Many small business start-ups fall into the trap of thinking that since they don’t have a lot of experience in marketing, they’ll need to hire professionals to do it for them. With all the available advice, tools and resources available online, this doesn’t have to be the case. You can create a DIY marketing strategy that fits within your budget and is just as effective as a professional one.
Great marketing comes down to how well you know your customers, and how much time you’re prepared to spend researching their wants, needs, and buying behaviour. The better you know them, the more effectively you’ll be able to tailor your marketing strategy to target them.
Getting a good idea of the online behavior of your potential customers means you’ll have a better chance of selling to them. Try:
Your website should have a way of collecting customer contact details such as email addresses. To encourage people to register on your website, offer free downloads/whitepapers, enter competitions, loyalty rewards or even advance notice of specials and clearance deals.
What’s the point of collecting prospects’ data? You can send e-newsletters. This allows you to keep in close touch with your customers at almost no cost. By sending a regular e-newsletter that offers relevant, useful content to your customers, such as special offers, you can stay top of mind to your customers and encourage them to buy from you again.
This is a process to help optimize your website so that it’s attractive to search engines. On Google, few people click on a result that is fourth or fifth in the list, and hardly ever do people look at the second page of results.
So if you can ensure that your website is one of the top few results when someone does a relevant search on Google, it’s much more likely a consumer will visit your website.
With a dash of imagination and persistence you can get others to promote your business for you. One way is to advertise your business through other businesses and do the same for them.
This is especially popular via social media. If you’ve got other businesses following you on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and you’re following them, you can promote each other for no cost and everybody wins.
These increase your credibility, and are great ways of increasing business. For people who are thinking of buying from you, this social proof – knowing that other people have brought from you and recommend you – builds their trust of you and means they’re more likely to become customers themselves.
Add to your website quotes from customers, any warranties or ‘lifetime’ guarantees that help reduce potential new customer concerns.
Once you’ve won your customers, you want to keep them coming back. So you should always be thinking of ways to improve their experience with you, and convincing them that they’re more important to you than they are to your competitors.
It’s your basic ‘would you like fries with that?’ approach. If you can offer complementary products or services to your customers at the time of purchase, you’ll improve your sales and your customer experience.
If you don’t have any complementary products or services, you could enter into an alliance with a similar business.
Develop alliances with suppliers and hold joint promotions or get them to share the costs of signage or events.
Often suppliers have co-op marketing budgets to spend. Or hold an event at your business where the supplier sends an expert to demonstrate a new product or train people in its use. Be sure to invite your top customers.
These work really well for retail. Think Mother’s Day, Christmas, Easter or school holidays. If you’ve got a well-established social media platform, you can use it to promote these events.
Word-of-mouth is one of the best, most effective and cheapest forms of advertising you can use. So try to get your customers talking about you on social media, and get permission to use their testimonials on your website.
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