The right strategies and emerging technologies can boost your small business marketing strategy without breaking the bank.
Operating a small business isn’t easy. Between staffing, insurance, overhead, office space, supplies and legal resources, to name a few, it’s easy to be spread too thin.
To build and maintain a successful long-term business, identify key areas in your budget you can outsource, reduce costs, or even apply technology like AI and data analytics to help optimize efficiency. One area businesses can stand out by leveraging AI technology is in their marketing efforts. There are tools and platforms that help you deliver value and quality results with methods that showcase your small business ideas, without having to hire professional designers.
So, think again before expanding your marketing budget and consider ditching the designer, because these four tools will boost your business strategy on the cheap (or even free).
1. Become your own graphic design and marketing team.
Social media graphics, logos, tradeshow collateral, websites, ads and other materials are always a constant business need, but that doesn’t mean you can or even should build out a marketing team before your budget allows. Online graphic design software helps you create banner ads, infographics, social media graphics, business cards, event invites, email headers, and a lot more. These simple and often low-cost tools turn you into a graphic designer of sorts with no training required. There are apps for web, iPad, and mobile, allowing you to finish a product on the go. Many of them also let you collaborate with your team, allowing them to review, edit and work together on a project.
2. Create quality presentations in-house.
Quality design support is typically out of reach for small businesses. Poorly designed presentations are a huge turn-off. Old-school tools are ineffective and require a lot of time, effort, and design know-how to even attempt a professional-quality presentation. Think beyond PowerPoint and try a more modern online presentation software. These tools often offer built-in "smart" templates with large searchable libraries of custom icons and royalty-free images. For example, our company, Beautiful.AI, applies algorithms and heuristics techniques to help small businesses automatically apply best design practices to presentations. The resulting work can be used to create media kits, investor reports and training materials – without a paid designer.
3. Simplify email marketing.
While email marketing is still a successful strategy to attract new leads and interact with your user base, the level of spend is critical to watch. There’s an art to email marketing: Too few messages can come across as messy and inconsistent, while daily emails can be overwhelming to customers and get your newsletter relegated to the junk folder fast. Email marketing software allow users to automate and simplify campaigns with built-in templates. Campaign builder and analytics tools let you track signups, results, performance and assess campaign ROI. A smart, targeted and selective email marketing strategy can boost website visits, help you keep in touch with customers, and allow you to share important updates via newsletters, among other things. [Looking for email marketing software? Check out our top recommendations on our best picks page.]
4. Master your social media strategy
One of the first things consumers – and often, potential B2B customers or partners – do to vet a company is to review their social media presence. Do they only have 12 followers? Red flag. Do they overuse hashtags like they’re going out of style? Amateurs. Is the content shared consistent, on-brand and valuable to their target audience?
There are several factors to consider when implementing and maintaining a social media program, and while it often needs a dedicated team member, there are several helpful platforms available making it a whole lot easier. Use social listening tools and social media management platforms to track content that performs best on social media for any topic or competitor. Look for the outlets, blogs, influencers and keywords that are gaining the most traction and shares across social media. This can help you gauge which industry hashtags to use, which profiles are the most valuable to follow and interact, and which blogs and media outlets your target audience trusts and follows.