Specific strategies for small business marketing is key when standing out among your competitors.
We all know that a successful marketing strategy will help to drive sales. However, marketing is often one of the lowest priorities in the budget of a small business. In large, this is because it is seen as expensive and complicated.
While large and complex marketing initiatives may be outside the reach of your small business, you can take advantage of several small, inexpensive, and sometimes free (!!) alternatives. The only real cost is your time.
How ramp up your small business marketing:
Depending on where your prospects and customers are, you may want to establish a company presence on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
On Facebook, set up a company page and add your logo and basic information, then ask your friends to become fans. You can share links, pictures, video, and other status updates that are then pushed to your fans, keeping you at the front of their minds. It’s definitely easier than sending 50 or 100 “stay-in-touch” e-mails!
On LinkedIn, create a group for your company and start some discussions. The discussions can be geared toward general discussion of your product, service, or industry; setting yourself up as a subject matter expert; or even getting customer feedback. You can invite people from your current network to join your group.
On Twitter, create a company profile and start “tweeting”! You can share your thoughts, links to industry news, or links to new content or promotions on your own website. Just remember the 80/20 rule I recently learned in a Twitter workshop – no more than 20% of your posts should be overtly promotional.
For any of these social media initiatives, create a plan before you start. Who is responsible for posting? How often will they post? What kind of content will they share? How much time can they commit?
CRM Data & E-mail Newsletters
If you’re already using a CRM system (Salesforce.com, ACT!, SalesLogix, etc.), you probably have huge amounts of rich data on current and former prospects and customers. Are you using this data for marketing?
The easiest way to take advantage of your CRM data is to send e-mail newsletters and announcements. You can use a service like VerticalResponse to generate attractive html emails (using their templates if you want) and send campaigns. You can then monitor who opens your e-mail and what links they click! This service costs about a penny per e-mail you send.
If you are currently tracking any kind of data in your CRM system that you can use to segment your list (company size, geographical region, etc.), you can send targeted e-mails based on specific criteria. If you’re not tracking that data now, would it make sense for you to start?
Is your website dynamic, or will visitors see the same content today that they saw six months ago? Depending on your target market and ability to add content to your website, you may want to consider blogging or creating a company news page. Just make sure you don’t start an initiative you are not committed to continue! A blog with one post every six months is probably worse than no blog at all.
Many low-cost marketing initiatives are geared toward driving traffic to your website. How do you know if they are working? You can use a free service like Google Analytics to track visits to your website, allowing you to see how many visitors you get, where they come from, and what they look at on your site. Your statistics may surprise you – we were curious about a spike in visits to our site from Poland!
I hope these strategies are helpful for you in strategy your small business marketing! For some ideas on what we are doing, you can check out our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages. To subscribe to our newsletter, just fill out whatever information you’re comfortable sharing (minimum first name & e-mail address), on this page.
Share your own small business marketing ideas in the comments below!