Running a business nowadays is more challenging even with the help of sophisticated marketing tools to find customers in the different corners of the world, or rather the web. According to the Chamber of Commerce, only 80 percent of small businesses survive their first year. One of the reasons for the low success rate is their inability to turn a profit or even break even. This can be chalked up to financial or operational mismanagement or the fact that customers are now fussier.
It takes a lot of effort to turn buyers into loyal clients. Therein lies the biggest conundrum for businesses, especially small ones: how to find and retain precious purchasers amidst the noise?
That is where marketing comes in. But, of course, not everyone has the budget to run elaborate campaigns like the big brands. Thankfully, there are low-budget marketing tactics small businesses can employ to reach out to potential customers and retain existing ones.
Free Social Media Marketing Tools
A stunning 81 percent of consumers do research online before making purchases. Because of that, it is critical to have a presence on the internet.
If a website is still beyond the business’s capability, take advantage of free social media tools. For example, Facebook lets you create a business page for free.
Businesses can create an account dedicated to their brands. They can use it as a platform to connect with prospective buyers and remain engaged with previous customers. It can serve as a tool to spread the word about your brand’s promotion and discount events to entice consumers to shop at your store. Best of all, creating a page does not come with a cost.
Facebook also has an intuitive ads tool that lets businesses set up a campaign. It can assist in tailoring the settings to a business’s needs and setting a marketing budget. Thus, marketers can control how much they spend in this arena and leave room for other marketing efforts.
It is not only Facebook that has this feature. Businesses may find something similar on Twitter and other social networking platforms their audience frequents.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing should be something that marketers know and use. Google has an ads feature that enables even small businesses to expand their reach across the web. Or even make their reach as localized as they need. With this, they can generate more traffic to their site and get more leads and conversions.
Businesses can set an optimal budget for their search engine marketing campaigns. Plus, they have the option to only pay whenever people click on their ads, which means they only shell out money for results. Google ads are also flexible, allowing advertisers to decrease or increase their search engine marketing budget according to their needs.
Google has a vast network of websites where it displays ads. Where applicable, it can display ads in places on the web where a business’s target audience might be.
If businesses cannot do this in-house, they can rely on ads management services that offer results. This way, they can have a reliable marketing partner to develop and execute marketing and advertising ideas for them.
Local Business Tie-ups
Established local businesses can help new small businesses in growing their customer base through a mutually beneficial partnership. Co-branding can be fruitful when done right. The success of one can bring success to another. Partnerships help introduce new customers to both businesses.
These strategic partnerships also allow both brands to apply a greater premium on their products. But that depends on what the businesses are trying to achieve. They can drive foot traffic to each other with discounts and promos only available to those who have patronized either business.
Local stores can get inspiration from the co-branding partnerships of big brands. These agreements do not have to break the bank either, as both parties can set a doable budget for their joint promotions.
Set Up a Loyalty Program
Consumers like to know that brands appreciate their business. And one of the foolproof ways that companies can do so is by rolling out a loyalty program. They can incentivize customers to keep coming back by giving rewards, such as limited edition items, free shipping vouchers, and exclusive discounts.
Indeed, a survey by McKinsey in 2020 has shown that 60 percent of customers would spend more on paid loyalty programs. On the other hand, 30 percent of consumers expressed that they would be willing to shell out more on free incentivization programs. Whether small businesses launch paid or free loyalty programs, they can expect a high return.
With a loyalty program, small businesses can choose the digital path or do it the old-fashioned way. There are now apps and web-based software that can help set up a suitable program for small businesses’ needs. These solutions can come for free or a minimal fee monthly or annually.
Businesses can also merge both worlds by allowing online and in-store tracking of points and incentives.
With digital platforms being as powerful as they are, it can be tempting to focus marketing efforts solely online. However, old-school marketing can be just as effective, if not more so, especially for local small businesses. Old-school marketing strategies include banner ads in the vicinity, flyers, brochures, and signages.
These can raise awareness about the small business and can boost interest in the local market. Banner ads, when placed strategically, can keep a brand in the consumers’ line of sight. And those can steadily increase foot traffic in a brand’s place of business.
Moreover, these marketing avenues are not heavy on the pocket. Around 10 to 15 banner ads can already do the trick, for starters. Plus, signages can be around for a long time and can lead customers to a business’s doorstep all the time.
Cost-Efficient and Effective
In marketing, businesses do not have to choose one over the other. It is possible to have low-budget marketing that allows businesses to enjoy high returns. As mentioned above, one of the reasons many companies do not make it past the first-year mark is mismanagement of finances. When trying to reach foot traffic and sales goals, it can be easy to spend more than what the business can afford in marketing to meet those targets. Those tactics backfire on them, and they end up finding that they are hurting their operational finances.
Fortunately, there are cost-effective marketing strategies that are suitable for small businesses. These are the same strategies that big brands use, although on grander scales. And when wielded well, they can produce great results.