You’re launching an online store for your small business, and you know you’re going to have to do something to attract attention to it. But your budget is tight and there are a lot of other things clamoring for financial attention.
If this describes your situation, here are some smart ways to grow SMB advertising on a modest budget.
Know Your Ideal Customer
Your most important marketing move should happen before you even build your site. Getting to know your ideal customer will determine the look of your store, the tone of your content, the nature of your merchandise, and yes—the marketing approach you’ll take. If your product line has strong appeal to young professionals, you’ll go with a different strategy than if you’re trying to appeal to retirees. Now, with that said, there is some overlap in terms of the vehicles you’ll use to get there, which is where we will focus here.
With the rise of social media and blogging has come influencer marketing. Scouring social media, look for people with quality followings relevant to your offering. In other words, how engaged are their audiences? In most cases, you’ll see better results with a “micro-influencer” whose roster of followers is somewhere between 25,000 and 250,000 people. These internet celebrities tend to have better relationships with their audiences, which means their influence is greater. Going with quality over quantity, you’ll get better results and the cost will be more affordable as well.
Domain Name Choice
Another critical decision is the name you decide upon to represent your website store. Ideally, you’ll get the actual name of your business—assuming you chose something capable of serving you well as an advertising vehicle. In other words, something that describes what you do. One of the most valuable assets of the toy retailer Toys ‘R’ Us was its toysrus.com domain name (although the company has tanked recently). Brilliant, in that it described exactly what shoppers could expect to find at its site, the name also incorporates a keyword likely to be searched by its customer base. While some experts live and die by the “.com” suffix, that isn’t as important as getting a representative name and promoting it well.
Social Media Presence
If you still think of social media as just a place where people tout their vacations, kids and pets, you need to look again–from a business perspective. Social media has morphed into one of the most powerful advertising media. While you can target specific audiences by all of the usual demographic information, you can also drill down to specific interests, life events and locations. Plus, it’s far more affordable than traditional advertising.
SEO, Blogging and Content Marketing
We’re grouping these three together because they work hand in hand in hand. Blogging will serve your content marketing, which in turn has a direct effect upon your search engine optimization effort. Among the most cost-effective strategies you can pursue, this strategy goes a long way toward building the trust and respect of your customer base. Producing relevant service-oriented articles and posting them to your blog will attract traffic to your site, even as they position you as a noted expert in your field.
Look around for opportunities to form partnerships with non-competitive businesses that also serve your target market. Develop complementary offers where your products can serve a single situation. For example, if you sell makeup and they sell clothing, team up to offer head to toe makeover packages.
These smart ways to grow your SMB advertising have proven effective both in terms of cost and attracting customers. With a bit of creativity and the willingness to put in some work, you can get your business noticed on a modest budget.