Local companies have to find creative ways to market their businesses. A lack of funding and a high initial cost of marketing puts small businesses at a disadvantage. Marketing budgets can be 1% of revenue, or a new company may spend 50% of their sales on marketing.
The average small company allocates 9% – 12% of sales to marketing.
Shoestring budgets allow room for creativity in marketing, making it fun, exciting and often personal when marketing.
Local businesses are making waves by using the following techniques in 2018:
1. Content Marketing
Business owners often don’t realize that the experience they’ve accumulated throughout their careers has led them to become an authority in their industry. A plumber that has been in the industry for decades can explain common plumbing problems and solutions better than anyone.
Great content is the cornerstone of a content marketing strategy, and what local businesses can use to both establish authority and educate potential customers.
Content marketing for small businesses isn’t just about hiring the best SEO company and publishing content. Small businesses also need to:
- Create content that tells a story
- Focus on measurable value
- Promote content that’s created
Wordstream has a great article on content marketing for small businesses that covers all of the basics.
2. Free PR with HARO
HARO is a great resource that a lot of smaller businesses are just starting to leverage. The site, which is short for Help A Reporter Out, has media queries that are provided by reporters. These professionals need your input.
And small businesses that provide their input can be featured on some of the world’s leading publications, such as:
- Huffington Post
HARO is also a great way to make connections and network.
3. Groups and Forums
Social media is free to market on as long as the business owner has the time and dedication to spend on it. Yes, social media isn’t for everyone, but on a local scale, it’s impossible to ignore the impact that social media can have on a business.
Facebook is a great place to start and learn how to market on social media.
Businesses are joining local pages, interacting with other businesses in the area and spreading the word about their businesses.
It’s a way to market to locals and really have an impact.
Landscapers can answer community questions, and businesses are also asking page and group owners if they’re allowed to promote their business in a post. Active groups can also lead to a plethora of referrals and leads that can help jumpstart a new business on a non-existent budget.
LinkedIn is also a prime social media site where owners are joining groups and promoting their businesses.
4. Review Sites
Review sites act as free promotional tools. Business owners that want to protect their online reputation, drive traffic to their site and boost sales are using review sites to their advantage. Free to join, these sites include:
These sites receive hundreds of millions of visitors every month. These visitors are looking for local businesses. Businesses flock to review sites to start promoting their business online first.