No matter how novel your business idea is, it needs effective marketing to become successful. If you are a small business owner with lots of ideas, you should make some noise to get the attention of the world.
To do that, you need to market your new business. However, you cannot place expensive ads on billboards because of budget constraints. This is the moment where many business owners make a mistake. They push marketing away as a secondary priority and try to win customers through other tactics.
The importance of marketing
If you look around, you will find that the startup industry is full of examples of entrepreneurs who made it big with an idea.
Steve Jobs started his business from his parent’s garage and geared Apple towards becoming the first trillion-dollar company in the world. Apple was making useful products, but it was their futuristic “Super Bowl” commercial that turned heads.
Marketing does not always mean that you must splurge the load of cash. This post highlights some tips that are cost-effective and can transform your business into the talk of the town.
– Power of Social Media
Before you step into any other marketing medium, you have the power of social media at your disposal. Most popular social media websites are free to use, and thus, have an insane reach.
So, social media advertising is your best and safest bet to attract customers. Unlike conventional advertising, it is not very expensive. Moreover, people are spending time on their favorite social media websites all the time.
These active users are your target audience, who will engage with your brand through your advertisements. These sites also let people leave reviews on your business page. You can ask your customers to leave a review on your profile. These reviews are the best way to put yourself out there through the quality of your business.
A free-of-cost marketing idea on social media is “online giveaways.” Fashion brands like Huda Beauty, use it very skillfully. The makeup influencer behind the brand built her empire through free giveaways and promotions on social media.
Many businesses have replicated the success model of Huda Beauty with the same results: exponential growth!
– A functional website
You do not need a website just for the sake of it. Your business needs a website to build its real estate in the internet world. The essential function of a website is to show up when someone searches for items related to your business.
To do that, you will have to improve certain features of your website. It is called search engine optimization (SEO).
Through SEO, you can improve your website to rank higher on search engines. It requires investment, but once the site is prepared, you will reap great rewards. The trick here is to find the most relevant keywords for your brand and optimize your website for it.
For example, if you sell leather jackets online, your targeted keywords should be “buy leather jackets online” or “leather jacket online store.”
You should optimize your website in such a way that when customers search these keywords, your website should feature in top results. This way, you can establish yourself as a brand and will also be able to increase sales.
– Content marketing
Generating valuable and quality content can take your business to new heights of success. Content marketing on the internet is a cheap and effortless way to establish your presence in the market and showcase your vision.
A shining example of that is, Hubspot, a B2B growth engine. Hubspot created the term “Inbound Marketing” and has helped many businesses grow since 2006.
Most of Hubspot’s customers come through their content marketing strategy. You can find helpful blog posts, eBooks, and whitepapers on any marketing topic on Hubspot’s blog.
Their blog gets more than 2 million visitors every month, many of which turn into frequent visitors. 75% of Hubspot’s leads come through the website’s content marketing strategy.
– Influencer marketing
Influencers have taken over the marketing realm, and small businesses couldn’t be any happier. Influencer marketing has become a norm in the past few years.
The benefits of influencer marketing outweigh the risks. It is cheaper than ad placements, and sometimes the influencer does not ask for money at all. If you have a unique service or an attractive product to send, influencers accept it as a form of payment.
HiSmile was a startup that wanted to give your teeth a new look. The founders spent all their money on shipping their product to influencers around the world. They also struck a deal with none other than Kylie Jenner for an Instagram post that garnered 1.6 million likes.
As a result of targeting high impact influencers on all popular platforms, the company earned $10 million in just 18 months! HiSmile shifted to other marketing channels later, but their rise to the top is solely due to a razor-sharp influencer campaign.
– Try cold-calling or e-mailing
It sounds like an outdated concept, but cold-calling still has a lot of potential for a newcomer in the business world. The best part is that it does not cost you much and may connect you with a lot of business opportunities.
Of course, it does not mean that you randomly call or e-mail people. Cold-calling is an art and here are some ways you can master it:
- Don’t push for a sale, try to talk about your business idea instead
- Conduct some market research before you contact people
- Come up with the most persuasive opening statement, something that will make the listener/reader pay attention to your cold-calling message
- Create a script if need be, so you are covered for the good and the bad bits of this exercise
- Be consistent and do not feel disappointed by a few incidents
Al Franken is an American Senator who is on his second term. He recently revealed that cold calling is his go-to method for bringing more people to his fundraisers and charity events. All it costs is to pick up the phone, and the conversation goes something like this:
He is a senior politician, but he does not rely on others to write e-mails or make calls on his behalf. This personal touch connects him to potential business prospects and gets the work done faster.
See the power of personal touch? Now imagine what a personalized e-mail or a call can do for the growth of your business.
Bonus tip: market to existing customers
Selling and catering to your existing customers is a goldmine many entrepreneurs do not explore. These customers have bought from you, and they have engaged with you in one way or the other. Your job is to make them realize that your business must be on the top of their list for all future requirements as well.
Whether it is through an e-mail marketing campaign, a sales funnel, or a retargeting strategy, you can make these customers a loyal ambassador. Wish them birthdays, make them feel special, and see how they bring you more leads.
These were only a few ideas to help you kick start a marketing plan. Make sure you calculate the success of each activity to improve future projects. Careful execution and real-time analysis are two practices a startup must implement during any business decision.