It’s fair to say that things are tough for many small business owners. Finding work is tough. Winning bids is tough. Making a good enough profit to be able to pay your bills and live the kind of life you are used to is tough, and the answer most small business owners tend to give when asked why is “because I can’t afford to advertise”.
Luckily for them, the world is now pretty much online, give or take a small percentage of people. And of course this means massive opportunity to square up to your biggest competitors. The problem is, most small businesses are wasting this opportunity.
“I don’t have time for the Internet”, “Facebook is a waste of my time”, “Oh, you’re talking about that Twitter rubbish aren’t you?” are all comments we’ve had thrown at us. Oddly then, why are businesses that are actively engaged in social media and other kinds of online marketing increasing their turnover on a weekly basis? Strange.
OK, so the tough economic climate has forced you to cut back on your marketing and advertising budgets and this will help you to keep your books in the black, but please don’t use this little cost-cutting exercise to sacrifice your market share!
Just because you have to tighten your belt and sow up your pockets doesn’t mean that you can’t keep up your marketing and advertising campaigns. The Internet makes it quick, easy and hugely effective to contact your exact target audience direct in their own homes, on the move or in the office.
“OK, that’s great, but how do I actually do more with less?”…
The web may scare you, but it’s only because its something you don’t know or fully understand. Having your own website sounds like a nightmare right? Well it’s not. In fact it’s perfectly simple. In fact, we are more than happy to talk you through it all – just drop us a line here.
A website acts like a shop window. It opens you up to the world, makes you accessible 24/7 (don’t panic, you don’t need to stay up all night answering emails!) and it allows you to reach more potential customers than you ever thought possible.
We don’t care what you think about Social Media, because you’ve heard all of those nasty horror stories that the media like to overplay and hype up. Contrary to popular belief, if you do social media right and act responsibly, then having those Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (and more!) profiles can help you to reach your potential (and existing) customers on a much more personal level. You can build relationships like never before, learn their habits, understand what they like and dislike, and start spoon feeding your marketing to them without throwing it in their faces (or spamming their profiles J).
Be an Expert!
PR is great, and free PR is amazing! Can you image if people saw you as an expert in your field? You’d be getting asked to comment for newspaper articles, appear on radio shows either in person or over the phone, hell, you could even appear on TV! Wouldn’t that be great?
Just think of the kind of exposure you would be giving your business.
Ah, well, crazy as it may sound this is perfectly possible! All you have to do is get out there and start being an expert (of course you probably should actually know a thing or two as well).
Start by sending out digital press releases to anyone and everyone that can get your message out there. Keep a blog, comment on other blogs, use social media to engage, offer to speak to groups for free such as giving talks at local chamber of commerce events), run some free up-skilling sessions, email your local radio and TV stations telling them you are a specialist in X, Y and Z and ask if they would like you to comment on the recent event that has just headlined in the local rag, and you could even get all techie and make Vlogs and Podcasts.
You would be amazed at how receptive people and organisations can be, and all the while it is benefiting you and your business. You are starting to “stand out from the crowd” and excel against your competition.
Is Traditional Media Dead?
Sure, traditional forms of marketing, advertising and PR are still important, but we need you to understand that just because you may not be able to afford it right now doesn’t mean there aren’t other options. In fact, there are loads of options, most of them free (only costing you time and effort) and nearly every one of those digital options will get you closer than ever before to your exact target market… something that traditional approaches could never do, nor are ever likely to be able to offer.