Small start up businesses often have a tough time breaking through the clutter of promotional noise and connecting with their intended target customer. Most businesses know that they cannot ignore marketing, but the problem is figuring out exactly what type of marketing is most cost effective for their particular needs. Today’s busy consumer has a short attention span. A small business must attract the attention of consumers without breaking the budget.
Many small businesses still turn to advertising as a way to reach customers. However, when just starting out, traditional advertising could cost a tremendous amount of money. Consumers must be introduced to the business first, which requires the building of trust. Fortunately, there are other cost effective ways in which a start up can connect with new customers and begin building up a relationship.
Affiliate marketing is a strategy that involves having other people promote your product or service in exchange for a commission. Imagine that there are literally thousands of people that want and need what you sell. The only problem is that it is virtually impossible for you to reach all of them. By utilizing an affiliate marketing program, you could enlist an army of people that are willing to spread the word about your company. Essentially, you are getting free advertising. You only have to pay your affiliates if a lead they provide turns into a sale. There are several companies online that specialize in helping small businesses set up their own affiliate program.
Become An Industry Expert
Most entrepreneurs have some type of special knowledge within their area of expertise. Running a business always requires constant learning and growing. There are plenty of people that would love to know more about what you do. In fact, being known as an expert in your industry can go a long way in building up credibility. People are more likely to do business with those they like and trust. With a little planning, you can quickly establish yourself as the “go to??? person in your niche. Ideas on how to accomplish this would be to create interest through engaging in social media, making product infographics that combine graphics and statistics and writing industry specific white papers.
One of the easiest and cheapest ways in which to create an online presence for a small business is to have a blog. A business blog isn’t just for making announcements. Blogging for business is all about relationship building – at least it should be used in that way. A blog offers an opportunity to go into more depth in regards to your particular expertise. You can share insider tips and information within each blog post that a reader would find useful. Some business blogs do this in an entertaining way, while others are more straightforward. The key to having a great blog is to be sure it always has high quality articles related to your niche.
Most consumers are going to turn to online search sites when in need of a product or service. The use of smartphones and tablets has skyrocketed in recent years. This means that you must position your business in a way that makes it easy for potential customers to find you when they do an online search. A fast way to gain new customers is to have a Google Local (Google Places) listing for your business. This is a page that contains the name, location and contact information for your business. It can also feature Google Map directions, photos of your business, a link to your website and customer reviews. In order to get the most out of this listing, you should claim your page and keep it updated.
Many small businesses have had success with distributing a press release that involves telling the world some important news. A press release should always contain information that is current and related directly to your company.
Small businesses do not have to spend a lot of money on marketing. Instead, there are several inexpensive strategies that can easily be used to bring in lots of new customers. With a little effort and tenacity, these techniques can bring much success.
Nicola Byrne of Calverton Finance – a invoice finance company based in the UK working with businesses of any size.
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