If you’ve tried everything with advertising and nothing has paid off, we feel you. We’ve been there too and the frustration at not seeing the right result (or any result at all) is heartbreaking. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of strategies that we’ve tested hundreds of times for us, and for other small businesses like yours. When done right, they really work.
Strategy 1: Setting Up Your Digital Foundation
In today’s digital world, you cannot succeed in business without a strong online presence. Gone are the days of relying on foot traffic and newspaper and television ads — a majority of customers choose where to spend their money based on online research and reviews. If you don’t have the following free online platforms, then you are missing out on new customers, and therefore missing out on making money.
Facebook is a powerhouse for small businesses. The free social media platform is perfect for customer interaction, sharing information, and sharing your business. It gives you access to hundreds of local groups and thousands of people who are looking for what you’re selling. If you don’t have a website, Facebook is a good short-term alternative too (though we recommend having a dedicated website to bring in the most money long-term).
Google My Business
Google My Business is how you get your website on Google Maps. It lists all of your relevant information, including address, phone number, reviews, and your website, and you can upload photos too. Unfortunately, you do need a website to use GMB properly — a Facebook page isn’t going to cut it for this.
If you don’t have Business Warrior, you’re missing out on essential information about your business. It’s designed to scan the web and compile all relevant data to show you if your business is listed in all of the above sites, and more. Without it, you’ll have to manually check GMB, Facebook, and more, as well as manage your SEO (search engine optimization) and online advertisements on whatever platform you choose.
Business Warrior makes it easy. Everything you need is in one place, so you can see what you have and what you don’t in a single glance. It will save you countless hours and money, and all of this is free.
Strategy 2: Email Marketing
If you have a base of subscriber emails from past promotions, or are looking to build one, then email marketing or sending out press releases will be your best friend. You can automatically send out information, discounts, and sales-oriented emails to everyone on that email list using a low-cost platform like Hubspot or Mailchimp.
For a fee, both PRNewswire and Newswire send your press releases to their extensive list of media contacts. Some of them might pick up your press release and run it on their website as a form of advertising.
Email marketing gives you the ability to reach hundreds, if not thousands, of people instantly. It’s a low-effort advertising initiative that lets you share information, deals and discounts, and your business with people all over the world.
On the other hand, email marketing is a numbers game. The more you send out, the more sales you’ll get. However, you won’t get 100 sales if you send out 100 emails. Chances are, you’ll have a low conversion rate (a low number of people who buy things from the email). This is expected and normal! In fact, according to MailChimp, the average open-rate of all industries is around 21.8%. Generally, 2% to 5% is seen as a good email conversion rate. Think about your own email habits — you get marketing emails every day and probably ignore most of them. That’s why it’s essential to be patient. Play the long game with it and you’ll see success.
Strategy 3: Get On Popular Directories
If your business can’t be found online, then what’s the point of having it? That’s where free directories come into play. The big directories are Yelp and GMB, but there are a few more that you shouldn’t overlook either.
Foursquare is not as big as Yelp, but it does provide listings for all kinds of local businesses. Over 50 million people use Foursquare to find places to go, so you don’t want to miss out!
Yellow Pages used to be that big phone book that appeared on your doorstep mysteriously about once a year. Now, it’s all online. About 60 million people visit YP.com every month, 91% of whom contact a business within 24 hours. Seriously, get on Yellow Pages.
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau allows all kinds of businesses to apply for a listing, not just the large companies. You’ll need to apply for accreditation, but once you’re approved, customers can visit the site to verify you’re a business they can trust. Just from that alone, it’s worth having a listing here.
Strategy 4: Patience
Nothing will work magically overnight. As a business owner, you need to have patience and faith when you try something new. Some results won’t start happening for a week, while other long-term strategies may take 3+ months to full kick in. All of these tips in this blog are short-term marketing strategies for small businesses designed to jump-start your online presence.
You will also need the patience to manage all of these listings and to keep them as up-to-date as possible. That’s why Business Warrior was created. It was designed to save you time so you can focus on managing and running your business. Check it out and see how much of a difference it will make for you.