marketing ideas for small business Archives - Striven

Boost Your Small Business Growth: Leverage Software for a Successful Marketing Strategy

Did you know that 45% of small businesses fail within the first five years? One of the primary reasons for this is a lack of an effective marketing strategy.

So, you want to create a marketing strategy that sets your small business up for success? With the right software tools and resources, you can streamline your marketing efforts and get more out of your investment. 

In this article, we’ll explore tips and best practices for developing a winning marketing plan with the help of business management software.

Software for Different Types of Small Businesses

Small businesses face many challenges today. They need all available tools for success.

Let’s say you are running an eCommerce store; why not have it all set for you? Use Shopify and take advantage of the themes and plugins available to customize your store and make it unique.

Or maybe you are a coach needing help scheduling sessions and processing invoices. Paperbell does this for you, and you can focus on crafting powerful coaching questions to give your clients much-needed insight and help them grow on every level.

Realtors could use some help with managing the listings, as there’s no need to do things manually nowadays. With software like Zillow, your listing gets updated everywhere online after you update it at the source. It saves you time and headaches, doesn’t it?

Now let’s check out some amazing tools that will smooth your marketing journey and allow you to get the best results and achieve growth faster! 

Marketing Planning Tools

The foundation for a suitable marketing strategy lies in planning. In your marketing plan, you identify your target audience and the best channel to reach them. Marketing planning software is of great help here to ensure you will save resources on effective strategies.

But first things first, what exactly is marketing planning software? These software or online applications help small businesses plan, execute and track their marketing strategies. And these tools can vary greatly. For example, they can be simple spreadsheets or advanced software.

Selecting a user-friendly, budget-friendly tool is crucial. Some companies provide free trials or basic functions. Others need a subscription or a one-time fee. It’s also important to consider if the software integrates with other platforms like social media or email marketing software.

Content Marketing Software

Delving into the marketing world, one must recognize the significance of content. Essentially, content encompasses everything crafted to captivate and engage your target audience, including blog articles, videos, social media posts, and email newsletters.

Content marketing software serves as a valuable tool that amplifies your efficiency with features such as templates and scheduling. By leveraging these options and more, you can achieve far better results than manual methods would allow.

One of the key advantages of employing content marketing software is the remarkable boost in efficiency. This is achieved through an array of tools, such as blog editors, social media schedulers, and email marketing utilities. 

It also enables you to allocate tasks, establish deadlines, and collaborate seamlessly with team members. Utilizing these features effectively and maintaining clear insight into your colleagues’ work leads to swifter and more impressive outcomes.

Moreover, content marketing software plays a critical role in enhancing ROI. By scrutinizing data and making informed, data-driven decisions concerning content creation and distribution, businesses can optimize their results and ensure a more substantial return on their investments.

You can find a tool for everything you need regarding content. If you need an AI writing assistant to create engaging content – there’s Jasper or Writesonic. For content curation, you can use ContentStudio or StoryStream. And to handle tracking and analytics – Semrush that also helps you find the right topics and track content reach.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools

Search Engine Optimization is a critical component of digital marketing. To rank higher in search engines, you need to optimize your website and content with specific keywords and phrases that potential customers are searching for.

To make the most of SEO, you’ll need the right tools to help identify relevant keywords, create optimized content, and track search engine rankings. One popular SEO tool is Ahrefs, which offers keyword research, competitor analysis, and backlink tracking features. Another widely used tool is Semrush, which provides keyword tracking, site auditing, and content optimization tools. Yoast is another popular option for WordPress users, offering a plugin that analyzes and optimizes content for search engines.

For small e-commerce businesses, there are also specialized SEO tools available. For example, Etsy SEO tools like Etsyhunt and eRank help Etsy sellers optimize their listings and improve visibility on the platform.

Overall, investing in the right SEO tools can make a big difference in your search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your website or e-commerce store

Social Media Marketing Management Tools

Did you realize that a staggering 4.59 billion people across the globe actively use social media? This presents a colossal audience for small businesses to tap into, promoting their products or services to a vast clientele.

