How to Market Your Small Business Online
There’s no denying it: marketing a business is a tough job. But marketing a small business? That’s even tougher.
You don’t have the budget, resources, or even the connections to get the word out about your business. All you have … is the internet. And with the return on paid ads getting smaller and smaller – they aren’t a marketing resource small businesses can depend on alone anymore.
What’s a small business to do?
Content marketing is one of the best ways to spread the word about your business online. It works best if your business has a website you can link to in your author bio – or at least a landing page.
But how do you go about marketing your business through content? With guest posting of course!
What I like most about guest posting is that you don’t have to blog about the topic of your business. You only need to blog about topics of interest to your prospective customers.
So let’s say you’re in charge of marketing an accounting firm. Now if you only focus on financial blogs, you’re going to bore yourself silly. But people in need of accounting firms are small businesses – and they don’t read financial blogs regularly (if at all).
They read marketing blogs, small business blogs, may be even branding blogs. Drastically widens the playing field, doesn’t it?
Webinars are educative, exclusive, and scarce. They don’t happen often, provide exclusive content and training not available anywhere else and have a limited number of seats available which makes them very attractive to attendees.
You can host a training webinar, hold a workshop, do a tutorial, invite an expert, do free Q&A’s etc. Make your webinars insanely helpful and chock full of actionable, exclusive information. People scramble to sign up for content they won’t get anywhere else.
If you have a customer base you’re trying to increase, hosting a webinar will get the buzz going.
Help a Reporter Out
Help a Reporter Out – or HARO as it is popularly known is a great service that was created for the benefit of reporters but it really ends up helping the experts and businesses those reporters interview and quote for their articles and reports.
So if you’re a small business looking for free publicity, sign up for HARO, and keep an eye on the interview queries posted by journalists. Experts interviewed by journalists on HARO have been quoted in The New York Times, Dow Jones, ABC, and Associated Press – to name a few.
You never know which big publication your small business might be featured in.
Partner Up With a Complimentary Business
It’s simple, it’s easy, and it helps both parties involved.
Anticipate the need of your customers and find ways to provide more services and value to them. If those services aren’t offered by you, partner up with a business that offers them.
You send work their way; they in return send work your way for services they don’t offer. It’s a win-win partnership.
If you’re looking for an example, look no further than a freelance writer and designer. Both do drastically different things but clients looking for one, are almost always in need of another.
Now a web designer can either offer copywriting services himself, or he can save himself the agony of doing something he doesn’t enjoy (and maybe doesn’t have the talent for) by partnering up with a freelance copywriter.
Establish a Social Media Presence
Its cliched, but it’s necessary. One of the best ways to market your social media on a budget is through social media.
Now I don’t mean Facebook Ads. I mean honest-to-goodness networking on social media – the kind that sparks conversations and turns followers into fans.
Find out which social networks your target market frequents the most and establish a presence on them. Woo them with great conversation and content. Engage them in your marketing activities.
If you do it right, you’ll have a small army of die-hard fans before long – and that’s the best kind of marketing a small business can ask for.
Publish Potentially Viral Content
One of the best marketing tools a small business has is a blog. But don’t get caught in the rat race of publishing content frequently. Focus more on the kind of content you publish. As a small business on a limited marketing budget, you don’t have the luxury of doing your own experiments to find out what type of content works best.
So publish long form content, infographics, videos, and graphics etc. – the kind of posts that have been known to go viral.
Offer Free… Something
Conventional blogging advice says offer something of value to encourage readers to sign up for your newsletter because the money’s in the list. It’s good advice and works just as well when it comes to marketing.
You don’t have to offer a free ebook. As a small business you can offer new customers a free 20-minute consultation or a free trial to encourage your target audience to sign up with you. Once they do, even if they don’t convert into paying customers immediately, they stay a warm lead you can market your business to for as long as they’re on your email list.
How do you market your small business online? Have you discovered any marketing tactics that don’t cost an arm and a leg and work well? Share your ideas in the comments!