Marketing tips for small business owners

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By Amy Sloane

Marketing is very important for any company but is essential for small businesses. Fortunately, there are several ways you promote your business without spending much money. Some marketing methods are free of charge. Here are some suggestions for making sure you build a reliable client base for your small business.

Create social media profiles

Social media is an extremely popular way to appeal to clients. Virtually every company has at least one social media page these days. You should make sure people know how to find you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to attract the right demographic by doing things like including your social media links in your email signature.

Setting up an account on these platforms is free in most cases, but you may have to pay a monthly fee to use special features like share commercials or advertise posts that will bring in sales. It’s important to maintain your social media pages by responding to followers in a timely manner. You should also create posts that encourage followers to engage with you and program your page to ask individuals to like your page once they respond to a few of your posts.

Optimize your website

Website optimization is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do for your business. Use SEO basics to ensure that your website is easy to find which can attract more customers to your business. You don’t have to be an expert in SEO to create a quality website. Try building your website in WordPress and install the free Yoast SEO plugin so you can set your website up step by step. Yoast will also create a sitemap for you and optimizes metal title format so it will be easy for you to complete website design on your own.

Create a blogging schedule

Blogging can be beneficial for small businesses for a variety of reasons. If you maintain a blog, you’ll get more online exposure and make it easier for potential customers to find you on search engines. When you continue to publish informative and engaging articles regularly, you’ll establish yourself as a leader in your industry.

If you’re not used to blogging, start with one blog entry a month, and gradually increase to once a week. Explaining various aspects of your business in a conversational tone can make it easier for customers to understand why they should patronize your business. Blogging is also another way for you to engage with your client base and get to know the people who patronize your business.

Develop a referral network

Small businesses often do better when they stick together. If you offer specific services, it’s best to search for related providers that you can form partnerships with. For instance, if you own a software company that sells real estate newsletter templates, partner with some local real estate companies so that customers can search for the agent they need if they’re in the market for a new home. If you’re a wedding or event planner, form relationships with some of the best photographers in the area so you can refer these professionals to your clients. If you recommend the photographers often, they’ll be more likely to return the favor when they can.

To build a strong referral network, you’ll likely need to attend several networking events in person and online. This allows companies in your region to become familiar with you and your professional approach to customer service.

You can even mention the businesses you’ve developed a rapport with on your newsletters and email communication with clients. Customers will often see you as trustworthy and community-minded when you build a referral network and are comfortable recommending other small businesses in the area.

Send thank-you notes

When you want a small business and want to ensure that your clientele knows how much you value their business, send thank-you notes. Create a note that captures the reputation of your company and express your gratitude each time a customer makes a purchase. You can send the thank you notes via email or regular mail depending on what your demographic would prefer. It’s also a good idea to send a hand-written thank you note to your first-time customers to make a great first impression.

Keep these tips in mind as your small business continues to grow. Maintaining a positive professional reputation and interacting with your customers regularly can help you maintain a successful business for years to come.

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Amy Sloane is an alum from Oregon State University and spends her free time as a freelance writer and knitting enthusiast. Amy loves reading, cooking, and spending time with her dog, Molly.

 

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