Here is a basic list of marketing mediums, both free and paid, that could be useful to your small business. Before you start on any marketing think carefully which are best for your business and which are going to get your marketing message in front of your ideal customers. Don’t just blindly follow the crowd and do something because others are doing it. They may just be throwing their money down the drain or may have a different ideal customer to you.
Free marketing ideas
I want to put a disclaimer here. Whilst I have said the list below is ‘free’ please remember that there is still a cost element due to the amount of time you will take to implement your marketing through these channels.
Most online directories offer a free listing. Research the better ones and get yourself listed
Set up a free blog and post new articles frequently to build up a following of people who may become your future customers
These can be sent by email to your subscribers or posted out to potential customers, again dependent on your business and your ideal customer.
There are so many social media channels to choose from. Start off setting up pages on just a couple of social media sites until you are comfortable with them and don’t become overwhelmed
Ask people to refer customers to you. If you don’t ask you don’t get!
Offer to do a free talk at local events to raise awareness of what you can do for potential clients
Send your details to as many publications as you can think of. You never know who may give you some free publicity
If you have a phone contract and you don’t use all your minutes, take some time to call prospective customers to introduce yourself (don’t cold call though – a big no-no!! You must have a connection with them first and permission to speak)
Attend networking events and turn up everywhere that your target audience hangs out. Remember to take your business cards.
Create an E-book that is branded with your company details. Offer as a free book to draw attention to your business.
Carry out surveys online or in person to find out information about customer buying habits whilst raising awareness of your brand at the same time.
Run a contest or competition where the winner can get a free product or service or a discount on a purchase. Raise awareness of your brand with all entrants.
Direct mail marketing
If done correctly, direct mail can still be a lucrative way of gaining new customers.
Paid for marketing ideas
Print can still work for many businesses and print tends to get read more in-depth than online ads.
Pay per Click/Advertising on complementary websites, social media adverts etc. all form part of online advertising
These can be professionally designed and printed or created from home. Always do a test run on just a few before printing hundreds.
Don’t leave home without them! You never know when, or who, you are going to meet so have them ready to hand out.
Both print and online. You can pay for a banner ad in directories that put your business at the top of the listings ahead of the free ads.
From high-end trade events to setting up a stall at your local village fete.
A website is essential for any business these days. From a low cost ‘free template’ site to a professionally built site, just make sure your site will be able to grow and be changed in line with your business in the future.
This can be expensive but if your business requires it, hiring a professional PR company can get great results and reduce the need for other forms of advertising.
Do you have products that would suit being put into a catalogue? Catalogues can be digital or printed and then mailed to your prospective and existing customers.
Pens, mugs, bags and notepads. In fact, just about anything can be printed on.
Get others to do the marketing for you and then pay them a small fee for each sale they make. There are many affiliate sites online that can help you get set up.
This can be from a single one-off event to sponsoring a team or organisation long term.
Think of where you might get seen by your ideal client. From car stickers to roadside signage to billboards at sporting grounds or on buildings, start to take note of the different signage out there and where yours might fit in.
So there are just a few small business marketing ideas to get you thinking. If you have any to add, pop them in the comments box below.
I was given a challenge recently by my own mentor to do a series of Facebook Live videos to help build my profile. Now, I have done many of these in the past so this didn’t bother me at all but I had forgotten a few simple tricks that can make the process less daunting and far more successful.
And I’m going to share them here with you.
Top Tips How To Do A Successful Facebook Live
PREPARE YOUR CONTENT
Don’t just start recording without at least a few minutes of thought.
What’s your subject going to be about?
Yes, that’s obvious, I hear you say but so many go off track and totally forget what they were supposed to be talking about when caught up in the live moment.
What’s your objective?
Do you want to raise your visibility or gain more subscribers to your mailing list? Or are you using this as a lead into a paid product? Decide this in advance as it will determine your call to action at the end of your Facebook Live recording.
Create your content
- Write into and what you are going to be talking about
- Create a catchy heading to give to the Facebook Live video
- Prepare some bullet points for the main content. You need to be looking at the camera so don’t read off a full script. Just a few simple bullet points will keep you on track.
- Jot down a short, simple and a call to action. Tell viewers what you want them to do next. Do you want them to call you, email you, visit your website or something else?
GAIN PRIOR INTEREST
Post in advance and let followers know what date and time you are going live and what the subject is going to be.
Encourage them to be there live for a special offer (if you have one)
- Microphone turned on
- Wi-Fi connected (if live)
- Battery fully charged on recording equipment or connected to a power source
- Lighting correct. Use natural daylight if possible but beware of shadows across your face or sunlight in your eyes. Buy an anglepoise light with a daylight bulb if you are in a dimly lit room.
- Non-distracting background. Check your background. Keep it simple and uncluttered. You don’t want people being distracted by what’s going on behind you and a busy or messy background will do just that.
- Phone turned off. Don’t forget to turn off the sound on your landline if that is in earshot. (Remember to turn it back on again after!)
- Computer notifications turned off
- Children and animals out of earshot
- Lift your chin and look up to the camera. If you have the camera too low and look down to it viewers will be staring up your nose – not the best view!
- Check your appearance. Do your clothes look ok and your teeth clean. You don’t want spinach from your lunch causing more conversation than what you are talking about. Double check hair and makeup.
