Spread the Word! 5 Easy Marketing Ideas for a Small Business on a Tight Budget

As a small business, it is sometimes hard to make your voice heard above the noise of a crowded market. The big names in the industry have the lion’s share of the advertising power, so how do you get the word out about your products or services? Here are five simple marketing ideas for small businesses. The best bit, though, is that they won’t cost you a fortune!

 

Make a Video

It has never been easier to make great looking online video content with little or no outlay. This is particularly handy because a video is the single best marketing medium in terms of the way customers interact with it. If you have a smartphone, you are already well on your way to making that all-important marketing video.

But what does the video need to include? You have a few options here. ‘How-to’ videos related to your business bring in decent search traffic and build trust for your brand if they are easy to follow. Product description videos are proven to help potential customers make up their minds over whether to make a purchase. Finally, funny videos about your business and the people who work there create a human connection between viewers and your company.

Once you have decided on the type of video you want and shot the relevant scenes, you need to edit it. Most computers and laptops come with free editing software, such as iMovie and Windows Movie Maker, on which you can easily edit scenes together and add titles and other effects. There are also a number of options for editing on phones and tablets too. All of which are relatively easy to learn.

After that, simply upload it to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and promote the heck out of it. All it costs is a little bit of your time for maximum potential effect.

Online video gives the most amount of information in the shortest amount of time. Click To Tweet

 

Host an Event or Webinar

The best way to draw in new customers is to become the local expert on something relating to your business. But to do this, you need to blow your own trumpet and present yourself as such.

A great way to do this is to organise your own event or webinar. For instance, if you are a florist, you could host a flower arranging class. If you run a computer repair business, you could hold a class to go through the most common issues that occur with people’s laptops. Obviously, you might want to limit this event to only show the really simple problems that you wouldn’t charge for, such as people accidentally turning off their trackpads.

This allows you to meet your prospective customers, who will now think of you when they next need flowers, their computer fixed, or whatever it is that you offer.

People love to learn new skills, so you should easily be able to find enough willing attendees. You could offer it as a free course on your premises, or rent a venue and charge a small fee to cover the costs. If the classes become very popular, it might even turn into a decent money-making wing of your business.

Webinars work in a similar way, but you broadcast your class on the internet, rather than in person. Either way, these are great marketing ideas for a small business on a tight budget.

 

Encourage Online Reviews

One of the simplest marketing tools available is the humble online review. Simply encourage your happy customers to take two minutes out of their day to tell others about you. This could be on Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, or anywhere that offers customers the chance to rate your services.

 

Survey Audience and Promote the Findings to Local Media

Your local media is desperate for stories that originate in their patch. If a story is driven by a local company, they are likely to run with it. With that in mind, you should consider putting a poll or questionnaire online for your audience about something relevant to your business.

An example is a mechanic asking their customers which jobs they are confident of being able to complete on their own cars.

Encourage people to take part and to share the survey with their friends in order to beef up the statistics. Once you have some results, stick them into a handy press release and send that to your nearby radio stations and newspapers. You should be able to spin a story from the results. For instance, in the mechanic’s example, you could lead with “Local Garage Discovers 80% of People in [local area] Can’t Change a Tyre”.

Both papers and radios stations have a remit to include a large proportion of local stories within the news sections. Even if your survey is on a national topic, the fact that it is compiled by a local business is enough to give it a regional angle that these outlets will love. You may find your company name prominently in print and broadcast all day thanks to this handy marketing tip.

 

Blog

The fifth of the marketing ideas for a small business on a tight budget is simply to blog. There is no better way to keep your website fresh with the new content that Google craves when it works out its rankings. You can stamp your authority on your local area or in your chosen sphere by producing regular, SEO-crafted, compelling content.

A blog gives current customers reason to return to your site, making them more likely to use your business again. It also makes it easier for new users to find you through search, increasing the chances of them making a purchase with your company for the first time.

In addition, you can also create entertaining and informative posts that people will share with their friends. This means they do your marketing job for you. Supportal can organise your web content, including regular blog posts. Take a look at the Services page to find out more.

Google is your best friend when it comes to your website rankings. Give them what they crave! Consistent, informative content! Click To Tweet

 

Marketing Ideas for a Small Business – Get Help

If you don’t have the time to plan these marketing ideas for a small business on a tight budget, contact Supportal today. We can help plan your marketing strategy. Drop us a line and we can discuss your needs.

