Written by: Kurt Webber
As a small business owner, it can feel like the odds are stacked against you. Your company simply doesn’t have the funds to compete with some of the major players in your industry like Amazon, Walmart and other corporate chains. It’s no wonder that around 80 percent of small businesses never make it past their first year. But that doesn’t mean your business is doomed to fail. Even though you don’t have a million-dollar marketing budget, you can reach new audiences and grow your business for less if you invest in effective, low-cost marketing solutions. Use these marketing hacks to take your business to new heights.
Find Your Niche with Targeted Ads
You don’t have to advertise to everyone on the planet when you’re trying to grow your small business. Even if you’re targeting a wide swath of consumers, it’s best to focus what little marketing dollars you have on reaching the consumers most likely to buy your products or services. Create a profile of your target audience based on their age, gender, income, education, location, ethnicity and interests.
Thanks to new marketing platforms like Google and Facebook, you can zero in on consumers that fit this exact profile. Both Google and Facebook give you the tools to control who sees your adds and for how long. If you can only spend $10, you can make sure that you’re reaching the right audience. While it’s not an exact science, these companies have a good idea of who’s using their platform, so you might as well narrow your reach and make the most of your marketing dollars.
Tap into Trends with Content Marketing
Content marketing has become the name of the game for corporations large and small. In fact, 58 percent of marketers said that “original written content” is their most important digital asset. So, why is content marketing so valuable? It’s effective. You can write blog posts and in-depth articles for your website without spending a fortune, especially if you have time to write them yourself. You’re already a master of your industry, so it’s time to put your knowledge and experience to good use.
If you’re not sure what to write about, take a look around and you’re bound to find dozens of compelling stories related to your industry, including viral social media stories, trending hashtags, breaking news and must-see videos online. Piggyback on their success and turn one of these stories into an insightful article. As a small business owner, you have a story of your own to tell. Don’t be afraid to get personal and start telling the story of why you got into business in the first place.
With a basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO), you can optimize your blog posts with the right keywords so new audiences will be able to find your website online. Billions of Google searches are happening every day. If you use the right keywords effectively and write stellar content, Google will do the rest of the work for you.
Take Advantage of Online Reviews
You can also have your customers write content on your behalf, in the form of online reviews, that is. Most consumers will research a product online before they’re willing to enter their credit card information, especially if they’ve never heard of your business before. If someone stumbles onto your website, make sure they see some glowing reviews when they check out one of your products or services.
Most websites give you the option to add a customer review section. Encourage your customers to leave reviews with a strong call-to-action that asks for their feedback after they’ve made a purchase. Online reviews add content to your website, make your business more transparent and can even help your SEO efforts.
Of course, your product or service needs to be in tip-top shape if you’re going to ask for reviews from the public. Make sure your products and services are ready for their big debut before opening them up to scrutiny.
Partner with Micro-Influencers and Bloggers
Influencer marketing is quickly becoming the next major trend in digital marketing. Consumers tend to listen to the people they follow online more than traditional advertisements like TV spots and digital banners. While you may not have the funds and resources to get the attention of major influencers with millions of followers, you can focus your efforts on winning over smaller, rising stars, also known as micro-influencers. These online personalities usually have somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 followers. Find influencers that align with your brand’s image and reach out to them to see if they’d be interested in promoting your business. It’s all about creating authentic relationships online.
Design a Unique Product Label or Package
Never underestimate the power of an original design. It’s the one thing that your competitors are probably missing, so why not spend some time designing the ultimate product label or package? So many brands depend on simple, minimalist designs that fail to capture the consumer’s imagination. Some of these companies have been around for ages, so they can easily get by on name recognition alone. But when you’re just starting out, you need to do everything you can to stand out. Start thinking outside the box with your product labels and you’re bound to get someone’s attention.
In today’s media-saturated world, getting your small business to stand out isn’t always easy. If you’re not careful with your precious marketing funds, you could end up wasting your money on inefficient marketing channels and techniques. When you’re one of the smallest fishes in the sea, you need to choose your battles carefully and slowly grow your audience over time. With the help of free marketing platforms like Facebook and content marketing, you find your target audience and reach the people most likely interested in your business. Be authentic and original with your marketing content, including those product labels, and your small business will eventually become the behemoth you’ve been hoping for.
About the author:
Kurt started Blanco in 1996 after working in the label industry for more than 10 years. As a Salesman, Sales Manager, then Vice President of Sales for Southern Atlantic Label in Chesapeake, VA he gained a strong knowledge of the label and printing industry.