Yes, so you have come up with the brilliant idea of a new software, a business solution or an innovative product that no one else has thought about and you are now thinking how to go about creating your own startup business. How do you get your idea off the ground? How do you tell people about this new exciting idea when you really don’t have the money to do so?
The mistake many start-up owners make when working on a tight budget is that thinking that they have to slice their budget. Most often, they believe that if anything needs cutting, it has to be the marketing expenses. But this is not the only option.
Yes, it is an established fact that the traditional way of advertising is costly and very hard to measure. However, your small business can survive on a tight budget, even with so many other successful and established players in the market.
All you need to do is utilize low-cost or free platforms to influence enthusiasm around your idea. Use your time and that of your initial employees to generate that enthusiasm. Many small start-ups have learned to combine Social Media and Email Marketing to push their business forward and you can do the same.
In this article are ten effective marketing strategies that you can use to help you push your business forward even when you are working with a limited budget.
- Create an elevator pitch
Marketing should be constant – make marketing your goal anywhere you are. That’s why it is so important to have a winning elevator pitch.
Research has shown that an adult has an average attention span of 6-8 seconds. Only just 6-8 seconds you have to hold someone’s attention. Once you engage them, you have only a limited time to sell them your product or service. Spend your time creating an appealing elevator pitch. This will allow your business to benefit greatly leading to a massive growth in business opportunities.
- Influence your community
Your community plays a crucial role in your marketing strategy. Find out what’s happening in your community. Sponsor a community event such as a 10k walk /run or a Little League team. Why not print some bookmarkers and place them at the library in your area? Check out your ideal customers and find out where they spend most of their time and what they love doing.
Now you are in a position to look for ways to get your marketing message in front of your customers.
- Join forces
Why not join forces with other supportive, non-competitive businesses in your area and cross-promote? Use fliers, coupons, social media platforms, bundled promotions or shared website links to promote your business. Teaming up with other companies will help you reach more people and so will lead to an increased customer base.
Networking is a great way to promote your business. It allows you to get out there, meet people, and get to know them. Networking does not provide immediate gratification because it needs time and commitment but if you build a strong one; your business will be heading in the right direction.
- Engage in public speaking
Many persons shy away from public speaking. Numerous organizations need persons who are qualified and competent in relevant subject matter to make presentations to their groups. Why not ditch your fear and volunteer? You don’t have to be an expert to speak, you just need to share information that is relevant to the audience. What are the benefits? You gain confidence the more often you speak, while at the same time you are building your credibility as an authority in your field.
- Create buzz
Create your own buzz. You can get a lot done without contracting the services of a professional company. Resources such as Help a Reporter Out are available. Check out and respond to queries made by reporters who need resources and story ideas. While a few are small media prospects, others are large media outlets that use the services. In time, your brand will create its own buzz.
- Ask for referrals
Referrals make it easy for new customers to get in. Many people are eager to provide referrals if you ask them to, but some will never do it on their own. Don’t miss out on the opportunities by not asking for them. Promote your brand by asking your customers for referrals!
- Build relationships
Building relationships is great for your business. It is crucial that you establish strong relationships with your customers and email marketing is the ideal way to do this.
When you ask customers for their email addresses whenever they visit your website or store, you are creating the way to communicate with them. Just provide useful, informative and professional communications that will make them want to keep doing business with you.
.9. Give out coupons
Coupons are great for attracting new customers. Research has shown that many people will use coupons to stretch their spending dollar. Then why not use this method to expand your customer base? They are great for generating return visits, especially when you give them as incentives to use on future purchases.
- Offer give-a-ways
Giving out samples or free trials is another way of increasing your presence in the market. People these days are more likely to buy a product or service they have tried before. Therefore, provide the opportunity for people to experience your goods or services.
Your start-up doesn’t have to fail because you have a limited budget. By using the ten listed low-cost marketing strategies you will be able to engage your customers, build relationships, and eventually keep your product/service on top.
When you need to utilize effective marketing strategies to grow your business money is not necessarily the key factor. What really matters is the time and effort you are willing to spend to make your business successful, but most importantly, is the relevancy that all this has for your customers.
