One of the biggest things that small businesses have to deal with is the reality of limited resources. It’s one of the main reasons why small business owners have to be even more resourceful.
Entrepreneurs of today, have to be able to think outside the box. They need to be more creative and look for marketing strategies that are low cost, low risk and can yield a high return on investment.
Here are five of the best marketing strategies for small businesses that we think fit into that criteria.
1. Local SEO and Review Building
Local SEO is one of the most effective ways for small businesses to generate visibility, create a local brand and bring in new customers.
Search Engine Land reports that half of mobile based local searches result in the person visiting the store in the span of a day or two. That’s because there is a strong commercial intent when it comes to local searches.
Getting websites to rank for targeted local searches means showing up right in front of highly motivated prospects.
People are creatures of habit, using the search engines to find local businesses in their area. But more than that, they use the search engines to read reviews of businesses too. Reading reviews (good and bad) help them make a final decision.
That’s why it’s so important for small business owners to generate positive reviews for their business listing on Google.
How do businesses get more reviews? By being proactive. Business owners, managers and staff, need to be asking their customers to post a review after their buying experience. It’s really that simple. The better the customer experience, the better the review will be.
The same Search Engine Land article found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews. That’s why building positive reviews for your Google business listing is vital to getting an edge over your competitors.
Professional services for local SEO are fairly affordable costing anywhere from $500 to $2000 a month.
2. Social Media Advertising
By now, you’ve probably heard about all the benefits that social media marketing offers to small businesses. While it’s important to have a strong presence on social media, it’s also important to use the advertising platforms they offer.
All of the major social media sites offer an advertising program from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest to LinkedIN. Social media advertising is a great alternative to pay per click advertising on Bing and Google which tend to be very competitive and costly.
Facebook in particular really excels in allowing you to target the right audience. You can target based on location, age, sex, interests, occupation and many other advanced criteria. Creating a basic Facebook ad is fairly easy and you can run campaigns affordably. In fact, you can start out only spending $5 to $10 a day.
However, mastering Facebook advertising is another story. The platform is technical and offers many options, so you can get overwhelmed. It does require you invest a decent amount of time and money to get the most out of Facebook.
3. Joint Ventures
Joint ventures are one of the best marketing strategies for small businesses that have little to no budget to work with. By working with a businesses that is related to yours but not in direct competition, you can leverage the resources of this business.
A perfect example of this is a doggy day care center partnering up with a veterinarian clinic. Both businesses serve the same audience but offer a different service. There’s a lot of flexibility with joint ventures and it’s all about being creative with your partnership deals.
The best part about joint ventures is that it doesn’t require much capital to set up.
What’s important with this strategy is making sure that both parties get a lot of value out of the partnership. It doesn’t make sense if a vet clinic partners up with the doggy day care center but the doggy day care center refers a lot more clients to the vet clinic. Joint ventures need to account for this and a contract is often recommended for complex deals.
Another big aspect of making deals like this making sure that there is a strong sales process if one businesses is promoting another in return for a fee or commission. Poor sales means less upside for another business to work with you in this type of scenario.
The only cost of joint ventures may come from creating contracts with lawyers. However, there are reliable pre-made contracts that can be online. Just make sure that you do your due diligence before using them.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to generate revenue. Campaign Monitor reports that for every $1 spent invested, it returns $38 in return. That’s probably due to the fact that email marketing campaigns cost almost nothing to execute.
There are many email marketing platforms that charge $30 to $50 a month. The real issue is that small businesses are not maximizing their email marketing if they’re even mailing out enough campaigns.
There are a wide variety of ways that small businesses can generate revenue with their email marketing strategy. Some examples include abandoned cart follow up email sequences, up-sell/cross-sell follow ups with emails, event driven promotions, and more. The problem is that small business owners do not know how to properly execute these kinds of campaigns. They’re also not optimizing their email campaigns for maximum performance or making sure their emails are getting delivered.
That’s why it’s recommended that businesses invest in email marketing consultants to help set up and build campaigns. Consultants can charge anywhere from $1000 to $3000 for their services.
5. Marketing on Deal Sites like Groupon
An effective way to acquire new customers is to advertise on sites like Groupon and LivingSocial that helps you target locals in your area. The whole point of the site is to offer an irresistible deal to bring in a new customer.
It can work incredibly well but you have to make sure that you do the math right. In many cases, businesses will not see an initial return on investment on their costs. The whole point of using these sites is to acquire a new customer.
That’s why small businesses should aim to break even on their campaigns or keep to very small loss.
To make these kinds of campaigns work, you need to make sure you have a strong up-sell and a great follow up marketing campaign so that you can bring the customer back. Some businesses will even profit from these deals as a large percentage of customers will not redeem. Here are some great examples of businesses that had success using Groupon.
These are some of the best marketing strategies for small businesses for generating more sales, customers and revenue. The key to making these strategies work is to work with the right marketing professionals and to be diligent with your numbers.
What digital marketing strategies are you using for your small business? Let us know what’s working and not working for you.