As a small business owner trying to promote your products and services online, the chances are that you’ve read hundreds of articles and watched countless videos on how best to find new customers.
The truth is that every business requires something a little different, even if they’re in the same niche.
That’s why experimenting with different marketing ideas is one of the most sensible things you can do as a small business owner; after all, if you haven’t tried it, you can’t be sure it isn’t going to work.
Below, we’ve put together five of the most commonly overlooked marketing ideas that you probably haven’t considered trying.
Give them a go today if you’re ready to expand your reach and find new customers online.
Building links through the Skyscraper Technique
Link building is one of the toughest forms of digital marketing for small businesses, and because of the costs and complexity involved, most smaller firms avoid the technique entirely.
This gives you a unique opportunity to get ahead of the competition on search engines for search phrases and terms and persuade more of your competitors’ customers to click through to your site instead of going through one of theirs.
Just think – if you run a pet shop and a potential customer searches for ‘pet shop in London’ and you show up first, then you’ll no doubt drive thousands of visitors to your website.
Your competitor that’s not even on the first page of Google will miss out.
One of the best and simplest methods of building new links to your website is the skyscraper link building technique.
Simply, you’ll find the best possible content related to your niche on the internet, and improve it for your own blog.
Rather than copying and pasting the existing article and adding more information, though, you’ll write the piece from scratch, go into more depth, and give your readers some super high-quality content that they’ll want to share and link to.
So, as a pet shop owner, you could take the highest-ranking ‘ultimate guide to choosing your first pet’ article and create something ten times better.
That could include doing more research, using video to talk customers through several pet options, or even paying for an infographic to be made for your blog.
The possibilities are endless; creating exceptional content is all it takes.
Once you’re happy with the content you’ve created, simply reach out to bloggers who already link to the resource you’ve taken inspiration from, and let them know that you’ve created a guide that’s even more engaging and effective.
Chances are, they’ll link back to yours instead!
Send influencers gifts and free products
Whether you offer products or services, giving away freebies and trials to influential bloggers and social media influencers could be a great way to spread the word about what you do and get more people interested in what you have to offer.
After all, these influencers have a huge audience made up of your potential customer base, so it would be a silly idea not to try it.
The influencer marketing industry is thought to be worth more than a billion dollars worldwide, and that number is set to grow as more established and up-and-coming businesses opt to promote their products and services through influencer social media posts and YouTube videos rather than traditional forms of marketing – and it’s clear to see why.
According to Social Media Today, 94% of marketers who use influencer marketing find it an effective practice, while marketers report that influencer marketing can generate 11 times the return on investment than what they’d expect through traditional advertising, so it’s certainly worth making the investment if you’ve got the right products and have set aside a clear budget.
In fact, the most difficult part of influencer marketing is not finding people who would be suitable but knowing how much to pay them.
Most marketing agencies work out a pricing structure after they’ve reached out to influencers and asked for their typical pricing, but you should always try to get a discount and haggle where possible, as influencers are often flexible and open to offers.
Before you splash the cash and offer an influencer hundreds of pounds for a tweet or a mention on YouTube, try to calculate your return on investment.
Ask about other companies they’ve worked with, evaluate the size of their following and typical engagement rates, and don’t be afraid to experiment with smaller influencers to test the waters.
It’s all about finding the right balance and working with people that will provide access to a genuine, engaged audience who would be interested in your products and services.
Numbers don’t mean everything; in fact, working with smaller influencers is often more cost-effective.
Launch an affiliate scheme
Imagine giving your loyal customers and readers an opportunity to promote your business and your products and services for you, in exchange for some cold hard cash.
Well, that’s exactly what you can do with an affiliate scheme, a marketing trend that’s been used by some of the world’s biggest businesses, including Amazon and Google, to increase their conversion rates.
By launching an affiliate scheme for your business, you can offer bloggers, publishers, readers, influencers and business people a chance to earn a commission every time they recommend your product or services to a friend or contact.
And it’s one of the most effective forms of marketing.
Simply put, an affiliate scheme means that you give each affiliate a unique link to your website, allowing you to track the source of every sale.
If someone converts from the unique link, then your affiliate will be entitled to a cut of your profits, whether it’s a percentage of the sale or a specific amount, something you could decide before launching the affiliate scheme to the public.
