Are you a small business owner or entrepreneur with a limited marketing budget looking to increase your sales or leads? In this article, I’ll show you how you can compete with businesses 10x your size, without spending a single cent on marketing. I’ll share with you my 5 favourite FREE methods for generating leads as a digital marketer, all of which have produced my clients tangible and measurable results!
These strategies are not only budget-friendly but have also delivered impressive results for the businesses I’ve worked with. Some of these strategies have seen my clients jump from the 16th page of google to page 1 in a matter of weeks, while others have generated hundreds of additional website visitors each week. So, no matter whether you run a service business or retail store, I’m sure you’ll find many of these strategies helpful! After all, absolutely every business can benefit from employing new digital marketing strategies.
5 Proven Digital Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses.
1. Optimize Your Google Business Profile
When it comes to online visibility, Google is the undisputed king. Therefore, it only makes sense that you should dedicate some time to creating and updating your business profile there.
If you’re unsure exactly what a Google business profile is you can check out our recent article on Local Search Engine Optimisation For Small Businesses where I cover this in detail… but to summarise, Google Business profiles are the listings you may see on the right-hand side of your Google search when searching for goods or services in your local area. Well-optimised business listings will include images, reviews, your company logo, and contact details. You can even go so far as to include information about your location amenities!
Why Optimising Your Google Business Profile Is Important
According to the recent Local Consumer Review Survey 2023 conducted by BrightLocal, 87% of consumers use Google to evaluate the trustworthiness of local businesses, and 76% of consumers “regularly” read online reviews when browsing for local businesses
This means, more than ever, it’s important to ensure your business is discoverable on Google.
It’s also a quick and easy way to legitimise your new business in the eyes of potential clients and customers!
How To Optimise Your Google Business Profile?
By all accounts, optimising your Google business profile is easy. It doesn’t require any specialist skills or knowledge, just a little bit of your time.
In a nutshell, here’s how you do it:
- Claim your Google Business listing: Verify and claim your Google Business Profile listing. This will allow you to change and make edits to your business profile. If you can’t locate an existing listing, create a new one!
- Complete all fields: You should be looking to complete as many sections of your google business profile as possible. However at minimum you should be including your business’s name, address, phone number, website, and hours of operation.
- Upload Images: Upload high-quality, engaging images that showcase your business, products, or services. Make sure to also include a photo of your business’s exterior if you have a physical location.
- Write a business description: Craft a concise and compelling description for your business. Where possible, try to include keywords and phrases. (If you’re not sure what a keyword is, Ahrefs has a fantastic article on keywords & their impact on SEO).
- Select relevant and keyword-rich categories: Choose the most appropriate categories to represent your business’s products or services.
- Start gathering reviews: Encourage your past customers or clients to leave reviews on your profile to help improve your credibility and trustworthiness.
- Respond to reviews: Engage with customers by responding to every review left on your google business profile – even the negative ones! People want to hear from you… and so does google!
2. Focus on Writing Blog Content
Blogging is a fantastic way to establish site authority, engage with your audience, and improve your website’s SEO. By publishing regular (and useful) content to your website, you can position your small business as a thought leader in your industry. In my opinion it’s by far the easiest way to start driving traffic to a new website. It’s completely free, and can benefit businesses of all sizes and types.
If you’re still not convinced, consider this: a local hardware store I work for saw more than 100 extra visitors a week from a single topical blog article! If you’re interested in learning exactly how you can get similar results for your own small business, see my article on “How Blog Articles Can Help Small Businesses Generate Website Traffic” where I go over this in more detail.
Why Writing Blog Content For Your Website Is Important
The long story short is: Blogging has the potential to drive a tremendous amount of organic traffic to your website, drive engagement with your existing audience, as well as enhancing your site’s SEO, and encouraging social media sharing.
In fact, a recent study by Hubspot shows business blogging leads to 55% more website visitors – making it an invaluable tool for business owners looking to grow their customer base.
Why are website visitors important, I hear you ask? Because more visitors means more people to convert to leads and sales. It’s really that simple!
3. Join and Participate in Local Facebook/Social Media Groups
Social media platforms provide near-unlimited opportunities for small businesses to connect with their local communities. Joining and actively participating in local Facebook or social media groups can be a game-changer for your business.
