October 10, 2012
/ by Chris Pilbeam
Small businesses tend to have shoestring budgets and skeleton crews as far as marketing efforts are concerned. Operations, production and other responsibilities that get products and services to the customers who demand them are processes that often take precedence over others within a business. But what would happen if the flow of customers just suddenly stopped? So would operations and production. Strategic small business marketing is important for ensuring that sales are always in the pipeline.
While small businesses tend to not have the monetary and staff resources of larger businesses, there are tools and methods available to help smaller companies gain a foothold on the market. The competition can be somewhat equalized via social media, PR and blogging: tactics by which the Davids of the business world can take on the Goliaths of their industries.
Here are three tactics to consider for small business marketing on a budget.
1. Social Media
Social media has changed the web marketing landscape dramatically over the last five years. Using profiles on websites like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter to engage loyal fans and potential customers have allowed small businesses to market themselves to local, regional, national and even international markets. Though social media accounts are free to create, an investment of time and effort is required to make them worthwhile.
TIP: If hiring a full time or even part time social media manager is outside of your budget, start by taking some time to learn about effective social media strategy and social management tools. Then set aside some time every week to put what you’ve learned into practice.
2. Press Releases
Perception of a brand is important for all companies, but can be particularly important for small businesses. Having the right information about the brand available on the web can make a huge impact on what people think of it. Using PR for small business marketing might seem like an endeavor for a specialist, but there are a lot of budget-friendly, easy-to-use resources can tilt the playing field in your direction. For example, PRWeb allows small businesses to submit press releases for syndication across major news networks. Press releases are an excellent way to get the word out about a company’s promotions or expansions and have the ability to bring massive readership.
TIP: You don’t have to be a PR pro to write and distribute an effective press release. Check out PRWeb’s“How To’s & Quick Tips” section to learn best practices for formatting, optimizing and promoting your press release.
Blogging is one of the easiest and most cost-effective means of establishing an online presence for a small business. A website is great because it establishes a “home” for your product or service. A blog, on the other hand, is like a front porch light and a welcome mat. A blog that is regularly updated with information to entice readers can help shape your product or service’s identity. Whether you’re a small-town plumbing company or an online operation selling across the country, blogging puts fresh content onto the web and gives prospects the information they want. Additionally, regularly updating a blog will encourage web search engines such as Google to “crawl” your website more often, likely increasing its rank in search results and increasing the likelihood your site will by viewed a wider audience.
TIP:You can make a blog post last several weeks by repurposing it for different social networks. Here’s how to make a blog post last longer.
Small businesses don’t need big money marketing budgets to accomplish goals. Some of the most easily accessed available small business marketing methods are free or inexpensive – it just takes a commitment of time to utilize them properly. Take some time to explore the concepts we listed here today and see how these three methods could improve your small business’ marketing efforts.
What budget-friendly PR tactics have been effective for marketing your small business?
Image: mikecogh (Creative Commons)
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