A ton of work goes into creating your own small business. The initial steps include crafting a business model, hiring staff and establishing a brand identity. All of these works together to turn your dream into a reality. But, to be a functioning business, you won’t just need to figure out the nuts and bolts, you’ll also need to entice customers.
Luckily, this is easier and more affordable than ever before. In fact, businesses can build a successful outreach campaign with little to no money down. Don’t believe us? Check out these six affordable ways to reach customers as a small business. You might be surprised by what you learn.
Embrace Social Media Marketing
If you are just beginning your social media outreach, start by assessing your target audience to see where they live online. If you are operating an ecommerce site aimed at Millennials, Instagram is a great place to show off your products. If you are a B2B software provider, LinkedIn is perfect for sharing thought leadership articles to speak to your industry. To be successful, you must go where your prospective customers are most likely to be found.
Don’t Forget About Email Marketing
Email marketing might seem old fashioned at first. But that’s only because you aren’t looking closely enough. Research shows the return on investment for email marketing far exceeds that of social media marketing. For every $1 spent on email outreach, businesses see $40 in returns!
Marketing professionals know emails are a perfect way to re-engage customers and keep clients up to date on the latest news. If you have yet to do so, consider small business email hosting.
Create a Blog and Post Amazing Content
Another idea is to create a blog. In addition to being helpful in terms of search engine optimization (SEO), this content can be used to prop up your social media pages. The content beast is always hungry, meaning that there are always new opportunities to post content and new topics to cover. Feeding your organic posts through multiple marketing avenues (such as blogs or forums) is a good way to keep things moving.
Leverage Free PR Opportunities
Engaging in public relations is a good way to get the word out about your fledgling company. Then again, PR takes a lot of time and hiring an agency is far too expensive for most fledgling SMBs.
Thankfully, there is a simple way to connect with reporters and publications without spending a lot of time and money. HARO (short for “Help a Reporter Out”) is a free service that aggregates media queries into an email. Scroll through once a day to see questions you might be able to answer. For instance, “Looking for startup companies willing to talk about funding challenges” or “ecommerce vendors with simple storage tips.” By answering these requests, you’ll see free mentions in publications and maybe even establish relationships with reporters.
Answer Questions Online
If you liked the last idea, you’ll love this next one. Web users live to ask questions and get into conversations over the internet. By participating, you can spread your influence and entice folks into checking out your brand.
Quora and Reddit are great places to start. Just create a profile and start following relevant topics. When you see an opportunity to share your thoughts, do so. Take care to avoid seeming too advertorial. Over time, people will associate your business with good ideas; and may even reach out to you to learn more about your products and service.
Attend Local Networking Events
All the above ideas involve online networking in one form or another. But don’t neglect in-person networking events to spread the good word about your brand. Always take plenty of business cards. Casual meet and greets often turn into lasting professional relationships.
As you can see, good marketing doesn’t depend on big budgets; but rather on the interactions you have with real people. So, get out there and strike up a conversation with your potential customers!
Founder Dinis Guarda
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