A Local Blog for Local People: Three Blogging Tips to Help You Own Your Local Area

Many businesses with an online presence view ‘going viral’ is a real aim. However, you need to question whether being seen worldwide actually has any benefit for your business. It’s great to rack up views and shares, but can you actually monetise your 15 minutes of fame in Papua New Guinea? Surely it is better to own your local area; the place where your customers live.

 

Viral Blog Statistics

The problem is that some marketers view overall statistics as their mark of success. If they have put the post in front of a million people, they see that as their end goal. But that’s just not true. The point of blogging and social media for business is to bring in customers. Your Papua New Guinea fans aren’t going to suddenly flock to use a recruitment agency in Milton Keynes because you shared a funny cat video.

If you are a global brand, worldwide views are important. If you are a local business, you will find it much more effective to concentrate on going ‘regionally viral’. Yes, the statistics won’t look as impressive, but your bottom line will be boosted and that is the most important figure of all.

 

How to Own Your Local Area

Here are three ways you can make an impact in your community. They help you put your brand in front of the people who matter most to you – people who could feasibly buy your products or use your services.

 

Become a Local Authority

Is there something in your local area that relates to your business and that you can become the go-to expert on? Maybe you are a cafe owner who knows all the best cycling routes in your town.

In that case, you could pepper your local blog with posts that offer help and advice to people who want to get on their bikes. Here are some example blog titles:

A Local Blog for Local People: Three Blogging Tips to Help You Own Your Local Area

  • The Five Best Cycle Routes in [Area]
  • Five Things You Need to Know Before Cycling in [Area]
  • Five Things You Only Know if You Cycle in [Area]

These help answer people’s Google searches or show off your local knowledge, or both. They are relatable for local people and can cause online debate, which sees your content organically shared around people who live near you. You could also earn some great referral traffic from presenting this information.

You can relate these posts back to your cafe by advising people to come to you for coffee to energise them for a ride or for cake to celebrate completing a route.

This can work for any combination of business and local information. An estate agent may want to show how great their area is for children by posting about family events and related topics. Not only is this a much searched topic, but it fits in nicely with a business that has an interest in showing people how perfect the area in which they operate is.

 

Be a Local Campaigner

An effective way to prove your local credentials is to become a community champion, leading local campaigns. Is the local playing field under threat? Write a blog about it, start a petition and provide a focal point for the local action.

Rather than passively retweeting people’s complaints, can you organise protests through your blog or social platforms? Set out a plan of action, an agenda for campaigning. Write passionately about what the playing fields mean to local people. Film people doing the same and share the videos. Your potential customers will read and share this content.

Alternatively, make stars of those who do great work in your area. Crown a monthly community hero and write a blog about them, celebrating their good work in the town or village. It could be a carer, someone who picks up the litter, someone who runs errands for the elderly, a person who plants flowers in the verges. If someone makes the community a better place, be seen to be rewarding that.

 

Jump on a Local News Story

Three Blogging Tips to Help You Own Your Local Area

A topical response to a national news story could get lost amidst the general noise of the internet. However, having fun with a local topic is much more likely to put you in front of your potential clients.

If the local football team appoints a new manager, an estate agent could write a blog highlighting the properties on their books that are suitable for him. Houses near golf courses, for instance. It’s fun, topical, shareable and it also shows off items you are trying to sell!

Is a famous singer coming to your local venue? Write a blog detailing a fun local itinerary they could stick to make the most of their visit. Obviously include your business in there, whatever it is that you do. This also shows off how dedicated you are to your local area.

 

Need Help Owning Your local Area With a Local Blog?

Supportal works with expert content writers who can make the most of your local blog. If you don’t have the time to concentrate on owning your local area, we will research and write SEO-focused and keenly targeted posts that speak to the people you want to contact. Talk to us today to find out more.

 

How to Avoid Screwing Up Marketing to Dads This Fathers Day

Father’s Day is the obvious choice for a push on marketing to dads, but it is very easy to get wrong. Today’s dads are not the 1970s sitcom cliches who don’t know the steriliser from the stroller, even though many advertisers seem to believe that is still the case.

Modern dads change nappies, do the night feeds and take a keen interest in their kids. None of this is a big deal; it’s just what they do. The only time it becomes a big deal is when a brand comes along and tries to suggest the opposite is true. Take a look at this guide to how to avoid screwing up marketing to dads this Father’s Day.

 

Brands Who Got it Wrong


Here are two brands who dismissed dads at their peril:

Amazon

The world’s leading online retailer offers a family discount scheme around the world. In the UK, Japan, France and pretty much everywhere else, this was called Amazon Family. In the US, the home of the company, it was Amazon Mom.

