It is a process where you communicate, attract and convince consumers that what you offer is of value to them. It involves research, promoting, selling and distributing your products or services.
Without marketing, a lot of businesses would fail. Even with a great product or service, if consumers don’t know and understand its value, no sales will be made. At the end of the day, you want to grow as much & as fast as you can, which is impossible without pulling your efforts into marketing at some point.
As a small business, you will want to find the most inexpensive ways to achieve your marketing goals. There are a number of marketing channels that can achieve this – some are even free.
Here are six marketing channels that can help you market your business at a low cost.
1. Business Website
Building a business website and paying for good hosting is a great way to market your business. A business website can be used as a tool to grow your image and communicate your business’ message.
You can also use a website as an online store where customers can make purchases.
When most people want to know about a business or its products, the first thing they do is go to a search engine. What they find from their search shapes their image of the business and influences their decision to purchase your product or service. According to Google, 89% of Business to Business buyers and 81% of online shoppers use search engines to know more about new products and services.
When someone searches for something that is related to your business, you want your website to be on the top search results and be easily found by the consumer. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help you with this. SEO is a measurable, trusted process that is used to send data to search engines that your website is worth showing in their index.
By having good SEO for your website, you will get the best out of this marketing channel resulting in a respected, well-known brand and high sales.
Blogs have become a powerful marketing channel. A business blog is a stand-alone web page or part of an existing business website. It is specifically assigned to writing about materials relating to the business’ industry or its subfields.
One of the best ways to bring more customers to your business is by giving them new, original content on a regular basis. A good business blog should have well-researched, thought-provoking blog posts that are also SEO optimized.
While it’s good to have a blog that has great content, it is also important that your business is featured on other blogs with links to your business website. You should try to your businesses reach to both fellow bloggers and customers while also increasing your SEO grading.
Blogging also creates one of the easiest, fast and direct ways of communicating with consumers. You are able to tell them about your business and ask them to give feedback and opinions. You can use this information to research your customer’s needs.
Blogs also act as customer channels that can be used to communicate with the target market about the business’ value proposition.
No need to say: every entrepreneur should know how to blog.
3. Social Media
With over 2.7 billion social media users across the globe, social media marketing can be said to be the largest and most powerful marketing channel. Social media marketing involves creating and sharing content on social media to achieve your business’s marketing goals.
Social media marketing involves posting text and image updates, videos and other content to encourage audience engagement. With the high number of social media platforms, it is also important to carefully choose which ones to use based on your target market.
A social media presence makes your business more accessible and customers in the loop about your business. It also enables you to respond in real time to issues and conversations. Social media can be used for customer service, suggestions and complaints.
Some social media platforms like YouTube have dedicated business channels that your business can use to reach customers.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing is the most direct, low cost and effective way of connecting with potential customers, nurturing them and converting them into customers.
Email marketing helps grow and sustain a relationship with the customers by regular sharing of valuable information. Most importantly email marketing allows the business to have complete control over the content the customers get, which allows for custom messaging.
Email marketing acts as a channel of communication between the customer and the business to share information relating to the product or service.
5. Local marketing
Local marketing is simply a marketing channel that involves marketing your business to a nearby audience or the community that you operate in. This kind of marketing is usually used by small businesses such as stores, restaurants and local outlets.
When people go online to search for a product related to your business, their results are usually focused around their location. Local marketing helps your business be readily available to the people near to you.
Local marketing can come as direct contact with consumers via mail, local town events or local sports team sponsorship. This allows a business to develop a repeat consumer base in the immediate surrounding area of the business’ location.
Larger businesses with a number of locations can use local marketing to reach their local target markets.
6. Word of Mouth
Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is when a consumers interest in a business is reflected in their everyday dialog with other people.
92% of consumers believe suggestions from family and friends more than they do advertising. This is a huge reason to rely on your customers to recommend your business to others.
People tend to have more trust in customers compared to marketers. They believe marketers have an agenda, which is to say anything to promote their business to generate more sales.
To be able to generate word of mouth marketing, you will have to provide the best product or service possible accompanied by excellent customer service. Only after satisfying the needs of your customer and turning them into loyal and passionate followers will they recommend your business to family and friends.
Which Marketing Channels Will You Use?
The type of marketing channel you pick will depend on your needs and budget. However, it is recommended to try as many as you can to increase your chances of success.
Of course, nowadays time is the most expensive commodity for anyone, so it’s completely reasonable to focus on what matters the most & not waste most of your week/month testing out every marketing channel out there.
Having said that, the biggest must-have marketing channel out the ones mentioned above is the business website. After you’ve set-up your website, you can use the other marketing channels, such as social media, blog and word of mouth to compliment it.
All of marketing channels mentioned in this article are the best way of reaching customers, especially if you’re in design business industry. They will help you stay relevant, competitive and profitable, especially in this technological age. They might even give you an opportunity to grow. So try a few (all, if you can). Just remember to also do them right.