Getting your business or product noticed, is becoming more and more difficult these days, even when you think you know something about public relations and marketing. It just seems a bit advanced in today’s fast growing technological world to put yourself out there.
But one thing you should know: If you don’t market yourself, nobody else will.
When we started our Company in 2010, we created a list of methods on how we can promote our business using a minimum budget or even for free where possible, but first you need to make sure of the following to avoid wasting time and money.
First: Identify your audience…
It may seem like a no-brainer, but so many businesses fail to identify just who to talk to and how they need to approach their target market. Once you know “who” your clients are and the target category they fall in, then you can go about “how” to reach them by developing marketing and advertising material specifically for that audience.
It is pointless to spend money on a marketing campaign to draw people that do not even use your products or services.
Second: Get your website ready!
Make sure your website is updated and that it has an easy flow of information before you start generating online visitors through your marketing efforts. You also need a clean and easy to use landing page with all the necessary contact info.
In today’s digital world where Google is on the front page of your smartphone, you simply cannot afford to lose clients because your website is outdated or badly designed. People judge your business based on the look and feel of your website. If the website is not user friendly and looks like an amateur design, how can you expect people to think you are a professional company?
Having a professional website is very affordable and we even help startup companies that do not have much cash flow with monthly repayments. There really is no excuse for not having clean and mobile friendly design.
Shoestring Budget Marketing
Here are a few tips and methods we use that can help you advertise your business without breaking the bank.
Most readers will already have a website because not having one is the same as not having a phone number or e-mail address. However simply having a website is pointless if you do not make full use of the endless potential. We see lots of websites that were built years ago and haven’t been touched since.
Your website can be a powerful marketing tool if used correctly. We have helped several companies to develop a strategy where they cancelled all their print media expenses like newspaper adverts and yellow pages to only use online marketing. This not only saves them thousands every month, but also helps them expand into new market areas.
The best part of online marketing is that everything is measurable so you can see exactly what you are spending and what the return on investment is with detailed sales and visitor reporting from Google Analytics.
During marketing consultations we have often heard people ask us: “Who has time to spend on Twitter and Facebook?” This can no longer be an excuse for business owners to neglect a critical marketing channel. You do not need much time, 15 to 30 minutes a day will do to keep in touch with clients that use social media and to post something new about your business.
Another question people always ask us is: “What do I talk about?” You do not need to start a viral conversation, simply post about a new page on the website, a new project you are working or even something going on in your industry like new laws or regulations. All you need is a presence and from there it will grow into a powerful online marketing tool. Once you have started building a group of friends and followers you can even use it to gather information to help you build or improve your company like running polls on exiting services or ask for customer feedback to improve service levels.
Free Directory Listings
Google + is not only a great social media tool but also a link to your Google Local Business listing. These listings are powerful and in most cases they rank very high in the generic Google Search results. Best of all… it is free!
Try it for yourself for example by searching for Plumbers in Brackenfell and then click on Maps at the top to see the local plumbing businesses in your area and where they are located. This is a necessity for every business that wanted to attract local clients, no matter the size company. Be sure to claim your business listing as soon as possible.
There are also a ton of others, the more links you have pointing to your website the better. Several of our clients have also found Gumtree and OLX to work very well for their businesses.
Become an Expert in your Industry
Create a space where people can ask questions on your website and then answer them to the best of your abilities on the site. This will also create some extra content on the website to help with Google SEO marketing. Start a blog and talk about what you know, what you are learning along the way, challenges and successes. You can also repost articles from other people (make sure to give proper credit) or comment on them.
Get involved in your community
Look for groups and associations that align with your priorities and business interest. There are many business groups in South Africa that help you expand your local client base and also open new doors for your company.
Have a look at the following links if you wish to become more involved in your local business community:
Volunteering is also great way to network as well. You can give back to the community by offering your services for free to someone in need or by creating an outreach program in your company. Even the smallest offering can make a world of difference.
Consistently Brand Your Business
Branding is not only logos and business cards; it is what your company stands for and what you believe in. It is the way you interact with clients and resolve problems. Make sure your company leaves a good impression with your clients when they leave to ensure they keep coming back for more. At the end of the day, the very best form of marketing is word of mouth and that can only be achieved by delivering great service to your clients.