As a small business owner, marketing is an essential but sometimes difficult area to tackle. And unless you were a marketing major, it’s not exactly your area of expertise. You essentially have two choices: get better at the marketing side of things yourself, or hire a marketing person. If you don’t have the resources or budget to hire a marketing professional, it’s up to you to get the word out about your small business. Of course, that’s easier said than done.
Here’s the good news: in today’s business world, you don’t need to build out an entire marketing department or hire an outside firm to start marketing your small business. You can expand your business’s reach and connect with your target market without those expensive resources. It’s about working smarter, not harder.
Are you a small business owner looking to market your venture without a marketing person or a marketing department? Read on for some suggestions on the next steps to take.
One of the biggest hurdles to marketing your small business without a marketing person is simply getting started. It can be an overwhelming prospect, understandably so. There’s a lot to think about: your marketing methods, the target audience, what message you’re trying to convey, and how much it all will cost, just to name a few.
Let’s look at some simple steps to help you get started without getting overwhelmed: define your goals, research a target market, and set a budget.
Define Your Goals
Ask yourself some key questions. What are you trying to get out of your marketing program? More sales leads? More traffic to your website? More cold calls to your business? More foot traffic to your business’s physical location? Perhaps it’s a number; X amount of dollars this quarter or this year, for example. Whatever the goal, write it down so that it’s plainly defined. This is an extremely helpful step that will allow you to build out your marketing program strategically as you move forward.
Determine Your Target Market
Who are you marketing to? Perhaps it’s customers who have a certain need that requires solving. A certain demographic, like 65-or-older retirees or tech-savvy millennials, maybe. Or, maybe you’re marketing to society at large and your customers don’t know they need your product or service until they discover it. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to think about your target audience and who the people are who will be absorbing your marketing outreach.
Set a Budget
Now it’s time to crunch the numbers. How much are you able or willing to spend on marketing efforts? Setting a budget up front—and sticking to it—is a crucial step when it comes to marketing your small business yourself. It’s far too easy to get carried away and overspend on marketing. This not only wastes money, but it’s also not necessary. That’s one of the great things about modern marketing efforts; it doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective.
Look Into Automation
You might not be familiar with the concept of automation as it relates to marketing, but it’s an important thing to explore, especially if you’re marketing your small business without the help of a marketing professional. Automation can refer to many things, but it generally means creating a process that runs by itself to market to customers, without you having to do anything on your end except create the process.
Email marketing is one of the best and simplest examples. This tried-and-true marketing method is cost-effective and can reach a wide range of customers in an instant. In fact, according to HubSpot, companies generate an average of $38 for every $1 spent on email marketing. That’s a huge return on investment. And the best thing about it? All you have to do is set up an email campaign and your advertisements and e-newsletters are transported to the inboxes of thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of potential customers.
Using an AI chatbot service is another example of cutting-edge automation. Say your customer goes to your website to find out where their order is. Rather than you having to communicate with them directly through email or over the phone, an AI chatbot solution can respond for you and tell the customer when their order is expected to arrive. That saves you a lot of time, especially if you don’t have dedicated call-center employees or a receptionist.
Time to Get Creative
Things like email marketing and traditional mailing advertisements are great, and they work. But there are other forms of marketing that you can get creative with to send your message to your customers.
Social media is a big one. There’s no denying it: customers are looking at their phones constantly, every day, and that makes it an incredibly powerful marketing tool. When you advertise on Facebook, for example, you’re taking advantage of one of the biggest and most powerful sources of marketing data that exists. Plus, Facebook allows you to target your advertising to certain demographics. Say your product or service only really applies to under-40 white females who live in cities. Using Fakebook’s advertising system, you can get your ads in front of those people’s eyeballs, and only theirs.
Speaking of Facebook, another way to get creative with your marketing efforts is through live streaming. It’s a popular thing in today’s advertising and marketing world, and it’s not just for high-level Instagram influencers or celebrities. Small business owners can host live streams on their social media platforms, too, to great effect. Live events help establish your credibility, create a buzz around your product or service, and put a face to the name of your business.
Can Your Business Survive Without Marketing?
To put it simply, no, probably not. It’s not likely that your business can survive without you getting the word out there in some way. Long gone are the days when word of mouth was all it took—you’ll need to broadcast your message to a much wider range of people in your area and region, and perhaps across the country or even the globe.
So, what are the steps you should follow to market your small business without a marketing person?
- Get started – Often, this is the hardest step. But jump in and get started by defining the goals of your marketing efforts, laying out a clear target audience, and setting a rock-solid budget.
- Roll out traditional efforts – Whether it’s a snail-mail campaign or an email marketing onslaught, it’s time to roll out some of the most common and effective marketing solutions. It’s simply the best way to get your business in front of customers’ eyeballs.
- Get creative – Think outside the box and use social media and live streaming to set yourself apart from the competition. It’s a great way to connect with your customers where they really are.
- Consider automation – Email marketing is itself a form of automated marketing. But there are other methods, too, like AI chatbots. Automating processes so that you don’t have to spend time on them yourself is a great way to save time and money, allowing you to get back to overseeing the big picture.
- Scale as needed – As your business grows, your marketing efforts can (and should) scale-up alongside it. When things ramp up, it’s time to revisit your budget and continue funding your successful marketing efforts. That’s what will get your message to even more customers.
Improve Your Marketing Today
Struggling with your small business’s marketing efforts? Feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? Don’t worry—you’re not alone. Your business, just like any other, can be marketed effectively even if you don’t have a dedicated marketing person or a marketing team.
Turn to the marketing experts at BARQAR. Contact us today or give us a call at 888.576.6100. We can help with all of your marketing needs, big and small.