The old way of reaching out to prospects and promoting your business is no longer effective. Customers have gotten better at tuning out sales messages. They use TiVo to skip through commercials and ad blockers to block brand messages.
In spite of all these impediments, companies never had so many opportunities to connect and engage their target audience. From email to social media, the online world is their oyster, provided they know how to take advantage of it.
That’s where the hard part comes: how can you make the most of the digital space, especially if you are a small business owner with no budget for expensive marketing campaigns?
Here are 5 efficient techniques that you can include in your marketing strategy right away to spread the word about your business.
1. Build Your Email List
Out of all the marketing channels available, email marketing has the highest return on investment, making it a valuable asset for your business. Not to mention, you will have full control over your promotional content, unlike social media or search engine rankings where you depend on changing algorithms. Therefore, building your email list should be at the top of your priorities.
The first step is to sign up for an email service provider that’ll give you the tools your need to collect emails, and plan, test and track your campaigns.
Once the system is up and running, you’ll have to come up with creative ways to persuade your prospects to give up their email addresses. Think about it as a barter and offer your audience something in exchange for their email addresses, such as special offers or discounts.
Make sure, though, that your subscribers understand what they sign up for, promise them to protect their information and give them an easy way to unsubscribe from your list.
2. Know Your Target Audience
The success of your marketing efforts depends on how well you know your customers. Go above and beyond and try to collect as much data as possible about your target audience. The more you know about their habits, interests, desires, and challenges, the better the chances of creating content that addresses their specific pain points.
Use your email list to conduct surveys and learn more about their needs and expectations. Build long-term relationships by creating customized content. Send birthday notes, holiday gifts, and other incentives to make them feel valued.
3. Leverage the Power of Social Media
There are more than 4.2 billion active social media users. So, it should come as no surprise that social media can drive over 31% of all referral traffic.
Think about what platforms your prospects spend most of their time on, pick the most profitable ones, then devise a marketing plan on how to build your online presence. Adapt your content across platforms, but be careful to keep a consistent voice and message. Your prospects will get confused if you are fun and friendly on Instagram, but overly formal and professional on Facebook.
Remember that Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest aren’t the only social media channels out there. Creating YouTube content or optimizing your business on Google Places are other effective ways to boost your online presence.
4. Get Creative with Giveaways
People love getting free stuff. They love it so much that they are willing to give up their email addresses in exchange for a freebie.
Not just any freebie will do, mind you. You need to ensure that your giveaway suits your prospects. Make it clear to them that what you’re about to offer will help them improve their lives in some way. Create a sense of urgency to persuade them to take your offer (example: just ten copies left. Download now!)
If freebies are not in line with your business, consider other “pro-bono” activities, like organizing a charity event or offering your service to a non-profit for free.
5. Engage with Your Audience IRL (in real time)
In other words, you need to get out of your digital bubble and network within your local community. Search for ways to meet and engage with your audience in real life too. As old-fashioned as it might sound, it’s still an effective way to attract new buyers.
Join the local Chamber of Commerce and other relevant professional organizations and go to their meet-ups with a stack of business cards. Partner with other companies in creating a product or sponsoring an event.
Getting started with marketing can seem like a daunting task, especially for small entrepreneurs who are new to the digital space. As you’ve seen, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to take a stab at marketing. Then, as your business grows and you increase your profits, you can hire a professional team to get your company to the next level of success.