In today’s financial climate the niche role of the small business cannot be highlighted enough. Small businesses can change quickly, move with the times, diversify, scale back and survive in a changeable economy in a way larger firms cannot.
But that doesn’t mean there are bags of cash floating around for small businesses to market themselves. Here are six ways for small businesses to capitalise on their position and market themselves cheaply or free of charge.
Steering away from email newsletter, company blogs can be a great way to keep customers informed in a reasonable casual way. For example, a small office supplies company offering weekly deals on printer ink, paper, ink toner, etc. can blog about their offers in several ways. Firstly, the company blog or news area can be a great place to detail offers and customer advice. Secondly, posting as a guest on industry blogs can help reach a new audience. The key is to create content that’s useful and invites readers to re-post around the web.
- Social media
Facebook Pages, Instagram feeds and Twitter have changed the face of marketing for the small business. Setting up the right social media accounts for a small business can be just as effective as paid marketing. Instagram is a great option to show off products and market in an informal visual way.
- Local networking
Websites like LinkedIn aren’t just great for finding business contacts far away. They’re also superb for sourcing local contacts and setting up events. Networking locally via small business associations and groups can mean accessing completely new markets, suppliers and customers.
- Cross promotions
This works by finding a non-competitor company to combine marketing with. For example, a veterinary practice and dog grooming parlour advertising for free on each other’s websites, offering discounts to customers using both services and running joint campaigns, e.g. sponsoring a “Dogs Die in Hot Cars” poster campaign during the summer.
- PPC advertising
PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising is a way to direct traffic to a particular website. The small business is only billed each time the ad is clicked by a visitor to the host website. For example, an office supplies firm advertising special offers for bulk ink toner sales could place the ad on a business forum website, office furniture online store, etc. Each time a visitor to that store click the ad to visit the office supplies store, the office supplies store is billed.
It’s a great way to keep costs down and get a good return on investment.
- Free website building/hosting services
Pop up website and free hosting are great ways to test the water before taking the leap to employ a professional website designer. They tend to work best as starter or temporary websites. For small businesses just looking to have a simple web presence, they’re ideal.