For many new and small businesses, keeping costs low is a high priority. The less you spend the lower your risk and, crucially, the higher your profit margins in those first critical years.That being said, there are some costs that can’t be avoided. There’s also a risk that if you hold back too much and aren’t willing to invest in your business at all, you’ll never know what it could have been.
Marketing is an essential component of any business. Referrals and word of mouth might be the ideal sales drivers, but it takes time to build up the kind of reputation and loyal following that makes sustaining an income in this way possible.
How many hours a week do you spend marketing?
A recent survey conducted by Constant Contact found that most business owners spend an average of 20 hours per week on marketing. 82% of those surveyed said that they use multiple platforms to market their business.
Digital marketing solutions for smaller budgets
Importantly, one of the pros to digital marketing is that every effort can be tracked. Whether you’re using a website, social media, an email newsletter, paid advertising, or a combination of the four, you’ll get cold hard data that tells you exactly what’s working – and what isn’t.
With that in mind, let’s look at two of those four options in more detail. Content marketing and social media marketing are two of the most accessible (and successful) opportunities for businesses big and small.
As you read through these brief explanations, try to think about what your goals are and how these budget-friendly solutions might work for your business.
(1) Content marketing
Content marketing is a broad term, but it essentially describes the efforts of using content to attract attention.
Be it content created for social media, for a website, blog, podcast, or video, it should be designed to bring your target customers to you.
So, for example, you might produce a series of videos and blog posts that answer common questions surrounding your services. You could also take snippets of content from those videos and articles and share them on social media.
If you optimise the content correctly, anyone who’s searching for this kind of advice will come across your information via searching online. They will subsequently, become familiar with your brand.
The key benefits of content marketing include:
- Content can be repurposed and used in multiple ways
- You’re developing a presence online – if you stick with it, you’ll reap long-term rewards
- By giving away information for free, you’re adding value to your services and encouraging your audience to get to know, like and trust you
(2) Social media marketing
Using social media to market your business can be a wildly successful method, but it’s not as easy – or as cheap – as many people believe.
Whilst it’s free to set up profiles and start sending out posts, you’ll need to focus on strategy, creating quality content and analysing your efforts if you want to succeed.
It also requires a substantial time commitment.
To make the most of social media:
- Brand your accounts clearly and consistently – make sure everyone knows who you are and what you do at first glance.
- Ask for feedback, reviews and referrals and share them on social media (otherwise known as social proof, these things will generate trust).
- Build relationships. Focus less on how many followers you have and instead work on making genuine connections.
- Don’t look at social as a way to sell, sell, sell. Work on building a community. (The general rule is 80/20 – 80% added value and quality content, 20% self-promotion).