The 7th December 2013 saw businesses across the UK embracing the first ‘Small Business Saturday’ which had a massive focus on getting people to spend their money with local independent retailers.

With the internet now being the main source of advertisement it becomes challenging for the owners of small businesses to keep on top of digital marketing initiatives, especially if the budget for online marketing isn’t available.

Here we give a rundown of ways of getting your business into the digital world on a smaller or minimal budget.

Planning

Putting a plan of action together should be your first priority as it will give you as the business owner the chance to focus onto your marketing and analyse what will work for your business.

There are so many tools and techniques available within the digital world that it can sometimes seem like a confusing mass of information.  Consider what is really important to make your business successful in the short and long term, then research and look at the areas that will give optimal performance and bring visitors to your business.

Google Maps

You should make use of Google Places for Business and register your business’ details so that they appear in location searches.  It is free to use tool, but there are also options to pay to have your business’ details show to the top of local listings if you have the budget for it.

With consumers now going online first to research their purchases people will look for businesses via location searching.  With increased usage of mobile internet enabled smartphones having your business listed within local searches will increase your traffic and potential leads or sales.

Social Media

Your business may already have a Facebook page, Twitter page and Google+ page, if not you do need to be looking at joining social media.  Once pages are created, install and download the apps for the chosen social media’s onto your mobile and tablet devices.  Social media has increased dramatically and consumers are using social media to look and get advice on products and will also use it to voice opinions and complain. Social media is the voice of your business.

Customer Testimonials

Testimonials from customers are now one of the most trusted forms of information to a consumer when they are looking to make a purchase.  Online reviews are easy to see but how do you promote your written testimonials within your business with a face to face customers?

Think about putting an area together within your business’ premises or on your website that can showcase your testimonials.  If well-displayed this will attract customers and give more trust, having a positive influence on sales.

Wifi Usage

While this can be an expense to set up it could help to improve customer satisfaction and help customers to make a purchase.

If you are unsure about giving Wifi free, place a notice for customers to ask for the password to access the Wifi. This will create an opportunity to start a conversation as they approach you.

Refresh your Online branding

Many businesses set up a website and social channels and then forget to keep them up to date and in line with their own branding guidelines.  Make sure that all information about your business is up to date and consistent no matter where it is.

Keep a document of the websites that your business is featured on along with your social media accounts to help you to remember where content needs updating – this is especially useful if you need to roll out any business news or updates.

Online call-to-action

Your website is your shop window too and it needs to make people want to connect with you. From your website you should be able to market and promote your items to your followers with online offers and sales.  Encourage social following as it can become a powerful route to marketing your business.

Tracking Visitors

Google Analytics is a free tool to add to your website to track visitor engagement.  This will give you some great reporting to see how your visitors come to you where they go on your website and more.  You will be able to see the complete customer journey, which will then help you to tailor marketing more robustly and to tweak areas that aren’t doing as well.

Online Shopping

A quarter of UK retail spend is now online so it proves that e-commerce represents a massive opportunity. If you don’t already sell online or your website doesn’t enable this, it’s certainly worth looking at how you can begin to start selling your products or services online. There are tools that can help you with payments like Pay-Pal for minimal costs each month.

Building a Community

Provide an online space for incentives for your customer such as utilising a Facebook page where you can share promotions and competitions to grow your online community.  Customers will then become advocates and will help to do your marketing for you.

Not all businesses have massive marketing budgets so by using a mixture of some or even all of our tips for your business marketing strategy you could see positive changes which will help grow your business both online and offline.