The role of short-term and long-term online marketing goals for your business
It’s impossible to identify a winner or at least to complete a competition if there isn’t a finish line. Namely goals (short- and long-term) make measuring the success possible and help to avoid or amend failure. Implementation of online marketing strategy, like any other sphere of your business, needs a precise set of steps that include short- and long-term goals and objectives.
It may be difficult for business owners to look at their business from a new perspective. In this case an experienced web design, SEO and internet marketing firm can help them to establish marketing goals for all activities of online promotion such as official website, blog, pages in social media, etc. Profound understanding of the matter and the costs of achieving the goals will help to save you time and resources.
The reason you need to set goals for your online marketing
You need to set goals for online marketing and its objectives because they predetermine a purpose and potential result of all online activities. Goals and objectives together make change and adaptation possible so that they can provide a way of measurement to help scale your business marketing efforts The most popular goals must:
- be relevant to general business strategy of the company (For example, “raise web traffic to increase profits of the business”)
- be realistic (For example, “to raise web traffic”)
- have the ability of quantitative measurement (For example, “to raise web traffic by 14 percent”)
- have deadlines (For example, “to raise web traffic by 14 percent by the end of the month”)
You can modify or eliminate tasks that do not support your goals. This frees up time and other resources to focus on activities that do support established goals. This is a cost-effective and efficient way to organize multi-faceted entities such as online marketing.
Establishing and implementation of online marketing goals
First thing you should do is write out all your short-term and long-term online marketing goals which must be laconic, clear, and have only one interpretation. On the next step you should determine the attributes of each goal as what, where, when, who, why, and how. This step helps to assign all tasks to the members of the team who will cope with them in the best way, so every member of the team knows his/her role in achieving the goals.
The difference between short-term and long-term goals
Short-term goals are the goals you want to do in the near future (days or weeks). Long-term goals are those that take a longer time to achieve (several months, a year or several years). Both of them play an important role in success of online marketing.
We can call long-term goals most meaningful and important because they determine directions of online marketing. They often represent general ideas and aspirations, such “Become one of the top-ranking door-to-door moving companies in Austin.” Short-term goals should be considered as supportive goals. These goals usually support big ideas of long-term goals. For instance, “Produce three optimized weekly blog posts about relevant life coaching topics.”
Examples of long-term goals of online marketing
As a small business owner you should make your long-term goals clear. Some examples of long-term goals for an online marketing campaign may include:
- expand the audience on Facebook page to 2000 followers
- increase web traffic by 14 percent by the end of the month
- get 1000 new subscribers for the company’s e-newsletter
- increase company’s conversion rate by 15% by the end of the year
After the establishing of long-term goals you can start to work on setting short-term goals. You can use different ways to determine the most important short-term goals such as internal company surveys or brainstorming.
Some examples of short-term goals for online marketing
Company’s short-term goals can support its general long-term goals, or exist separately. Examples of short-term goals of online marketing include:
- assign social media marketing specialist and determine schedule of SMM (Social Media Marketing) activities
- conduct a research of target audience and make changes in keywords
- improve content of the company’s e-newsletter
- use new and more effective calls-to-action on your web pages.
Every step of setting of short-term and long-term goals should harmonize with your company’s general marketing strategy, goals and objectives. Every task should work in harmony to support your company’s marketing goals and objectives. At ATX Web Designs, we assist new and established businesses in developing short- and long-term online marketing goals. We also provide specific, measurable ways to track your progress. Learn more about how we can help you streamline your online marketing efforts. Call 512-994-0191 or contact us or more information.
In today’s society, social media sites are a huge contributing factor for sales. Facebook, is especially great for small businesses to generate new leads and build their online presence. Why? Because potential customers spend most of their free time online. According to Social Media Today, the average person will spend nearly two hours on social media every day!
How do you know what type of customers you’re attracting to your Facebook page? Well now there is a new easy tool to use that is called “Facebook Insights”. It has the ability to show you all kinds of statistics about how your Facebook business page is performing. I know you’re probably thinking I’m about to give you the “sales pitch” or be told the elongated “too much information” spill. Surprisingly no, I actually have simplified and highlighted a few of the essential benefits that Facebook Insight has to offer.
