Category Archives: Marketing

$0 Marketing Ideas For Local Businesses

Owners of local businesses, especially ones that are just starting out, almost always find themselves stuck in a conundrum. A vicious cycle of sorts, if you will. And that’s this one:

Marketing your business when you’re on a tight budget can be difficult. You can’t go about splurging money on banners, Google Ads, and events if you’re not sure about the ROI they can offer you. But the problem is that, if you don’t market your business, then it’s likely that you don’t get any new customers at all. What do you do in this kind of a scenario?

What if I told you that there is a way for you to market your business effectively without spending all your money on it? In fact, what if there was a way to market your company on a $0 budget?

Well, there is, and that’s exactly what I’ll be elucidating in this post. Note that even if these marketing techniques don’t require you to spend any money, some of them will be a little more time-consuming than others.

Now, without further ado, let’s talk about some marketing techniques that won’t cost you a penny.

1. Using social media and your network

Now, this might not be rocket science, but there’s no denying that the best way to start off  when it comes to marketing on a $0 budget is using your network, getting referrals from your friends, and getting your business on social media.

Recent studies have spoken about how most consumers discover businesses on Facebook more than any other source. One of the reasons that back this phenomenon is the fact that users spend over six hours per week on social media. So, the first step that you need to take is to create social media profiles for your business on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (the three most used social media sites in the USA). You can use a tool like Namechk to check the availability of usernames as well, across all social media sites.

Once you’re done getting listed online, you need to make the best use of your own existing social media handles and your friends + family network to give your business the boost in marketing that it needs. Get people to talk about your business and spread the word about it in their circles, and invite people that you know and trust to give your business’ social media handles a like or a follow.

After this, it’s up to you! Post content about your business, industry, and trends in general that are pertinent to you to grow your following. Using memes and funny comics to promote your business can do wonders, as can asking people who visit your business to post about it on social media or “check in” on Facebook.

2. Getting your business listed online

Talking about building an online presence for your business – getting your business listed online is probably the cheapest and best way to make sure that customers can discover your business. If you take a closer look at the study that I mentioned earlier, you’ll notice that Facebook was closely followed by Google and Yelp in the list of websites that customers use to discover businesses. Another study (cited below) talks about how 47% of customers discover new products using search engines.

If you’re a local business, one of the first things that you need to do to improve your local marketing is getting listed online, and especially on Google. One of the biggest reasons that you should do this is that Google automatically ensures that customers find businesses that are closer to them, particularly if they used a “near me” search to discover a business. It also helps that there has been a 150%-900% growth in the usage of near me searches over the past two years.

A simple test to figure out whether this is true is searching for “(type of your business) near me” on Google. This is what the Google search results page for the term “restaurants near me” looks like.

Now, if you own a restaurant, and you’re sitting inside, searching for “restaurants near me”, and your business doesn’t show up, then you’ve got a problem on your hands!

You also need to make sure that your business is listed on other apps such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and other search engines as well, like Bing and Yahoo!

Thankfully, getting your business listed online is easy, and more importantly, it’s free. For starters, you can get listed on Google My Business, and move on to working on getting yourself listed on other websites/apps. If you’re not sure about how to do this, or unaware about the different business discovery websites out there, you can check out this list of “how to get listed online” articles.

3. Content

There’s no escaping the term “content” if you’re searching for posts online about how you can market your business on a budget. Writing content is the one definitive way for you to establish yourself as an authoritative figure in your industry, and this will help your business also gain more popularity through you.

Now, traditionally, you’ll be expected to write content on your own website’s blog, but this needn’t always be the way for you to go about your content marketing. Moreover, with changing times, the way people put out and consume content has also changed. Video marketing is very “in” right now, so you can always try and start a YouTube channel and grow your following from there, especially if your business is about aesthetics, like a painting company, auto shop, or interior design firm (this interior design company has a huge YouTube following that helps them reach more potential customers).

Another great place to start would be Quora. Quora is famous for rewarding experienced people who write authoritative answers, and answering a lot of varied questions about things in your industry can help you slowly garner a large following. Writing answers might be time consuming, but it is a great way to impart knowledge to others, while building your own name.

There are plenty of other options as well, if you’re planning to use content to market your business. You can create infographics using free tools like Canva and post them on your social media sites, and you can make a “DIY” series on your website’s blog.

Everything on the internet is content, only of a different kind. You just need to find out what works best for you and your business, and you can get started with it right away.

4. Use email marketing

Now, if you’re thinking, “Not emails! Aren’t they expensive?”, let me assure you, they don’t need to be. Mailchimp, for instance, has a forever free pricing plan that allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month to 2,000 subscribers.

Emails can be a great way to generate more revenue for your business. You can ask your customers for their emails and you can send them promo or review generation emails later to try and make them repeat customers or increase your business’ star ratings. Once you have a substantially large customer list, you can even aim to keep your business on the top of their mind by starting off nurture campaigns and cross-promoting your content. The possibilities for what you can do with emails is endless, it’s up to you to make the most out of it.

With these 4 ideas, I’ll conclude this article. Keep in mind that these are not the only 4 things that you could possibly do to market your business on a $0 budget. There are ideas waiting in every corner for marketing your company efficiently, even if you don’t want to spend too much on doing it.

Before I sign off, I’d like to give you a book recommendation – Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson, written specifically for small businesses that are looking at marketing themselves better on a tight budget. I hope you find reading this useful, and that you have fun coming up with innovative ways to market your business!

How To Enhance Your Instagram Posts For Better Engagement

nstagram started as a social media platform to share your memories. Over the years, its potential has also been recognized by businesses. Instagram has more than 500 million active users everyday, and 80% of accounts follow at least one business on it. Those are some interesting numbers, aren’t they? 

