There are so many marketing strategies out there – both online and offline – and it can be hard to choose which ones to adopt. This decision isn’t made any easier when you are a start-up or small-to-medium sized business which has a tight budget. Marketing is expensive, so it is very important that you choose the top marketing strategies which are going to deliver the highest Return on Investment (ROI).
When you have worked to achieve a fit for your company and product within a market, the next part of your growth and development is smart marketing and a smart customer retention strategy behind the scenes.
There is no magical 5 marketing strategy, however; the goal of any marketing strategy is to connect you to your target market. Whilst this is a simple concept in theory, in practice, it can be very difficult. There are many different twists and turns with both offline and digital marketing, and there are many things you need to consider before you choose one –
- Which demographics make up my target market?
- Where are these people located?
- Where can they be found online?
- How do they look for products like ours?
- What influences their buying decisions, who do they listen to?
These are the most important questions to ask yourself before you head out there and try to market your company. Simply put, the key to figuring out which marketing strategy works best for you is to know your business, your target market, and your goals.
Top Strategies for Smaller Businesses
With that being said, there are a few marketing strategies which, generally, are viable for the majority of small businesses and start-ups. We are not saying that you should read this and take it for the gospel, rather we are saying that you should think about your business in the context of these marketing strategies and decide whether they are a good fit for you.
- Facebook and Instagram Advertising
Millions of small businesses just like yours leverage the power and size of the Facebook and Instagram platforms to market themselves to a huge worldwide audience. After all, they are inexpensive, easily manageable and very effective digital marketing tools.
Ads run on these platforms are highly targetable and even if you have the world’s smallest and highly-specific niche, you can still target the people who matter. Demographics such as location, interests, age, gender, online behavior and a variety of other factors can be targeted with Facebook or Instagram ads, and given that they are inexpensive, they are a brilliant place to start if you are absolutely strapped for cash.
They are easy to create, deploy and manage – it’s a no-brainer.
- Google My Business
Getting yourself listed and ranking with Google My Business is one of the most important and powerful things you can do early-on for your business. This is made even more important if you are running a business which has a physical location and local reach – if this applies to you, Google My Business is by far the most powerful thing you can do in terms of marketing.
Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to find products, services, and businesses in their local area. So, if you are a web developer based in Manchester and you have not added yourself to Google My Business, you will definitely be missing out on leads and potential customers – test it out for yourself, search for a local business in your area.
Listing yourself on Google My Business is free and easy, so there’s no excuse not to be on it.
- Traditional Banner Advertising
This applies to both companies with and without a physical presence in a specific location. Banner advertising has always been and remains to be a hugely valuable form of marketing. It’s visible, simple and straight to the point, and if you create something memorable, interesting or funny you may find people taking pictures of and sharing it online, giving you extra exposure.
There are lots of ways you can utilize banner advertising. At trade shows, in your stores, offices or premises, in prominent locations with high traffic and footfall… they can easily make you stand out in a crowd and help you build some awareness around your brand.
If you are not operating exclusively online, the use of banner advertising is irrefutable.
- PPC Advertising
Google AdWords remains to be a very powerful marketing tool for both small and larger businesses. Each time we do a Google search we can see examples of Google PPC ads at the top and they are brilliant for generating extra traffic to your website. Whilst Google AdWords is by far the cheapest and most widely used, there are other providers available.
With PPC you only pay for each time somebody clicks on your ad so it’s a great way to regulate your marketing spend when you’re on a budget. If you pay for $200 worth of clicks, you will only pay $200 and it won’t go over.
- Traditional Marketing Channels
Although they’re not as widely used now that the likes of digital and social media marketing have taken center-stage, you shouldn’t write off the utility of traditional marketing channels – they work very well and will continue to be viable for a while. There’s a reason why big companies still use them.
Television and radio, newspapers, flyers… these are all potential areas where you can run relatively budget-friendly marketing campaigns and get a huge return on investment. People still listen to the radio and read newspapers, and by not marketing yourself in these places you are missing out, especially if your target market is of an older demographic.
When you are just starting out with your small business, it can be very difficult to figure out how you can market yourself whilst remaining within your budget and still getting a decent ROI. The above mentioned five methods are all potential options, however, it is up to you to figure out which ones will work best.