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7 cost-effective marketing activities your small business can take advantage of today

Marketing activities might not be what you think they are. They’re not just ways to sell your service – they’re how you establish your reputation.

Small business marking has undergone an enormous transformation over this past year. Word-of-mouth has traditionally been the #1 way small companies get new customers and grow their businesses. However, in light of the pandemic – that’s changed significantly. 

So, how do you adapt? Bring word-of-mouth to the digital age.

At Invoice2go, we’re all about empowering small businesses to keep up with the times and thrive. We have recently added features to help companies accept digital payments, build an online presence, and collect more verified customer reviews. Also, our subscriber success community is a great place to connect online with other business owners like you.

To survive in the world of small business, your ability to adapt is essential. The good news with digital marketing activities is that they’re easy to use, free or inexpensive, and you’ll reach more customers who will love your service than ever before. 

Here are 7 proven marketing activities you start using today:

1. Start regularly publishing content to at least one social media platform 

First, no matter how you choose to market your business, it’s essential to be strategic. You want to set clear, measurable goals to motivate yourself and know if your efforts are paying off. Check out our guide on creating a marketing strategy here

Now, whether you love or hate social media, it’s one of the most cost-effective marketing activities for building your brand and getting new customers. If you’re just getting started, it’s one of the top activities to engage your first ten customers

FacebookLinkedInTik Tok, and Instagram are places where you can build community. You don’t need to be on every social media platform – 1-2 is plenty. 

Post engaging content and respond to customer comments and questions. Many social media platforms now allow customers to leave reviews, which can be a great way to build social proof. If you’re an Invoice2go subscriber, you can now request verified reviews from your customers.

Once you’ve gotten into the habit of regularly posting, you might consider Facebook ads. This cost-effective approach allows you to share ads with a targeted audience based on location and demographics. 

Your social media marketing activities action plan:

  1. Create a business profile on at least one social media platform. If you’re unsure where to start, look for businesses similar to yours and see what platforms they use. Facebook and Instagram tend to be the most popular.
  2. Set a goal for new customers and commit to publishing content on social media at least once a week. For example, share positive customer feedback, before and afters, or tips. You can also run polls to involve your consumers and request feedback. 
  3. Once you’re publishing content regularly, consider testing an inexpensive online ad via Facebook or another platform.

2. Learn and take advantage of search engine optimization (SEO) basics

Knowing how to make your content show up in Google search results can help you grow your business at a low cost. Here are a few straightforward ways to do this.

First, write down the problems you solve for your customers. What would they type into Google when looking for your services?

 There are three types of search intent: informational, transactional, and navigational. For example, let’s say you run a wedding photography business. Your customers’ searches may be: 

  • Informational. Questions like: “What a reasonable price for wedding photography?”
  • Transactional. Something like: “Wedding photography packages.”
  • Navigational. Here your customers are searching by location. For example, “Wedding photographer near me.”

Next, use free keyword research tools, including Google Keyword Planner, and Ryte for insights. Keep a list of target keywords and use these phrases on your website and social media. Ensure your content reads well and that you’re not just adding specific terms thinking it will help you rank higher on Google. Your writing should sound natural.

Important: Improving your ranking on Google takes time, and it may take several months for you to see results. Keep at your strategy for at least 3 months before your reassess. If you’re an Invoice2go subscriber, use your Instant Website to boost your SEO. 

Your SEO action plan:

  1. Write down the problems you solve for your customers. Consider their search intentions and phrases they may write into google.
  2. Conduct keyword research using the free tools noted above to hone in on the phrases that will likely bring you the most traffic.
  3. Add these phrases to your website and social media accounts. For example, if you run a local business, include your location in your titles, headlines, and content.
  4. Consider writing a few blog posts related to topics your customers would search for (more tips on this in the next point).
  5. Be patient, and check over time to see if your rankings are improving. Note if you’re getting more traffic to your website. Adjust your keywords if necessary as time goes on.

3. Write a few high-quality blog posts

Blogs play a vital business role. They help more customers find you through SEO and – when done right – help you immediately start building trust with them. Roughly 60% of online shoppers report that blogs are helpful when they’re first considering a purchase.

Whether you love to write or not, the process of creating a good blog can be straightforward. Here are some ideas to help: 

It’s best if you blog regularly, so a set goal for your blog. Your posts should be a minimum of 400 words and a maximum of 2,500. Chances are you’re busy, so perhaps it’s best to start small and do 1-2 shorter posts each month. Posts that also include photos and videos tend to perform best.

For content ideas, you could share advice or provide an educational overview of your services. For example, as a wedding photographer, you could write an article titled “10 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Photographer.” You could also share customer success stories like we do on the Invoice2go blog. The most important thing is that you provide value to your readers. It’s not about you; it’s about them. 

