Marketing Best Practices for SMBs on a Budget
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
If you recently launched a startup or small business, you may not have enough funds to invest in expensive advertising and marketing campaigns like your larger competitors. But don't worry, there are plenty of simple and effective marketing techniques with a modest budget that can help you promote your small business. Below are some of the most effective marketing strategies for the business on a budget.
Curate remarkable content
Content marketing has become an essential and affordable marketing technique for any business, big or small. You can expand your customer base by creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to your target audience through various channels. This helps you to drive traffic to your website and attract new customers. You should continuously monitor the performance of your content through (free) tools like Google Analytics. In addition, you should review and update your content based on its past performance and focus only on creating content that generates more views. To do this, you need to understand the likes and dislikes of your target audience and know what types of content they are looking for. A best practice is to create different types of content, including e-books, blogs, websites, brochures and social media pages. Based on a survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute in 2016, 86 percent of B2B marketers and 77 percent of B2C marketers use content marketing to promote their business.
Mint is an example of a small business that grew to more than 2 million customers in the span of 3 years with the use of content marketing. They created custom infographics specifically designed to speak to their target customers and then used the power of social media to distribute it.
Another success story is that of Yale Appliance, an appliance store based out of Boston, that grew its business by 40 percent through effective content marketing. They focused on creating blog posts that provided genuinely useful information to their readers, helping them in the buyer decision process.
Create informational videos
Another creative technique to market your business is to produce informative videos that explain your product or service in a helpful manner. In general, users prefer to watch videos over reading long articles. Hence, you can create a YouTube channel for your business and post informative, as well as entertaining, videos on a regular basis.
An impressive example of this marketing technique is Anyoption's daily market analysis videos published on their YouTube channel. These short videos are really helpful for newbie investors and binary option traders. Anyoption's YouTube channel was watched by more than 95,000 unique visitors in 1 year. Assuming a conversion rate of just 1 percent, they would have acquired 950 new customers through their video marketing.
Dollar Shave Club is another great example of successful video marketing. This company spent $4,500 on a video ad that was posted on YouTube and, subsequently, got more than 10 million views, 76,000 Facebook fans and 23,000 Twitter followers. This helped them get more than 12,000 new customers, in 2 days and they went on to raise $10.8 million in financing.
Participate in social media groups and online forums
Social media has proven to be a versatile tool for any business trying to connect with a wide audience. Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, allow companies to market their brand extensively through the inbound techniques mentioned earlier. Other forums, like LinkedIn groups, Quora questions and Reddit pages, allow you to reach already-interested users through topic-related content. You can use these techniques to share your company's insights and expertise by advising others. As a result, you will build an online reputation for your brand and improve its credibility. Engaging in social media conversations will also help you build an online network and drive business growth.
To illustrate, Kagome, a Japanese food brand, achieved a 25X increase in orders and subscriptions and a 4X increase in conversion rate after running Facebook ads along with newspaper pamphlets.
Similarly, a watch company named MVMT Watches used Twitter to share product deals during the holiday season. The company increased their website traffic by 189 percent and Black Friday sales by 353 percent through these Twitter campaigns.
Produce compelling emails
Another simple yet effective technique to market your small business is through e-mail marketing campaigns. E-mails are an easy way to share content that is relevant to your target customers. An email campaigns is not just about featuring your products, it should center around educating your subscribers about new technologies, upcoming trends and business insights. If done right, these campaigns will help you build a referral network and nurture strong relationships with your clients.
Research has found that e-mail marketing is the most cost-effective marketing technique. For every $1 spent on email marketing; you can expect returns as high as $38. Since e-mails are more personal, delivered directly to the inbox of the customer, they are more effective and guarantee better reach compared to other techniques.
An email success story is that of Danny's Meat & Catering. This small business used email marketing to attract new customers by advertising "free steaks on your birthday". They were able to increase their sales by 15 percent in just 6 months. During this time, they also accrued 2,400 new email subscribers.
These marketing best practices can help you compete with big-budget companies and stand out in the sea of small businesses, even with a tight budget. Ideally, your company would execute all four marketing techniques, but picking just one (and perfecting it) will go a long way!