What is the one big issue of small businesses, esp. in the beginning? Of course, a limited amount of budget! You have to smartly utilize every penny as even banks have tighter lending regulations. This, in turn, makes your advertising budget even smaller or perhaps, non-existent, making it difficult to promote your business to people.
In such adversities, digital marketing has turned out to be a gift for small businesses especially because of its low cost or even being free! Starting social media profiles and advertising your business won’t cost you a dime. Despite this, many small businesses have used only a limited potential of this free digital marketing, though the numbers are increasing.
Businesses are looking beyond the traditional outbound techniques, which will give a better ROI (Return On Investment) for them; is there any better way than the underutilized and inexpensive ways of online marketing? Following are the options beyond the usual directories and social networks that can maximize your online presence:
Swapping with other local businesses
Business swap with local companies is an excellent way to promote your own business for free. You get a fixed set of customers, target market/target audience to whom you can advertise your business in return for that business advertising themselves to your customers.
There are many types of swapping which hinge upon the availability of resources at your disposal. Search for companies with whom it will make sense to swap your business idea. E.g. a local medical store can swap business promotion with a physician or other doctor. An educational book store can swap business with a coaching class or a private tutor, and so on.
You can leave business cards at each other’s location, you can make comparable online ads, you can stick banners at other’s stores, you can write guest blog posts for each other, give a shout out to each other on social media, etc. There are hundreds of possibilities here and the business swap ideas are for free! With this activity, you can build up search engine credibility for people searching for businesses in your locality.
Google’s Places for Business
“Places for Business” is a free service by Google with which you can be placed on the Google maps. This makes it easy for people to find the products/services you offer on a local level. Registering your business here will make sense as more than 90% of customers decide on what local business is right for them after doing an online search.
If you have more than one location, you should sign up separately for each of them. On the other hand, if you don’t have any office/store open to the public, select a service area option when you sign up and then hide your physical address.
Local Chamber of Commerce
Your local chamber of commerce can provide you with ample networking opportunities for a small annual fee. Visit chamberofcommerce.com and give yourself the opportunity to learn the local laws of the land and how they will affect your business operations. You may also get to meet potential clients. New members get a chance to promote their business in the newsletter and also on their website.
Produce a business video
This is an excellent idea as people love to watch videos. You can make videos of a different kind, like explaining your business, describing your products/services, tips n hacks related to your products, etc. Post these videos on all your social media accounts esp. YouTube, and website. It is a good way to show your expertise and prove why you are the best in your field.
These four ways are just some of the free or minimal investment digital marketing techniques that small businesses can effectively use to increase their visibility and reach, get more customers with a high rate of ROI. You have to be smart, savvy, and do a good amount of research; because besides money, even time is important.