7 Ways Small Businesses Can Manage an Online Presence on a Low Budget
Small business don’t have access to the same amount or quality of resources as large businesses do. But they still need online visibility and marketing if they want to survive in this increasingly competitive digital age. If you have enough money, you can launch full-scale, custom-designed websites brimming with unique functions and features, and then pay for the advertising and marketing necessary to get that site seen by almost anyone in the world. But what happens when you’re strapped for cash, shorthanded on staff, and limited in your own expertise?
Overcoming Quantity with Quality
Unless you’re specifically trying to raise capital to fund your new marketing endeavors, you aren’t going to get more money to work with anytime soon. Therefore, you’ll have to make up in quality what you lack in quantity. Instead of focusing on spending a certain amount of money, or more money, focus on spending the money you do have as wisely as possible.
Strategies for Success
These are the cost-efficient marketing strategies you can use to find success as a small business:
- Manage your team effectively. An efficient strategy starts with an efficient team. One of your top priorities should be keeping your team in good working order. Use communication and collaboration software that can keep your team in constant contact, play to each team member’s strengths and weaknesses, and learn where you are and aren’t effective. For example, you can use a time-tracking platform like Clockspot to routinely evaluate not only employee performance, but how much time you spend on each strategy (so you can figure out which strategies are most effective).
- Choose a niche audience. When scaling back a marketing strategy, it’s important to preserve your relevance as much as possible. That is to say, your work should speak volumes to its target audience, and be published or promoted frequently enough to achieve high visibility. With a smaller budget, you can either scale back frequency and relevance, or you can narrow your audience focus; the latter is advisable. Target a more specific niche audience with your material, and you’ll make a big impact while spending less.
- Utilize free themes. A custom-designed website would be nice, and some brands need that, but for most entrepreneurs just starting out, free themes will serve you just as well. They don’t cost anything to set up, are relatively straightforward. Don’t forget, you can always upgrade your web presence later.
- Take advantage of content marketing. Content doesn’t cost anything to produce. Okay, that’s not exactly true—you’ll need to invest a ton of time if you want your content to be effective. Still, content provides a host of benefits, including increases in brand visibility, brand reputation, inbound traffic, and higher conversions, and it doesn’t demand much in the way of capital.
- Get social. Social media is another inexpensive strategy that’s often mentioned as a cost-efficient alternative. It doesn’t cost anything to set up your social media profiles, and if you learn to attract an audience through valuable, targeted content, you can quickly expand your reach to thousands of users, increasing your visibility and influence, as well as adding a new channel for content syndication. Just be aware that, like content, this demands a time investment rather than a monetary investment.
- Go local. Similar to how you restricted your audience by choosing a more targeted niche, you can narrow your focus to a local specialty to increase your relevance without spending more money. Local SEO is a valuable strategy, as is local PR; there are tons of opportunities here, and far less competition.
- Rely on in-house work when possible. Marketing and ad agencies can be both affordable and highly effective. In fact, working with an experienced agency is advisable if you want to see the best results; however, agencies are also expensive, and can put a strain on a small business’s budget. If you’re trying to save money and still be effective, make up in time what you can’t spend with raw capital. Do your research, commit to learning best practices for each marketing strategy you use, and rely on in-house work to get the job done whenever you can.
Just because you don’t have much in the way of budget or expertise doesn’t mean you can’t make a big impact in a marketing campaign. Dig deep, targeting specific niche audiences and refining your working approach to perfection. If you choose inexpensive yet effective strategies, and only allocate dollars where you can really make them work for you, even a modest budget can give you extraordinary results.