4 Effective Strategies to Promote Your Small Business
Posted: Jul 20, 2020
Reaching success in the business world can be broken down into two key aspects:
Deliver something people want at a price they’re able and willing to pay.
Make sure people know that you exist and you’re offering that something they want.
Most people that go into business start off with an idea of a product or service. They gain knowledge in their industry and are able to give their customers what they want. They feel confident and competent. When they reach the second part, it gets a little tricky. Just because they’re well-versed in their industry, doesn’t mean they’re very experienced when it comes to marketing. But how are they going to sell their services or products if nobody’s ever heard of them? They quickly realise why big companies spend so much money on advertising.
If you’re a small business owner reading this article, you may not have the budget for a commercial on national TV, but luckily today’s entrepreneurs have many more ways of getting their message in front of potential customers. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective strategies for promoting small businesses.Social Media
Don’t be upset if you can’t afford TV advertising because who even watches TV these days? Maybe in the past, it was all about billboards, newspapers, magazines, TV and radio but now you need to focus your attention on social media. Think of it this way: Facebook has more than 2.6 billion users, Instagram (owned by Facebook) has more than 1 billion, Twitter has about 330 million, LinkedIn about 700 million and Snapchat has another 230 million. You’ll be able to promote your business to all these people with just a few clicks, and since marketers have shown considerable interest in these platforms, they’ve taken upon themselves to develop tools that help you make the most of it.
Of course, it’s not enough to simply create a profile. You have two main options and most businesses choose both of them: you can pay for social media ads, and you can create and post engaging content. LinkedIn started offering paid ads in 2005, Facebook in 2007 and Instagram in 2013. Let’s focus on Facebook since it has the most users. Ads on Facebook are actually cheaper than on Google, and a 2018 report from Wordrstream showed an average CPA (Cost Per Action) of $18.68. The same report showed an average CPA of $48.96 on Google Ads.
Now let’s talk about the second option: creating and posting engaging content. The definition of "engaging" will depend on the platform but as a general rule, you’ll want to focus on videos, photos and link-based posts that users will share which will increase your online presence and brand awareness.Email Marketing
Email marketing sounds almost as old fashioned as TV ads, and this is why it’s often an undervalued marketing strategy, at least by less experienced entrepreneurs. Still, email has withstood the test of time and, from a marketing standpoint, it delivers the higher conversion rate and highest return on investment. For every $1 you invest in email marketing, experts say you’ll get $40 back. This is because it doesn’t cost much to create and send emails, but you can personalise them to target specific buyer personas according to their age group, platform that generated the lead (for example social media platforms but we’ll mention some other options throughout the rest of the article) and their past purchasing behaviour.
Email marketing also allows you, as a business owner, to form and nurture relationships with your customers over time. You can send them special offers on their birthdays, give them loyalty discounts etc. It’s not very intrusive, but it means they don’t forget about you.Attend Trade Shows
Trade shows can be a highly effective tool to promote or sell your product, and 90% of marketers claim to get unique value from trade shows that can’t be provided by other mediums. The reason is that trade shows organisers to part of the work for you, and they manage to bring together a community of buyers and sellers all interested in the same industries. This generates what we call "hot leads". If you’ve never been to one, you might still associate them with the endless booths and cheap promotions from the past but times have changed. Nowadays you’ll find captivating spectacles, famous musicians and influential speakers.
The downside of these changes is that exhibiting at a trade show can be quite expensive so you’ll want to prepare ahead of time so you can get a discount. Look for trade shows that target the same audience you’re most interested in and invest in some premium quality pop-up designs to attract people to your booth. Don’t overdo it though. Let the products take centre stage. You want to create just enough buzz and not burn any retinas.Give a Presentation or Webinar
This strategy can work well to grow your business locally, as well as online. When you offer a free webinar, workshop or organise an event, you will be able to attract your target audience and collect email addresses to send them offers in the future. Another advantage is that, similarly to trade shows, you get to interact with people at a more personal level which is more effective because you form a connection. You are no longer just your brand, you are a real person, which is very important for trust and loyalty.
First thing you’ll want to do is find out where your target audience likes to spend their time so you can set up a meeting or organise an event at that specific location. Then you can print out fliers you advertise at those locations as well as other places in your community such as libraries, coffee shops etc. If you advertised your business directly, they would be less inclined to let you, but since you’re organising an educational event, they’ll be happy to accept and post your fliers. Try to come up with a workshop that people would be interested in that is also related to your niche so you can sell your products or services in later contacts. Of course, you’ll want to take videos and photos so you can post them on social media.
If the cost of organising such an event is a bit out of your budget right now, consider partnering with another business that is related to your industry but not a direct competitor. You’ll be able to split the expenses, and you’ll both get access to a larger audience.
Cynthia Madison is a young blogger and economics and marketing graduate. She writes about home, lifestyle and family topics and is a senior contributor to popular niche publications.