One strategy small businesses can adopt is generating QR codes to promote their social media channels, encouraging users to follow them. You can share coupons or ask for feedback this way, or even a location QR code that your followers can scan and get the directions to your store on Google Maps. These codes can also be printed on business cards, directing users to the company’s Instagram or Facebook page. However, this is merely the tip of the iceberg.

You could also use AI art generators where text prompts allow you to give instructions and create unique images to share across social media. For example, DALL-E 2 is known to be very fast and intuitive, and your imagination is the only limit to what you’ll create.

As a small business owner, juggling various responsibilities is inevitable, and managing social media can be time-consuming. Social media management software is purposefully designed to expedite this process. For instance, you can schedule posts in advance, freeing up precious time to focus on other vital aspects of your business operations.

If you are on a budget, use Buffer – a user-friendly tool that offers a good free plan with additional affordable plans available to upgrade. If you are present on many platforms, then Hootsuite is your best option. With this tool, you will maximize your marketing impact by targeting messages based on location or demographic profile.

Finally, you could try working with influencers to promote brand awareness and reach new audiences. Moonio offers you both free and paid plans to find, contact, and manage your relationships with influencers. If you want to find long-term brand ambassadors, the tool also offers the opportunity to scan your brand fans and customers to find influencers who are already talking about your brand or buying your products.

Marketing Project Management Software

Numerous small business owners grapple with resource constraints when orchestrating their marketing endeavors. But fear not, as a solution exists to help you remain at the forefront of your marketing game: marketing project management software.

This versatile tool empowers you to meticulously plan, organize, and monitor your marketing projects from inception to completion. It is designed to assist in managing various campaigns, including social media efforts, email marketing initiatives, and website overhauls.

By implementing marketing project management software, you can automate mundane tasks and eradicate extra process steps, ultimately saving time and money. For instance, it allows you to allocate tasks to team members, establish deadlines, and track progress within a single platform. Consequently, you can prevent miscommunications and ensure everyone remains aligned and informed.

Let’s be honest- tracking your marketing projects can be overwhelming. Nonetheless, with marketing project management software at your disposal, you can maintain organization and have all essential information in one centralized location. As a result, you can avoid missed deadlines, misplaced files, or forgotten critical tasks, enhancing the overall efficiency of your marketing strategy.

Text Message Marketing Software

Text message marketing software, also known as SMS marketing software, is a tool that allows businesses to send promotional messages or alerts directly to customers’ mobile phones via SMS (Short Message Service) or MMS (Multimedia Message Service).

This type of software typically includes features such as contact list management, message scheduling, automation, reporting, and analytics. It enables businesses to target specific groups of customers based on demographics, behavior, or interests, and send personalized messages with relevant offers, discounts, or reminders.

Some text message marketing software also includes features like two-way messaging, which enables customers to reply to messages, providing valuable feedback or engaging in conversations with businesses. 

Additionally, some software providers offer integrations with other marketing tools, such as email marketing or social media platforms, to create a cohesive and comprehensive marketing strategy.

Overall, text message marketing software is a powerful tool for businesses looking to reach their audience quickly and directly, increase engagement, and drive sales.

Mobile Marketing Software

As mobile device usage continues to soar, it has become imperative for small businesses to adapt by investing in mobile marketing strategies. This enables them to stay competitive and cater to the evolving needs of their clientele.

Mobile marketing software serves as a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their target audience through portable devices such as smartphones and tablets. By harnessing this software, companies can forge stronger customer relationships, elevate brand awareness, and bolster sales.

One standout feature of mobile marketing software is its capacity for real-time communication. For instance, suppose a business unveils a fresh promotion or launches a new product. In that case, the software can send push notifications directly to customer’s mobile devices. This dynamic engagement with the brand maintains customer interest and increases the likelihood of securing purchases.

Event Marketing Software

Now that we have covered digital marketing let’s talk about your offline marketing efforts. What if you want to plan an event, for example, for a new store opening or celebrating ten years of being in business?

