Starting a business is hard. You’ve got a lot of different goals that you’re trying to accomplish, and you’re probably doing all the work yourself. Time is an important factor to consider when it comes to small business marketing. In fact, it’s arguably the only resource you have that’s limited. So how can you market your small business on a budget? The answer is actually pretty simple: Be smart about it.

Understand Your Target Audience.

As a blogger, it’s important to understand your blog’s audience. The best way to understand your audience is to speak to them. Ask them for feedback about your content, what they like and dislike about your writing, and what they want to see more of

A key component to marketing your small business blog is to ensure your content is easy to consume for potential customers. Otherwise, they won’t be able to find it, and it could potentially drive them away and lose you potential business.

Especially when it comes to bloggers, readers are becoming more digital-savvy and getting more comfortable spending money online.

They want to be able to ignore ads, unsubscribe, and navigate to information they are interested in without spending too long.

All you need to do is focus on making sure you give them content they want to read to the best of their ability.

This keeps them on the platform you created for them to start out in, and helps with the post-click value proposition (PV) for SEO purposes.

Speaking of SEO, it’s something to take note of when starting a small business blog. If you spend a lot of time writing content and tweaking keywords to grab the attention of well-informed people, chances are you’ll lose a large portion of those readers to websites that have much more creative and appealing content.

There’s a cost to doing both, however — you’ll lose out on a sustainable lead (customer) and your work will become ineffective.

A quick way to determine if you should go the keyword-focused route (and potentially invest in SEO) for your niche is to look at other blogs in the same general topic and see how many of them have high domain authority (DA).

According to WebFX, there is a correlation between a blog’s domain authority and its Page rank and vice versa. Looking at how many trustworthy blogs have a distinction of higher domain authority than you can’t help but wonder what that tells us.

Develop a Marketing Plan

Having a marketing plan is the key to success. Without a plan, you’re going to spend your time on things that don’t matter, and you’re going to waste opportunities. By having a marketing plan, you can focus on the right things and ensure that you’ll have a successful business.

Look at your goals first. This is the first step in creating a marketing plan. What are your main goals for the year like? I typically work on my business goals first. That’s because I think ahead. By preparing a marketing plan, you can brainstorm ideas on how to reach these specific goals.

For example, if I was starting a vegan restaurant, this is what I might think about first.

Here are some marketing and advertising ideas that I’d research: Now that I have a list of some ideas that might work, I can spend time researching the exact techniques and tools that can help me achieve this specific goal.

I have a list of services I might offer, which also puts me in the “marketing planning” mode. The next thing to do is to combine my list of services with specifics about my business.

For example, I will research the best way to promote my vegan takeout during the holiday season.
This research gives me ideas.

Next, I combine my list of ideas with tactics that make business sense. These can include social media marketing, paid search, email marketing, phone marketing, PPC advertising, website design, and even website hosting.

Once I have my list and tactics, I employ them one-at-a-time. The end goal is to have multiple marketing ideas on the go as soon as possible. The idea is to be able to repurpose them at any point during the year.

In this case, I can decide on multiple different ideas for the holiday season and become a marketer in no time!

Marketing isn’t about spending tons of money. It’s about spending smart. It’s about knowing what works and not wasting time on ideas you know are going to fail.

Create an Online Presence

Since you never know when a potential client might stumble upon your blog or social media profiles, it’s important to show that you’re a professional who knows what they’re talking about.

This is especially true for online businesses, where people have a lot of options for where to spend their money. Show them you’re a site that curates the very best of the best, highlighting only the proper content that meets your readers’ needs.

There’s a temptation to show everything, but if you’re going to serve your small business clients, you’re going to have to pick and choose what’s important.

If customers are falling over themselves to write customer reviews or weigh in with positive feedback on online places, make sure you spend a bit of time answering their questions.

Add a call to action or summary at the end of their message if you can, and make sure it’s something you can respond to immediately.
As far as pricing goes, don’t undercut your competitors.

We’ve addressed this already in the example of defining your budget, so if you had to compete with a different service, service level pricing is the way to go. I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to pricing, as long as the quality you provide matches theirs.

A good small business can set themselves up pretty well to pass on the savings to their clients. The key is to ensure they get a good price before they order. This might be in the form of a special introductory offer or a price hike if something in the price tier has changed.

This can be pretty easy if you’ve got an email list to serve your clients, as those people will be able to give you great pricing suggestions themselves if they feel your service points to a deal (and you can “upsell” with additional services to make up for it).

The big one here is high-quality products and services. Your customers know what they want and won’t care if you reduce your offerings in order to make more room for marketing.

Marketing is an investment, not an expense.

When it comes to marketing, it’s important to remember that it’s an investment, not an expense. Marketing is an investment because you’re doing it to grow your business. Your marketing budget is an investment in your business, and your time spent working on marketing is an investment in yourself.

Focus on the mission of your business, and you’ll succeed. Focus on the goals of your business, and you’ll have the start of a successful marketing campaign. Your mission is what’s going to help you grow your business. The mission should have a clear and quantifiable goal for your business.

Sometimes that goal might be simply growing your business. Other times that goal will be something a little more complicated. Your mission can be price, sales, profit, traffic, etc. The key is that it has a target that you can push towards.

Your goals are the fun and exciting parts of marketing. If your goals are simple, you don’t have to work as hard as you should when it comes to marketing. A lot of the time, it’s quite easy to just start marketing because you haven’t thought too much about it.

It’s easier to create content versus having a clear and wonderful goal that you’re constantly trying to meet. Your goals are also a fun way for you to have control over your marketing.

Your campaign is the story you tell people about what your business is going to be about. That campaign should exist out of the world. It should be something people can visit, talk about, and spread the message about — whether that’s a blog, podcast, video, or something else.

Your campaign should encapsulate what the main focus of your business is going to be. Your goal is still important, but it hasn’t been fully realized because your marketing isn’t complete yet. The purpose of your campaign is to tell the honest, clear story of your business. Before you even start planning and creating your campaign, you need to set targets.

Learn SEO Basics

Learning SEO basics is crucial for your career. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s all about learning how to make your website rank higher in search engines.

A higher ranking means more people will find your site when they go on Google or Bing to search for something Google has designated certain web pages, called websites, that you want to be on the first results page for.

It doesn’t happen automatically, though. Your website needs to be “good enough,” that is, have high-quality content that you can easily and quickly share on social media, in email, in your blog, etc. Though your SEO campaign won’t get much traction unless you have something to back it up, it’s important to get this framework down before you even think about growing your small business.

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