Market Your Small Business With No Budget
From a marketing standpoint, it’s a great time to own or start a business. The social web makes it more cost-effective than ever to get the word out about your products and services, no matter what industry you’re in. Most social media accounts are free to set up, and many targeted online ad platforms are inexpensive. The most it will cost you to get your marketing campaign rolling, at least in the beginning, is time.
In fact, the toughest challenge facing small business marketers these days is not cost, but finding a strategy to get your message heard over the din of a noisy Internet. For advice on this, we checked in with a few experienced social media marketers. Here’s what they had to offer. Marketing Agency
Become an Expert
Advertising is not always the best way to market on social networks. People crave valuable content, and it can be as niche as the very products you’re selling. By blogging, tweeting, sharing, and updating about things relevant to your industry, you can build credibility in your field.
“Whether you’re selling specialty cookies or enterprise software, you probably have significant expertise that you can share with potential customers,” said Leyl Master Black a Managing Director at Sparkpr. “You can write how-to articles, create educational videos about your products in action, or post pictures and tweet out commentary from an industry trade show.
Black notes that YouTube is an often overlooked platform for building low cost, high impact content. A small investment in a consumer-level camera and editing software, and a bit of time learning the basics of video production can pay out big in the long term.
Cultivate Super Users
The social web has changed both the medium and the message for marketers, and we’ve discussed extensively how the users are now in control of your brand’s image. This can be a very positive thing if you understand the social media ecosystem and leverage it to your advantage.
The key is targeting and cultivating super users – customers who are already fans of your brand, and share their positivity about it on the web.
“If I know there’s a Twitter user who loves purses and talks about them a lot (which I can find using Twitter Search), and I sell purses, I reach out to her and offer her 20% off to come in or check out my catalog online, just because I know she digs purses,” said Jason Falls, a social media strategist and consultant whose blog discusses the online marketing industry. “If she blogs about purses, maybe I send her a new model with a note that says, ‘Thanks for telling people about purses. We dig you.’ I’m betting she’d talk about me, and I didn’t have to break the bank to get the conversational love.” Marketing Agency
When an endorsement comes from someone outside of your company, like a trusted blogger or social sharer, it has greater value and reach than anything you could send through official channels. You can’t control what the social web says about your brand directly, but by identifying and wooing brand ambassadors, you can certainly have an influence – the kind that no paid advertisement can match.