As a local business owner, you may be on the lookout for new ways to improve your existing marketing plan, grow your brand, and capture new customers. Here are five low-cost, and in some cases no-cost, marketing strategies that you can use to market your business. Whether you’re a value-added reseller, a distributor, or a manufacturer, you can put these strategies together right now and start growing your brand.
1. Write for an industry trade publication or magazine
Every market has a magazine or industry trade publication that summarizes the main developments, news, and trends in their sector. These are great sources to tap into because they’re always looking for free articles or documents created by knowledgeable authors. Contacting one of these publications and offering to write a free article can be a great way to get free advertising for your business and build awareness of your brand.
Aim to position yourself as an expert in your field and reach out to potential customers and industry influencers to let them know what you and your company can offer. Depending on which publication you write for, you can expect to get a byline at the beginning and also possibly at the end of the article, and in some cases, you’ll be able to promote your business’ products or services. If the publication has both a physical and digital version, you may also be able to get a valuable backlink to your website, which leads to the second strategy: backlink building.
2. Write guest blog posts for industry websites
Your business’ website is an essential component of your overall marketing strategy, and one of the best ways to increase traffic to your website is to build “backlinks”, i.e., hyperlinks on other websites that link to your website. The more backlinks your website has, the better chance it has of being displayed in search results when potential customers use a search engine such as Google. Creating backlinks is part of any good inbound marketing strategy, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. If you are willing to write guest posts or articles for websites, blogs, or digital publications in your industry, they may give you a backlink in exchange for free content.
The secret to getting good results from building backlinks is to make sure they are from high-quality websites. For example, if you write an article for an industry trade publication, they may agree to post the article on their blog or website and include a backlink to your website. This backlink will be far more valuable than one from a smaller, less reputable website. You may be able to pick up a high-quality backlink through your local Chamber of Commerce. When you join, they will give you a link to your business from their website, which will help your website rank higher in search results.
If this sounds complex, inbound marketing techniques have become significantly easier since a company called “Moz” developed a metric known as Domain Authority (DA). This “score” aims to provide a “best estimate” of how well a domain will perform in search. Increasing your website’s domain authority will help you rank higher in search results, gain more traffic, and capture more sales. Building backlinks is one of the best ways to increase your website’s DA, so is definitely something to focus on.
3. Focus on relevant social media sites
Marketing on social media costs nothing except your own time but be sure you choose an appropriate outlet for the market that your business serves. For example, if you are marketing to consumers (B2C), then creating a Facebook page or an Instagram profile may be a valuable way to reach potential customers. You can create engaging posts, videos, and content that helps you engage with users and build brand awareness.
However, if you are marketing to businesses (B2B), then sites such as LinkedIn may be a more appropriate avenue than Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You can craft high-quality articles and content that interests potential customers and influencers. Choosing the most relevant social media sites to focus on is one area where a social media marketing agency may be able to help. They can research the demographic you are targeting and find the best ways to reach these customers.
4. Use email to drive qualified traffic to your business
You may want sales, not an email list, but when someone gives you their email address, they are communicating to you that they’re interested in your business and that they are open to hearing more about sales, special offers, discounts, and other opportunities. Best of all, emailing these customers is free. That’s why when you are building your website, writing articles or blog posts, or creating social media posts, you should always be looking for ways to capture more email addresses.
There are a couple of apps that will do this for you. Some of them do cost money, but most have a free trial period. This gives you time to see whether they are capturing email addresses and working well before deciding whether to make them a permanent part of your marketing strategy. Once you’ve built a decent email list through your website and social media posts, you can then use these email addresses to drive qualified traffic to your business. You’ll have a higher “buy-in” rate from the recipients, meaning they are more likely to open, read, and respond to the emails.
5. Consider hiring a marketing agency
Marketing agencies can certainly help you grow your business and increase sales, but are they really a low-cost solution? Agencies are typically made up of a group of consultants who can help review and enhance your existing marketing plan. They can help improve your marketing communications, brand development, web development and give you marketing advice and guidance. Fortunately, there are ways to hire a marketing agency on a budget.
If you only require occasional work, many consultancies offer a “pay-as-you-go” fee structure. This is a cost-effective way of improving your marketing plan and getting the professional advice you require to help your business grow. You may simply want reassurance that your existing marketing plan is sound and that it is working well and helping you meet your business objectives. The agency can help you create a “promotional plan” that outlines marketing strategies for a period of time, usually one year, and ensure that they are in line with your business aims and objectives. An agency will be able to provide indicative costs for each strategy and include a detailed calendar showing when each strategy will be utilized.
These five low-cost marketing strategies can help you fine-tune your marketing plan and drive sales and growth in record time. If you haven’t joined your local chamber of commerce yet, be sure to do so, and start reaching out to industry publications and magazines, both online and offline, to get noticed. Along with frequent social media posts, articles, and blog posts will help bolster your site, improve its DA, and capture more emails from potential customers, giving you a better chance of increasing profits.