- Your top posts. Facebook Insight allows you to see your most popular post you have. It also shows you what kind of content, posting times, and days are best to receive more likes and clicks from your audience.
- See who your best fans are. You can see who your most-engaged followers are. Which includes; the location, age, and interests. This is especially beneficial to business owners because it can help you refine your marketing strategy and increase the traffic to your page.
- How you compare to competitors. Yes, that’s right, Insight helps you see how your business page compares to the competitors page. Awesome right? It can also show you the top five competitor pages and how they are engaging and growing with their fans.
If you’ve been actively marketing your business online, you’ve probably familiar with both local SEO and organic SEO. But you might find yourself wondering what’s the difference between the two.
No worries. We’ll discuss the difference between local SEO and organic SEO and how they relate.
They both begin with search.
The main difference between organic and local search is that local search has a physical location component. If a user searches for your industry plus a specific location, the search engine knows there is a local intent in that search. Search engines job is to give the user exactly what they’re searching for. Here’s an example of how local search works:
You want to get your kids involved in some after school activities. You hear karate is good to get them involved in so you Google search “Karate Class Round Rock.”
So what’s it going to be? As you see, only three karate places show up in the local results under the paid ads on the first page.
Even when searching for “Karate” Google assumes I’m looking for a nearby karate class.
If you look below the local results, you’ll see what are called the “organic” results. These are the results search engines return on searches that they don’t see as having local intent.
Organic search happens when search engines decide there’s no local intent in the search. The searcher is looking for information rather than a specific location.
Maybe you want to teach your child some self defense moves yourself. So you search for “How To Do Karate” and the search engine will pull the best and most relevant results for that keyword.
So, you might be wondering how search engines determine which karate places (local results) or how to do karate (organic results) are the best or the most relevant.
Search engines use hundreds of factors to rank and index websites in searches, including keywords, outbound and inbound links and even grammar, just to name a few.
Who should rank in local vs. organic search?
Brick and mortar businesses with physical locations will want to rank high in a local search. Your target audience is likely looking for a place to go for a specific product or service. Therefore, your local small business needs to show up in local searches for your industry.
On the other hand, if you want your business to show up for certain search terms including or not including a specific location, you want to try to rank higher in organic search.
For example, if you sell art online but your business has no physical location and doesn’t serve a specific area, you want to show up in organic searches. You can still target a specific location or area, to potentially capture customers in your area.
Should local businesses rank high in organic search?
If you have a business with one or more physical locations as well as an online store, you want to be found locally as well as organically. You also want to be found both locally and organically if your local business has a blog.
That’s where organic SEO comes into play. Search engine optimization is the process of trying to make sure search engines know which searches your business or website is relevant for.
To rank higher in search results, both organically and locally, your business has to be relevant to a specific search. And to show search engines your business is the right answer for a particular query, you have to state the obvious.
It’s important for your business to show up in relevant local searches because over 50 percent of searchers visit businesses within 24 hours of a local search.
Naturally, optimizing a business for local search has more to do with location than with other factors. Search engines need to know exactly where your business is located so that when someone searches for a location, the search engine can find the businesses located in that area.
For local search, you want to make sure your business name, address and phone number is consistent across local listing directories as well as your website. That’s the bare minimum you’ll need for local SEO.
This has less to do with location and more to do with whether or not your website is relevant for certain keyword searches. That’s why “karate” and “how to do karate” are in bold in the “how to do karate” Google search. When searching for how to do karate the search engine wants to give me video and tutorials on how to do karate.
When optimizing a website for organic search, the intention is to get the website to show up for certain keywords. This could be a short term “how to do karate” or a question spoken into voice search on a smartphone. “how to teach myself to do karate?”
For organic SEO, you need to use specific keywords in headings and paragraphs. Don’t stuff the paragraphs full of keywords, but if you post a tutorial on karate, you might want to use the words “teach yourself karate” at least a couple of times.
How do they affect each other?
There are also certain SEO practices that help both local and organic search rankings. For instance, when claiming your business page on local listing directories like Google, Bing, and Yelp you are also adding a link back to your website.
These local listing citations (your business’s name, address and phone number) help local SEO by telling search engines where you’re located. They create links back to your website, which counts as a link building strategy that helps your organic SEO efforts, since search engines take the number of backlinks into account when they rank websites in search results.
