As a small business you may feel like you are a David vs. Goliath when it comes to marketing. You compete against bigger, better funded companies. Your marketing strategy is essentially to hope your friendly customer service will keep you viable.
If that is the case, the web offers you an opportunity to compete as never before. The reason is that until the web became the main way to research a product or service, traditional paid media ruled, and small businesses could always be outspent by bigger ones.
But with the web, you can get noticed on even a small marketing budget, because you can reach your prospects and customers directly without paying an intermediary media filter, e.g. TV, radio, newspapers, yellow pages or even direct mail.
Let’s look at some examples.
Twitter: Setting up a Twitter account is free, and while “Follow us on Twitter” signs are everywhere, few companies really Tweet regularly. When they do, it is to shout a promotion. But what consumers want is knowledge. If you provide timely advice on your website or blog, a Tweet can call attention to that information and drive prospects to your site.
Press Release: Press releases were once designed only for the press. But on the web, press releases are findable by consumers looking for products and services on Google. Write press releases announcing your new products and services. Use the targeted keywords used by your consumers in their searches (brand names, models, features) and provide links to your site.
Coupons: Without spending marketing money upfront, you can offer prospects a coupon via group buying sites like Groupon or one of its competitors . These companies do the marketing for you in return for a cut of the discount. Price your offer so you can handle a lot of orders and still break even (you will make money when customers buy more or return).
If you doubt these tactics work, consider Barack Obama. Regardless of your politics, look at how Obama used the web to win the election of ’08. When he started out, he was less known and less well funded than Hillary Clinton and John McCain. While those candidates relied on traditional media, Obama used the web. 13 million people signed up for his e-mail list, 5 million “friended” him on Facebook, 2 million joined his online organizing site MyBO, and 1 million subscribed to his campaign text messages. He used the web to beat better funded Goliaths. You can too.