While this might sound like hard work, there are lots of places where you can launch an affiliate scheme in only a couple of minutes. If your site is powered by WordPress, for example, then AffiliateWP could be just what you need.
This plugin allows you to add an affiliate marketing scheme on your website and gives users the option of logging in to track their clicks and sales, keeping everything open, transparent, fair, and most importantly of all, automated, allowing you to let the scheme work its magic while you sit back and relax.
Other options include GetTheReferral.com, referral software for small and medium-sized companies, ClickBank, GetAmbassador, Cake, Tapfiliate and HasOffers, which all offer a unique approach to affiliate marketing and vary in price depending on the required features and user numbers. Shop around and find the best software for your needs.
Distribute a press release
Press releases have fallen out of favour in recent years, what with the internet and the explosion of content marketing and video marketing.
Simply put, it’s often easier to spread the word about your business yourself rather than waiting for newspapers, magazines and niche websites to do it for you, but that doesn’t mean the technique is completely irrelevant.
Writing and distributing an engaging press release about something that’s happened to your business is a sure-fire way to get some coverage of your new products and services, and there’s a chance that you’ll get some high-quality backlinks from news outlets, too.
The key is to write a press release about something truly interesting.
Let’s be real: people don’t care that you’ve launched a new website for your business, but they do care if one of your staff members runs a marathon to raise money for cancer or you acquire a competitor.
It’s the juicy stories that are more likely to be picked up by media outlets, so make your PR count!
One of the most effective methods of writing press releases to secure coverage is to piggyback on a major event.
If you work in the food industry, for example, and McDonald’s announces plans to open a new store five minutes from your local eatery, then you could publish a press release with your thoughts, claiming that the fast-food giant could ‘damage your business’, or that you’re planning on launching your own Big Mac-inspired meals to compete with them.
The quirkier and more newsworthy they are, the better reach you’ll have as a result.
Indeed, small businesses in the UK have gone viral thanks to a strong public relations strategy. Ice Falkirk, for example, an independent ice cream shop in Scotland, used a press release to spread the word about a new flavour of ice cream – and the story was picked up by major news outlets like the Metro, The Mirror, The Sun, Buzzfeed, LadBible, The Daily Mail and many more.
Publish your content on LinkedIn
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, then the chances are that you’ll have a presence on LinkedIn.
The social network has more than 500 million users around the world and is one of the highest-performing sites for generating leads and creating new business contacts, and so the more you engage with the platform, the more you’ll get back from it.
One of LinkedIn’s most recent features is the ability to publish blog posts, and while you may not want to pack in your company blog and write content on the platform exclusively, cross-publishing your work on a blog and LinkedIn profile could help to position your business as an authority figure on LinkedIn, help you find more connections and grow your overall digital presence, leading to more leads, greater reach and, most importantly, more customers.
LinkedIn is powerful for business owners and entrepreneurs because of its huge audience size.
While SEO and a good social media strategy will help to spread the word about an epic new blog post on your website, having your content sitting within LinkedIn’s ecosystem makes it easier for it to be shared and distributed to your contacts and to people outside of your circles.
Every like, comment and share will be seen by your connection’s followers and contacts, and so a simple post can quickly go viral and be seen by thousands of potential customers in minutes.
And the good news is that you can cross-publish your content on your blog and LinkedIn without harming your SEO or causing duplicate content issues; that is, according to Matt Cutts himself.
By posting your content on multiple sources, however, you do run the risk of your LinkedIn post showing up higher on Google than your website, which could cut click-through rates and conversions.
The key is to be selective and only share your highest-performing blog posts on LinkedIn to further expand its reach.
Adding a link back to the original article (i.e. your website) is a sensible idea, too, as people will be able to click through and see more of your high-quality content.
There are so many digital marketing techniques to consider when launching and expanding your business online, but the key is to find the ones that work for your needs. Experiment with the five we’ve mentioned in today’s article and you might just be surprised at the results.
If you’re looking for help with your online marketing, trust the experts here at Muffin Marketing. We specialise in content marketing for small businesses, as well as social media, link building and SEO for small businesses, all designed with brand awareness and conversions in mind.