On-site local SEO, such as writing a locally focused blog post or updating a page by adding your business’s address can also help your organic SEO. Search engines like fresh content, so while local SEO helps send out signals of local relevance, it can also help boost your organic SEO efforts.
When they’re done correctly, both local and organic SEO efforts will help improve your website rankings, but when done incorrectly, both can have a hugely detrimental effect on your online marketing efforts.
Remember, even though SEO is optimization for search engines, it is what helps consumers find your business. While you want to make sure search engines know what your business and your website are about, it’s important to think of those potential customers who are searching for your business. Don’t just optimize so that Google knows what you do. Make sure your target market can find all the information they’ll need to know about your business, such as exact location, hours, services or products, and more.
Do you want your business to rank better in local SEO, organic SEO, or both? Contact us and we’ll give you more information on steps you can take to rank better in local and organic search engines.
Starting a new business can be very worrying. With so many plans to put in place and numerous decisions to make you have to be careful not to make the wrong choices as this can really work against your success.
While there are no surefire plans available to make your small business startup a success, you can avoid the mistakes other new business owners have made, which affected their businesses negatively.
Let’s look at the 10 most common mistakes you should avoid when you are starting your small business.
1. Avoiding the Planning Phase
Planning takes time, but if you want to be free from the stress of a failing new statup business, you have to plan effectively. Your planning should include business idea, research and prospective target market, without these you will be left completely in the dark. There are three key plans you need to include before lauch out: business, financial and marketing plans.
2. Failure to Set Goals
Goals keep you focused and help you know where you are in terms of your daily operations. Simply put, your goals give you direction. Your goals help you recognize where you want to go and help you to pinpoint the particular steps needed to get you there.
3. Undervaluing Your Products/Services
Fear of failure and lack self-confidence in your ability can result in undervaluing of your products or services. Doing this is not good because it undercuts the true value of your business and makes way for possible frustration and bitterness. Moreover, it will take you a very long time to recover if you put too low a price on your goods. The best way forward is doing a thorough exploring of the market so you can identify the right entry price for whatever you are selling.
4. Sidestepping New Technology
Technology creates new opportunities for new business owners; it makes your work easier and help you run your business more efficiently. New technology can be scary too, and may take some time to learn or understand, but failing to use new technology can hurt your business both in the short-term and in the long-term.
5. Being Scared of Marketing
Marketing is a good way to get people to notice your business. Marketing can take many approaches including word of mouth recommendation, traditional advertising or internet marketing. Since marketing strategies vary, you have to find the one that is perfect for your business if you want your business to grow. If you don’t market your goods/services, you won’t be noticed.
6. Being Unaware of Your Ideal Customer
One important key to a successful marketing campaign is the ability to understand an ideal customer. A market research will help you identify the persons you are targeting, where they are and the way they will respond to your marketing actions.
7. Excessive Spending
Many persons may believe that you need a large investment to start a business, but is not so. You don’t need to spend money purchasing the best technology, the best software or the best equipment. There are other viable low cost options. All you need is the willingness to make the necessary research. The best way to limit overspending is to make a business budget and follow through.
8. Inadequate spending
While the possibility exists that some small business owners will overspend, others will do the exact opposite. Being cautious about overspending is good but you must realize that for your small business to succeed, you will need capital. You have to strike a balance because underspending will only hinder the growth and success of your business.
9. Doing It All by Yourself
While a Jack- of- All -Trades mentality may look like the right approach to a small business owner, this however can limit your success. Delegating some of the workload will give you the time to focus on those activities that need your required expertise. Building an efficient and reliable work team will position your business for long-term success.
10. Not capable of making a Commitment
Character traits such as determination, dedication and commitment are key to getting your new start up business off the ground. As a small business owner, you have to be prepared to face the challenges directly, make the necessary sacrifices, and fill in the time needed, if you want your small business to be successful.
Making mistakes is a common everyday experience. The most important thing about the mistakes we make is accepting them. Accepting your mistakes makes you aware of the importance of working on them consistently. This will help you make the right choices to push your business forward. Being resilient is the only way to bounce back from your mistakes and attain the level of success that you desire.