How to Manage a Tiny Marketing Budget
Things can get a little tight on a small business budget. As a small business owner, your primary job is to make sure you’re being responsible with your marketing strategy. Without a solid marketing strategy, it’ll be really difficult for your small business to make any money at all.
Here’s how you can thrive on a small marketing budget …
First, Your Small Business Needs a Marketing Strategy
Operating a small business without a marketing strategy is like trying to throw a party without sending out invites. It’s more than likely nobody will show up.
Your small business needs a marketing strategy in order to create a brand identity and get seen by the right people. If your business goals include increasing your brand awareness or increasing your ROI, it’s time to come up with a marketing plan.
Your marketing strategy doesn’t have to break the bank. There are a plethora of ways you can market your small business with a small marketing budget.
Creating a Cost-Effective Marketing Strategy
Word-of-mouth marketing, online reviews and social media are three great low-cost ways to market your small business.
Use this overview of these three cost-effective marketing strategies to get you started on your own small-budget marketing strategy:
1. Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Ninety-two percent of consumers believe brand recommendations from friends, and are 4x more likely to buy that product. That’s the essence of word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing – to get people talking about your brand in a positive way.
Here are four ways to kickstart a word-of-mouth marketing campaign:
- Encourage user-generated content (UGC): UGC is content created by consumers about your brand. Create a UGC campaign by sharing a unique hashtag with your followers that they can tag on their posts, or inviting them to share their own photography of your products. Create a sense of community among your followers by allowing them to express themselves with others who are interested in your brand. Word-of-mouth marketing generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.
- Offer incentives: Companies like Google and Uber offer incentives for referrals. When a customer refers a new customer, the company often rewards both (the old and new customer) with discounts, credits or free services. Providing discounts for new business referrals does not require any money from the marketing budget, and it does grow your customer base.
- Create share-worthy content: Publish content that your audience wants to share with their network. Creating relevant content with a great hook is a good place to start.
- Encourage and share reviews. (More on reviews immediately below).
Reviews present another cost-effective opportunity to market your small business. Having a collection of positive reviews in various places online (such as Google, your website, review sites, social media and others) makes you stand out from your competitors. Besides being really good at what you do or what you make, there are things you can do to help your happy customers make the effort to let the world know about their positive experience(s) with you.
Some important places to have and build reviews are:
- Google My Business: 85 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Make sure that when your local consumers search Google for your small business or your service offerings, they see you as an excellent choice. Learn more about how to get Google My Business reviews.
- Product reviews on your website or shopping websites: Having five customer reviews for a product increases the likelihood of purchasing by almost four. Show visitors on your domain and on other domains (like Amazon) that you’re legit by having positive reviews of your products.
- Website: If you don’t sell tangible products, have reviews on your website in the form of customer testimonials or other client feedback.
It’s not enough, however, just to have these reviews. Your audience wants to know that a real person is behind your brand. Respond to and share your reviews – the good and the bad! There are many ways to accomplish this. Some of our solutions include:
- Post screenshots to your social media channels with the review and your response to it.
- Add a testimonials section to your website.
React to what your audience is telling you, and show that you empathize with their pain points. If someone leaves a negative review, do everything you can to make it right. Share your efforts to ensure your entire audience knows you’re there to support them!
3. Social Media
Yes, there’s a paid aspect to social media, but there are also a lot of free ways to optimize your profiles and maximize results, separate from paid campaigns. Before investing in any paid campaigns, follow some best practices for each of your social media channels and see if your engagement rates improve.
Here’s a brief summary of best practices for the basic social media channels:
- Facebook: Make sure you have a business page, and that all your information is up to date and optimized. Post multiple times a week at optimized times (see your Insights to determine your channel’s best post times). Visit our blog about advertising a small business on Facebook for more information.
- Instagram: Make sure you have a business account and that your information is accurate. Include a branded hashtag in your profile text. Post regularly at optimized times (visit your analytics to determine best post time). Carousels perform the best. Use 2-8 hashtags on each post with additional hashtags in the comments. Use a lot of emojis.
- YouTube: Optimize your YouTube channel by making sure your description is optimized for a couple keywords relevant to your business. For your videos write a long enough description, include tags, add end screens and cards, add your videos to playlists and create consistent thumbnails.
- Twitter: Tweet multiple times a day, if possible. Keep your tweets short. Include a visual component with every tweet, including a photo, GIF or video. Use 2-3 hashtags per tweet.
- LinkedIn: Make sure your About section is complete. Post consistently and include images or videos as well as hashtags in your content. Create educational content; don’t be too sales-y.
We’ll Get You to Point B
We’re a small business, just like you. We have firsthand experience finding the best ways to manage a small marketing budget. If you need help finding the right path for your small business, reach out to PointA now.
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