You could use a tool that helps you manage and promote your offline events – event marketing software. It can help you plan everything from trade shows and conferences to product launches and community events.

You can automate many tedious tasks involved in event planning, such as ticket sales, email marketing, and social media promotion, and let the software do the heavy lifting. Not only that, but event marketing software can also help you reach a wider audience. You will get the word out about your event to more people than you ever could on your own. 

The biggest benefit of event marketing software is its ability to help you connect with customers in a more meaningful way. When you host an offline event, you can create a personal connection with potential customers. And with the help of event marketing software, you can ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

Final Thoughts

By harnessing the power of business management software tools, small businesses have the potential to refine their marketing endeavors, conserve time and resources, and sidestep typical obstacles.

The key lies in selecting the appropriate tools, paving the way for executing an impactful marketing strategy. As a result, your business will flourish more rapidly and distinguish itself in an increasingly competitive market!

How Flexible Work Schedules Will Benefit Your Marketing Team

Are you considering a more flexible work schedule for your marketing team, but unsure whether the benefits outweigh the work of making scheduling changes? While there are always drawbacks with any major change, giving your staff a flexible work schedule and allowing them to choose where they complete their tasks can benefit your team in multiple ways. 

How Does a Flexible Work Schedule Benefit Your Business?

Although there are many benefits to employees, businesses also score with a hybrid or fully remote model. Researchers at Stanford and Harvard estimated companies save around $11,000 per year on space alone when going to a hybrid schedule. They don’t need as much office space when all employees aren’t in the office at the same time. 

Finding the happy medium between flexible work and productivity isn’t always easy. No one wants to feel as though their employer is looking over their shoulder with a tracking app or something that captures screenshots. The proof is typically in the level of work they provide and the finished product. 

Tap Into Technology

Advances in technology allow companies to tap into powerful apps meant to help organize schedules and get remote teams on the same page. Run multiple functions from a single program, such as accounting, customer relationship management, scheduling and task completion. 

Artificial intelligence expands each year, making it easier to farm out repetitive tasks or reach out to customers and employees automatically. Cloud-based systems put the power of the entire database at everyone’s fingertips. Remote work has become almost like being in a physical office. 

What are some of the top benefits to your marketing team and your business when you switch to a more flexible schedule or remote and hybrid work options?

1. Attract Top Job Candidates

The marketing industry is sometimes highly competitive. If you want to attract the most qualified workers, you need to offer the things they want in a job. For example, if someone only wants to work from home, then a remote option is desirable. 

Even a hybrid situation where they go into the office a couple of days and stay home the other days might be better than their current work environment. You can compete with some of the larger corporations by offering work schedule options.

Some people have children, want to go to school or have other interests. Letting them choose to work 10 hours a day and take the fifth day off might be another way to offer a more flexible work environment. Alternatively, you could allow people to choose their off days. Some might decide to work through the weekend when they have childcare and take a few weekdays off. 

2. Increase Employee Engagement

The CEO of an estate planning services company chose to move to a four-day workweek. Perpetual Guardian saw 20% growth in employee engagement when they made the changes. 

It might seem surprising that employees working at different times or locations would be more engaged rather than less engaged. However, they often have better focus when working during their alert hours and without the stress and worry a nine to five job can bring.

They’ll also be more inclined to join in on virtual meetings and stay updated on employee news through the company communication channels. Flexible employees don’t want to be left out. They just want the ability to move things around so it better suits their lives. 

3. Improve Productivity

Offering flexible work schedules can also improve productivity. It’s no secret that some folks are early birds and others are night owls. Those who stay up late have a hard time adjusting to early morning tasks. Their brains don’t kick into gear. By the same token, early risers may not like starting their day as late as nine in the morning.

When you let workers choose start and stop times, you also give them the ability to work when they have the greatest focus and mental clarity. 

Add remote options into the mix and you remove distractions common at a typical office. Instead of stopping in the middle of tasks multiple times a day as co-workers stop to ask questions or chat, employees will be in the quiet space of their home office with few interruptions. 

