There are countless marketing tactics small businesses can use to capture new leads, and the truth is you can read almost anything on the internet telling you what’s “best” for your business. The truth is, your success is entirely dependent on finding the best marketing tactics for your particular business, not generalized approaches for any business.
It’s very difficult to find small business marketing tactics to be both effective and low-cost. Therefore, you need to find the right mix of marketing to get you the results you want. This starts with knowing how to identify YOUR best small business marketing tactics to capture new leads.
A few ways to identify what marketing tactics will work best for your small business include:
– Identifying your target audience
– Performing market research, including competitive analyses
– Testing and optimizing your marketing campaigns
Once you’ve completed the first two steps above, you can begin to test a variety of marketing tactics based on your research. Here are the 5 best marketing tactics most small businesses can use to capture new leads in order to grow.
Small Business Marketing Tactic #1: Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the few small business marketing tactics that is both low-cost and effective. It’s also able to be automated for maximum efficiency and repeatability. The trouble most small businesses face when it comes to email marketing is the WHO. That is, who can you send emails to and how can you find them?
If you want to grow your small business using email marketing, you have to do two things:
– Go where your audience goes
– Promote something of VALUE in exchange for their email address
If you’ve got minimal web traffic and wonder why no one is opting into your email marketing list from your footer, you’re not thinking realistically. Posting outside of your own social media account to other groups, forums, blogs, and trade publications/sites is how you grab that attention and build your list.
Promote a free piece of content, such as a webinar or whitepaper download, in exchange for emails. If it is truly something your audience needs and sees as valuable, they’ll happily opt-in!
Small Business Marketing Tactic #2: Networking
This marketing tactic is not always cost-effective, but IT WORKS. Connecting with people who are interested in what you do or could benefit from it despite a lack of awareness is an important part of growing a small business. This may be at local networking events, trade shows, or simply through you own list of connections (i.e. 2nd connections on LinkedIn) – get creative!
The key to good networking is not SELLING but rather BUILDING relationships which may turn into sales later. It is an investment. Your primary focus while first establishing new connections is to help others by adding value to them or their business. After a few weeks or months, if they haven’t already come to you seeking more, you can slowly nurture them into buying something.
If it feels disingenuous or inappropriate, hold off. There’s nothing worse than losing a qualified lead from rushing to a sales pitch too quickly.
Small Business Marketing Tactic #3: Storytelling
Small business owners often find storytelling difficult. Either you’re “too small” to share stories valuable enough to capture new leads or you feel pressured to elaborate on your successes in order to make an impact. Just remember, there is nothing worse for a small business than false advertising, and we ALL HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE.
BIG RISKS = BIG REWARDS
Telling a good story can be as simple as explaining why you started your business and what you hope to achieve, or how you have used/tested your products and services and achieved amazing results. You don’t need customers to tell an engaging story. You are your biggest advocate and your best storyteller. Use that to your advantage, and don’t be afraid to take risks in order to achieve amazing results!
Small Business Marketing Tactic #4: Paid Advertising
No one WANTS to pay for advertising when there are so many ways to market a small business for free, but the truth is that sometimes it’s really worthwhile. If you haven’t already, you may start to notice that most “free” small business marketing tactics are not free at all. They either drain your marketing resources or your time. Tactics like SEO and content marketing are incredibly powerful, but they’re more of a long-game tactic than an immediate one.
While you build your business, why not supplement your organic marketing efforts with some paid approaches like PPC and social media advertising? You can determine your budget and test various calls to action in order to optimize your organic marketing efforts. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but it can easily pay dividends on your marketing spend and improve your overall brand awareness in the process.
Small Business Marketing Tactic #5: Referral Programs
A 2013 study by Nielsen showed that referrals are the most trusted form of advertising. This is not surprising considering referrals come with an automatic first-hand recommendation of your products and services essentially proving your value upfront. Think about it,
Another great benefit to referrals is that they’re often free, minus the occasional referral credit or gift. Essentially, you have a direct line to QUALIFIED buyers through existing, happy customers which you do not have to pay your standard customer acquisition cost to get. That’s pretty incredible, right? Not to mention the loyalty you build by growing a network of happy customers who know and trust each other and your brand.
Check out “How to Build the Perfect Referral Program” for details on how you can begin creating the best referral program to grow your small business.