Business owners wear a lot of hats. It comes with the role. And if you’re like most business owners, you love what you do, and you wouldn’t have it any other way. But there is one responsibility that even the most enthusiastic entrepreneur often faces with hesitation: marketing.
Everyone wants more customers, but most entrepreneurs struggle with the how, when, where and to whom of marketing their business. Even more difficult can be deciding how to allocate your marketing dollars, especially when there aren’t many to draw from.
It is possible to market effectively even on a small budget if you have the right strategy. Here are four simple, affordable ways to get started.
It should come as no surprise that social marketing is a must for every business. It’s also one of the most inexpensive ways to give your product or service the exposure it needs.
While paid social – paying to boost a post on sites like Facebook – can be effective, it isn’t always the most efficient use of your marketing dollar. Before you consider paid social, take the time to clearly define your brand, create focused content that is relevant to your audience, and of course, make sure you’re meeting your audience where they are. Sound overwhelming? Read our post on 7 Keys to Hard Hitting Social Media for Business to help you get started.
Once you’ve defined your brand and selected which platforms you’ll participate in, be sure you’re starting with a strong profile. It may seem simple, but it’s an important element that too many businesses overlook. What does an optimized profile look like? We’ve got that covered, too. Read on to find out how to optimize your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles for maximum reach and engagement.
If you’re already hitting it hard on social media, make sure you’re getting the best return on investment for your efforts.
Maximize Your Website
Most businesses create a website and then don’t give it much thought until it’s time for a refresh. Consequently, most websites aren’t doing the work they should be in terms of attracting customers. Whether a customer is searching for your business specifically, or just the products and services you offer, your website should appear right at the top of the search results. If it doesn’t, it’s time to invest in search engine optimization (SEO).
Although SEO can be complex, there are simple, inexpensive ways to make it effective for your business. A basic approach to SEO costs nothing but time and can be much more effective than most traditional marketing tactics. In fact, it can be as simple as brainstorming as many keywords as you can – anything that applies to your business, area, and the problems you solve – and then incorporating those keywords into your web copy, blogs, and tags. For a more in-depth look at SEO and what it can do for your website, take a look at this piece from Forbes.
But a website does not thrive on SEO alone. Review your website with fresh eyes. Is your business information up to date? Can customers easily find your location, hours, and contact information? Is the site easy to navigate? And does it immediately tell customers what you do, and what problems you solve? Forget multiple paragraphs of copy and stick with simple, succinct language that spells out who you are, what you do and why.
Print it Out
Large or small, enterprise or start-up, print is still a critical component of virtually every marketing campaign. It is a great way to market your business and to gain the competitive edge you’ve been looking for.
A recent survey by FedEx showed that 85 percent of consumers surveyed were more likely to patronize a business which used custom professionally printed materials like business cards, signs, flyers or banners. But keep in mind that quality matters. Nine in 10 respondents said the quality of printed materials is an indication of the quality of service the business provides.
The good news for business owners is that quality printing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can print high-quality marketing materials right in-house with the right device, and the right supplies. Follow this easy guide for the ins and outs of bringing your marketing printing in-house and find out how to reduce your printing cost while increasing your visibility.
Most entrepreneurs underestimate the impact color can have on their business brand, and on the effectiveness of their marketing materials. Did you know your business is 44 percent more likely to get phone calls when you print your phone number in color? Color can attract attention, invoke emotions, and even cause physical reactions like a rush of adrenalin.
Consider incorporating color in your marketing materials, sales collateral, and customer communications to help you differentiate your brand from the competition. Here’s just how powerful color can be:
- Color has been shown to increase brand recognition by up to 80 percent.
- Color can increase attention spans and recall by more than 82 percent.
- 55 percent of recipients are more likely to pick up a full-color direct mail piece first, which is important because the average person spends just 2.5 seconds deciding whether to read a direct mail piece or toss it aside.
Best of all, printing in color doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, you can actually save money by using your own in-house printer compared to outsourcing color printing to a print shop. You’ll also save time since you don’t have to wait for the vendor to complete the job or accommodate their business hours and deadlines. The Xerox WorkCentre 6505 is an affordable color printer that gives even the smallest businesses the flexibility to print professional-quality color pieces on demand, quickly and cost-effectively.
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