Some workers may even decide to work a split day, where they start in the early morning, break while the family has their busy time and return to work in the evening when all is quiet again. Parents with kids in school may find it easier to start a bit later and wrap up while everyone is out for the day. Flexibility lets your workers choose how they function best, and because of that, productivity will naturally rise. 

4. Balance Work/Life

You’ve likely heard the buzz in recent years about the importance of a work/life balance. People don’t want to be so career driven that they miss out on time with family and friends. By the same token, they don’t want to be so focused on their personal lives that their work suffers.

Offering some flexibility takes off the pressure of trying to juggle it all and reduces stress. Happier workers are going to be more creative and less likely to burn out. 

For example, John’s brother is getting married on Saturday and he wants to go to the rehearsal Friday. He can shift his work and finish a day early without missing any pay. The extra day off gives him the time to enjoy his family event and not stress about finishing projects that day.

Talk to your workers about what type of flexibility would be most beneficial to them at this point in their lives. A flexible schedule for one staff member might look completely different than the ideal schedule for another. 

5. Retain Top Employees

What is the magic ingredient that allows you to retain top employees while every business around you loses them en masse? More workers want remote options. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of remote jobs hovered around 4%. The virus caused an uptick in the number of people working from home and increased the timing of how fast remote jobs grew.

Currently, the number of remote positions is around 25%, but experts think it will continue to grow in industries where work doesn’t have to be done in person. Factories and food services, for example, aren’t likely to go remote. 

Chat with your current employees about their expectations for going remote. If someone is thinking about leaving because they’re tired of coming into the office, you can easily offer more flexibility and hopefully keep a valued worker instead of losing them to the competition. 

6. Develop Talent

When your workers can put in 40 hours or even work 30-hour weeks rather than the typical 40 hours, you open up the opportunity for them to take courses and expand their education. You may attract top graduates who want to go on for their master’s or doctoral degrees. 

Put learning as a high priority. If anyone on your team wants to learn new skills or go back to school, find a way to work with their schedule. You’ll reduce stress, and the entire team will benefit from bringing new skills into the company. 

7. Show You Value Them

In a recent poll about why people leave their positions, around 57% of workers said it was because they didn’t feel valued at their current jobs or felt disrespected. Approximately 45% pointed to lack of flexibility. The combination of trying to juggle work with their lives and feeling unappreciated was the perfect storm that led many to resign from their positions.

When you offer a flexible work schedule, you show your employees that you care about them as individuals. It matters to you that they have to figure out when to drop the kids off at daycare or pick the dog up from the groomer. You understand their schedules sometimes change on a dime and it’s okay if they need to shift their hours a bit here and there. 

8. Decrease Absenteeism

Every employee has days when they don’t feel their best. Perhaps they feel a cold coming on or just stayed up too late the night before. Whatever the reason, when people have flex time,they can take a few hours or a full day off and not worry about losing their jobs.

Offering a flexible work schedule may decrease absenteeism because employees know they can just complete the work the next day or even that evening when they’re feeling better. You can also reduce office illness when you don’t force people to come in even when they’re under the weather. There’s no sense in spreading all those germs around and every employee growing ill and unable to do their daily tasks. 

Will a Flexible Work Schedule Benefit Your Company?

Not every marketing team benefits from a flexible work schedule. Many find the freedom to work from home and swap around days and times benefits everyone on the team. Unfortunately, a few employees not pulling their weight can ruin the perk for everyone. Set some firm policies for how your flexibility works and let your team members chime in if something isn’t playing out the way they’d like.

A flexible work schedule is something every company should try. You never know just how much it might increase your team’s productivity and employee morale.

How to Give Performance Appraisals That Inspire Employees to Grow

Many managers know the importance of giving performance appraisals but also find it a challenging task to accomplish. It can be difficult to be objective and constructive when critiquing someone’s position and responsibilities. Not only that: performance reviews have a big impact on motivation, and getting them wrong can be costly. 