The implication was that mothers are the only ones who care about the running of the home, and dads were angry. In 2012, Jeffrey Harrington, a stay-at-home-dad from Kansas, launched a petition to make the online giant change the name. Dad blogging groups jumped on board, and 13,000 people signed the form.

In 2015, Amazon US quietly changed the name of Amazon Mom to Amazon Family.

 

Heinz

Sauce firm Heinz felt the brunt of an army of angry dads too, and for similar reasons. On the side of a jar of the brand’s baby food, a printed message read, “inspired by a recipe from Sophie, a mum just like you.” More dad bloggers vented their ire at this suggestion that only mums could possibly be feeding their kids.

 

Marketing to Dads – What to Keep in Mind


Marketing to DadsWho Are the Modern Dads?

Modern dads are not the ancient, out-of-touch beings they once seemed. Fathers today grew up dancing the night away to Madchester and Britpop, and you need to reflect that. They care about how they look, they keep up to date with technology and hate being patronised.

Think less Jim Royle from the Royle Family and more Tom Fletcher from McFly. If you’re hoping to appeal to dads with some targeted marketing on Father’s Day, that’s the direction in which you need to skew your message.

 

What Do Modern Dads Want?

Google dug deep into data collected by Babycenter on the role of the modern dad and found that they despise the old wafer-thin stereotypes of being ‘the fun parent’ or ‘the incompetent one’ or ‘the absent breadwinner’. In fact, they rank becoming the ‘perfect dad’ as of far greater importance than their significant others do.

They turn to digital outlets to help them grow and improve as a parent, not to be told how silly or inconsequential they are. Be constructive with your dad marketing, that’s what they are looking for.

 

Listen to Modern Dads

There are thousands of dad blogs out there. If you want to know what dads want, listen to what they are saying. Consume all the dad vlogs you can and browse the dad-based Instagram accounts. The clues are out there.

You will certainly learn one thing early on; don’t try and suggest a dad babysits his kids. It’s called parenting.

 

Help With Marketing to Dads

If you want help directing your marketing forces towards dads, contact Supportal today. We work with expert writers and marketers to think beyond the cliches and talk to your targeted audience on their level, rather than talk at them in a way that fulfils every washing powder commercial stereotype going.

How to Make Effective Social Media Posts That Snap Crackle and Pop

Social media is a fantastic way to create a conversation with your potential customers. You can put your brand in front of their eyes whilst they scroll through their feeds, so you need to make the most of this opportunity. Here’s how to make effective social media posts.

 

Cut Through With Clear Language

There is a lot of clutter on social media and people tend to scan through the swathes of posts. Your message can be easily missed. You might fancy yourself as a flowery wordsmith, but social media needs a more direct approach.

Keep the language clear and as simple as possible. You need to cut through the noise of people discussing their lunch and sharing videos of their cats. A concise, to-the-point status from your brand catches the eye; a five-paragraph essay full of waffle does not.

Try to inspire emotion in your readers. You could amuse them, pull their heartstrings or invoke some nostalgia, but include something that causes a reaction and keeps your brand in mind.

 

Make it Interesting to Look At

Because social media is a barrage of information, another way to catch the eye is to add an image or video to your post.

It’s not just about getting seen though, it’s also about your audience digesting the message. In one recent survey, only 10% of people could recall a text-based post three days after seeing it. In comparison, 65% of those who read the post coupled with a relevant image recalled what it was about.

Video is even better than that. Social media posts paired with a relevant video bring in 1,200% more shares than text and image posts combined.

 

Pick the Perfect Image Size

Image size is important on social media. Post a picture in the incorrect dimensions on Twitter, for example, and it won’t appear as you wish. If you make it 1920 × 1080 pixels, it will appear in timelines exactly as you intended.

Facebook and Instagram used to be rigid too, but are more forgiving now. You can post images of all sorts of different sizes, but a good tactic is to make them square on Instagram. On Facebook, you could even try to make images longer than they are wide. This way they take up more of the screen when a user views them on mobile, meaning your brand is even more prominent. The same goes for Facebook video.

 

Tease Tease Tease

Social media is a great way to bring people to your website. Whack up a link to your latest blog post or cracking offer and anyone who follows it is a step closer to becoming a customer.

However, to maximise the numbers clicking through, you need to make them feel like they can’t hit that link. You need to master the art of the tease.

