Being a small business owner isn't about becoming a multi-millionaire. It's about making a living out of your passion and having complete independence from corporate restrictions. As many small business owners aren't too ambitious, they don't tend to make room in the budget for marketing and instead rely on word of mouth within the local community. However, this often isn't enough to attract the customers you need to support your overheads and make some profit. This could lead to you falling on hard times. Marketing can help you fix this by reeling in more customers – but what if you can't afford it? Well, have no fear. We've written this article for small business owners who need cost-effective marketing strategies, so they can attract customers and boost their profits once more.
Blogging is an incredibly popular form of marketing that even big corporations use. It involves writing an article on a subject which relates to your business and it can be written as formally or informally as you like. It's an excellent way to build your brand, create links to your company website, inform your customers, and subtly persuade them to invest in what you're offering. And the best thing about blogging? It can be done completely for free. Either create a page on your business's website or use companies like WordPress and Wix who help users set up a standard blog. Just be mindful they will charge you to create your own domain. Start regular blogging to get the ball rolling and generate interest in your small business.
Email marketing is another strategy used by big businesses that some small businesses might overlook. It's a good way to re-enter your customer's subconscious and chase up potential sales, plus showcase your new products. However, a lot of time and effort is involved in creating emails to send on a regular basis. You also risk annoying your client base if you spam them with generic content. Bearing in mind small businesses survive off creating a loyal, intimate relationship with their customers, this is definitely something you don't want to do. What you can do to avoid this is use email marketing software. This will automatically send emails for you and make sure the content is personalised to each client, depending on their status or browsing history. You can avoid spamming your customers with irrelevant content this way. However, email marketing can be expensive, so if you're wanting something more cost-effective for your small business, then use a free bulk email software instead.
Over 2.95 billion people have at least one social media account, and this statistic is estimated to increase to 3.43 billion by 2023. That's pretty much half of the world's population. If you want to increase your small business's outreach within the local community, then social media marketing is the way to go. It's also completely free of charge to create and manage your own social media. Start by creating a business account on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Have some content prepared to post on them. Then start inviting friends and family to like or follow your page. Also, don't forget about the general social media etiquette, which is to follow others who are following you. To build your social media beyond your immediate connections, create content which is digestible to the greater community. Use attractive images, take pictures of your product, share an insight into your daily work life. Consider what other people will find most interesting. From here, you'll see your small business's following grow, bringing more customers your way.
Building your personal profile is a surprisingly effective form of marketing. As we mentioned before, a small business's success hinges on the relationship they build with their customers. Inspire their loyalty and you're guaranteed a returning profit without having to spend thousands on marketing campaigns. One way you can do this is by building your personal profile on social media. For example, you could include a link to your personal Instagram or Twitter page and make sure the content there promotes a good public image. You can also post videos and images on the business pages which feature your face or voice. Though these things can make you feel vulnerable, it's important to do so. If people see the face behind the brand name, get a feel for your character, they will become more connected to you, thus making them more inclined to invest in your small business. You create a loyal client base who cares about your success. Sometimes, this means customers will even do the marketing for you by recommending your service to friends. And what better way is there to keep a small business afloat than a good reputation in the community?
Not only are online competitions a lot of fun, but they double up as an excellent marketing strategy which is relatively cost-effective for small businesses. Usually, competitions for advertising purposes will consist of giveaways, answering quiz questions, or raffles. Winners will receive one of the business's products as a prize or another item like a sound system and box of chocolates. You can turn this into an advertising exercise in several different ways. For one, you could ask participants to tag at least two other people in the competition post if they'd like to enter. Or, you could ask participants to share the post on their social media and invite them to like or follow your social media. There's no one way of going about it. Online competitions are an excellent way to spread the news about your small business and encourage more people to engage with what you're offering. Obviously, prize-giving does entail an expense, but they should draw in more than enough profit to justify this cost.
These are some of the best cost-effective marketing strategies which should help attract customers to your small business. It's all about building a good relationship with the community and creating content which will be of interest to consumers.
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HELP! Haters Wants to be a Dater
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
My gay best friend is becoming a frenemy, begrudging any success I enjoy and balking at giving me any of the support and help I need. I think he never quite accepted that we remain friends and not anything more. His bitchiness has gotten too grating, which I guess is too bad. Help.
Dear Yikes,It's too bad your best friend is antagonizing you. I'm sure it's also very hurtful. Perhaps there are underlying reasons for his sudden change in behavior? Maybe he wants out of the friendship and signals it this way? It would be wise to give yourself a bit of distance to determine what is going on. This way, if he comes back and wonders why you've been distant, than this would be a good time to initiate a conversation with him to get to the bottom of what going on. If he doesn't reach out after your MIA act, then good riddance. Have some tea and move on!
- The Armchair Psychologist
HELP! I'm chronically depressed
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I'm chronically depressed. I try very hard to be a productive person but my mother is extremely psychologically abusive. She makes me feel like I'm worthless, but she's my mother and I'm her only child? What should I do?
I'm sorry your mother is causing you such distress. It sounds to me like you need to create some distance between yourself and your mother. Many psychologists, including Freud, agree that a child needs a mother or caretaker through their development cycle in order to live balanced lives. However, women account for 56% of all child abusers and most cases are psychological abuse.
Essentially, whether you're stuck in a "Mommy Dearest" scenario, a movie in which Joan Crawford mercilessly abuses her daughter by attempting to strangle her and, in another famous incident, beats her with wire hangers because she prefers crochet hangers, or whether you're experiencing a quiet psychological hell, it's time to get some help. I recommend you reach out to a qualified professional psychologist because you're worthy of love and support.