If you’re a business owner, you’re more than likely overwhelmed.
However, it’s not necessarily a lack of clients or customers we have the drags us down, but rather the choices that overwhelm us.
With seemingly millions of marketing channels, tools and strategies to explore, figuring out what to do next with your business can be incredibly daunting regardless of what stage you’re currently at.
As a result, perhaps it’s time to bring things back to basics.
Creating effective marketing campaigns isn’t necessarily about using cutting-edge tech, nor is it about spending a ton of money.
In fact, we’ve come up with a simplified, three-prong approach to marketing your business that doesn’t rely on costly tools or insane investments. No matter what you’re selling or how you’re currently approaching clients and customers, keep the following strategies and tips in mind.
Don’t Overlook the Importance of In-Person Marketing
This is a big one.
With the rise of automation and Internet marketing at large, so many businesses have neglected the age-old advice of simply putting themselves out there.
Shaking hands. Striking up conversations. Establishing meaningful, face-to-face relationships
That’s why old-school marketing staples such as business cards are seeing a sort of resurgence amongst today’s business owners.
Thankfully, they’re likewise cheaper than ever thanks to platforms like Vistaprint that are constantly running deals.
“We routinely see Vistaprint promo codes that drop the price of 500 business cards to just $10,” notes Julie Ramhold of DealNews. Given just how valuable a calling card can be for networking and conferences, there’s an insane potential ROI for those who put themselves out there.
Seriously, though. Anything from specific industry conferences to coworking spaces and coffee shops are fair game for building those ever-so-overlooked business relationships that you need to grow.
Because local business want to work with local clients and vice-versa. Even if you run a digital business, it totally makes sense to make face-to-face connections whenever you possibly can.
Considering so many people don’t bother anymore, it means there’s less competition locally for you. From scouting events near you to finding promo codes for cheap or free business cards, make sure in-person marketing is on the table.
Making the Most of Your Inbound Efforts
Okay, now let’s dive into the world of Internet marketing.
You’ve probably heard time and time again that you can’t live with an email list or Facebook ads, right?
While such tools can be incredibly effective, they’re not necessities.
Not by a long shot.
Again, we’re focused here on needs versus wants. Even on a shoestring budget you can focus on the essentials of inbound marketing that will actually help you win new business. The three boxes to tick include the following:
A Central Hub for Your Business
In other words, a website and point of contact for inquiries. While platforms such as WordPress are helpful and intuitive, they aren’t requirements if you don’t plan on blogging regularly or otherwise taking advantage of its plugins. In fact, many sites today operate through bare-bones platforms like Wix or Squarespace.
Content marketing is often heralded as the be-all, end-all of businesses but this isn’t always the case. You don’t need a billion blog posts to reap to score organic traffic or queries, though: you need actual buzzworthy, linkable content that people want to read. This could be on your own site or a relevant guest post that’s highly visible.
Some Sort of Social Presence
The struggle of measuring social media ROI has been well-documented for years. You’re likely not going to see a flock of business from social; however, some activity on the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn can signal some expertise in your industry. Likewise, such platforms represent easy ways for people to get in touch with you in lieu of your site.
The Lost Art of Outbound Marketing
Marketers are oftentimes obsessed with the concept of “if you build it, they will come.”
The reality? Rarely does inbound alone work all that well. This especially true for small businesses and solopreneurs who don’t have the budget or resources to go all out on content marketing.
Remember: approaching clients and customers directly can be strikingly effective
In short, don’t count out using outbound marketing as part of your business, too. Whether this means writing cold emails that convert or getting in touch with leads via social media there’s nothing wrong with making the first move. As long as you’re not being spammy and have a reason for contact, it’s totally fair game.
Oh, and all of the above are totally free, too.
The Bottom Line
With so many channels and tools for businesses to tackle when approach and entice new customers, it’s no surprise that many people spin their wheels when it comes to marketing.
That said, business owners today should not be paralyzed by the price tag of marketing, nor should they be compelled to shell out a bunch of cash in exchange for “results.”
With these tips and tactics in mind, you can sow the seeds of a highly effective marketing strategy without splashing too much cash. It’s all a matter of putting yourself out there in a way that’s smart and efficient in terms of time and money.