No matter what type of small business you have, you must allocate time and money for marketing. It's a proven way to get the word out about your business and promote your products or services, reach your target audience, and establish a strong brand presence. Plus, marketing can help your business become a recognized leader in your market.
While large corporations have substantial budgets to invest in extensive marketing campaigns, small businesses like yours often face financial constraints. However, this should not discourage you from recognizing the importance of marketing and putting it to work for your business. Moreover, there are marketing strategies to consider that won't break the bank, several of which are highlighted in this Huddle Business Capital blog article. Read on to learn ways to market your business on a budget.
Establish a marketing budget.
Before moving forward with any marketing efforts, you must establish a budget based on a percentage of your revenue. Every business has its unique marketing budget, but business-to-business (B2B) companies typically spend between 2-5% of their annual revenue on marketing, and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies spend between 4-12%. Remember that these are industry averages, and your budget might differ based on your needs, expectations, and available funds.
Your marketing budget will serve as a roadmap and guide you in allocating your marketing dollars effectively and efficiently. If you need funds for your marketing efforts, consider a working capital loan, a popular choice among business owners who need hassle-free funding.
Once you've decided on a budget, you can choose strategies to help you achieve your goals. Common goals include generating leads and converting them into paying customers, increasing website traffic, and building brand awareness. Now, let's get started.
Email marketing is a cost-effective strategy that can produce great results when it is done right. Targeted emails can nurture customer relationships and drive sales. You can create and deploy an email campaign using one of the many email marketing platforms. The leading email platforms provide user-friendly interfaces and customizable templates to help you design visually appealing emails.
You must first generate a list of customers and prospects to move forward with an email marketing campaign. This can be done by having an email signup form on your website, preferably on the home page. You can also place a link to the signup form on your website's navigation bar or footer. Some other ideas include an email signup option at the point of purchase (in person or online) and adding a signup link to your business's social media accounts.
Once your list has enough contacts, you can start crafting emails that announce new products or services, special offers, or discounts. When sending emails, comply with the CAN-SPAM Act so you don't receive any fines or repercussions. You can learn more about the CAN-SPAM Act online. Its primary qualifications for commercial email messages are no false or misleading header messages, no deceptive subject lines, and the inclusion of an opt-out option for recipients and a company address.
Social media marketing.
Social media platforms have become powerful tools for businesses to promote their products and services, reach new customers, engage with existing customers, and build brand awareness. One great benefit of social media marketing is its ability to provide free or low-cost promotion options, allowing businesses to reach a wider audience without spending much money.
Before you move forward with social media marketing, you should determine your goals, choose the social networks you will use, and decide who will create and monitor your content. If you do it yourself, it might take away time from your day-to-day responsibilities. Consider hiring someone to do it for you or outsource the work to a freelance social media manager.
If your small business has a profile page on the most popular social networks, ensure the logo and brand messaging are consistent on each. Regarding social media strategy, some best practices include developing a posting schedule and engagement strategy and promptly responding to comments and direct messages.
In terms of content, you can post messages, photos, press releases/news coverage, and videos with captions and relevant hashtags. You should also include links to your website pages and blog posts to help drive traffic and generate leads.
In an era where consumers increasingly seek authentic connections with brands, businesses that actively engage with their local communities gain a distinct advantage. By actively participating in community events, supporting local causes, and collaborating with other businesses in the area, your small business can build trust and loyalty among your target audience. This enhances brand reputation and fosters a sense of belonging and connection that goes beyond traditional marketing efforts.
Some ways to get your small business involved with the local community include sponsoring local schools, events, and youth sports leagues. Next, consider partnering with local nonprofits and charities. This is a socially responsible decision and a strategic move for your small business. By aligning your business with these organizations, you can engage in cause marketing and community outreach and demonstrate your commitment to the people who live in the communities you serve.
Participating in community events and supporting local causes is relatively inexpensive and can help set your small business apart.
Collaborate with other businesses.
Collaborating with other small businesses in your area offers a unique opportunity to tap into shared resources and knowledge and promote your small business to their customers. Let us use an independent coffee shop as an example. The owner of the coffee shop contacted a nearby bakery to discuss a joint advertising idea, which was to promote each other's establishments to their customers. The bakery owner agreed, and both businesses placed signage at the point of purchase recommending each other's business, increasing brand visibility and opening doors to new customer segments that may have been difficult to access individually.
If you know the owners of any non-competing businesses in your area that might be open to a collaborative marketing initiative, contact them to discuss it. The worst thing that could happen is they say no. But if they like the idea and want to move forward, both businesses can amplify marketing messages and reach new customers with minimal expense.
In addition to cost savings and expanded reach, collaborating with other small businesses fosters a sense of community and support. It lets you connect with like-minded entrepreneurs who want to take their small businesses to the next level.
This Huddle Business Capital blog article is purely educational and contains general information and opinions; it is not intended to provide advice or recommendations of any kind.