5 ways bootstrapped businesses can increase visibility and sales

Welcome to the first in a series of articles written by small business owners, consultants, freelancers, and entrepreneurs just like you! We hope you enjoy these blog posts, and feel free to get in touch if you’ve got something you’d like to share with our blog readers.


When budgets are tight, marketing is often the first department to suffer. Payroll must be met. Taxes must be paid. Supply chains must remain open. If something has to be cut, it is all too often the social media budget, the mobile marketing budget or the content marketing budget. But businesses don’t have to be flush with extra cash to make a big impact on their brands. Here are five ways to increase visibility and boost sales without a major investment.

1. Use Video. If You’re Already Using Video, Use More Video

The single most important step a bootstrapped business can take to radically increase ROI and conversions is to incorporate video into their branding strategy. According to research, 92% of mobile video viewers share the videos that they watch online. Seventy percent of marketers report that video converts better than any other medium. Video keeps visitors on pages longer, is shared more often and amplified on social media more than anything else.

video-marketing
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

2. Make Images the Backbone of Your Social Strategy

Image-driven posts dominates content marketing on social media. Research shows that tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and 150% more retweets than tweets without images — and that is just Twitter. Across every social media platform — not just image-centric platforms like Instagram and Pinterest — image-based posts drive branding.

3. Be Consistent!

Organize and structure your design and theme consistently across all your channels. Use no more than three main fonts. Keep your colour scheme, logo and watermarks consistent on your landing pages, your social media pages, your shipping label template and your business cards. You should project your brand at every touchpoint your buyers encounter. This continuity reassures your buyers and increases your visibility.

4. Market to Influencers

Influencers are the top of the food chain in your industry. Maybe your influencers are celebrities or maybe they are bloggers. Either way, they have enormous social media following and hold incredible sway over the people who are your most likely buyers.

If you can get an influencer to retweet a tweet, share a post or, even better, recommend your product, you will see more traffic and possibly more conversions than you could have possibly received had you marketed directly to the masses. Here is a good tutorial on how to find and engage industry influencers.

content-marketing
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

5. Engage in Blogger Outreach

Offer free product samples to the most important bloggers in your industry. If a powerful blogger writes about your product, it could result in a major bump in visibility and credibility from that blogger’s loyal readers. The key is to make it organic and natural — don’t make it a sales pitch and don’t offer anything in exchange for a review.

Marketers on a budget don’t have the luxury of being complacent. Creativity, however, can take thinly spread dollars much farther. Market to a few powerful influencers, not the masses. Make sure your layout and design project your brand consistently across all channels. Use images instead of dry text content, incorporate video wherever you can and reach out to powerful bloggers for product reviews.


nickandrewrojas

Nick Rojas is a business adviser and professional journalist focusing on marketing, sales and financial strategies. He loves eating sushi, going for long walks by the beach, and helping businesses grow.

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Which social media outlet is best for your small business?

small-business-social-mediaThe social media universe can seem thrilling for most entrepreneurs. A captive audience, just waiting to hear what your small business is all about!

Unfortunately, the reality doesn’t quite line up with that image. What if nobody responds? Or what if you find yourself overwhelmed by all those accounts you’ve signed up for?

Success in social media isn’t gauged by how many networks your small business signs up for. Instead, you increase your odds of social media success when you pick the best outlets for your small business.

For example, a small business that is more focused on demonstrating professional expertise might have better luck networking on LinkedIn. A business like a small café or online graphic novel reseller, one that depends on regular customer contact, might thrive on a more real-time, chatty outlet such as Twitter or Facebook.

Think about your target market and your small business’ goals. Which part of the wide world of social media really suits your business the best? New networks constantly come and go, but knowing when to dive in and when to sit it out can make all the difference to your small business’ success in social media marketing.

Related reading:

Four big marketing mistakes in small business

 

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Small business blog posts we liked this week

From competitors to foodies, here are some of the small business blog posts we enjoyed reading this week. We hope you find some great ideas for your small business!

 

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How to get started and be successful in social media

The importance of social media for a small business is well-known. We bet you’ve heard so many things about why you should join any given social network. Maybe you have a few social networks you like for your small business. Maybe you’re unsure.

A recent article titled A Guide To Building Your Business Through Social Networks helps to clear up some confusion. It lays out facts about social media in small business, offers useful advice for getting started in social media, and how to interact with and satisfy your followers once you have them. Don’t forget, your followers in social media are also customers for your small business, so keeping them engaged and happy is key!

From the article:

Things that once seemed intangible, such as Facebook likes, Yelp reviews, and tweets, are now proof that customers respond to your brand. In turn, these same customers reward your business with public approval and open ended discussions of your business. Not only can you put this direct input into practice, your potential customers can turn to the resources and quickly get what your business is all about.

You can check out the full article here.

Do you have any small business social media tips you’d like to share?

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2011 roundups from our favourite business blogs

It’s the end of December, which means you’ve probably seen your fair share of “end of the year” lists. We have too, and wanted to share some of our favourites from the business, social media and entrepreneurship blogospheres. Enjoy!

Do you have any business-related year in review list you’d like to share?

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