As a business owner, you know that marketing is instrumental in connecting with your target customers. You’ve got the basics covered. Facebook page and Twitter account for your business? Check. Website? Definitely (or, if you don’t have a website, you’re working hard to get one ready). But we’re willing to bet there are still valuable, low-cost marketing opportunities you’re leaving on the table. As you develop your 2018 marketing plan, keep these ideas in mind.
Almost 80 percent of small business owners with websites say they’ve optimized for mobile technology. This is smart. More than 60 percent of smartphone users made a purchase using their mobile devices in the last six months.
Most of us live with our phones only a few feet away, so take advantage of your customers’ favorite tech! Check out text messaging services to develop an SMS marketing plan. Hint: It’s not all coupons and discounts. Exclusive invitations, interesting content, and sure, $10 off a $75 order, can keep customers opening your texts. One message a week is a good target.
You want to build authority as an expert in your industry. Content marketing, such as publishing blog posts or infographics, is a key way to accomplish this. In fact, 90 percent of consumers find custom content helpful. A lesser-known way to build authority is to take time to answer questions users post to popular sites.
Reddit, Quora, Stack Exchange and Yahoo Answers let users post questions and crowd-source advice. Offer helpful answers, and you’ll build your reputation. Some business owners may find responding to questions easier than planning and writing regular blog posts. Include your website URL in your signature on your posts to drive traffic to your site.
Not seeing the results you hoped for on your blog yet? Get your message to a wider audience by working with other blogs in your industry. Writing an article for another site, or inviting a popular blogger to write a guest post for you, can get new eyes on your content.
You can apply this idea offline, too. Contact the editors of free, local magazines available at libraries, grocery stores and community centers in your area. A pest control service could write a quick guide to keeping crickets out of the basement in the fall. A restaurant could share an appetizer recipe. Offer an interesting article with valuable information, and include your business name and website in your bio. You may see an influx of local traffic.
Social media marketing has incredible potential to influence consumers. Back in 2015, Facebook already influenced more than half of online and offline purchases! Establishing a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn should be a no-brainer for small businesses. But is that enough?
The range of social media platforms out there can make your head spin. Don’t burn yourself out trying to build active accounts everywhere. Instead, do your research. Make sure you understand your target market first. Then, look into the social media platforms where they spend the most time. Targeting young, affluent women? Pinterest users are primarily female millennials with a median income of $50,000. SnapChat is your go-to for Generation Z, while 68 percent of Gen X consumers make their decisions based on reviews from sites like Yelp or Google.
Concentrate on the one additional social media platform that gives you the best reach to your target customer. Make sure to track and measure your progress so you know how well your efforts are working.
Even in a digital world, there’s a benefit to pounding the pavement. Trade shows or community events in your area give you a better chance to meet customers and potential business partners organically. Forrester Research found that events are the second most effective marketing tactic, after the business’ website. Much of the power of successful marketing interactions is developing a personal connection between a consumer and the brand. Don’t underestimate the impact of a real-world, face-to-face conversation.
Which marketing efforts provided the best ROI for your business in 2017? What are you adding to your marketing strategy? We'd love to hear from you in the comments section below.