There are so many ways to market your business, especially in the age of digital marketing. It may feel overwhelming but the basics of marketing remain the same: create a marketing plan that supports the goals of your business, build a realistic budget to support the marketing plan and follow through. If you don’t have a lot to allocate towards marketing, that is okay. There are still options for the budget-minded marketer.
One of the most effective marketing tactics on a small budget is social media. The key to a successful social media presence is to layer in multiple tactics to increase impressions and drive traffic to your website.
- Google My Business.
The first step that literally “puts you on the map” is to claim your business on Google.
And the good news is that it’s free. Start this process by typing Google My Business in the search bar of your browser. Follow the step by step instructions to enter your business information and claim the business on Google. Claiming your business will enable customers to find your business in Google searches. Once your business is claimed you can link your website to the Google listing.
- Google Reviews.
Google ranks websites using an algorithm that considers many components. Business reviews are one component! All you have to do is ask your existing customers to write a review on Google. Your staff can ask during the check out process. For a broad stroke approach, add a request and link to your newsletter. Then they simply click the link and leave a review. You may get only a few reviews each time but if you ask consistently, the number of reviews will grow and improve your google ranking.
- Social Media.
There are many social media platforms that can reach potential customers. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat are the most popular broad based platforms. Be realistic about the time you will be able to commit to managing social media. To be successful, marketing on social media requires consistency and varied content. Start your marketing efforts by building your fan base. Once you have established a fan base, use additional tactics to increase impressions and brand awareness. The following outlines best practices for marketing on social media:
- Ask your existing customers to “like” your page.
- Invite friends to “like” your page.
- Keep the content fresh and varied.
- Be mindful of your content/posts. Use a combination of business posts and fun/interactive posts.
- Consistency and timing is important. Post a minimum of every few days. If posting within the same day, the posts should be at least two hours apart.
The goal is to create a story for your business that potential customers can relate to and will ultimately convert them into customers.
- Sponsored/Paid Social Media.
You don’t have to have a big marketing budget to include sponsored advertising on social media in your marketing plan. Once you have built up your fan base, the next step is to use paid ads to reach beyond your base. By promoting a post, the number of impressions or people that see your post can build exponentially with minimal investment. Allocate $100 for one week each month to promote a post. A promoted post can expand your brand awareness by increasing the total number of impressions and may increase the number of people who “Like” your page. A promoted post does not alter the schedule of posting consistently – it is another layer to maximize your social media efforts. Using a combination of these tactics lead to the laying effect of a successful marketing plan.
- Merchandising Plan.
Your marketing plan should also include a merchandising plan. A merchandising plan consists of a monthly rotation of end caps, cross merchandising options, point of purchase inventory, placement of seasonal inventory and a small budget for promotional items. The key is to keep your store looking fresh, enticing your customers to walk through the entire store and to position products to spark ideas for end use that will result in customers buying more items than they initially intended to purchase.
Marketing your business doesn’t require a big budget. It does require planning, consistency and a little creativity. Whether you use the ideas presented in this article or create a mixture of different tactics for your marketing plan, the main thing to remember is that layering different marketing tactics will build more brand awareness and impressions, which will generate more customer interactions and increased sales.