February 19, 2019
We asked our Insta-fam “if you could receive free help for one thing in your business, what would it be?” — and of the many topics that landed in our comments, small business marketing was vastly the most popular.
Listen, sis, we get it. Marketing is a beast. Certain small business marketing strategies can be tricky and expensive. But, you know we have your back and we want you to win. So let’s cut to the chase…keep scrolling to read our 14 easy ways to market your business on a tight budget.
Ok, ok. We’re stating the obvious here. BUT, we’re going to give you some tips to help you focus. First of all, please don’t feel like you need to be on ALL the social media platforms. Pick one or two where you KNOW your ideal clients hang out, and stick with those. When done right, social media marketing takes time. So your efforts are much better spent having an intentional strategy in fewer places rather than spreading yourself thin with minimal ROI.
Second, a major key to creating successful content is asking yourself the most important question about how you can serve your audience. Do you know for certain what your audience wants? If not, just go ahead and ask them.
And third, do your best to be consistent. You don’t have to post 5 times a day, 7 days a week. But show up at least 3 to 5 times a week with solid content that serves your audience and you’ll grow your tribe for sure. If you need ideas or an efficient and organized way to plan your social media posts, check out our free 30 days of Instagram resource and our Complete 2019 Instagram Planner.
Now you’re probably thinking, “come on girls, hashtags are a part of social media.” But you know what…they’re important enough to have their own section on this list. You can post all day err day on Instagram but if you don’t use hashtags you can bet your bottom dolla that almost NO ONE will see any of that. * rant over * So if you can’t tell by now, we’re passionate about hashtags.
We could go on for days, but here are a few things you can do today to make them work for you. Make a list of hashtags that your ideal customers would use and search for when looking for posts related to services, products and content like yours. Switch up your hashtags every now and then so you’re not using the same ones over and over. Use one hashtag on each Instagram story, and use 30 hashtags on each Instagram post. Pro tip: drop the majority of your hashtags in the first comment so they’re hidden. Check out one of our Instagram posts to see how we do it.
Don’t worry. Networking doesn’t have to be as dry and awkward as it used to be back in the day when our parents had to do it. Nowadays, you can network online as well as in person. First of all, be social on social media. That sounds like common sense, but think about it…if you take the time to comment on someone’s post, wouldn’t it be great if they responded or at least acknowledged your comment with a like? You’d be amazed at how much this resonates with people. Genuine responses to comments confirm that you’re actually a real person on the other side of the interwebs that cares about your followers. And while you’re at it, take some time to like and comment on the accounts of your current followers, potential followers, and related accounts.
Talk to people about your business, and ask them to do the same! Word of mouth is a powerful thing. We know firsthand because this is how we’ve landed some of our biggest deals. Somebody told somebody else about how dope we are, and BOOM! The rest is history. You can make this is as simple as talking to family and friends, or attending local meetups to connect with people who may be interested in what you have to offer.
Speaking of talking up your biz, do you need some help spreading the word? Have others do it for you! You can set up a referral or affiliate program that rewards people for referring you business. Rewards can be distributed in the form of cold hard cash like a commission, or discounts on future services. Don’t give away the house, though! Important factors to consider are the value that you’re receiving and how much you can afford to offer in rewards. And most importantly, be clear about how you plan to track and reward the people who send business your way.
Who doesn’t love the chance to win something for free? For this small business marketing tactic, keep it simple and strategic. The simpler the rules are, the more likely people are to participate. When thinking about what kind of contest or giveaway you want to run on social media, start with the end game in mind. What is your goal? Do you want to increase your following? How about growing your email list? Whatever the case may be, make sure your contest rules help you achieve that goal.
If you don’t have an email list, start one. And if you do have an email list, use it! Email marketing is one of the most important ways to connect directly with your customer and work to build strong brand trust and loyalty. And you can guarantee that the people who signed up for your email list are already interested in what you’re offering. So keep providing value in their inboxes and keep your business fresh on their minds. If you’re not sure where to start with email marketing, you know you can count on your girls for some good tips.
Facebook groups are a great way to find focused audiences. And there are groups that cover pretty much every interest you can imagine. Pregnancy, parenting, cooking, keto, business, blogging…you name it! So search for and join groups where your ideal client might belong. But please don’t get in there and just push your business on people. The key here is to engage, offer your expertise, build relationships and establish a presence. And before you know it, you’ll come across posts where people are requesting recommendations for the types of products or services you offer, or better yet, asking you directly for assistance.
Blogging on your own website is beneficial for many reasons, including establishing your credibility as an expert in your niche, helping with your SEO and providing more opportunities to share content across multiple platforms.
Guest blogging provides you the added bonus of gaining exposure to someone else’s audience. Before signing up to write a guest blog, make sure the audience would actually be interested in your content. If you don’t come across any relevant guest blogger requests, don’t be shy! Reach out directly and offer your expertise to a boss babe who might welcome the opportunity to cross promote and have one less blog post to write for herself!
And speaking of guest blogging, the House of 334 is looking for guest bloggers! If you’ve got valuable knowledge about Entrepreneurship that you’d like to share with our audience, submit your info today.
Have you ever seen posts on social media where one business or blogger is featuring another? These posts are often called “shout-outs”, and can usually be arranged between two or more people looking to cross promote. You can also consider collaborating with others on giveaways or even hosting in person events.
If you’re not sure where to find potential partners, you can put a call out on social media, email or in Facebook groups. And just like with guest blogging, you’ll want to make sure that the audiences are relevant to yours and each participant has related, not competing, content. #collaborationovercompetition
Contrary to popular belief, Pinterest isn’t a social media platform, it’s a search engine like Google. The power of Pinterest is real, if you know how to use it. It can be used as a small business marketing tool for product and service based businesses alike. Pinterest is a whole topic in itself, so you’ll definitely need a strategy in order to generate traffic. There are folks out there making a killing from Pinterest traffic, and with the right strategy, you can too.
Video and live content are queen these days. And we’ll say it once again for the folks in the back…people love free stuff. In a world full of DIY’ers, people also love to learn how to do things for themselves. Hosting a free webinar allows you the opportunity to provide that value, plus establish yourself as a subject matter expert, showcase your personality and hone in on that coveted “Know, Like and Trust” factor that’s essential to making consistent sales.
Did you know you can get a business account with Yelp for free? Millions of people look to Yelp to find business daily, so claiming your business gives you more opportunities to be found. If you’re a local brick and mortar business or provide services that require you to be physically present, Yelp is helpful for obvious reasons. But even if you operate solely online, Yelp can work in your favor because many people simply prefer to support local business owners.
We’ll say it one last time for the folks in the nosebleed seats…people like free stuff. But the key here is to provide some sort of value that your ideal customers can’t resist. Nobody is going to come banging down your door for a free drink coaster with your logo on it. If you’re a product based business, discounts and gifts with purchase can be winners. If you’re a service based business, try your hand at free consultations or resources. And don’t forget to collect those email addresses in exchange for the free stuff! That way, you can continue to market to them even if they don’t make purchases right away.
Here’s the deal. Speaking to people is hands down the best way to connect. You put a face to your biz, and it gives people a real reason to want to support you. The good news is that you don’t have to create some huge event out of thin air in order to have that opportunity. Where can you find meetups or events that are already organized and may be looking for speakers? Eventbrite is a good place to start. Search for local conferences or events in your niche. Also think about non-profits, schools, churches or other community organizations that would be interested in hearing you speak at their next meeting or event.
Which of these strategies have you included in your small business marketing plan? Are there are any on this list that you’re thinking about trying? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear your thoughts.