The small business owner can be competitive with large companies through the use of digital advertising, even when there is a tight budget. Most know the old adage “it takes money to make money,” but with the digital age upon us, it is now very possible to make money without having to spend a large amount of money. One of the first steps to take is to figure out how much to spend on a marketing plan. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses which have less than 5 million in revenue should earmark about 7 to 8 percent to advertising with the assumption that margins are in the 10 to 12 percent range. Once the advertising budget is determined, a marketing plan can be put into place, which should include digital advertising.
 

 
Utilize social media wisely

The time that small business owners invest in their small business is huge. With so many social media platforms available, if time and help is limited, it is wise to utilize just a couple of sites. Use social media sites regularly and productively as opposed to using numerous sites and not implementing them as well as they could be. Choosing appropriate social media sites depend on the type of small business. For example, restaurants would likely be more successful with Instagram as that is a visual dominant social media site and is free to post. A law firm would likely be more successful marketing themselves on a professional career site such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn is free to use and for a nominal monthly fee, a Linkedin account can be upgraded to a Pro with more options available to the subscriber.

 
Take advantage of analytics

Most digital platforms offer some type of analytics. Twitter’s analytics and Facebook Insights offer data such as viewer demographics, age range and high performing content. Some data is free and extremely useful in determining marketing strategies, while those who would like a deeper analysis of the data can pay for it through a monthly fee.

 
Stay in touch with customers

One of the best and low cost ways to stay in touch with customers is through email marketing. Email marketing helps to keep your brand up front and center to those who are interested in it. The recipient of your email marketing is likely the one who signed up to receive the emails. A loyal customer is the best return on investment, and email marketing helps to build brand loyalty.

 

 
This article was written by Michelle M. Guilbeau for CBS Small Business Pulse.
 

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