How to Fake It, ‘til You Make It. Beat a Tight Marketing Budget With These Tried and True Tips.
Depending on who you believe, our eyes are hit with between 3,000 and 20,000 marketing images each day. They’re cropping up in the most unlikely places, too:
- Motion sickness bags on airlines
- Chinese Food Cartons
- Paper liners in doctor’s offices
In the modern era, television advertising used to be the best place for a captive audience. Remember Must See TV on NBC on Thursday nights? Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld, Mad About You? Cheers pulled in 84 million viewers for its 1993 finale and Friends raked in 52.5 million folks in 2004 for its swan song.
All of this came with a hefty price tag, though. When Seinfeld wrapped its run in 1998, a 30-second national spot was estimated to cost up to $2 million. Local television stations also bumped up their rates considerably putting many small businesses out of the running to take advantage of such a stellar opportunity.
Then things changed. The internet. Smart devices. Social media. Streaming services.
We became a truly mobile society.
And all of this became fair play, as it should have, for advertisers.
So how can your small business, with its tight marketing budget and limited resources, still stand out in this world where every brand/product/service is fighting equally as hard for coverage?
Here’s some tried and true tips:
Take it Online
Yes, you need to enter the fray if you want to be seen and heard. Using online marketing offers you plenty of benefits:
Flexibility. Social media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram – allows you to customize your statements. Feel like offering a promotion? Go for it. Launching a new product? Share it here. If you don’t like the response you get, you can try it again if a different way and learn from the experience without losing any money.
Cost effective. In many cases, free! Effective online content can gather leads and attract potential clients to your business for a fraction of the cost per lead of traditional advertising.
Timelessness. For better or worse, there is no expiration date to your online posts. In many cases, this works to your advantage by letting customers see how you’ve grown, responded to requests, changed your tactics, etc.
Precise targeting with high visibility. A carefully executed content plan can get a high Google local search ranking for a very reasonable investment.
Websites and online directories are solid tools to use to start building your online reputation.
We could write all day about why you need to be active on social media and how you can get started. But we’re going to cut right to the chase on this one. THERE IS NO BETTER REFERRAL TOOL THAN THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA. It is simply THE BEST WAY to reach the maximum number of customers with minimum output/investment. We wrote about this in our blog how social media is like a backyard. Why tell one friend when you can share the news with hundreds? And with a simple click of a button, they can spread that good news for you?
There are many excellent examples of small businesses who have executed strong social media campaigns. We really like the story behind Emerson Salon.
Give it Away for Free
Take a look at The Pioneer Woman for inspiration. Ree Drummond’s immensely popular blog includes stories about ranch living, homeschooling, family activities, and offers step-by-step cooking instructions and elaborate food photography. Within the last five years, Drummond has been able to turn her blog into a choice Food Network TV show, housewares line, and, oh did we mention a New York Times Bestselling author?
If you feel like you don’t have the time to maintain a blog yourself, you can always try to get published on a niche blog central to your industry. Read this article on entreprenuer.com for tips.
Define Your Brand
This is really important and doesn’t necessarily take money, but it sure does take time. Read our post about how to develop and define your brand here.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
So… you’re looking for a wedding caterer in Southern California. But you have some specific ideas on what the menu should look like. What do you type in? Probably something like “vegan, wedding, caterer, Southern California.”
If you’re a vegan wedding caterer in Los Angeles and your website describes you only as a wedding caterer, well, you’ve missed a huge opportunity. SEO writing helps your website become more relevant to search engines by using keywords that are often used as common search terms (Buzz360 offers an incredible site audit that will help you capitalize on correcting your SEO profile). Even though this caterer isn’t strictly vegan, chances are the types of people who are looking for a vegan caterer would still be interested in learning more about them because they have similar values. The point is that if you’re a vegan wedding caterer in Los Angeles, your website should have those terms written into it so when someone searches Google for a business like that, your website is one of the first to pop up.
Find a Good Partner
Sometimes, no matter how much advice you’ve received or how much research you’ve conducted, you’re still not sure you have the time or money to devote to strengthening your marketing outreach. That’s where Buzz360 comes in. We are built specifically for small business needs and to get the most bang for your buck.
Give us a call or shoot us an email today to chat. Empowering small businesses is what we do best. We’re modern, mobile and motivated. You should be too.