by Ali Hyatt, Constant Contact
As a small business, online marketing often provides the most cost-effective methods for attracting new customers.
But any form of marketing — whether it’s online, print, television, or direct mail — usually costs something and it can be hard to find the resources needed to spread the word about your business.
Luckily, there are simple things you can do to ramp up your online marketing, without having to spend a ton of extra money to do it.
Here are 6 easy ways that successful companies maximize their online marketing.
1. Get customers to share your social media updates
There are many different types of posts that are great for sharing — a discount offer, a viral photo, company news, a special event, etc.
You certainly have to give your fans a reason to share your posts, but when they do you can increase the reach and get in front of a whole new audience.
Hearing about a business from a friend on social media, rather than seeing an ad pop up on your screen, is one of the most effective ways to find a new customer.
The key to social media sharing is to:
- Ask your fans to share your updates, and
- Create posts make that they’ll want to share
When a post is shared a lot on social media by your customers, it can be helpful to note the topic and medium of the post. For example, videos or images might generate higher engagement with your audience.
See what works well and follow up your success with a similar type of post.
2. Start a blog and let your customers contribute to it
Blogs are a great way for people to find out more about your business and the products and services you offer. Publishing helpful content on your blog gives you an easy way to show off your expertise and reach new customers when people find your posts while searching online.
But keeping up with a blog can be very time consuming, especially when you’re running the day-to-day aspects of your business.
One smart solution is to encourage your followers to help out and contribute to your blog.
Oftentimes, a business can very successfully ask their fans to write a short post about an experience with the company, how they use certain products, or other relevant topics.
For example, we’ve seen a company that delivers school lunches ask its parent customers to share kid-friendly recipes on the blog and we’ve witnessed a macrobiotic bar company ask fans to share stories of their healthy lifestyles on the brand’s blog.
Think about what’s relevant to you and ask a few fans to contribute their perspective. There’s a good chance they’ll be excited to get involved, and once their post is published, they’ll be proud of what they wrote and eager to share it with their own audience.
3. Host a photo contest
If it’s relevant to your business, host a photo contest that gets your customers to share photos of themselves or their families and friends enjoying an experience related to your business.
When your fans and followers share photos at your business, their social connections can see it. This is a great way to reach new people without a lot of effort. One way to increase the potential for sharing is to reward the fan with the most likes on their photo.
4. Provide easy ways for customers to share your emails
Getting your email list subscribers to refer their friends to you can be one of the best ways to acquire new customers.
So make it really easy for them to do so. Include a link in your emails that’s clear and noticeable that asks them to tell a friend. Include a discount offer for customers to send along or reward them in some way for sharing your email.
5. Encourage people to share online reviews
Expanding your number of reviews can be one of the best ways to make a great first impression on potential customers. Of course, you’ll want to collect authentic reviews from customers who really love frequenting your business.
Post a call to action on Facebook asking loyal fans to visit your Yelp page, or include a link in your next email letting people know how they can share a review. Often all it takes is a reminder to your fans that they can help you by adding their own personal review.
6. Run an online survey
Reaching new customers stars with understanding your current customers first. This will give you great insight into how to find more of your future customers.
For example, how did most of your customers find out about you? Did they hear about you from a friend? If so, then you may want to invest more time into encouraging customers to refer your business.
Did they find you on a review site? Well, then how can you get more reviews out there from your loyal followers?
Use an online survey to get a good sense of which types of marketing are working best for your customers, and then focus on expanding your efforts there.
Put these tips to work!
Getting the most out of your online marketing means mobilizing your loyal ambassadors. Start by taking a few minutes to look over your current marketing to see what’s working.
Whether your social media promotions are driving engagement or positive reviews are making a great impression on new customers, see what’s working best and think how you can get your loyal customers to help take your results to the next level.
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