Working With A Small Advertising Budget
All small businesses, and especially those just starting out, have to be aware and savvy regarding the deployment of their limited capital. Further, without a strong, longstanding relationship with a financial institution they have little chance of borrowing a significant amount.
However, all businesses, and perhaps especially small businesses, need to keep committed to marketing themselves. Without effective advertising, a small business especially finds difficulty standing out from the more established entities in its industry.
Fortunately for the small business owner, recent years have seen the emergence of a new range of marketing technologies and strategies that are much less expensive while still remaining effective.
Despite proving itself to be an effective marketing option, and its widespread prevalence in people's lives, many business owners still fail to maximize the opportunity that social media offers.
It can seem daunting at first. With so many social media platforms becoming increasingly relevant, one has to be selective to tailor the company's social engagement to suit their business needs.
For many businesses, whether they're looking for a huge audience, new clientele, or to spread brand awareness, Facebook is the first choice.
With over a billion active users monthly, you can be sure to avoid a lack of exposure.
From another direction, if you're more interested in staying connected with customers, ensuring customer loyalty and repeat sales, or marketing a new product, you may be more inclined to Twitter.
Beyond those two, of most interest will be LinkedIn and Instagram. LinkedIn represents the more formal side of a company, and is great for business networking and creating a strong brand image. Instagram is the fastest growing of the major social networks and requires the most skillful handling. This is pure direct image marketing - not the quip plus a link of Twitter, or the rambling post of Facebook.
Another commonality of online life, blogging has proved to be a viable platform for low cost, effective marketing. Much like social media engagement, blogging is often under appreciated by some businesses.
The key to a successful blog campaign is writing about more than just your products and services. You'll need to actively engage people with informative, well researched posts. This kind of thoughtful posting will encourage users to share the content among their friends. This in turn brings in solid, targeted traffic.
That's not to say you can't pepper in some specific keywords related to your products in your posts. This will help the search engines find you. But steer clear of the impulse to "keyword stuff" - that is, repetitively and uselessly overusing your keywords. Such a practice costs you credibility with consumers and lowers your search engine rankings.
And you can always try guest blogging. If you're able to write a high quality piece for an authoritative site, the link back to your site will provide both credibility and traffic.
For some companies, the broad expanse of internet marketing is unnecessary; for others, its the personal involvement with customers and the community that is so important; for lots of businesses, it's simply the cheapest and easiest route to people who are ready to buy. For any business, local marketing is at least a baseline from which to start.
It's not overly complicated that looking for nearby customers is a successful way to sell things. Satisfied local buyers tell their friends where they shop. For a small retail store, good local word of mouth can be a traffic driver that keeps you in business.
Google and Yahoo both have specific local directories that allow an online edge to a real world marketing campaign. There's old stalwart Yellowpages as well, now also online. Getting your store's face out on these pages can bring you valuable local leads.
It can be hard to know where to spend when you're trying to run a tight ship, but it's never a good idea to disregard advertising entirely.
There are ways to promote your business that cost very little and have proven track records of success. The blueprint is out there. It's up to your to make it work for your case.
Photograph of Advertising sign licensed by Nick Youngson http://nyphotographic.com/
License: Creative Commons 3 - CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/