Inexpensive Marketing Channels Small Businesses Should Leverage
Contributed by Jennifer Pollock of Square.
Marketing through traditional channels like TV, print, and radio can be tough as a small business, especially for those without deep pockets. The good news is that by getting a little creative, small businesses can leverage some unexpected channels to market themselves. Here are a few underutilized channels that can move the needle without spending a ton of money.
Your receipts don’t have to be run of the mill, especially if you’re sending them digitally through your POS software. Consider customizing your digital receipt to include your logo, your social media accounts, a place to add feedback, and a link to your e-commerce store. These additional touch points with customers may lead them to interact with your business even after they’ve left the store.
Rewards programs are an effective way to get more repeat customers — who tend to spend a lot more than first-timers. That’s why it’s a smart idea to add a loyalty program to your marketing arsenal, especially because it particularly resonates with millennials, a demographic with serious purchasing power. Rewarding loyal customers with percentages off or free shipping offers goes a long way.
Consistently publishing content — blog posts, videos, contests, reports, social media activity — helps to attract, retain, and engage customers. Not only is strategic content marketing great for branding and, ultimately, increasing sales, it can also help a ton to elevate your business in Google search results. And more eyeballs on your website is always a good thing.
Triggered email marketing
For many businesses, email marketing means sending out blasts to their customer lists. While that’s an effective way to get the word out about a sale or an event, small businesses should leverage their email marketing software to do more than just that. Triggered or automatic campaigns — like birthday notifications or welcome messages — are a low-cost, effective way to use email marketing to bring in new customers. On average, email open rates for automated offers with Square‘s email marketing tool are 1.7 times higher than blast campaigns containing offers. They also have a 2.3 times higher redemption rate within seven days of the email send date.
Focus on the post-shopping experience online
Consider this: only 16 percent of companies are focused on customer retention, even though it costs at least five times more to acquire in a new customer rather than keep an existing one. So if you have systems set up for it on your eCommerce site, consider implementing campaigns—like triggered emails with a coupon, or even customized content—that target the post-shopping experience. Because even after customers hit the purchase button, there are opportunities to entice them keep them coming back.
Social media may seem like an obvious channel, but it’s now more important than ever to double-down on it if you’re a small business. That’s because it’s a crucial platform to leverage to market to millennials. Fifty-five percent of millennials surveyed in a recent report cite social media as their primary source for shopping, news, and information. The study also found that traditional methods of advertising, including television and print media, fall behind digital advertising methods when it comes to their effectiveness amongst the millennial generation.
Sharing news and compelling, engaging content on your platforms is important—but that’s just the first step. Small businesses should leverage more sophisticated targeting mechanisms to attract new followers (which will hopefully convert to customers). These include things like geotargeted ads on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as strategically-promoted content. Both Twitter and Facebook have robust resource centers that are worth checking regularly to learn how you can most effectively utilize the platforms for your small business.
Don’t shy away from the competition. Sometimes, partnering with another company is a great way to market your business to that business’s customers and vice versa. Consider starting small by co-hosting an event with another business, or partnering on a social media effort. If it’s mutually successful, you can look to expand the partnership from there.
Marketing does take energy, but it doesn’t necessarily need to take a lot of money. By strategically leveraging these channels, you’ll start to see results without breaking the bank.
Photo Credit: Provided by Square with permission to use.