Companies big and small face challenges finding ways to market their products effectively and on budget.
But for small companies, it’s a whole other story. There’s a difference between finding the money to support the marketing campaign and flat out not having it.
But don’t stress! Josh Steimle, an author and entrepreneur (maybe you’ve seen him speak at TEDx?) has you covered. He’s popped by our blog to share 5 ways you can get your business or product’s name out there by yourself—and without breaking the bank.
We’re pleased as punch to have you, Josh!
Running a small business means not having enough money to do everything you need and want to do. I run a small business and I feel this pain every day.
My capacity to come up with ideas about how to grow my business far outstrips the cash on hand to implement those ideas. I also work with small businesses that need assistance with digital marketing, and many of our potential clients are in a similar bind.
As I pitch our services to these entrepreneurs I see their eyes widen and the excitement grow as they see the potential of what we offer, only to see their hopes dashed and the disappointment on their faces when we talk about what it will cost.
It’s not that they don’t believe our services will help them grow, but they simply don’t have the budget.
When this happens, I try to help these small business owners out by proposing ways they can engage in do-it-yourself digital marketing without spending too much of their valuable time and money.
Here are my top 5 tips.
1. Learn the SEO basics
You control your website and the content on it in a way you can’t control what you post on social media or anywhere else. But if your website can’t be found by potential customers searching for it then what good is it doing for you?
Real SEO—the kind that generates big results, often takes big amounts of time and money. But getting SEO basics right can be done for free, without too much of your time. If your website is running WordPress, as 26.2% of all websites do, then the first thing you want to do is install Yoast SEO plugin and go through the basics of configuring it.
Then check out The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz (it’s free) and skim through it, applying the knowledge you get when you see where it can be quickly and easily applied. No, doing these things is not a replacement for hiring a full time SEO or an SEO firm, but it’s a whole lot better than doing nothing.
2. Start a blog
Chances are you already have a blog section on your website but nobody is posting anything on it. If you struggle to know what to blog about or how to write effectively, I recommend checking out the books Youtility by Jay Baer and Everybody Writes by Ann Handley.
But the short tip I would give any small business owner is to go to the question and answer website Quora, find questions related to your products and services, make that question the title of a blog post, and then answer the question in the blog post.
Not only will you find that visitors to your website love this kind of content, but it will do great things for your SEO efforts.
3. Grow your email list
What if you had 1,000 prospective customers who had told you they’re interested in what you have to say, so much so that they asked you to send them more information on a regular basis? That’s what an email list is, if you grow it the right way.
Make it very easy for people to sign up for your email when they’re most likely to do so by putting a sign up field at the end of each of your blog posts. Don’t try to collect too much information or you’ll make it harder for them to sign up.
Try a popup from a company like SumoMe which provides this tool for WordPress sites as well as any other.
Yeah, yeah, I know, you hate those popups, but that’s probably because they’ve been implemented the wrong way. The point is, they work, and they’ll work better if you do it in a way that serves your website visitors’ interests.
Also consider offering incentives for people to sign up such as access to a white-paper, ebook, or special series of blog posts.
Not sure what to put in your emails? You can find entire books on this topic, but to start? Put your blog posts in emails, or check out your competitors to see what they put in theirs and then ask yourself, “If I were my own customer, is this content I would be glad to see?”
How often should you send out emails? It depends, but I recommend at least once per week.
Email marketing expert Ben Settle sends an email out every single day. If you want to dive deep into questions like how to best schedule your emails as well as every other aspect of email marketing, Settle’s Email Players Newsletter will give you the advanced techniques you need to turn email marketing into a major profit driver for your business.
4. Start using Facebook ads
Even for B2B companies, Facebook ads are incredibly effective. You can target your ads to specific audiences by choosing demographics, interests, and geographies that match who you’re going after.
My best Facebook advertising tip? Use your existing customer email list to create a Facebook Lookalike Audience. If you have 1,000 emails from customers who have already purchased your product, you can upload this list to Facebook.
Facebook will figure out which profiles belong to those email addresses, analyze those profiles, and then create an audience of tens or hundreds of thousands of similar people you can target with your ads. It works so well you’ll almost feel like you’re doing something sneaky. You’ll not only see much higher conversion rates from your Facebook ads, but you won’t be spending money showing your ads to people who are less likely to become customers.
5. Make videos
Nobody wants to do video. It’s too hard. At least that’s what all your competitors think, and that’s exactly why you should do it. That, and the fact that it’s not hard at all.
Download the Periscope app, take one of those questions from Quora, use it to craft a title for your broadcast or “scope,” point your phone at your face, and answer that question and then answer all the other questions you get from viewers in real time.
Upload your best videos to YouTube. Embed the YouTube videos in related blog posts and share them on your other social media channels.
If you’re afraid to get started, watch a few scopes from other people to boost your confidence—this is a new platform so everyone is learning along with you. Get started on this rapidly growing platform right now and a year from now you’ll dominate your niche.
If you only implement these 5 tips for your small business you’ll see amazing results. You’ll experience a learning curve with each one, but you’ll quickly realize how easy it is. If you can’t focus on all of them, just pick one and dive in. You can get started on Periscope marketing your business within the next 15 minutes.
Try it out, what have you got to lose? And let me know how it goes.
Have any burning questions for Josh? Leave them in the Comments below!
Josh Steimle is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. Over the past three years he has written over 200 articles for publications like Forbes, Mashable, TechCrunch, and Time, and is the author of Chief Marketing Officers at Work: How Top Marketers Build Customer Loyalty. Steimle is a TEDx speaker and speaks globally at business conferences and events. He is also the founder and CEO of MWI, a digital marketing firm he founded in 1999 with offices in Hong Kong and the U.S. Steimle was recently recognized by Entrepreneur magazine as one of 50 Online Marketing Influencers To Watch in 2016.