- Have your bullet point prompts near to hand
- Keep pen and paper near to hand (make notes of any follow-ups to questions required)
- Have a flash card with your contact details (useful to hold up at the end of the video for people to know how to contact you.
- A glass of water (useful if throat gets dry or for coughing fits)
- Smile – and have fun!
Give housekeeping tips.
Do you want people to ask questions as you go along, or do you want them to wait until you have finished? Tell people watching on replay to post their comments and use the like/love buttons.
Ask for interaction.
Tell people constantly to give you a thumbs up or a heart as you go along. Ask them to give a thumbs up if they understand what you are talking about. Ask them to give you a heart if they love what you are saying.
Be responsive to messages.
Make sure you answer messages. Thank people if they leave a message. Respond quickly if viewers ask questions.
Smile and have fun. People want to see the real you. Don’t worry if it doesn’t all go to plan. Viewers will see that you are human after all and will be able to relate to you so much better.
Keep checking in
Go back and check for any messages. Go back over the next couple of days and check if any new comments or messages have come in. Respond to these.
Share your video
Share your Facebook Live video using the specific link. All you need to do is right click on the video once it is finished and, on your page, and copy the URL. Take this link and share in your blog and newsletters. Get your message out to as many other people as you can.
To get your very own checklist for doing a successful Facebook Live video, visit the freebies section
How an FAQ page can help get you more sales
Do you regularly get asked the same questions over and over again? Set up an FAQ page on your website with answers to the most frequently asked questions and then direct incoming inquiries to this. It will save you a lot of time and effort.
Questions will differ from business to business depending on what your customers or clients ask you.
If you have a brick and mortar shop it may that you need to give directions to your shop or let customers know where the nearest parking is and what it costs. If you have an online business it may be that you need to let clients know about your working hours, the best way to contact you and how to make a booking or cancel an appointment.
To help you get the most out of your FAQ page, use the three top tips below.
Priorise your Q&A’s
You could end up with quite a long list so may sure your prioritse your questions with the most common ones at the top. If the list really is getting out of hand, think about putting questions into sections. A section on location could give both the directions and parking information. A ‘working together’ section could include questions on working hours, terms, and condition, booking, cancelling etc.
When you are giving the answers to the questions listed, make sure you reiterate key benefits to the reader rather than just cold, boring facts. This FAQ section can be a great selling tool where you really overcome any objections a prospect has so make the most of it.
Keep answers short and sweet
Remember to keep your answers short, sweet and to the point. You don’t want to go off on a ramble that leaves the poor reader more confused than when they started. Try and keep answers to just one or two sentences where possible.
Consider using video for answers that need more in-depth explanation. Again, keep it as short and sweet as possible but it can be easier to get a point across clearly in a video than trying to explain it in text.
Keep answers updated
Do make sure you diarise to keep your information updated on a regular basis. You don’t want visitors rocking up to your shop if the nearest car park listed on your site has closed! Yes, it happens!
It can also be a good idea to include a form at the bottom for readers to ask a question that is not listed and if you are sat at your laptop frequently, think about having a live chat box to answer questions in real time.
Do you have an FAQ page on your site already? How about sharing to give us all inspiration? Pop the link in the comments box below.
Do you ever have clients placing an order for your products or services only to cancel a while later? There may be a very good reason why.
Yes, that simple act of keeping in touch and letting them know what is happening behind the scenes can make the difference between a happy customer and one who gets fed up thinking they have been forgotten and decides to take their business elsewhere.
There is no better example of this than when I ran my estate agents. Other agents were getting complaints and clients cancelling all the time to switch and coming to me. My clients stayed with me and the business was built on word of mouth recommendations.
Because I kept in touch. I put myself in their shoes and kept in mind how they might be feeling. Whilst my team were busy behind the scenes calling people about their property to book viewings and chasing surveyors and solicitors when a sale was agreed, the homeowner had no idea this was going on. All they had from other agents was silence. I made sure that every one of my clients had a call to update them every single week, even if there was nothing new to say. It made them feel important. They knew exactly what was going on and appreciated the call.
Yes, it took time and effort but the fact that my estate agency soared whilst others were struggling spoke volumes.
The key to stop clients cancelling
Take a moment to think how often you keep in contact with your clients. Are you busy working behind the scenes on the behalf putting together their order or working on a project for them? Do they know this? Are you updating them? If not, then perhaps it’s time to think again about your communication policy. Set up a simple database such as CapsuleCRM to keep in contact with everyone and see how much they appreciate it. This simple step really could be the key to stopping your clients cancelling and going elsewhere.
Just to finish, here are two current examples. Just this morning I have cancelled an order with a local company for having a sign made as they simply have not kept in contact with me and not sent information to me as promised. I have chased them no less than three times and yet they have still failed to keep in contact, and I am now fed up. I have now contacted another company and transferred my order to them.
The other example is with my husband’s laptop which stopped working whilst under guarantee. We took it back to the shop where it was purchased and they promised to fix it asap. That was six weeks ago!!! My husband has called on a number of occasions to get updates and then called again this morning. They said it was fixed and had been posted back. If this company had kept us updated and even let us know it was fixed and on the way back, we may have bought from them again. As they couldn’t be bothered to keep in touch, we have both said we will never buy from them again (and will tell others not to!)
Communication is key
Remember, whatever you do, don’t forget communication is key. If you don’t keep in contact with your prospects and clients, don’t be surprised when they go and buy elsewhere.