requesting referrals, sending thank you emails or promoting your product and services. This can all be automated by various free tools available in the email marketing spectrum.
- Instant Reach
- 51% of the time spent online in the US is on mobile devices. 70% of the people read and send emails on their mobile devices. Email marketing gives you instant access to these mobile users.
- In email marketing, you can tailor your message to your target audience. You can segment your audience into multiple lists and send each segment a refined, more tailored message.
- Measurable ROI
4 Ask for referrals – Referral Marketing
Referral marketing is one of the significantly underutilized methods but can be very useful if implemented. Your existing customers are your biggest advocates, so why are you not asking for referrals?
How do I ask for referrals from existing customers?
- Ask for a referral at a follow-up call after the job is complete.
- Create a referral reward program – reward those who refer more business.
- Once you’ve received the referral,
- Prioritize the contact
- Send thank you
5 Provide Value – Create useable content
- What is valuable or usable content?
- Because of the digital age, your customers get a lot of spam or get overloaded with information daily. Every customer would like to receive valuable information from the brands or companies they follow. So, what is considered valuable? Educational, entertainment, humorous, empathetic, authentic, or any content that connects with your targeted audience.
- How do I create valuable content?
- Narrow down your target audience and determine their needs and challenges. Be honest and practical when writing, relate to your audience, build an emotional connection, share personal stories.
- Share your content on your website, social media platforms, email subscribers, online publishing platforms, offer guest posts to other businesses.
6 Get involved
I am a firm believer that getting involved and engaging with local community partners can do wonders for your bottom line. I grew my business by 50% year over year just by getting involved.
How to get involved with your community?
- Become a local chamber member
- Most businesses make one fundamental mistake when they join the local Chamber of Commerce. They don’t get involved with the chamber. Just by paying your annual dues is not going to get you any exposure or business from the chamber. Attend Chamber mixers, volunteer, become an ambassador, there are many ways to get involved, visit, or call your local chamber.
- Attend network mixers or Non-Profit events
- Network mixers are one of the best places to meet new people in your community. Find local events to attend. It could be a Gala or a run to raise money for children.
- Build lasting relationships
- Build genuine relationships without any hidden agendas.
- Do not sell your product or services at network events. No one likes the pushy salesperson.
- Respect and treat everyone equally, whether it’s a janitor or CEO of the company.
7 Leverage Social Media
- Promote your business on social media platforms by providing valuable content.
- Become a trustworthy source in your niche.
- Don’t spam your customers with promotional content. Remember the 80/20 rule, 80% of the time provide valuable content, and 20% promote your product or services.
- Engage with your audience to increase likes.
8 Issue Press Release
- What is a press release?
- A press release is a newsworthy announcement that gets published in newspapers or newswires.
- Press releases are FREE and sent directly to the local newspaper. You can also send press releases to free and paid distribution service providers.
- What to include in the press release?
- Most newsworthy information on the top,
- Who? What? When? Where? Etc.
- Include relevant details about the event, product, or services in the middle.
- Include remaining information at the bottom, including your bio, business name, and contact information.
- Most newsworthy information on the top,
9 Be helpful to others
- Host and teach a free class at your place of business.
- Offer to become a guest speaker at a local event or college.
- Join Quora and Reddit to answer any questions others might have about your industry.
- Publish content on Linkedin, a platform for professionals to connect.
10 Go Big or Go Home – Guerilla Style
- What is Guerrilla Marketing?
- An alternative advertising strategy that focuses on low-cost, unconventional marketing tactics that yield maximum exposure or results. The term comes from the book “Guerrilla Advertising,” written by Jay Conrad Levinson in 1984. Since the publishing of the book, Guerrilla Marketing has evolved into a professional marketing strategy.
- Will Guerrilla Marketing work for my small business?
- Yes, Guerrilla marketing is ideal for small businesses that need to reach a broad audience with minimum resources or money. Remember, Guerrilla marketing should be creative, unconventional, evoke consumer emotions, eye-catching, disruptive, newsworthy, mischievous.
DHL Guerrilla Marketing
What’s next? Pick the top 3 to implement in your marketing strategy. Take a few at a time. Once you master those, then move to the next three. Remember, marketing is about being consistent with your message, whether your advertising your specials or building your brand recognition.
Also, don’t forget about local SEO if you have a physical location. SEO (Search Engine Optimization). We’ll discuss SEO on another day!