It’s not easy to cut through the clutter in a competitive market. Especially for a small business, growing awareness and bootstrapped marketing with limited time, knowledge and budget is tough.
Inevitably the question becomes, “How can we make an impact on a shoestring marketing budget?” For a startup or small business, every dollar counts and real returns are a necessity. That said, let’s take a look at a few low-cost, yet effective marketing strategies to revitalize your small business and generate revenue.
1. Leverage local SEO
Businesses that are online grow 40% faster, according to Google. To standout in the crowd, many online businesses leverage local SEO. “Local SEO involves optimizing your website to ensure it has high-ranking result in local search inquiries. Local search inquiries mean that someone in your area is searching for your products and or services using keywords in search engines.”
For instance, in 2015 Google launched a program “to help small businesses get found online. Called ‘Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map,’ Google has generated customized websites for virtually every town and city in the U.S. to enable local businesses to learn to improve the information that shows up on Google search, Google maps and Google+.”
This initiative offers benefits to businesses who want to carve out their niche online. Using Google My Business, you can easily index for local keywords and attract new customers with your free Google listing. Your listing appears right when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search and Maps. Also, backlinks appear to have the strongest correlation with positive rankings. While reviews, photos and/or owner-verified businesses all correlated with strong rankings.
2. Invest in e-mail marketing
Email marketing is a proven and profitable strategy. Studies suggest “86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with at least monthly, and 15% would like to get them daily. (Statista, 2015)” For every $1 invested in email marketing, businesses receive an average return of $44.25. Use e-mail marketing services to personalize automated emails and optimize key metrics (e.g., CTR, open rates, etc.).
3. Share your expertise
Nothing speaks louder than authority and leadership in the market. Share your expertise via short online tutorials, blogging, webinars, public speaking, and local conferences to gather leads and potential new business. Apart from sharing your knowledge, build your professional network.
4. Master your social networks
Be yourself and engage with your audience on a consistent basis. Each social network has its distinct demographic and targets a particular audience segment. Ensure that your social presence reflects the demographics of your core customers.
For instance, a “key age bracket represented on LinkedIn is those aged 30 to 64 years old—61 percent of LinkedIn users fall within this age group. These individuals typically have more established careers, and have the most buying power out of all the age groups as they’re at the peak of their earning potential.”
5. B2B portals
B2B marketplaces (a.k.a. B2B portals) connect suppliers and buyers all over the world and help business owners generate millions of dollars in sales every year. Small businesses use B2B marketplaces to increase visibility and gain a competitive edge.
Reputable online B2B marketplaces allow sellers to easily create their own homepage, showcase products and services, locate and liaise with buyers, reply to leads and list offers to sell. For example, you may be familiar with Alibaba.com, the world’s largest global e-commerce platform for SMBs. Annual membership ranges from free to premium paid options.
These days, it’s possible for SMBs to compete with the big boys. For startups that have to watch every penny, these marketing tactics pack a big punch.
This article has been edited.
Ankit Gupta owns and manages ExportersIndia.com, one of the largest searchable small business marketplace in India. Due to his passion for writing, Ankit shares valuable insights with SME marketers and small business owners to keep them up to date with the latest business news and trends. Connect with @AuthorGuptankit on Twitter.