If you’re a small business owner, chances are you won’t have a massive marketing team or even a marketing budget. If you’re interested in thinking outside the box with your marketing tools, there are endless opportunities to creatively market your small business that don’t involve Facebook or Google Ads.
Here are a list of 5 tried and true methods to market your small business from small business owners themselves.
1. Inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is a methodology where you create valuable content and experiences tailored to your customers and prospects. This helps attract them to your business and positions you as an expert resource.
Nora Jenkins is the founder of Bright+Early, an HR consultancy focused on startups. She’s found success by differentiating her inbound marketing strategy.
“Instead of buying ads in a crowded marketplace, we focus on being helpful to our target market and create content and usable templates that showcase our unique way of thinking about HR,” Jenkins says. “We give away what we know gets clients familiar with us, and builds trust.”
Jenkins shares these tips:
- If you go the inbound marketing route, be sure to measure what works and what doesn’t
- Understand which articles and resources are shared and clicked the most
- Speak to your clients and potential clients to understand what they are hoping to learn from a business like yours
- Understand what speaks to them
If you’re new to inbound marketing, there are all kinds of free resources to help you learn more, including the HubSpot Inbound Marketing certification.
2. Host events
Hosting events is another great way to build relationships with potential clients or employees while marketing your business or products. The best part is, they don’t need to be lush and over the top to offer value.
If you’re a small tech-oriented business, you could consider hosting or sponsoring a hackathon and opening it up to the public.
This could benefit you by:
- Learning new ideas from outside individuals
- Introduce your brand to potential clients
- Help attract candidates to your company
Hosting a speaker series or workshop series is another great way to build relationships with your audience. Consider hosting experts from your industry for a guest speaker session or workshop and opening the event up to the public.
For example, Wealthsimple regularly hosts events about personal finances that engage different audiences interested in learning more about how to invest.
If live events are not your thing, consider sharing your knowledge through a webinar. Whatever you’re doing, make sure you’re adding real value to the people attending and teaching them something useful.
3. Get creative with your social media platforms
While you don’t need to be present on all social platforms, you do have to understand who your audience is and which social platforms they’re using.
Tracy Komlos, founder of Pangea Dreams says, “We are heavily focused on using social media as a means to build organic awareness for Pangea Dreams. “We host engaging giveaways and contests for our community that incentivize people to share and repost our content, which leads to new eyes and customers.”
“It’s a portfolio for us,” Smith says. “We can display our work, advertise our promotions, and reiterate our values and lifestyle. We are trying to create a community that people can access from anywhere.”
Your social channels are a great place to start building your community of brand ambassadors, so get into a consistent cadence for posting and using them creatively.
4. Seek out and share feedback
Soliciting authentic feedback from customers and sharing it publicly is a great strategy to recruit new customers and retain existing ones.
“One thing that has greatly helped us succeed in continuing to evolve and grow is listening to our customer feedback,” Komlos says.
“Organic word-of-mouth has allowed us to grow in such a beautiful way that is built on trust. That is why speaking to your customers and always taking their feedback into consideration is a huge game-changer for small businesses.”
5. Write a book
If you’ve got a knack for writing, and want to establish yourself as a voice of authority, consider publishing a book. Writing and publishing a book is no easy feat, but can help you attract clients and prospects to your business as you grow your brand.
Matthew Silver, founder of Silver Immigration decided to write a book when starting up his immigration law firm.
He says that his “reference style” book has helped him gain credibility and speak from a point of expertise. When people come across his business, they see he’s built his credibility through publishing, and this helps build trust with potential clients.
There are many avenues for publishing, so make sure to do your research and take time to understand what each publisher is offering, and that you feel confident in how they will represent you.
Opportunities to showcase your business and market your products are all around us. While it may take a little extra leg work to get creative, the juice will be worth the squeeze.