In fact, in the beginning, the majority of my own website design and digital marketing clients found me on local facebook groups! It’s still one of the best ways I’ve found to expand your network.
It’s important to find groups that are relevant to either your business’s location or target audience (in an ideal world, it’d be both!). As, you’re unlikely to find too many clients for your nail salon posting in a group about keeping turtles as pets. You’d be far better served looking for local beauty groups, or pages targeted towards women in your neighborhood.
Another important thing to note about posting in these sorts of groups is: you shouldn’t post spam content! Make sure you’re always adding something to the conversation, or making an offer of some kind. Nobody wants to see the same generic post week in, week out.
How to find Facebook groups relevant to your business:
- Keyword Search: Start by using relevant keywords related to your industry in the search bar. Look for groups with titles or descriptions that align with your business.
- Personal Recommendations: Ask your existing network, customers, or colleagues if they know of any active Facebook groups that cater to your target audience or industry.
- Facebook Recommendations: Facebook’s algorithm will suggest groups based on your interests and activities.
- Explore Similar Pages: Check out Facebook pages of influential businesses or thought leaders in your industry. Often, they promote or have affiliated groups where like-minded individuals gather.
If you’re still struggling to find a suitable Facebook page, take this as your sign to start one! Trust me when I say building communities on sites like Facebook and Instagram can be a fantastic way to generate traffic to your real-life business.
4. List Your Business in Free Online Directories
Online directories are a goldmine for small businesses looking to grow their online presence. These directories often rank well in search engines due to the sheer number of backlinks they receive and can drive valuable traffic to your website.
Make sure to claim and update your listings on popular directories such as Yelp, Bing, Yellow Pages, and others relevant to your industry. Most importantly, make sure that you keep your business name and contact information consistent across all the directories you list your business in.
For instance, don’t list your business name as “Al’s Electrical” on yelp, and “Alan’s Electrical” on Bing. Not only will it kill your SEO, but also confuse your potential clients. Keep it simple!
How to find online directories relevant to your industry:
Paid tools such as Semrush are a quick and easy way to track down online directories relevant to your business, but they’re not the only way to find them. Some free alternatives include:
- Making Industry-Specific Searches: Conduct targeted searches using industry-specific keywords on search engines like Google. Look for directories that cater to businesses within your niche.
- Competitor Analysis: Explore where your competitors are listed. Identify directories where they have a presence and evaluate their relevance to your industry.
A handy tip for finding links to your competitors is to type the following into the Google search bar: “link:” followed by the competitor’s website URL (without spaces). For example, “link:competitorwebsite.com”.
- Professional Associations: Check if your industry has any professional associations or organizations. Often, these associations maintain directories of businesses within the industry.
5. Start Building a Mailing List
Once you’ve started to generate a bit of traffic to your website, it’s time to start building a mailing list to make the most of it! Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to engage with your audience directly. By collecting email addresses from your website visitors and customers, you can nurture relationships and promote your products or services through targeted campaigns.
According to a study by Campaign Monitor, email marketing generates an average return of $42 for every $1 spent. Building a loyal subscriber base allows you to communicate directly with potential customers, offer exclusive promotions, and keep your brand top-of-mind.
Offer a special deal or offer to your website visitors in exchange for their email addresses. It’s a fantastic way to start building a list of potential customers! Even if they’re not ready to book with you now, or make a purchase, they might be open to it in the future!
As a seasoned website designer and digital marketer, I have witnessed the transformative impact of these free digital marketing strategies on small businesses. By optimizing your Google Business Profile, creating valuable blog content, engaging with local social media groups, listing your business on online directories, and building a mailing list, you can effectively enhance your online presence without breaking the bank.
Embrace these proven strategies, and remember that consistency is key. By dedicating time and effort to these tactics, you can position your small business for long-term success in the competitive digital landscape. The power of digital marketing lies within your grasp—start implementing these strategies today and watch your small business flourish.
If you need help implementing any of the strategies I have outlined above, or would like to learn more about the world of digital marketing, reach out to me for a free consultation today. Hiring a freelance digital marketer might sound like an expensive or extreme step- but I promise you it’s neither. Let’s grow your small business together!