Your business can only grow if people know about and feel connected to it — and that usually requires marketing. Most small businesses don’t have mammoth marketing and advertising budgets. Thankfully, though, it doesn’t take a lot of cash to make a big splash anymore.
Here are three low-cost ways to broadcast your business:
1. Use social media tools more effectively
Everyone today knows the popularity of social media. Unfortunately, many small businesses still use it ineffectively. Just having a Facebook page or being listed on consumer review sites isn’t enough. Take charge of your presence on these sites and evaluate tools to improve it.
Yelp, for example, offers several ways that businesses can engage with customers and improve their reviews, writes Brian Patterson on Marketing Land. Among them: Businesses can respond to customers’ reviews and flag negative reviews that seem suspicious — potentially helping to improve their star rating. While businesses aren’t supposed to incentivize customers for leaving reviews, they can ask customers for reviews, Patterson says.
Also, consider branching out to emerging social media sites. Nextdoor for example, is a newer social network that connects neighbors. It recently announced a specialized service to help local businesses better engage their neighborhood.
2. Don’t overlook old-school methods that work
Old-school marketing may be back in vogue. Now that many local companies have given up on traditional marketing techniques, such as direct mail or sending out coupons in target markets, some businesses are now finding renewed success at it.
A1 Garage Nation, a multi-location garage door repair business in Texas, buys mailing lists with highly targeted leads and then sends those homeowners mailings with coupons, owner Tommy Mello told Forbes. The company has found that to be the most cost-effective way to find customers.
“We know many homeowners don’t do the recommended garage door maintenance. With that knowledge, we can target our mailers to neighborhoods that are between 5-10 years old — about the typical life of a garage door,” Mello says.
3. Create funny or informative videos
Shooting and airing marketing videos used to be an expensive endeavor. But thanks to smartphones, low-cost video editing tools, and social media, videos are a much more affordable way for a business to get exposure — and videos are huge on social media.
Video from people and brands nearly quadrupled on Facebook last year, says Jonathan Long, founder and CEO of Market Domination Media. “Video is easy to share and a form of visual content that end-users love to engage with,” Long says. “The popularity of vlogging continues to rise as well, and I feel it’s a great way to let your prospects and target market into your world.”
The most effective small-business marketing often comes about from trial and error, so it’s worth trying out various types of low-cost marketing to figure out what works best for you.