Small businesses aren't typically blessed with large promotional budgets, but marketing your company doesn't need to be expensive. In fact, we've created a $0 digital marketing strategy that's adaptable to almost any small business's needs. With our flexible and fee-free plan, you can overhaul your marketing without spending a penny. We'll lay out our guide in five easy steps that you can begin utilizing today!
Step #1: Get on social media
If your small business has no social media pages, you need to begin building your presence as soon as you finish reading this newsletter. In today's world, digital communication is increasingly happening on social media, and companies that don't reach customers (and potential customers) through social media are missing huge opportunities. Ad Week's Shea Bennett notes that 67% of Americans age 12 and older currently use social media.
The good news for small businesses is that social media pages cost nothing to build, but the key isn't to create a dozen social media profiles and never update them. In fact, that's almost as bad as having no profiles at all! Why? People may question the status/quality of a business with outdated pages. Instead of abandoning social media after you create profiles, follow our Social Media Marketing 101 advice. Now, get posting!
Step #2: Create a blog
We know that the joke today is that everybody and their cat is running a blog, but there's a reason people love to blog: exposure! Blogging also creates productive conversations, both online and offline. A free blog on Blogger orWordPress can even serve as a temporary website for your business, although we do suggest having a website designed for your company by Forward View when it's feasible.The key to blogging is to regularly create engaging posts and to share them on social media. Blogs and social media fit together like peanut butter and bread, so use both communication mediums to support each other for maximum benefits. Remember that your blog shouldn't read like a blatant ad for your business. Instead, focus on industry developments, community insights and an occasional news update from your company.
Step #3: Publish a newsletter (like this one!)
MailChimp is a fantastic, and free newsletter service. We absolutely love everything about MailChimp, and our email subscribers frequently comment on the quality of our newsletter. Creating your own newsletter template in MailChimp shouldn't take more than a few hours, but developing regular communication with your business network is exceedingly vital. Like your blog, don't use your newsletter to send tons of ads for your company. The 80/20 rule is appropriate for newsletters: Publish interesting content 80% of the time and direct marketing appeals 20% of the time. If you reverse those numbers, expect to see lots of unsubscribe notices!
Step #4: Control your online presence
If you have any business, try running its name through search engines. Many companies like Yelp, Google and TripAdvisor will let you claim your business page and update it with custom content for free. These pages will then appear on search engines and apps. Add pictures, your own marketing pitch and contact information to create a nice profile on the relevant websites. If you have a restaurant, don't forget to add your menu! Respond to online reviews of your business, too. Yes, even the (obviously untrue) negative reviews deserve a reply!
Step #5: Generate free publicity and media love
This is the final, and most challenging, step of our guide, but success in Step #5 will elevate your marketing strategy to a higher level. We suggest contacting members of your local media organizations and offering to subscribe them to your newsletter. Ask if you could even be an expert industry source for them. Generating positive press is better than advertising because TV/radio commercials are often ignored by the public. For national exposure, contact HARO and sign up to be a source for reporters across the country. We've we've had good success with HARO and have made Forward View known to readers of top-shelf publications like Forbes. Even one quote in a leading newspaper, website or magazine can provide new opportunities for your business!
In closing, marketing your company need not be expensive. By investing a little time and effort into developing a no-budget publicity strategy, you can grow your firm's market share. The internet offers great benefits for free advertising and communication with customers. By utilizing social media, email, blogs and media organizations, your small business can expand beyond all expectations!