Why the best marketing is usually the cheapest

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Date: 6 September 2021

A man sets up a Google My Business profile

Your business' online marketing doesn't need to be expensive. Actually, some of the most meaningful and effective marketing strategies are very low-cost, and in some cases are free.

Be cautious of high-cost digital marketing and search engine optimisation companies

If you're a business with a website, then it's very likely that you will be frequently contacted by email and phone concerning digital marketing and SEO.

This is even more likely if you use paid-for Google and Bing adverts, because SEO companies target these businesses in particular, knowing that they value being seen on search engines.

Some of these SEO companies use misleading claims that they can get your business on page one of a particular search engine, or indeed all of them. They will quickly uncover your marketing budget (whether you have budgeted £200 or £20,000 per month) and will price themselves accordingly. There are a maximum of ten organic (non-paid for) positions on page one of Google, even less on Bing, so not everyone can be there!

If you do sign up with an SEO or digital marketing company, take care. They may encourage you to take out a 12-month contract with an additional three months' cancellation period. This means you'll be tied in to paying them every month, regardless of the results.

You're the best person to market your business

Every business is different and provides different products and services, so there isn't a 'one size fits all' marketing strategy. You know your business, your area of expertise, and your customers better than any digital marketing or SEO company. So why not do your own marketing?

If your business is seasonal, you can use your off season to work on your marketing strategies. Or, if your business is a year-round business, use quieter times to do marketing and find more customers. If you are simply too busy and want to expand, you could employ someone to work on marketing 'in-house' – even if it's just one or two days a week to start.

Free marketing techniques to grow your business

1. Offer useful tools to your customers

One of the best ways to convert visits to your website into customers, is to have useful tools that potential customers can use.

For example, if you're an emergency plumber or locksmith then you could have an interactive map of the area you cover. Or if you're a local estate agent or mortgage broker then you could have a free Stamp Duty Land Tax calculator or a bridging loan calculator, for your customers to use.

2. Local SEO

Depending on your type of business, local SEO can be a very important tool in your marketing strategy.

For example, if you're a local business providing a product or service such as a plumber, MOT garage, hairdresser, or local shop, then local SEO is key. There's no point coming up in search results for customers that are hundreds of miles away. You need to be coming up in search results when customers search for your service in your specific area.

Make sure you have a 'Google My Business' account, also known as a Business Profile. This will make sure your business appears in the local results when people search for your service. It will also add you to Google Maps. A Google My Business account also enables customers to interact with you more easily as they can leave questions for you to answer, and can leave reviews of your product or service.

You can also use your profile to provide your opening hours, details of your services, prices, and anything else that will make your business stand out. All vital to encourage customers to choose you over your competitors. 

You should also start posting on any local community Facebook pages. Most areas now have these – they are pages designated for people who live in particular towns, villages, or cities to discuss what's going on in their area. These pages are a good place for businesses to advertise their products and services as anything posted will be shown to members of the page, who are people that live locally.

If you haven't done so already, set up a Facebook page for your business. Add all of the relevant information and start posting in community pages about what you can offer. You don't want to post too much as this may come across as too pushy and annoy people, but once a month or two months will be a good way to get your name out there.

3. Reviews

Getting positive reviews is essential for all businesses, but especially if you're a relatively small or new business. Customers are far more likely to go to companies with lots of positive feedback than to companies that they don't know anything about.

If you provide a good product or service, don't shy away from asking your customers for a review. Not everyone will, but some people will be happy to give you a review. Just make sure you explain the positive impact it can have. You should also respond to reviews, either thanking customers for positive feedback or addressing any complaints, as this appears genuine and professional.

Google and Facebook reviews are free for you to set up and for your customers to use.

Copyright 2021. Featured post made possible by Holly Andrews, Managing Director at KIS Finance.

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