Viable Marketing Tactics For The Average Small Business Owner
Being a small business owner means taking care of a multitude of tasks. While technology has made it easier than ever before to accomplish this, one of the biggest challenges for SMB owners is still – and maybe always will be – marketing their business effectively.
From choosing the right marketing tactic to tech and software to use, there’s a ton of decisions to make. No small business owner has the time or resources to develop their own complex marketing schemes, and there are tried and proved marketing tactics that they can rely on. Here are some of them.
PPC vs. SEO: The Eternal Battle
Like almost anything in life, both of your best marketing options have upsides and downsides. PPC marketing will most often provide an immediate response, but it can be difficult to determine the real ROI.
The ultimate point of marketing is not to get visitors to just click on your page, it’s to get them to buy from you. Counting clicks is the easy task, but getting those clicks to actually convert to a sale is much more difficult.
SEO, on the other hand, will often take longer to bring any tangible results, but often brings better conversion over time. Conversely, however, there is something of a science to optimizing SEO that requires a good deal of care and attention to even the tiniest details. Because search engine algorithms are constantly changing, the ways in which marketers optimize for those algorithms have to adjust to those changes regularly.
Another issue for the average business owner is not access to powerful analytics, as anyone can have it nowadays, but being able to read them. To read them means being able to utilize findings and fine-tune your campaigns to maximum impact.
Small Business Owners And The Reality Of Marketing
While technology has vastly expanded the number of things small business owners can do for themselves, all of those things take time.
In addition, the less experience you have at doing them, the more time they take. Conversely, you can always hire someone to do almost anything for you, but that requires money.
In addition, home-based business owners, in particular, have to always be juggling their personal responsibilities with their professional ones. Achieving a good work-life balance is already difficult enough when your workplace is physically separated from your living space, but it can be even more difficult when your business is literally right inside your home.
- To determine what you should do yourself and what to hire out, list everything you have to do – both personally and professionally.
- Then determine what it would cost to have someone else do each task versus how much time it would take you to do it.
For example, let’s say you are having company and need to deep clean your house and you also need some graphic design work done for the new infographic you wish to publish.
Luckily, you know enough of graphic design to do it well yourself.
But should you?
If it would cost you $15 an hour to hire someone to clean your house and $30 an hour for the graphic design work, then you can afford four hours of housecleaning for the same price as two hours of graphic design work. If the design work takes 4 hours or more, then you are definitely coming out ahead by doing the design work yourself and hiring someone else to clean your house.
Marketing Tactics that Won’t Eat Your Budget
Needless to say, the more marketing you can do yourself, the more money you save. Once again, however, you always have to balance how much time it takes you to do something versus how much it costs to have someone else do it.
Here are some economical ways a small business can market their own business.
1. Create a Blog
A blog can help establish you as an expert in your field and help you develop a following that will eventually become a great consumer base. Information is a great “freebie” you can give away that can also bring an excellent ROI.
2. Research Basic SEO
When writing a blog, you want to do some research on keywords to help search engines connect you with your targeted audience. Researching keywords can also tell you what people are already looking for, which can also help determine the kind of content you want to write about.
3. Guest Post For Backlinks
Backlinks are another critical component of good SEO. One of the best ways to generate backlinks is to guest post on a companion site. Be careful of trading backlinks, however, since that is something modern algorithms are programmed to search for. Backlinks should be organic for them to be effective.
4. Use Social Media To Build A Following
Social media may be one of the most effective tools for small business marketing, but only if you use it the right way. When it comes to marketing, out of sight is out of mind, so you want to post regularly and often but offer real value.
Avoid only posting promotions or talking about the features of your products.
Share blog posts, information from other websites, and don’t forget to go fully casual with a cat picture or two. The internet loves cats.
5. Hire Out What Is Not Worth Your Time
One of the best ways to determine which tasks to outsource and what to do yourself is to figure out which works better: time investment or money investment.
For example: will you invest time (do it yourself) to look over SEO results each day and change, test and tweak your campaign, or would you rather invest money and hire an agency or an SEO professional to do that for you?
6. Use Tech Solutions
Technology allows you to automate any number of tasks ranging from paying bills to posting to social media. You can sit down for an hour or two at the beginning of the week and queue up an entire week’s worth of social media posts or even schedule a month’s worth of e-mails.
Analytics can also provide valuable insights into what is working and what is not.
The good news for small business owners is that there are more affordable outlets than ever before to market your business.
Even familiar companies like Google and Microsoft have branched out their products to apply for a plethora of scenarios, even for marketing. The bad news is, with all the many different options to choose from, it can be difficult to find the optimal solution immediately.
Testing proved tactics and schemes is the quickest way to determine what works for you and what doesn’t.