Posting “Click the link to find out why you should tease content on social media” is fine, but it doesn’t snap, crackle and pop. It’s too easy for someone to dismiss unless they specifically want to know about teasing. A better post would be “Click the link to discover the single most effective tactic for making people click links”. In the first example, the reader knows pretty much what to expect, in the second example their interest is piqued and they won’t want to scroll past until they have found out what the mystery is about.

Be careful not to stray into cliched clickbait language, though. We’re all too wary of posts that over-promise, nowadays. When a tweet insists we won’t believe something it links to, we can be fairly confident we definitely will believe it. The content has to match the build-up if people are going to trust your posts.

 

Each to Their Own

One important thing to remember about making social media posts is that they are all different and require different tactics. The temptation is to link all of your social accounts together and write one post that goes out on all of them. It saves time, but it looks terrible.

As already mentioned, there’s a difference in the ideal image size on each network. In addition, hashtags all over Facebook posts are ineffective and ugly. Tagging people works well to increase reach, but Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all do this in different ways, so you can’t cut that corner without at least one network’s post being messy.

Some people set their Facebook or Instagram posts to immediately share with Twitter. What you actually get is a usually cut-off part of the post and then a link to the other network with no explanation. They offer no reason to click through and you can bet that people don’t.

Each network has a different purpose too. Twitter is a running stream of consciousness, which would be out of place on Facebook. Facebook is very much about quality over quantity, and Instagram is a showcase for pictures and videos first and foremost.

 

Let Us Make Effective Social Media Posts for You

We all have access to social media, but it takes time and effort to make effective social media posts. Let us take on the responsibility of your hands. Supportal can handle all of your social networks to maximise your interaction with potential customers and to bring new people to your site. Contact us today to discuss what we can do for you.

 

Too Much Information – Why Infographics Are a Beautiful Solution for Displaying Your Data

The internet was once full of page after page of text walls, but things have changed. No longer do you have to write vast tracts of dense wordage to express yourself, you can do it through stunning visuals too. If you have a lot of information to pass on to your readers, infographics are a beautiful solution for displaying your data. Here’s why:

 

Bitesize Information

You can find yourself getting carried away when writing plain text, but you can’t with infographics. Everything has to fit into the template and around the images. This forces you to pick out the relevant bits of information.

It’s easy to complicate text marketing messages, even though we all know that simplicity is the key. Your readers are so busy, they want the important takeaway points handed to them. Infographics do just that, they stop your audience having to hunt for the meaning in whatever data you wish to display.

If you want to show that one in ten people buys a certain product, display that in an image. Your readers know then that this is an important fact, which they might miss if it is lost in the text.

 

Infographics Are Flexible

Infographics work in blog articles, in static content and also as social media posts. You can use a full infographic, or even just a section of one, as a tease on your social feeds to get people to click through.

If social reach is your aim, design an infographic that crunches your data into a beautiful design in the optimum dimensions for the network. If it answers a question or adds to the debate, you will find that it is shared by your followers, by their followers, and their followers and so on.

 

Infographics Provide Visual Stimulus

The brain responds to visuals such as infographics with much more enthusiasm than it does to plain text. This is particularly true when there is a lot of data to pass on.

90% of information directed to the brain is visual, which processes it 60,000 faster than text. 60,000 times faster! You still need text to provide a more rounded explanation of the figures and to help Google better assess and rank your page, but a stunning infographic captures the attention and can inspire the user to read on.

 

Infographics Are Great for Storytelling

Your readers’ attention struggles to survive a statistic storm, so let your infographic tell a story. In a series of simple images, you can show cause and effect of the data you’re promoting. Display the stages of the data flow; make them human, cutesy and fun. It’s an easy way to lead your audience through the facts.

 

Look Gorgeous

Infographics look appealing and brighten up your site and a perfect opportunity to incorporate your branding. They catch the eye of your users and entice them to stay on the page. The whole point of marketing is to attract people to listen to your message, so stand out from the crowd with a gorgeous infographic.

 

They Just Work

Even discounting all of the above, infographics are the best and most beautiful solution for displaying your data because they work. They really do. There’s a stack of research on this very topic.

Marketers who use infographics report 12% faster traffic growth than those who do not. It leads to three times as many leads as traditional marketing tactics and 90% of customers admit they find this type of content helpful. Powerful arguments, right?

 

So what does it look like?

We have put together an infographic so you could get a good idea of what we have been talking about.

Why Infographics are a beautiful solution for displaying data

 

Want to Start Displaying Your Data With Infographics?

Supportal works with top designers to turn your data into beautiful, effective custom infographics that bring people to your site. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business.