It’s Episode 9 of the Visceral Concepts Podcast! Today, join Visceral Concepts Founder Michael McNew as he discusses quick and free ways to market your business online in under an hour a day.
For those of you who can’t listen to the podcast, we’ve broken down the information below.
As a small business owner, you know you need to market your business. It’s the fundamental basis for making sales and growing. It’s common sense that if people don’t know you exist, they won’t buy from you.
Marketing makes your business known.
You also know that marketing your business takes time, which is the most valuable asset you have, and you have it in limited supply. That’s where the mess gets a little sticky.
Popular Opinion Suggests Marketing Your Business Is Time Consuming
Look, most forms of marketing that small business owners are familiar with are time consuming, especially online. Trying to figure out a social media strategy or doing keyword research for pay-per-click ads can take hours a day. Unless it’s effective, it’s time that most small business owners can’t afford to spend.
The first response is that hiring an agency is the best way. Pay them to do it so you don’t have to spend the time yourself. But for many small businesses, that’s just not in the budget.
Not enough time, not enough money. What are you supposed to do?
Time-Consuming Methods Of Marketing Your Business Can’t Be Ignored Forever
Facts are facts. The most effective methods of marketing your small business take time and, if you want continued long-term growth, you’ll have to put them in to play eventually. Complete strategies involving a strong online presence will have to find their place within your time and resource budgets.
It’s become a requirement of a world where social media is the gateway to the world and consumers insist on being informed before they make a purchase.
Start planning now to, at some point in the future, make them a part of your marketing plan.
Quick Ways To Market Your Business For Free
Thankfully, you can start marketing your business online with only a small time investment. In most cases, specifically the ones I’ll share below, you won’t even have to spend any money. That’s great for all your budget lines.
These are real methods that work for 100% of businesses. I can’t guarantee the size of impact they’ll have for you, but I can promise they will help spread the word and get you known.
The best part is that anyone can handle them.
Share Knowledge On Instagram
Instagram is an amazingly simple platform to draw in a customer base. It takes 3 steps to use successfully, and all three take very little time. If you’re budgeting an hour per day, the first three days will be spend deciding and planning exactly what useful information you’re going to share. Think about what your target market might want to know about what you do, or that relates to what you do.
If you’re an event planner, share tips about selecting your event venue or caterer, offer contact information for some of the venues you like to use, and play samples of songs from the musicians you know to contact for live entertainment.
If you’re a mechanic, show your customers how to check their brakes, tires, oil, and other fluids. Give them a quick tutorial on how to change the wiper blades. Share vehicle recall notices and changes to local vehicular emissions laws.
If you’re a retailer, offer tips on how to shop for the products you offer. Share secrets about finding the best of the bunch. Post quick video reviews on some of the products in your physical location or online shop.
In any case, if what you’re sharing is valuable, they’ll be interested.
The next day will be spent on keyword research. Find out the keywords that people are paying attention to. Make sure they’re relevant to the content you’re sharing. You don’t want to use the #fitfam hashtag if you sell tires. It would be awkward.
Lastly, using a little under an hour a day, share your content in 2-4 posts spread out throughout your hours of operation. Make sure you comment first on every post using 20-30 hashtags. From there, you’re following will go up and, if you’re focused on content related to your product, so will your website traffic (you need a link to your site in your profile, in case you didn’t know).
Offer Check-In Discounts
There’s no business anyone trusts more than one recommended by a friend. That’s why the power of check-ins is so solid. While a check-in discount does decrease your profit margin (only by the tiniest amount), it doesn’t cost anything to prepare. All you have to do is mention to every customer when they’re getting ready to pay that they can check in on Facebook, Foursquare, Swarm, or Yelp, and they’ll receive an amount off their bill.
5% doesn’t seem like much, but neither does a quick Facebook check in. If you can get a QR code or NFC tag made that automatically opens the app for them, that’s even easier.
Ask For Reviews And Share Them
Similar to check-ins, reviews are golden. Ask every customer to leave a review of your business on Facebook, Yelp, Google Business, or Swarm. When they leave good reviews, people begin to see just how great you are. It works the same as a referral, too, because their friends and family will see it.
Bonus points: a bad review, or less than perfect one, gives you a chance to improve upon your business. Make sure you respond to every review, offering to make things right on the ones you know aren’t lost customers. Remember, some reviews are going to be untrue or grossly inflated. You can’t do anything about those. Just be polite.
Offer Referral Discounts
Like the check-in discount, this one reduces your profit without taking any immediate capital. Tell your customers to refer a friend. If they do, they and their friend will get an email coupon for your business. At minimum, you’ll retain customer loyalty, but in many cases you’ll have the chance to earn a new customer.
Respond To Recommendation Requests In Facebook Groups
You know you spend time on Facebook. There’s no point denying it. You’ve probably seen those “Looking For Referrals” posts in your feed. Someone asking for a great steak restaurant, a dryer repairman, or a park to take the kids to. You should be responding to them whenever possible.
If someone is looking for your services, it’s a great chance to introduce yourself. They may not take you up immediately, but now everyone attached to that post has seen your business. If they’re looking for something unrelated to you, making a recommendation builds you community credibility (showing you’re a local) and builds referral karma. That’s a phrase I like to use to describe the situation when someone refers you because you referred them.
A Lot Of Growth Can Come From A Small Effort
Great marketing strategies don’t have to start with a lot of time and money. Just a few hours a week can begin to build your customer base very quickly, if you use them effectively. Take a bit of time every day to expand your online presence. I promise it will help you grow.
Tell us anything effective that you’ve tried in the comments below. We’d love to know what else is working to grow your business with little expense.