When running a small business, it can be challenging to carve out the time to focus on marketing when you're busy doing almost everything yourself. Regardless of whether you're selling products or services, marketing is the first step in ensuring that you have people coming through your door and that you continue to make sales and a profit. Below are some tips for increasing how many people know about your business that doesn’t cost the earth.
Organic social media
Using social media is a must in modern-day business operations. Depending on what you sell, there may be one or more social media platforms that will help build brand awareness and to communicate with your customers. If you're in a professional industry like law or business to business sales, then LinkedIn is most likely the best platform. In contrast, if you have a local consumer service, then Facebook and Instagram are most likely where your customers will be spending their time. Organic social media means you're not spending any money to increase your reach with ads, but instead, are growing a following by posting content. Some good ideas for posts to get you started are business updates, new product or service launches, and 'softer' content, such as questions for your audience or updates on your day-to-day work.
A great way to get new eyes on your business is through a variety of printed media such as flyers, pop-up banners, and posters. If you have a store open to people in a 10-15-mile radius, you can strategically place print marketing in high-footfall areas to bring instant awareness of your business to new people. You can print vinyl banners for relatively low cost from a company like printmoz.com/vinyl-banners and then attach them to walls or fences near your location. Flyers can be printed for a similarly low cost and posted through letterboxes or given to customers to pass on. This simple marketing activity can be surprisingly effective.
Most people check their email daily on their laptops and mobile devices, meaning that if you can secure someone's email address, you have a high chance of being seen. Good ways to build your email list is to make sure you have an 'opt-in' on your website where people can sign up to your newsletter, and even better is if you can give a good piece of content in return for an email address. Depending on where you're based, you may need to have explicit permission to send someone marketing content, so check your regulations, primarily if you're based in Europe. Try to send regular emails to your list without bombarding them, starting with a newsletter once a month, and then building from there. Many software options make this process easy for a reasonable price such as MailChimp or HubSpot, so take some time to see which is the best option for you.