Research shows that only 10.4% of employees whose manager’s feedback left them with negative feelings feel engaged at work. Four out of five began looking for a new job as a result. 

The goal of a performance appraisal should always be to help the employee improve as well as acknowledge their value to the company. With that in mind, here are some tips for giving appraisals that inspire employees to grow.

Why are performance appraisals necessary?

First of all—what is a performance appraisal?

Performance appraisals are a formal way of evaluating an employee’s work. They usually take the form of a meeting in which the employee and manager discuss the employee’s strengths and weaknesses and come up with a plan for how the employee can improve.

Performance appraisals are important because they provide feedback that allows employees to understand how they’re doing and where they need to grow in their position. They also help to establish a baseline against which future performance can be measured.

Performance appraisals are also great for boosting motivation because they provide a roadmap for growth in a role. Workers feel motivated when their progress is recognized, and when they feel their role within the organization has growth potential. Nobody likes to feel stuck. Quite often, an employee that seems lazy is just unmotivated—and that’s something you can fix.

employee performance evaluation

How to Give Performance Appraisals That Inspire Employees to Grow

Here are some actionable tips to help you provide feedback that will guide and motivate your employees

1. Start by setting the right tone

The way you approach a performance appraisal can make all the difference in terms of how the employee perceives it. If you go into the meeting with a critical attitude, the employee is likely to feel defensive and may not be willing to listen to your feedback and even hesitate to openly communicate.

On the other hand, if you start the meeting by praising the employee’s strengths, they’re more likely to be receptive to what you have to say. Frame the appraisal as an opportunity for growth, rather than a critique, and the employee will likely be more motivated to listen.

A positive reinforcement model can be used to spur employee growth. This means praising the employee for any steps they take towards improvement, even the small achievements.

2. Focus on personal growth over the business goals

While it’s important to discuss the employee’s role in relation to the business goals, remember that this is a personal growth opportunity for them. Help the employee to see how they can improve their skills and contribute more effectively to the team. 

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about the business at all; their personal goals should be given context. Also, help them to see their importance in the bigger picture—while letting the employee know that you are invested in their personal development.

3. Set expectations early on

It’s important to set expectations early on in the appraisal process. This means discussing what is expected of the employee during the meeting, and what you hope they’ll walk away with.

This also gives the employee a chance to prepare for the meeting so they can provide their input regarding how to improve.

4. Offer constructive and actionable feedback

One of the most important aspects of a performance appraisal is giving constructive feedback. This means providing feedback that is specific, actionable, and goal-oriented, rather than general comments like “you need to work harder.”

Make sure your feedback is relevant to the employee’s goals, and help them to see how they can improve their skills in the future.

Hearing critical feedback is always hard—but if you frame it positively and include a path forward for the employee, they’ll come away feeling motivated, rather than disheartened.

Delivering negative feedback can be difficult, but it’s important to do it in a way that inspires employees to grow. Here are a few tips:

  • Before giving any negative feedback, first praise the employee’s strengths
  • Don’t dwell too much on the past
  • Offer a positive to every negative

One of the best ways to give helpful feedback is to make sure that it’s relevant to the employee’s goals. Help them to see how their current skills can help them reach their goals, and provide concrete improvement steps.

When giving feedback, use the SMART framework—an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

smart business model to guide goals infographic

This makes it easier for the employee to get their head around what’s expected of them. It also provides them with a roadmap to get there, which helps to keep them motivated.

Using the SMART framework, you can easily track employee progress and if they are headed towards their goals.

5. Make negative feedback specific

When critiquing someone’s work, it’s important to be specific. Rather than saying “You need to work on your communication skills,” give examples of specific incidents where the employee could have communicated better.

This will help to paint a clear picture so the employee fully understands how to do their job better.

Here are two examples of highly specific feedback

– “This is the first time I’ve noticed you checking your phone during meetings. Is there anything going on in your personal life that requires your attention?”

