How To Market on a Small Business Budget
“If you build it, they will come”. If only!!
One of the biggest struggles most small businesses face is trying to reach and attract customers. Whether you are a B2B (Business to Business) or a B2C (Business to Consumer) business, if you don’t have a way of letting people know you exist, they’ll never find you, regardless of how great your service or product is. With limited financial resources, there isn’t typically much left in the small business kitty to support a marketing budget. But that doesn’t need to put you out of the game. By getting creative, and resourceful, there are plenty of ways you can market like the big dogs on a small business budget.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Of the over 7 billion people on earth, over 3 billion of them are active internet users and over 2 billion have active social media accounts, according to We Are Social’s Jan 2015 Global Digital Snapshot. Creating Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube accounts is free – something even the smallest marketing budgets can handle! Social media, if done right, can play a big part in getting a business noticed by the right people. It’s just knowing what platforms will work best for your business and employing smart tactics to reach potential customers.
Here’s a quick outline of which platforms work best for different business types and some tips to help amplify your business presence:
Facebook: With nearly 802 million daily active users, Facebook has proved to be the perfect social media platform for most B2C businesses. While B2B’s will find some success, their time is better spent on other social platforms.
Tip: Facebook posts with less than 250 characters get 60% more engagement. Also, posts on Friday’s tend to get more engagement, while posts on Sundays get fewest comments.
Twitter: Twitter is a platform that both B2B and B2C businesses have found success. A recent study actually found that Twitter users visit B2B tech brand sites at a higher rate compared to average internet users, supporting the fact that there is a strong B2B audience. Additionally, 53 percent of Twitter users recommend products in their tweets at some point in time during their usage.
Tip: Tweets with 1-2 hashtags get 21 % higher average engagement. Tweets with more than 3 hashtags get 17% less engagement.
LinkedIn: While B2C’s have found some success on LinkedIn, this platform is truly the playground for the B2B. 83% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn to distribute content and for 93% of B2B marketers find LinkedIn the most effective social network for B2B lead generation, with 77% saying they’ve acquired at least one customer through LinkedIn.
Tip: Take advantage of the LinkedIn publishing platform to publish value added content that your target audience is seeking.
Pinterest: If you are looking to market to women between the ages of 18 and 35, then Pinterest is the platform for you! With over 70 million users worldwide, Pinterest is the fastest growing social platform, and it’s dominated by women. In fact, 83% of Pinterest users are women, 45% of which are between the ages of 35-54. Additionally, 100,000 of Pinterest members are retailers.
Tip: Get creative when using images on Pinterest and use them to tell your story and give users some insight into who you are and what your business is all about.
YouTube: Video is where it’s at and with over 1 billion users, YouTube is a powerhouse for any business that has a story to tell. More than cute kittens, YouTube offers businesses a platform to tell a story, give advice, educate and inform. And in today’s fast paced world, where time (and attention spans) are limited, video allows people to quickly access the information they want and need.
Tip: Just as with all social networks, one of the biggest keys to success on YouTube is consistency. Keep a steady stream of content coming to your channel so people have something to look forward to. Also, because people search on YouTube like they do on Google, make sure that you perfect video headlines and keywords so you can easily be found in the vast sea of content.
Regardless of which platform you choose to use, the most important thing to remember is that these are ‘social’ networks and the key to success is engaging and interacting with your followers. Let them know who you are, why you do what you do and how you do it. Allow them to become your brand advocates by creating customer experiences that entice them to check in, share photos and tell others about your business.
Whether you have $100K or $1 to spend on advertising, it doesn’t matter: social media has evened the playing field. All you need to do is take the time to determine which will work best for you and employ best practices that will attract and engage your customers. So maybe, in this case, if you build it, they WILL come.
This post was written in partnership with Progressive Insurance. I have been compensated, but the thoughts and ideas are my own. For additional small business tips, check out Progressive’s Small Business Big Dreams program.