6 Tips to Improve Your Local Business Marketing on a Budget
In this day and age everyone, especially local businesses, are trying to save a little bit of cash. Herein lies the problem: how do you make money without spending money?
Firstly, let’s set expectations. The only way you will deliver truly groundbreaking results is through a solid marketing plan supported by a strong budget. However, there are some tips and tricks which can help you make some small gains without spending a small fortune. Here are our favourite six.
- Write your own blog
A blog is a great way to communicate with potential customers about what they want to hear about. By providing them with industry information, advice and insider tips, you can demonstrate your expertise and this will build trust in your company without spending a penny.
And, who knows about what you do better than you? If you’re a coffee shop, get writing about varieties of beans, or if you’re a DIY store talk about the best way to paint a shed. The possibilities are endless and what’s more people will be actively seeking out this information. Just remember to provide helpful, informative articles and not a sales pitch.
If you have never written a blog before, read our article to get tips on creating unmissable content.
- Set up social media profiles
Social media is a great way to add a human element to your business and get involved with customer conversations. With 2.6 billion people on social media and at your fingertips you can increase your reach even further and communicate with almost anyone. You can do this for free by posting ‘organically’, but to get the most out of the platform you may want to consider putting part of your budget aside to advertise. If you have set up a blog, social media is a great way to share your article after you have published it, so people can find and read it.
If you haven’t set up any form of social media then read our article on how to choose the right social media channels for your business. If you’re struggling for time, we recommend you start small on a couple of platforms your customers use regularly rather than spreading yourself thinly across many channels.
- Send more emails
Email marketing remains one of the best ways to talk directly to your target audience. According to an eMarketer study, the average email marketing ROI is 122%, which makes it a very effective way to drive results with minimum costs. Check out five other reasons why it still remains one of the most popular tactics for marketers.
If you can send useful advice and the latest information to people who want to hear from you, you will find people will love it and you could become the local business that potential customers are actually excited to hear from.
However, don’t just send out mass emails to as many people as possible. Email works best when you target specific people with really personalised messages. If you don’t have many subscribers, read our article on how to make your email list flourish.
- Claim your ‘Google My Business’ listing
Take control and claim your listing on Google My Business, essentially Google’s online directory of local businesses. This will help you to appear in local search results on Google when people are looking for businesses that supply your products and services, and it’s free.
Some other benefits of using Google My Business are:
- Google has more of your business information on record, which means it’s more likely to show you as a search result.
- You can control what information is shown about your business. No other business can ‘claim’ your business address or name.
- Your listing contributes to the information Google provides to its map users, which means that your business will appear on Google Maps.
Claiming your listing takes about 10 minutes but it will be time well spent. If you’re not sure how to do it, read our step-by-step guide on claiming your Google listing.
- Claim other free listings
Once you have claimed your business on Google, start claiming your listings on other websites (the majority of these will have a free, entry-level subscription) as this will make it easier for potential customers who use online directories to find you. Again, it will also make it more likely you will appear in relevant search results if these listings are consistent, accurate and up-to-date as it sends good signals to search engines. To make sure you set up your listings for success, read our article on marketing your business on online directories.
- Encourage recommendations
Referrals are key way to generate more business by encouraging word-of-mouth recommendations as people are very likely to trust the opinion of their friends and family, but don’t just wait for them to come to you. You can drive these through both online and offline interactions including:
- Asking everyone who buys in-store, on the phone or online to recommend you and leave a reminder on invoices or anything else you send post-purchase
- Emailing customers with an incentive (such as a discount on their next purchase) if they pass on a successful recommendation
- Posting on social media to encourage followers to leave you a review (Facebook has its own in-built rating system to do this)
There are other ways you can improve your marketing on limited resources but the above serves as a strong starting point. By focusing on the right areas you can get a decent marketing bang, for your limited buck and also start to build a good idea of what methods work well for your local business. When you’re ready to move on and invest in your marketing, you’ll then have a better idea of where to spend your budget for the best results.
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