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How Do I Advertise My Small Business?

How Do I Advertise My Small Business?

When starting up or running a small business, you’re probably looking for creative and innovative ways to promote your products or services. Even if your business has no marketing budget, there’s still several ways that you can promote and market your business. This article will discuss the different marketing channels available and what ones are most effective for small business marketing.

Let’s review some of the methods small businesses use to advertise and determine if any would be the right choice for your business.

Set Your Budget

To understand what marketing strategy may be best for your business, you must first define how much you will be willing to spend. Once this is known, it will determine the options you have available to you. As an example, if your marketing budget is £1000, you may decide that you only want to spend £500 of it on social media marketing. This will determine how many ads you can run and on how many platforms e.g. £250 on GoogleAds and £250 on Facebook ads.

Monitoring the performance of your advertising after it’s been decided where to spend the budget is essential. For example, if Facebook ads are performing well but GoogleAds are not, you might decide to change the budget you are spending on each to maximise performance and potential returns. Different marketing channels will provide different results and it’s important you know which ones perform better for your business.

As well as reviewing the engagement and performance of the marketing channels, it’s also important that the business reviews the return on investment (ROI). This will give valuable insights into which marketing channels perform best and allow you to tailor your budget and strategy if required.

The key is to try several marketing channels to find the one most effective, at the cheapest cost, for your business.

Build Your Website

In today’s high-tech world, almost every business has a website. If it is designed and maintained properly, it can be a great way to optimise your customer base and promote your business through search engines like Google. The main aspects found in a high performing website are:

  • Smooth client procurement experience on website and mobile app
  • Clear steps of what you want them to do next (CTA’s)
  • Offer an email sign up service for news about products or services
  • Directions of every platform your products are available on e.g. Amazon

Even though social media platforms have become extremely important for small businesses marketing strategies, having a good website is still of utmost importance. In fact, social media should be used as an accompaniment to a well performing website rather than the only sales channel. There are several companies who now offer web building applications for a reasonable cost – so no excuse!

Companies such as Shopify and WooCommerce offer professional web building services, using templates that can be tailored for any business or industry and if you also want to buy and link a specific domain name to your website, most providers now offer this service as well.

These services will come with a cost but they do offer specific trial periods so you can try to build your business before the higher charges are applied. They are also mobile friendly which is important in today’s ecommerce marketplace.

Use Social Media Marketing

One of the cheapest and most cost-efficient ways to reach your target audience is to use social media. This can help you build relationships with potential clients by showcasing exactly what your business offers to a mass audience.

It is however important to understand which social media channel you will use and what content to use. The main platforms are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tik-Tok and X (formerly Twitter) and each will require different content to start building brand awareness.

These platforms are straightforward to use and can provide the template to easily create a business profile. This enables you to provide further information about your business such as contact information and opening hours, as well as increasing traffic to your website if a link is provided in your profile.

Another key aspect of social media is they have templates where businesses can add photographs of their product or service, and it will automatically create advertising campaigns and then track the analytics to determine how effective your website and advertising is.

Use Paid Search Marketing

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is another great way to reach your target audience. This is when businesses place ads on sites like google, so that when a customer searches keywords relevant to a business, ads will appear. As defined in the name, you only actually pay for these ads if someone clicks on it!

PPC is a good way of raising the profile of your business and driving traffic to your website. Local businesses can also benefit from this type of marketing as they can target specific geographic locations and advertise to customers close to them. The most common search engine is Google, and they offer this type of advertising through their GoggleAds platform.

Further information on how search marketing works are available on skillshop.withgoogle.com and tutorials are available which can show you how to maximise the impact of GoogleAds on your business. Depending on the course being completed, Google also offers certifications showing you have passed the course and may even issue a certificate – not bad for free! As with all advertising, it needs to be regularly monitored to make sure it’s having the desired effect.

Optimise Localised Search

Localised search is another necessary strategy when advertising your business on search engines. This is when your business appears on search engines when the customers searching a specific keyword are local.

For example, if you own a coffee shop in Glasgow, then you would want your business to appear when someone searches ‘coffee Glasgow’. Google My Business is a free service provided by Google that allows you to create a business profile with important information about your business such as address, contact details and opening hours.