– “In a team meeting, you addressed only one aspect of what someone said. Could you make sure to cover all sides? Here’s a way to do this that I find helpful…”

6. Work with relevant employee data

Using data can help to back up your feedback and provide the employee with concrete evidence of where they need to improve. Make sure your data is accurate—no one wants to be judged unfairly.

If you have access to relevant employee data, it can be helpful to use it during a performance appraisal. This could include things like their attendance record or how they’ve performed in relation to specific goals. Thankfully, there are tools available that can help to make the process of data collection and analysis easier.

Employee management tools and time-tracking platforms provide invaluable performance data that can be used in appraisals. It can also be used to assign tasks and track metrics—something that’ll come in extra handy the next time appraisal time rolls around.

Giving a performance appraisal does not have to be stressful, for you or your employees. When giving one, keep the above tips in mind to help ensure your performance appraisals are successful and inspire employees to grow.

If you found this article helpful, please share it on your social media channels.

How Partnerships Can Impact Sales

In the manufacturing sector, we all are reliant on strategic partnerships with our suppliers, dealers, distributors, freight and rail vendors, and customers. Success is dependent on the entire network. If one link in the chain fails, we all fail.

As a distributor in the middle of the funnel, we rely on our international suppliers for their subject-matter expertise, product inventory, training, and marketing materials. They rely on us for our sales and marketing expertise, technical support, and local customer relationships. The customer relies on us to provide an accurate and on-time order to supply their manufacturing process so they can manufacture and deliver to their customer. There are so many interdependencies in a distribution channel. 

crm manufacturing software

How can manufacturers or distributors develop these customer relationships? Well, first we need to generate leads to nurture and, eventually, convert into customer relationships and sales.

7 Ways Manufacturers (Or Almost Any Industry) Can Build Partnerships

1. Phone Calls

Yes, cold calling still is a thing. And as people tend to ignore email messages and social messages, sometimes picking up the phone and having an old-fashioned chat is the best method. In the past year, phone calls often have become video calls via Zoom, Teams, and other digital platforms that allow us to replicate face-to-face meetings à la The Jetsons.

2. In-Person Meetings

One of the best ways to build a partnership is a handshake and sit down. We tend to buy from people we like. If someone can see your body language and hear your tone of voice, he or she is more likely to develop a relationship with you as a person. The email can be the introduction or open the door, but the personality usually closes the sale. The inability to do so in the COVID-era has spawned the advent of video meetings that tend to be more cost- and time-effective, as well as sanitary. No hand gel required. That leads us to…

3. Tradeshows

This tried-and-true method of collecting leads went away in March 2020, and most people in the industry found that virtual tradeshows just weren’t as effective. By now, organizations have returned to in-person tradeshows.

4. Email Marketing

Email and messaging,Email marketing campaign,Working process, New email message

This tried-and-true method of collecting leads went away in March 2020, and most people in the industry found that virtual tradeshows just weren’t as effective. Happily, organizations have since returned to in-person tradeshows.

You can email your existing customers or qualified leads who have opted in from your website or a tradeshow, but don’t purchase lists! These people have not opted in. You can get shut down for spam. So, how do you get new leads? Read on!

5. Social Media

Posting on social media is a good way to develop brand recognition and get to know people who become your advocates. Join groups that are specific to your industry. Then you can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator or paid ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google and do pay-per-click campaigns to further identify interested leads.

6. Trade Publications

If you have the budget (that you’ve saved from tradeshows and salespeople out on the road), you always can go the route of placing digital and print ads or even a low-cost spend of a listing in directories or guides. A more expensive, but effective, option is to deliver a webinar that the publication promotes. This will give you a list of new leads that you CAN add to your CRM and email marketing campaigns. Another route is contributed content. This means looking at the journal’s editorial calendar and pitching the editor with a thought-leadership article. If accepted, it costs you nothing but the time to write it. It gets your name in front of potential customers and positions you as an industry leader while familiarizing people with your brand. Also, a free listing (yes, FREE) with Thomasnet will drive some traffic to your site.

