Starting a small business is one of the most challenging things a person can do. Not only does it take a lot of time and effort to set things up, once you got everything ready to go, you then need to find some customers!
This is where marketing for small business can make a huge impact on your bottom line. Done properly, a great marketing campaign can take your business to new heights. However if done poorly, it can also destroy your business.
So if you are just starting your small business or perhaps already have a business that’s not really performing as well as you’d like, here are some tips that will help you get going in the right direction when it comes to marketing your small business.
Start With Social Media
Even as an SEO specialist, the first thing I would really recommend any small business to do is to get started with social media.
The reason being is that social media can be done basically for free and is relatively easy to learn. Social media also has a massive reach, and if done properly, you can drive a ton of traffic to your business website as well as generate a ton of buzz for your brand.
To be successful on social media, all you need to do is invest the time in creating content, interacting with others, and growing your following. Social media is a great method of promotion especially if you’re on a small budget, which is typically the case for most small businesses.
When it comes to social media, generally most businesses will find that there is one platform that fits them the best. For example if you’re a law firm you’ll probably benefit most from being on Facebook or Twitter. If you have a business that can be demonstrated on video, then you may find YouTube to be the best platform.
My advice would be to find one social media platform and stick to it initially. Really focus on growing that one platform out and getting the word out about your small business. Once you get a following growing with that, then you can consider diversifying to the other social media platforms.
Start A Blog For Your Business
Another way that you can market your small business is by adding a blog to your business website. Many businesses just throw up a website with some basic info about their business and leave it at that. However by doing the bare minimum, they are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to grow their business.
You don’t have to become a hardcore blogger, but throwing up some content every week can go a long way in demonstrating your expertise as well as increasing your search engine traffic.
Join Industry Forums
A great way to get the word out about your small business is to join online forums in your industry. No matter what you do, there is likely a forum out there for it. So seek them out and become a contributing member.
Forums are a great place to not only connect with people in your industry, but also a great place to pick up new customers. If you become a well known contributing member, usually over time business inquiries will start coming your way.
For example the below is a credit repair forum. If you had a business that offered credit repair services, offering helpful advice on a board like this can help you get the word out about your business as well as potentially land you some new clients.
Many forums also allow you to advertise your products and services usually for a small fee, so again this is another great opportunity for your business to reach a new audience.
Join Facebook Groups
Just like industry forums, there are likely at least a few Facebook Groups you can join as well related to your business.
As with forums, try your best to be a contributing member, don’t just spam your business details out there. Offer advice, answer questions, and try to help as many people as you can.
For example below is a Facebook Group dedicated to free legal advice. If you were an attorney and thoughtfully answered questions there, over time there is a good chance members of the group may reach out to you for your services.
By being active in Facebook Groups you’ll build up your online reputation, and again over time you’ll begin to receive business inquiries when people are impressed with the depth of knowledge you are sharing.
Learn Basic SEO
After you get your social media and forum presence going, I would then recommend learning the basics of SEO. If you have never done SEO before, doing it properly actually requires quite a bit of study. However the basics of SEO like optimizing your website are pretty straightforward and can be summed up in the graphic below:
Even just doing basic on-page SEO can work wonders for your website, so definitely start there first. After if you have the budget for it, you can consider hiring an SEO company to see if they can get things moving for you.
If you are interested in learning and doing all the SEO for your small business on your own, I would recommend joining Black Hat World as a place to start learning. There is quite a bit of knowledge there in the form of tutorials and guides, and it’s a great place to connect with knowledgeable SEOs who actively work in the field.
Buy Google Or Facebook Ads
The last option I would recommend when it comes to marketing your small business is to use a paid traffic source like Google Ads or Facebook Ads. There are tons of places you can buy advertising from on the internet, however these two online behemoths are usually good places to start.
Keep in mind that running a Facebook or Google Ads campaign can get really pricey, especially if you’re in a competitive industry. For example if you’re a lawyer, you may pay upwards of $50/click on Google Ads! So again only consider these options if you have a decent sized budget, as that’s what it usually takes to learn the ropes and return a positive ROI on your ad spend.
Also note that generally either Facebook Ads or Google Ads will be a better fit for your business, so initially try to stick with one of those. For example if you run a dermatology office, it’s likely Google Ads will be a better fit. On the contrary if you sell custom t-shirts, it’s likely Facebook Ads will work better for you. So definitely think about which platform will be better suited to advertise your small business.
So I hope you found this article helpful when first deciding where to market your small business. Again I recommend that you start with the free options first and then eventually build up to the paid ones. You can actually have quite a bit of success using free methods of promotion, and you may choose to never go the paid advertising route. However obviously it does require a lot of work at least initially to get the free methods of promotion going.
Eventually as your budget grows you can consider paid advertising like Google Ads and/or Facebook ads to accelerate things. However initially just start with the free options and the basics and then see how things progress from there.