Google My Business also lets you add photographs and videos relating to your business. This could be pictures of how the shop front looks, what products you offer or a video tour of your building. It’s important this information is kept up to date as Google regularly changes its algorithms so if business information is outdated, customers may no longer be able to find you.

If you have an advertising budget, you can pay to boost your listing within the search engine. This means your business will be higher up in the rankings when customers search chosen words or locations.

Get Involved in Local Events

Getting involved in local events within your geographic area can be a great way to raise awareness of your brand and is an easy way to market directly with potential customers. It can also help build relationships with customers and other businesses in the community.

Local events where you can market and sell your product could include trade shows or farmer’s markets and depending on location, there may be conventions related to your industry.

Setting up your own event could also be an option. Imagine you own a coffee shop in Glasgow and Scotland are playing an important international football match, putting on an event to watch the football would be a fantastic way to promote your business, make some sales and build a reputation within your community.

Use Referral Marketing

Word of mouth, sometimes known as referral marketing, is one of the best ways to increase your customer base. This is when you offer incentives – such as discounts or free items – for your customer and any friends or family they refer to your business. Referral marketing is a good way to increase your customer base and build a relationship with existing customers by offering incentives which benefit the customer and your business.

Like referral marketing, affiliate marketing is another strategy small businesses could adopt. This is where you provide a link to your website which is then shared with your affiliate’s audience. For any interactions which end in a purchase, a percentage of the sale is given to your affiliate, which benefits both your business and your affiliates.

Distribute Flyers and Business Cards

Even today, with all the social media platforms that are available, some traditional methods are still highly effective. Distributing flyers and business cards to the local area can help promote your business to many potential customers.

If you decide to use this strategy further afield, you could hire students who are looking for some pocket money to help distribute your flyers and cards. This is a useful marketing strategy if on a limited budget.

Even when using traditional methods like business cards and flyers, a recent enhancement to this marketing strategy is the use of QR codes. This is when businesses put a QR code on their flyers or cards that directs the customer to a website or digital location of their choice.

QR codes are useful because they can be placed in areas of high foot fall or where people are waiting around, like doctor surgeries waiting rooms. Make sure to distribute flyers and business cards regularly as it can be a fantastic physical reminder to your customer of your brand.

Participate in Local Events

If your business relies on local trade, sponsoring a local event or sports team is an effective way to integrate your business into the community. Offering raffle prizes, cash donations or sports equipment will help promote your business within the local area while building a community spirit. This will increase awareness of your business but also give you the chance to conduct some market research as to what customers would like to see you offer in future.

Network With Other Local Businesses

Any advertising campaign should include networking with other local businesses, even if you are in direct competition, as you never know when a potential collaboration could arise. There will also usually be regular meetings between all local businesses in the area and it would be beneficial to meet other owners and discuss some of the opportunities and challenges with operating in the area.

Supporting fellow businesses is essential as a strong local trade will benefit everyone in the area. It can also provide some other non-tangible benefits such as advice and support in running a business. Many customers would tend to use businesses recommended by other businesses as they would be seen as trustworthy, so by supporting and promoting each other’s businesses, it could lead to increased sales from a customer base which may not have been previously available.

Create an Email Marketing Campaign

Creating an email marketing campaign can be an effective way to advertise your small business and reach customers directly. However, to do this, you would need to have access to a database of customer email addresses. Most applications have the functionality to easily create and schedule email marketing campaigns to try and generate further sales or leads.

An email marketing campaign would also allow you to send out targeted mails as you would know the buying preference of the customers you are contacting. For example, if you own a coffee shop in Glasgow, then sending promotional emails to a targeted audience close to the geographical location of your business offering free drinks or discounts would be a fantastic way to increase sales and grow the customer base.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a variety of different ways to promote your small business without having a massive budget. The key is to try different strategies and ideas to see what is the most effective marketing technique that provides the best results for you.

When marketing, remember to stay consistent and ensure it’s engaging while not being afraid to try out new ideas and promotions. Hopefully you now have a range of techniques that you feel confident in utilising to promote your small business while keeping costs low.

Good luck on your marketing adventure!

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