Even if you have a small marketing budget, don't let this discourage you from succeeding in the online realm—you can thrive, you simply have to be more creative with you're funds. Your focus should be on efficiency and results.
By trying a few different methods you'll be able to see what works best and optimize accordingly. You'll also have to take a focused approach, by clearly defining your offering and target audience, before you jump into the market.
In this article we'll cover what you should be doing with your small marketing budget to maximize results. We'll cover how to analyze your competition and market, and how to focus your business within your target niche.
How can I analyze my competition and find my focus?
Before you start any marketing plan you'll want to make sure you have a clear message and unique offering that you're providing to your customers. That way as soon as people visit your site they'll know if you can help them or not, and it will allow you to focus your efforts on the right type of customer.
To start with, answer these questions:
- What do I offer that no one else does?
- Why would someone choose me over the competition?
- Who is the type of person I want to serve? (describe them in as much detail as possible)
Once you have answers to these questions you'll have a better idea of what makes you unique, and who you want to serve. In some cases, this allows you to bypass your competition as you won't be focusing on getting the same customers as your larger competitors. For instance, if your competitor is focused on helping large companies, you could focus your efforts on small or mid-sized clients.
What tactics should I focus my marketing efforts on?
Now that you have determined what makes you unique and who you want to serve, it's time to get in front of them. You want to have your site focused on communicating this message. You don't want to be the "jack of all trades", you want to be the expert in one or two small areas. This will set you apart.
1. Content marketing and social sharing
Outline a plan of how you're going to use content to get new visitors, it should include:
- Blogs that are within your niche that have the right kind of readers (the type of clients you want to attract as clients).
- Valuable content focused around buyer keywords. The content published on your site needs to be valuable, to encourage sharing from your readers.
- Share your content and interact on the web. How you do this depends on where most people in your niche "hang out", this could be Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, or even in the comments of good quality blogs or forums.
- Set up interviews with leaders in your niche. This will help you to gain authority, you'll essentially get free consulting, and you'll often receive a boost in traffic to your site.
After you have a clear content plan it's time to get writing and creating content for authority sites and your own blog.
2. Focusing your traffic funnel
When you direct users back to your site you'll want them come to a landing page that seems as if it was made specifically for them. Make sure you address their needs, and how you're going to solve their problem.
You'll want them to take action, most likely by giving you their email address. That way you'll begin to build a targeted list of users that are happy to consume what you're offering.
3. Generate buzz
If you want to see a boost in traffic you can try these free strategies:
- Use the website called Help a Reporter Out (HARO). This is a site for journalists looking for sources. You get a daily email and if anything is in your area of expertise make sure to reach out right away. If you keep at it this could give you a link back to your site from respectable news sources.
- Host a competition on your site. Make sure you focus the competition around your core offering. You'll want to provide massive value to your readers and encourage them to share via social media. This should generate lots of buzz and send new visitors to your site.
4. Ads on targeted sites
You could potentially use PPC to send traffic back to your site, but, if you're not careful, you could end up using your whole marketing budget on this alone. A better idea is to find focused blogs or websites and see if you can buy an ad on their website for a month. Their targeted audience is more likely to visit your site since you're in the same niche. Important: please remember to "nofollow" any text or image advertising link, to comply with webmaster guidelines.
5. Focus on local search (if applicable)
Lastly, if you work with local clients or want to get started, this is an awesome place to start. You can purchase ads in local newspapers, or post your services on Craigslist. You can also attend meet-ups (Meetup.com) in you niche, where you can talk to people and see if they need your services. For instance, if you offer internet marketing services you'll want to go to a meet-up for web designers or local business owners.
You may also be able to use mobile focused social apps like Foursquare, which enable you to offer ads to targeted users that are in your local area.