7. Trade Associations and Online Forums

One organization that can help with resources for small- to mid-sized manufacturers is your local Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). On a larger scale, there’s the National Association for Manufacturers (NAM). Additionally, industry-specific and regional trade associations can get you in front of customers. Think about pitching a technical talk or webinar and presenting to the organization’s membership rather than just attending meetings and handing out cards. This can show your value and expertise. Join some online forums where people are looking for information, for instance, Reddit, Quora, or industry-specific forums. It’s all about positioning the brand as an industry leader.

Next Steps

Some of these methods require content. Content is necessary for marketing. You can take that article you wrote for the trade pub, host it on your website, gate it behind a sign-in, then promote it on social media or with a PPC campaign. This will allow you to capture leads. We’ve all entered our name, company, title, and email in those fields on a website to download some content that we thought would be useful. 

It’s time for manufacturers to ramp up their digital games and jump on technology in order to build partnerships to generate leads that turn into sales. Technology can be your partner.

all in one manufacturing software

The future is here and is only going to get more complex. If you didn’t notice it before, you saw it in 2020 during COVID when in-person meetings ground to a halt and lead generation tapered off or plummeted. We need to embrace it to grow our businesses and remain viable in the digital age. If we don’t, we will go the way of the dinosaurs, or our business will plateau. If you want growth, then things need to change.

Marketing Ideas for Small Business (Beyond the Obvious)

According to a survey of 1,000 small business owners, 51% report they have less than $500 a month to spend on advertising. Within that 51%, almost 7% of owners say they have no money at all to devote to marketing. So, what marketing tips for small business are the best for your budget? In order to maximize your marketing efforts- start thinking creatively. Here are nine marketing strategies for small businesses that are worth your attention: 

Create a Business Blog

Blog Writing

Business blogs are one of the most powerful tools in content marketing— and for good reason. A business blog is a great way for you to supply your audience with industry information, while also promoting your own products and brand. Be certain to post to your blog often with engaging content in order to work to increase your customer base. Include images and videos in your posts to help build this audience. If you do not know what images to use, use Wepik‘s text-to-image tool and you will be able to create an image from scratch based on the text description.

Get Free PR with HARO

Who doesn’t like free advertising? When you sign up with HARO (Help a Reporter Out), you have the opportunity to pitch your story (or your business) to tens of thousands of reporters. With outlets like Time, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal using HARO, the publicity opportunities are endless– and free.

Join Facebook Industry Groups

small business erp

By joining Facebook groups in your industry, you have the opportunity to offer information and tips to potential customers. Once members in these groups see you as a trustworthy source of information, they’ll be more inclined to learn more about you, your company, and what products you offer.

Engage With Your Local Community

People want to support a business that cares about and supports their local community. As a small business owner, reach out to your township administration to see how you can get involved! Research if you can be featured on the township bulletin board or find out how you can sponsor a booth at your community day or other local events.

Use Company Data to Find Promotional Opportunities

If you have software in place that measures when you reach your company goals, promote it! Create a giveaway when you reach $1,000 in sales or offer your customers a discount when you reach your 1,000th customer for the month. Use these company goals as a way to thank your customers for their business– and celebrate your company’s successes.

Create a Customer Referral Program

According to an infographic by Khalid Saleh, “people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend.” That’s the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Small business owners have the opportunity to capitalize on this by offering a customer referral program. This referral program gives existing customers an incentive to spread the word about your business to new potential customers.

Establish Business Partnerships with Other Companies

small business erp connection

Connecting with other local small businesses is a great way to advertise at a fraction of the cost. Find a business in a complementary industry and work together on an online giveaway, co-sponsoring an event, or a targeted mailer. This is a great way for you to increase your customer base and drum up some exposure for a significantly lower price.

Create a Customer Satisfaction Survey

Once customers make a purchase with your small business, it is imperative that you follow up with them with a customer satisfaction survey. Not only is this an opportunity for you to learn how you can improve your company, but also makes your customer feel their opinion is valued and appreciated– and likely to return.