Keep your writing professional and straightforward. Write like you talk and make sure your language is grammatically correct. Grammarly is a free tool you can use to check to make sure your writing is error-free. Yoast also offers a content tool that helps you improve your writing for SEO. 

Once you’ve finished a post, share it on your social media accounts! Invite your customers to comment so that you can get a conversation going. In your blog post, you also make a plug to consult with you or announce a special offer. It’s just essential that you’re not hard selling your offer.

Your blog action plan:

  1. Brainstorm content ideas that your potential customers will be interested in. Use your keyword research from your SEO strategy to help inform some of your topics.
  2. Set up a simple schedule to write and publish content. Use free tools like Grammarly and Yoast to ensure that your content looks professional and is more likely to show up in Google searches.
  3. Share your posts on social media. Open up discussions with readers by creating a comment section at the end of the blog post.

4. Do simple email marketing

Did you know the average person checks their email 15 times a day? Email is one of the highest-value ways to connect with your customers. Programs like MailChimp make it super simple to create and send professional emails.

Chances are you already have a few customers you can add to your email list. Watch this video to learn how to export your Invoice2go contacts and add them to MailChimp.

From there, we recommend starting with a simple monthly newsletter. You can highlight an offer, share your most recent blog post, or show off a recently completed project. 

Then, it’s simply a matter of tracking feedback and analytics. Automated email marketing makes it simple to understand who is opening the emails you send and what percentage of those customers follows up with a visit to your website.

Your email marketing checklist:

  1. Sign up for MailChimp or another professional email service. Export your Invoice2go contacts and ask your followers on social media to join your email list. You can also make a form on your website where people can subscribe. 
  2. Start with a simple monthly newsletter that highlights tips, a blog, or the best of that month’s social media content.
  3. Make sure your writing is straightforward and easy to read. Start with a catchy subject line, and make sure you focus on giving value to your customers. It shouldn’t sound like an ad.
  4. Keep things brief and inspiring. You don’t want to overwhelm your readers. Capture their attention at a glance instead.
  5. Make sure to include a call to action in the email. This could be to encourage customers to get an estimate or take advantage of discounted services. 
  6. Don’t forget to follow up on your analytics. What types of content do your readers click on? Use this information to improve your email messages over time. 

5. Showcase videos whenever you can

Simply put, people love videos – and they can dramatically increase engagement online. There is genuinely no need to hire a professional on this front. These days, most social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram allow users to quickly upload a video that’s immediately available to all of their followers. If you have a smartphone, you’ll be ready to go in no time.

Making these videos engaging and informative is key. Of course, if you can effectively sprinkle in humor, it’s always appreciated. It may also draw in new customers more effectively.

Videos are visually appealing to consumers online, but they can also be used to provide a more intimate look at what your company is all about. This is an engaging way to achieve increased sales.

How to use videos in your marketing:

  1. Create demos of your service if possible. Before and afters can be particularly effective. 
  2. Create “How To” videos or deliver tips for using your products.
  3. Craft a slideshow of your newly released products.
  4. Get personal — post a video interview with a few of your employees.
  5. Take your current and prospective customers behind the scenes and show them what it’s like to work at your place of business.

6. Involve your team in your marketing experience

If you work with a partner or team, don’t overlook the power you have in-house. If you can get your employees involved in your marketing, you can save money and potentially enhance your company culture. When everyone is invested in the company’s wellbeing, a sense of camaraderie develops.

Ideas for your team marketing activities:

  1. Offer referral bonuses to employees who successfully bring on new customers.
  2. Create a prize for employees who get the most “likes” by sharing marketing campaigns on their personal social media accounts.
  3. Host a friends and family promotion that’s specific to your core employees to get their loved ones involved, as well.

7. Offer live educational resources – like free webinars

These days, in-person events aren’t always the most reliable option for marketing. However, with virtual tools like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and you can still connect with your community and build rapport.

Offering free education related to your service shows that you’re an expert and helps your customers trust you. For example, if you’re a freelance copywriter, you could show your audience how to structure a blog post. If you’re a plumber, you could show how to do a few simple repairs.

Offering free webinars widens your consumer base and makes your marketing feel more like a conversation and less like an ad. In 2021 and beyond, digital communication platforms are likely here to stay—so embrace the possibilities.

Your checklist for creating a webinar:

  1. Brainstorm questions your customers often ask you. Alternatively, ask your customers on social media what they would like to learn about.
  2. Outline your event and the key points you want to discuss. Your event can be 30 minutes, an hour, or whatever is appropriate for your lesson.
  3. Send an invitation to your email list and announce the event on social media.
  4. Break a leg – and be sure to ask your customers for feedback afterward to improve continually. 

Make the most of your marketing activities

When it comes to cost-effective marketing activities, we see potential everywhere. We’re here to help with tips like these features like online customer reviews to support small businesses marketing success. Curious if we might be a good fit for your business? Check out the link below.

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