Marketing tactics that every small business can start using today!
At a recent event I ran, the attendees asked me what types of marketing tactics or activities are relevant for small businesses. Well, I think we can use almost any type of marketing tactic to promote our businesses. But I thought I’d put together a list of the ones that have been working well for me.
If you’re a small business and you’re not on social media, then you’re missing out. Why? Well, social media helps you amplify your marketing messages. It helps you get in front of large audiences for little or no money.
Think about how we used to interact with our friends and families before social media. We actually talked to one another! And when we did, we often talked about new businesses we’d shopped at or used recently. Or we asked for recommendations – what’s known as word of mouth. But you, the business owner, could only influence that in a limited way. Well, social media is word of mouth on steroids! Every time you share something on social media and your followers like it, comment on it or share it, their social media connections see it. That’s BIG for small business. Make sure you don’t waste your time on social media by following these tips.
My favourite! The reason I love email marketing so much is that it lets me communicate with my audience on my terms. Yes, I have to do some work to get their permission to email them, but once I have that, I appear in their inboxes on a weekly basis (this is how often I email my readers.) It’s a regular reminder of your business that your readers need.
Because they may not be ready to buy from you as soon as they join your list. Email marketing is a great way for them to get to know, like and trust you until they are ready to buy. All you need to do is make sure you provide the information you promise them when they signed up at the frequency you said you would. It’s that simple. Want to grow your email list? Here are some ideas.
Wait! Networking is a form of marketing? Absolutely! Think about it. You go to an event and meet people, you talk and find out more about them. Then guess what happens? They want to know about you and your business! And when you start to talk about what you do and why you love it, you’re promoting your business.
Didn’t think of it that way? Then you need to. Because promotion is just one marketing tactic you can use.
It might sound scary, but webinars are a great way to show your expertise and demonstrate you really know your stuff. Take time to plan yours and give yourself enough time to promote it to make sure you have enough people register. A rule of thumb to remember is that there is usually a 70% drop-out rate for free webinars. That means 70% of people who register won’t turn up. But that’s OK because you can record the webinar and send it to them afterwards. And don’t be afraid of over-booking either. For my first webinar, I had 99 people register. Guess, what, only 30% attended, but the other 70% still got to see my webinar because I sent them the recording!
These are becoming more popular as organisations realise they can provide support for local small businesses. In Hillingdon, the council, the chamber and Brunel University have got together and are organising the Hillingdon Business Expo. It’s a great opportunity to meet other local businesses and make connections. If you’re able, it’s also beneficial to exhibit. Taking an exhibition stand lets you showcase your business to all the expo attendees and it’s brilliant opportunity to add new contacts to your email list! Make sure you read my tradeshow cheat sheet before you book your first one!
I can’t tell you enough why you should be blogging. If you want traffic to your website in your sleep, then blogging is the way to do it. Each time you add a new post to your website, it’s another page that search engines can index and list when people search for the topic you’ve written about. That’s free traffic to your website for the price of some time to write regularly. And who doesn’t want that?
Making PR part of your marketing efforts is pretty important but is a tactic small business think isn’t for them. Think again! Any small business can effectively do its own PR with a little bit of effort. And what does that lead to? Placements in relevant publications, or even radio or TV appearances. What’s more, you can learn to do this yourself! I recommend you follow Janet Murray, who is, in my opinion, the best PR expert for small business owners.
If you don’t know what a lead magnet is, it’s really simple. You offer something for free, such as an eBook, and in return, people who want it give you their email addresses. You should always be on the lookout for ways to demonstrate your expertise and a lead magnet is perfect. People get advice from you on a subject they want to know about and you’re then able to add them to your email list, where you can continue to talk to them through regular email communications. This way, you build their trust over time and when they’re ready, they will buy from you. If you use this tactic, you’ll want to know more about following up with email automation!
Promotions needn’t be the domain of big businesses. Nor do they need to be expensive. A well-thought-out promotion is a perfect way to market your business. Remember to start with what your goal is. For example, if you’re a training company, you may want to fill the last few places on a course. Your promotion will drive people to register. If you’re a coffee shop, you may want to increase footfall in a quiet period, so your offer will be designed to do that. Don’t forget to put a number to your goal, so you can measure how successful you were.
Running a competition is a fantastic way to get your business in front of potential customers. If you know your current customers well, you can work out a competition that they will love. And if they love it, you can bet that their friends and families will too. That’s because we tend to hang out with people like us. So, design your competition with a goal in mind (with a number attached to it) and then promote it your existing customers, email list and social media followers. Make the prize exciting enough for them to want to share it with their networks too.
Were you surprised by the types of marketing tactics on this list? You don’t have to limit yourself and you can do pretty much any activity bigger businesses might do. You just need an objective before you get started!