Starting up a small business is a huge challenge as it involves procuring the funds to start operations and filling in gaps in the workload with the limitations of a small staff. Without an investor or source of substantial finances, you may experience difficulty in leveraging your business and bringing in sales. As with any other business, you will undoubtedly benefit from a marketing strategy that bridges the gap between your audience, platform, and overarching goals.
Unlike traditional businesses that can go all-out with marketing efforts, small businesses need to be strategic in keeping costs low and results high. Generally, you want to focus on pushing your brand name out there by utilizing as many platforms that your team can manage. It is a multi-level process that, when executed correctly, will bring in consumers and revenue.
Create A Marketing Plan
The first step to marketing your small business is to create a plan. It can be as simple or as complex as you want but ensure that it focuses on three main themes: the brand, the brand position, and the target market. Forcing your team to spend time thinking about the business’ brand strategy will enable you to create a brand or product’s foundation, which will eventually springboard to bigger marketing and advertising decisions.
By understanding what your brand is truly about and what it aims to achieve, you can narrow down your target market, and from there, decide how to market your business. For instance, if you are opening a theme cafe, then your demographic market will likely be teens to young adults. Knowing this information is crucial in understanding which social media platforms to focus on, how fun the brand voice can be, what kind of designs you can use, and more.
Set Up An Online Identity
People of all ages are highly dependent on the convenience of digital platforms, especially in the decision-making process. As a result, it is pertinent for small businesses to set up a digital footprint. Even if you are aiming to sell your products or services to an older demographic, your business has to be searchable online for consumers to access customer service or information-driven functions.
The very core of your business’ online identity is a website — a business domain is relatively low-cost and an effective way to ensure online engagement. You may have to pay for a web designer, but if you are on a tight budget, then you can look into a free website builder for the meantime.
Apart from creating a website, the best free marketing platform you can utilize is social media. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok, you can directly communicate with your market, take feedback, respond to queries, and generate conversations and reactions. These are important in keeping your business relevant and processing feedback for later improvement.
Search Engine Optimization
The extent by which you can use the digital realm as a free marketing tool does not end with social media. You can look into search engine optimization (SEO) functions to bring traffic to your website. Consider using Google AdWords to target an interested audience through keyword optimization, a strategy that benefits large corporations and small businesses. Most companies create a blog section on their websites to centralize traffic generation. Focus on creating high-quality content, use titles that pack a punch, and keep a minimum of 1,000 to 1,500 words to fall higher on the Google search engine.
However, much like advertising, SEO is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on the type of services that you offer and the demographic that you are targeting, an entire blog section on the business’ website may not be necessary. Look into alternative solutions such as SEO through social media, and print and video content.
Establish A Local Presence
A fault that many small business owners make is utilizing a strategy that is too ambitious. There is nothing wrong with dreaming big and putting in strong marketing efforts, but it is sometimes more beneficial to start small and then make your way up. Establishing a local presence is a great way to spread word-of-mouth about your brand and get some of your first customers. It is as simple as letting friends and family know that you opened a small business. Word will eventually spread, and sometimes, a local audience is enough to keep small businesses afloat for years.
In consideration of a more tightly-knit consumer base, you can utilize traditional marketing strategies, depending on your business. For instance, if you opened a small cafe, handing out coupons or discount codes can bring customers. On the other hand, if you start a beauty supply business online, you can offer wholesale prices to local brick-and-mortar stores.
The possibilities of marketing small businesses are endless. Think outside of the box and be as creative and loud as possible to get people talking. Eventually, you will be able to generate a loyal consumer base, expand your business, and move on to higher-level marketing strategies.
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