Every small business faces the same challenge – growth on a tight budget. How do you reach your customers and compel them to act without spending vast amounts of money on marketing? Thankfully, there are plenty of tactics and resources to help you get ahead without a large initial investment, and we’ve compiled a few for you here.
Get inside your customers’ heads
Knowing what motivates your customers to buy your product is all-important when growing your small business. One way to work this out is to create buyer personas – in-depth profiles of imaginary customers.
Invent a character for each of your typical customer types, then make a list of each person’s characteristics – age, gender, personality, family situation, occupation, aspirations and pain points.
Give them a backstory. By working out what drives them, gives them pleasure, or troubles them, you’ll be able to create more effective messaging for your advertising.
Engage on social media
You might already have Facebook, Instagram and Twitter set up for your business, but are you using them to their full potential? Social media algorithms reward regular use, so if you post quality content frequently, you’ll likely see your followers start to trend upwards as that platform shows your posts to more people. Don’t forget to use relevant hashtags and interact with the people who engage with you.
Set up a mailing list
Email marketing platforms like MailChimp or Mailerlite give you an easy way to build a customer database and send them regular emails. At the start, when your numbers are small, the service is usually free. Email marketing is effective because it’s more personal, you can easily target different groups of customers, and you’re talking to people who have already chosen to hear from you.
The important thing to remember is that, under New Zealand law, you must get a customer’s consent to add them to your list and display both an unsubscribe link and genuine contact details. Most email marketing platforms provide code that you can embed on your website, enabling people to click a box to subscribe.
Write a regular blog
Blogging is a great way to show your customers how they can get the most from your product or service. Creating helpful content not only builds their trust in you as a subject matter expert, but it also helps your site rank better in Google’s search engine, as it prioritises websites that regularly update with quality content. Plus, you can share your blog across your social media channels and in your email marketing as a way to drive customers to your site.
List on Google My Business
Google My Business is a free service that lets you promote your business on Google Search and Maps. When you sign up for a Google Business Profile, you can update your location, opening hours, website details and more. It also provides you with analytics to see website clicks and direction requests.
Keep an eye on your competition
Like most small businesses, you probably have competitors who sell similar products or services, and it’s a great idea to monitor what they’re doing right – and wrong!
Sign up to their email lists, stalk their social media, and take a wander around their shops. As Mark Twain once said, “There is no such thing as a new idea. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope.”