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10 cost-effective marketing strategies every small business should try

If you’ve ever felt like marketing is a luxury only big corporations can afford, we’re here to debunk that myth. In fact, there are numerous cost-effective marketing strategies for small businesses that can yield significant results without burning a hole in your pocket.

Here are 10 cost-effective marketing strategies for your small business:

1. Carve out your unique space

Your unique value proposition (the problem you solve best for your target customers and how you do that for them) is what sets you apart from the competition.

Take some time to identify what makes your business different. Think about these questions with your product or service:

  • What problem do you solve for your ideal customer?
  • How do you solve that problem in a way that’s different from other businesses in your space?

Is it your exceptional customer service? Your innovative product offerings? Your commitment to sustainability? Whatever it may be, hone in on your value proposition and use it to attract your target audience.

Here’s an example from a website we built for Best Fence & Rail of Florida:

This section tells you:

  1. What the company does (provide high-quality custom fencing)
  2. How they do it differently (exceptional service)
  3. What the customer gets out of working with them (take the stress out of home improvement)

Check out our free download of strategy questions if you need help defining your target audience and value proposition.

2. Grow your customer relationships

In small businesses, relationships are everything. Unlike large corporations, smaller companies have the advantage of being able to offer a more personable experience to their customers. According to a NerdWallet survey:

  • 92% of Americans say they support (spend money at) small businesses
  • 37% prefer shopping at small businesses because they value the personal touch they receive
  • 30% say they’re willing to pay more for products and services purchased at small businesses versus at a major retailer or chain store

So, how can you leverage small business support to your advantage? Focus on building strong relationships with your customers by going above and beyond to meet their needs. Take the time to get to know them personally, remember their preferences, and show them that you genuinely care about their satisfaction. Nurturing these meaningful relationships helps you turn one-time customers into loyal advocates for your brand.

3. Harness the power of email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your target audience and drive sales. With an average ROI of $36 for every $1 spent on email marketing campaigns (that’s 3600%!), it’s no wonder that businesses of all sizes are turning to email as a key marketing channel.

To get started with email marketing, you’ll need to build an email list of interested subscribers. Start building your list by offering incentives, such as discounts or exclusive content, to encourage people to sign up. Once you have a list of subscribers, you can start sending them regular newsletters, product updates, and promotions to keep them engaged and informed about your business.

You may also be interested in: Is email marketing worth it?

4. Master content marketing

Content marketing is all about creating valuable, relevant content that attracts and engages your target audience. Whether it’s blog posts, videos, infographics, or social media posts, the key is to provide content that educates, entertains, or inspires your audience.

One of the best things about content marketing is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With a bit of creativity and by leveraging your unique experience and expertise, you can create high-quality content that resonates with your audience.

TOP TIP: Don’t just create content for content’s sake; create materials that are genuinely useful and interesting to your target audience. Always create with them in mind.

To get eyes on your content, we recommend starting a business blog. In a past post, we shared how one of our client’s blog posts consistently brings in thousands of visitors to their site per month. You can read more about their blogging strategy here.

P.S. This blog post you’re reading now is part of our content strategy. If you’re a small business owner, we hope you’re finding it helpful!

5. Be social media savvy

Love it or loath it, social media is a powerful marketing tool for small businesses. With billions of active users on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, social media offers numerous opportunities to connect with your audience, build brand awareness, and drive sales.

To make the most of social media marketing, it’s essential to develop a clear plan and strategy for each platform. Identify which platforms your target audience is most active on and focus your efforts there. Share engaging content that showcases your brand’s personality and values, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of posts and formats to see what resonates with your audience.

Not sure where to post or what to post?

Get our free Facebook and LinkedIn content guides. Find out which platform is right for you, AND get 30 days of content ideas on tap!

Facebook Content Ideas

LinkedIn Content Ideas

6. Collaborate with other businesses

Collaborating with other businesses allows you to expand your reach, tap into new customer bases, and unlock new opportunities for growth. Look for companies that target the same clientele, but sell different products or services that aren’t in direct competition with yours.

For example, we partnered with attorney Venus Liles to create some helpful content on the legalities and possible liabilities associated with website terms of use. The video contains important information for our client base (that they’re getting for free as a value-add) and exposes our business to a potential new client base (Venus’ clients and connections).

7. Create a free Google Business Profile

A Google Business Profile is a must-have (but oft-neglected) marketing tool for local businesses. Not only does it allow your business to show up on Google Maps and in local search results, but it also provides valuable information to potential customers, such as your hours of operation, contact information, and customer reviews.

To get the most out of your Google Business listing, be sure to optimize it with accurate and up-to-date information, high-quality photos, and positive customer reviews. Encourage your satisfied customers to leave reviews, and respond promptly to any negative feedback to show that you value customer satisfaction.

8. Invest in SEO

Yes, search engine optimization (SEO) is worth it for small businesses! SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords and phrases. While SEO can be a complex and time-consuming process, it’s also one of the most effective long-term marketing strategies for small businesses.

The good news is that there are some quick-win (SEO) tactics you can apply without significant expertise or web developer intervention. Check out our free SEO ebook, “5 things your small business can do right now to improve SEO”, to get started.

And remember Strategy #4, content marketing? Well, that has a major role to play in your SEO. Google prioritizes high-quality content that best answers the questions its users are asking. If your content does this, your website will become more visible on Google and bring in more free traffic.

9. Nurture your network

In today’s digital age, face-to-face connections are more important than ever. Networking events, trade shows, community groups, and industry conferences provide valuable opportunities to meet potential customers, partners, and collaborators in person and establish meaningful relationships.

To maximize your networking efforts, be proactive in seeking opportunities to connect with others in your industry or community. Join local business associations, attend industry events, and participate in online forums and communities to expand your network and stay connected with others in your field.

Brighter Messaging recently joined our local Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce, and we’ve already met two new clients from this network!

10. Learn to DIY like a pro

While hiring a marketing agency may be out of reach for many small businesses, that doesn’t mean you can’t still benefit from expert advice and guidance. With our Marketing Mentorship packages, you can learn how to DIY your marketing like a pro at a fraction of the cost. Our team is here to provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to take your marketing efforts to the next level. Click here to learn more about Marketing Mentorship and schedule a free consultation. 

You may also be interested in: How to market your business on a budget

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