Whether you are just starting your small business or you are looking for some cheap marketing strategies to grow your small business, you have certainly come to understand that your business’ growth is limited without a well-thought-out marketing strategy.
One of the major handicaps a small business has is a small budget and to utilize the available funds well, everything must play to a carefully designed strategy.
In a 2019 research by OutboundEngine, 50% of respondents had no clear-cut marketing strategy which is largely the major reason why those small businesses struggle their way through growth.
As we walk through this article, we would have a small business with a limited marketing budget in mind as we look at how best to grow your small business through marketing; the cheap way.
Why You Need an Effective Small Business Marketing Strategy
Without a well-defined strategy, nothing ever works as it should.
It is like setting out on a road trip to a new destination without having a map with you; even if you have a picture of what the destination looks like.
Think about a local spa for instance that has a dream of attending to hundreds of premium clients per week.
As a small business with the goal of 100 clients per week, the road to 50 clients per week would look far beyond sight without a strategy to first identify who those “premium’ clients are, what interests them most, where they hang out, and how best to pass their messages to those premium clients.
Bear in mind that “premium” clients are different from the regular clients that do not pay for or subscribe to upgraded premium services.
What then, are some of those cheap marketing strategies that can help grow your small business?
Let us look at 5 of those cheap strategies below
1. Get Listed on Google
Most high-value clients learn about businesses they patronize first through a quick google search, and what best way to get seen easily than through “Google My Business”?
A quick search for “the best spa in Brooklyn” would return some search results but would also return some business listings targeting a client’s immediate location.
This alone is a quick trip to visibility and is free.
With a slim budget, the first and most important thing to do for your business (marketing-wise) is to get your business listed with Google My Business.
Quick Hack: because you already know that there is a high chance of having other businesses in your areas come up in search, it is very important to give a detailed description of your business services and address while setting up an optimized account.
Have a few of your workers leave a 5-start review for you and include pictures if possible.
What this does is that it increases your visibility as the algorithm is structured in a way that the businesses with the best ratings and reviews get seen first.
How best to grow your small business through cheap marketing if not by doing what is free and effective first?
2. Free Consultation Can Grow Your Small Business
I know how this sounds but people also want something for free.
Believe it or not, a free consultation (or even highly subsidized service pricing) would always get your business seen.
This strategy is a win-win in so many ways. For instance, it gets people to come to your office or shop for something free, thereby impressing it on them that you are available for business. The next thing it does is that you’d stand a chance to “upsell” some of your other services to get them wanting more.
When this strategy is carefully executed, it can get your business scores of new clients.
3. Local S.E.O is a Golden Small Business Marketing Strategy
Search Engine Optimization for a business that targets a neighborhood always wins the race in Search Engine Result Pages.
For instance, say, I am on holidays in Ontario I need to see a dentist, I’d be more likely to search for “the best dentist in Ontario”.
Whether the dentist is good or not, the first dentist I would likely check out would be the dentist whose content comes out as the first to third in the search results.
It is often said that the worst business with the best SEO is the most patronized.
Granted, no client would come back to you if you offer a bad service but imagine you are the best dentist in Ontario but you have a bad SEO practice for your website!
Amazingly, it does not cost much to optimize your business’ website for local SEO.
By Local SEO, I mean optimizations targeting a certain neighborhood or locality.
Look at the image below for instance.
At first sight, it does not matter if the circled result would give a good service or not, what matters to me as the client is that I now have a dentist to book an appointment with.
How about when your business is listed properly with Google My Business ad you have a good Local SEO search visibility or ranking?
These things can bring in tons of clients without any extra marketing efforts from you once done right during setup.
These strategies work for whatever product or service you are offering and in whatever country you are operating from.
4. Social Media Advertising to Grow your Small Business
Small businesses are yet to take full advantage of the cheap advertising and massive traffic social media advertising offers.
Even when some small businesses run social media adverts, they barely do it right.
To maximize social media advertising for your business in a way that would fit into your small budget and yield massive results, you must figure out to the last detail, who your customer is and how best to convince them to buy.
Say you are marketing your pediatric practice, you must figure out who needs your service (children of 0-18 years), who would pay for the services (wards and guardians), and how best to reach those that pay for their appointments with you.
Factually, Social media advertising works differently for different products and services but all marketing efforts are targeted at the people who pay for the services you are promoting and this is the reason why you must understand the dynamics of your target market and how best to approach them.
To grow a small e-commerce business through cheap marketing, let us consider two e-commerce companies.
An e-commerce company selling adult footwear would target the adults that need it while an e-commerce company selling children’s footwear would target the parents of those children.
No matter your budget and advertising goal, social media has the potential to pull in up to 200X ROI or more when done properly.
5. Strategic Email Marketing
Email marketing is by far (one of) the best ways to grow your small business through cheap marketing.
Email marketing, however, must be approached strategically if it must yield a high return for every small or moderate fund plunged into it.
In fact, you can start email marketing for free!
Most email marketing services have free versions that allow you to build an email list of up to 1000 subscribers.
Applying a clear-cut strategy to your email marketing efforts would always beat the careless email marketing campaign of a multi-million dollar company.
To make the most out of email marketing to grow your small business, everything rises and falls on the leads (prospective clients) you attract and how you maintain a gainful conversation with them.
A Little Case Study
Let us create an imaginary case study.
Say you run a local bookstore and you just signed a deal with a publisher to sell a particular weight loss book at $40 each and you are targeting to make $4,000 in the next 4 weeks, it is best to approach it thoughtfully.
To grow this small bookstore business with cheap marketing, we would have to strategize like is seen below.
Who needs the book? People (mostly ladies) who are concerned about their body and would like to shed off some weight.
Age range? 25-45 years
What would their desired weight help them achieve? That banging body to show off at the beach or get their spouses or colleagues complementing them.
PS: there are other things to consider when setting up a customer avatar but you get the idea.
To achieve our target through email marketing the cheap way, we’d first come up with a lead magnet that is valuable enough, to make them want to get it for free in exchange for their email address.
To hit $4,000 in 4 weeks mean that we would have to sell the $40 book to 100 buyers through those emails we have collected.
Start Marketing Your Business Now
Every business no matter how bulky their marketing budget is would always want the best kind of result in the cheapest possible way.
Your fight is different. You run a small business and with a very tight budget and this means that everything must be spot on.
With these 5 cheap strategies, you are sure to gain more visibility for your business and sell even more than you have been doing.
Strategy beats carelessness all the time!