The message is clear — if you want your business to grow, you need to get on Instagram. It can be a great platform to showcase your products or services and build a loyal audience base. Instagram can really boost your brand awareness and visibility.

But for that, you need to ensure that you get your social media strategy right for Instagram. Instagram’s algorithm is constantly changing, but it always favors accounts that get more engagement. 

If you get good engagement, Instagram will make sure you get more visibility. Your posts will be more likely to get featured on the Explore page if people are consistently liking and commenting on them. 

But how can you get more Instagram engagement? Let’s take a look at a five ways that have helped some of the biggest brands grow their Instagram engagement. 

1. Post Creative and Good Quality Content

Good quality content is the key to increasing your Instagram engagement. If your content resonates with your target audience, they will automatically respond to it. Good content makes your business more memorable too. So you can expect likes and comments to follow.

Instagram is a medium that places a special emphasis on great visuals. You need to make sure you are posting images with vivid colors and thoughtful, engaging composition.

To make your photos stand out, editing is also crucial. If you aren’t skilled in editing or you don’t want to spend the time editing photos yourself, you can get professional help from apps like Mendr. They have certified pros available 24/7 who will edit your photos for you in a matter of minutes. Just  upload your photos to the app and request the edits you want. Your edited photo is delivered back to you quickly.  

Instagram Stories are also a great way to capture your audience’s attention. Social media users have very short attention spans. So you need to make sure that you have an interesting hook in the first few seconds. Try to get as much action or movement in the beginning. This way you can get the audience interested so that they don’t just scroll to the next post.

A part of creating quality content also involves the art of storytelling. Good content alone never sells anything. Your audience shouldn’t feel like they are seeing promotional content when they looking at your posts. Instead, try to connect with them through compelling stories.

Image via Instagram

Microsoft’s Instagram handles have some really interesting stories. Their posts tell the stories of their partners and show how Microsoft is helping them. Similarly, they also post on Instagram if one of their employees has achieved something noteworthy. This way, they give deeper insights into the company culture. 

2. Post at the Right Times

To increase your Instagram visibility, you need to post content consistently. To maximize your reach, you should post your content at the right times. You should analyze when your target audience is more likely to be active on Instagram. If you post during that time interval, you will have a better chance of getting more engagement.

Image via Sprout Social

Sprout Social conducted a study to find out the best times to post on social media channels. They found out that Thursday was the best day to post on Instagram, while Sunday was the worst. Their results are based on how people responded to posts of other brands. 

Your brand may or may not follow the general trend. If you want to know the best times to post for your brand, you can use the Preview app. It will tell you your best time and day to post and interact with your audience. 

This information can be really helpful if you are planning to conduct a big product launch or make any other special announcement. The right timing can help you reach out to a bigger audience and get better engagement. 

3. Use Relevant Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to reach out to an audience who may not be following your account. If you are using the right hashtags, you will find an audience that is interested in your posts. 

For example, if you are posting related to Wimbledon, you should definitely use #Wimbledon in your posts. Along with it, use variations of the main term too. #Wimbledon2018, #WimbledonChampionship and #Wimbledonmatch are some of the related hashtags that you can use. 

However, generic terms should always be avoided. Terms like #tennis and #lawntennis are also related, but they are too broad. So they won’t really attract users who are specifically searching for posts related to Wimbledon.

You should also check the search volume for each hashtag before using it. For trending events, the hashtag search volume is likely to reach the millions. But for other general posts, try to avoid generic hashtags with massive search volumes. Your post can easily get lost in the sea of posts that have used the same hashtags.

Image via Sprout Social

Instagram allows users to use as many as 30 hashtags per post. However, a survey by Sprout Social found that posts with nine hashtags get the most engagement.

You should keep a constant tab on your posts to see which hashtags are working well for you. Use them as often as you can in other posts. 

4. Host Contests

Hosting a contest on your Instagramaccount is an easy way to get more people to notice you. If you are giving away freebies or discounts, more people will be motivated to engage with you. To get your contest noticed, you should follow these tips:

  • Create a branded hashtag for your contest.
  • Encourage users to like, comment, and tag their friends on your posts to enter the contest.
  • Encourage users to use your brand’s hashtag on their personal posts.
  • Give away your product as the prize.
  • Give discount codes to winners for future purchases.

Earthpix, an Instagram handle that focuses on travel, uses this strategy at regular intervals to grow their Instagramengagement. They partnered with other handles and asked users to follow them.

Image via Instagram

They also encouraged users to like and tag their friends in the post. This way they helped their partners get more followers while also increasing engagement on their own handle. Their post got more than 70,000 likes and 29,000 comments.

5. Encourage Users to Generate Content for You

The best way to advertise your product subtly is to get users to endorse you. Encourage users to post photos, videos, and GIFs with your branded hashtags. Encourage them to tag you in their captions and posts. This way, you can delve deeper into their network of friends.

You can also feature user-generated content on your Instagram handle. Getting featured on your page can be a motivating factor for people to endorse you. This way you can have a diverse mix of content on your Instagram.

Image via Instagram

WeWork, a company that provides coworking spaces, features posts from their users on Instagram almost every day. By doing so, they have managed to build a community of Instagrammers who are interested in their content.

Conclusion

Getting your product and services noticed on Instagram is vital to grow a loyal audience for your brand on social media. It can help your brand gain more visibility and brand awareness over time. 

The key to ensuring that your Instagram handle is attracting potential customers is to drive more engagement. Getting Instagram engagement can be a time-consuming process, but with the right strategies you can achieve remarkable results.

Are there other strategies that have helped you get better engagement on Instagram? Please share your suggestions and experiences in the comments section below