Marketing Planning

For some business owners the phrase, “Marketing strategies” causes them to cringe and quickly shield their wallets. However, developing strong marketing tactics doesn’t have to be difficult nor break the bank. Here are several inexpensive, effective ways to market your business that you could easily implement today.

1. Make your website visible and usable

It won’t do much for your customers if your company website is unorganized, unappealing, or hard to navigate. Create a website that is readable, easy to use, and that offers the most important information your customers should know about your company. The purpose of a business website is to serve as a tool for your customers and to showcase what your company offers. Add relevant content, clear navigation, and appropriate photos that all enhance the core messages of your company. Spending the time making your website clear and concise will pay off in the long run as your customers will want to spend more time on it too!

2. Utilize social media strategically

Social networking is one of the best ways to make a personal connection with your customers while expanding your network. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ are great platforms for creating, sharing, and liking posts while gaining feedback from your followers. But remember, not every social media platform is necessarily relevant for your company. By evaluating what your company wants to achieve through social media, you will be able to choose the right platforms for your business and use them effectively.

Once you have selected the platforms that will best position you to connect with your customers, you can start developing your presence. You can use social media as a resource for data, a tool for relationship building, and a space for feedback. With each of these motives comes planning. You must have an objective or goal you want to achieve for your company. Stick to your goal, be professional, and you will be on your way to achieving a respectable social media presence for your company!

The one thing that we love about having multiple social media sites is that each platform allows you to share a different side of your business. While LinkedIn tends to veer toward more professional content, Facebook and Twitter tend to be more relaxed/casual. This gives you the flexibility to be as creative as you’d like. Challenge yourself to come up with unique ideas for posts and don’t be afraid to have fun with it. Create themed days, share what inspires you, but most of all, share your story. This gives your followers something to connect with.

If you’re curious on ways to implement a strong social media strategy check out our post on the, “4 Things Businesses Shouldn’t Screw Up On Social Media.”

3. Start blogging - write original, valuable content on a regular basis

Customers, new and old, are interested in hearing your company’s authentic ideas through fresh, intriguing content. Creating a business blog is a great way to generate and share this original content. Every business is (or should be!) an expert at something. So developing posts that are relevant, authentic, and (even better) entertaining, is a fun way to share your thoughts and ideas. This also enables your clientele to see you as a valuable source of information.

Consistency is key; to be seen as an industry leader, be sure to create content on a regular schedule. We know first hand that it takes effort to be consistent. But constantly providing customers with valuable, original content will increase customer loyalty as well as your business’s credibility.

Blogging can also be an effective tool to drive traffic to your website, especially if you actively share your posts across social media platforms. In fact, studies have shown business blogging can increase your website traffic by 55%.

Beyond the numbers, blogs bring the voice of a business to life on a personal level, allowing your customer to invest themselves deeper into your brand.

Curious about blogging as a business? Check out our post on “Tips on How To Write Interesting Blog Posts for Businesses.”

4. Get involved with the community

Community involvement is a great way to gain positive exposure at the local level. Participating in local farmers markets, local charity events or simply sponsoring a little league sports team not only helps you get your name out there, but it also reassures the community that you care about seeing it grow and prosper.

Another great way to get involved in the community is by supporting your local chamber of commerce! We love all of the events the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce provide. Volunteer to facilitate workshops, speak at events or offer a discount to members!

5. Partner up

When working within a limited budget, forming a strategic alliance with another business is a great way to accomplish your marketing goals while staying within your means.

Team up with another non-competing business or organization on a project. Promotional events, online webinars, special giveaways, or fundraisers are great ways to fuse your brains and resources together to come up with something truly unique and special. You’ll gain twice the amount of exposure than you would going in alone with the luxury of having another person to bounce ideas off of.

This article has great advice on how to create a partnership that successfully grows your business and what things to consider beforehand.

6. Use video and pictures to create interest - even better, create a YouTube channel

Today, people want information, and they want it fast. Many find it more satisfying to watch a 2-3 minute video than to spend 15-20 minutes reading content. Creating a marketing video will increase the effectiveness of your message by appealing to several senses, an advantage that a simple text does not have.

Watching your videos will make your customers feel more involved with your company and feel like they know its personality! Nothing compares to a message coming directly from the source that is most passionate about it. Explaining the product and services of your company through video shows your dedication. Videos typically receive a higher priority in search engines than text, so including videos on your website will rank it higher making your company more noticeable!

More on why pictures and videos should be included in your company website!

And if you are motivated, what would be best is if you were to make a Youtube channel! Did you know YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google? In fact, studies show that 53% of internet traffic is currently video with an expected increase to 84% by 2019. In other words, creating a YouTube channel is a valuable, effective way to create original content in a highly visual market. Just like your business blog, strive to create videos that are relevant, authentic and entertaining. Be unique, have fun, and most of all connect with your viewers.

This helpful article explains how to develop effective strategies when using YouTube for your business.

7. Set up an affiliate program

Create a program that allows you to make connections with popular bloggers who would make the perfect brand ambassadors. Now, you may have to throw a penny or two at this idea, but investing in an affiliate marketing program can be a great way to boost sales by piggybacking off of your affiliates following.

However, not every business is suited or for affiliate marketing. Here is a great source that will help you determine if your business is ready to take this next step or not.

8. Use free publicity such as local interviews, guest writing on blogs, etc.

The use of your blog isn’t just to get your messages out there but to hear from and interact with other companies and your customers as well! Contributing your input to someone else’s blog and conducting local interviews will help you build great relationships with your customers if you remain consistent. Conducting local interviews and writing guest blogs not only increases your website traffic, but it also builds credibility, connects your company to important networks, and opens new business opportunities. Take advantage of these free marketing tactics and you never know what opportunities could come your way!

More on the benefits of guest writing on blogs and interviews!

9. Send out a regular newsletter

Your business should always provide valuable content that is original and relevant. Whether it is sent out once a month or once a quarter depending on customer need, a regular newsletter is a cost-effective, beneficial marketing tactic that will keep your customers informed. A company newsletter is a great way to engage customers in conversation about what your business is working on! While potential customers may not currently be purchasing your products or services, newsletters remind them of the products and services your company offers and shows them you and your company still value their business!

Check out this checklist on what to include in your company's newsletters!

Marketing your business doesn’t have to be costly or complicated. Simple steps in the right direction have the potential for big results in the future. If you're unsure which marketing tactics work best for your company, we can help!

Connect with us!