Top marketing tools for small businesses in 2016
The marketing needs for small business owners have drastically changed over the past few years. While fliers, discount vouchers and word-of-mouth continue to remain top channels to attract customers, online marketing has brought about a big change in the way small businesses do business. If you are a small business owner, here are some top marketing tools for you to grow your business.
Price starts at $15/month
Email is ubiquitous and a majority of small business customers own and check their emails regularly. GetResponse is a great tool for small businesses to reach out through autoresponders. The trick to get the maximum mileage out of this medium is to identify the average purchase frequency of your customer and reach out to them just before their next purchase. At a starting price of $15/month, the GetResponse autoresponder is cheaper than many other alternatives in the market and also includes landing page creators and email design templates at that price. For a bootstrapped business owner who cannot outsource their marketing to an agency, this is an ideal tool to do it yourself.
Price starts at ¢3/message
If you are in an industry where customers still do not check their emails frequency, then a good alternative is to reach out to them via text messages. Send information on discount coupons, new launches and reach out to customers who have not returned through text messages. While this does not provide a sophisticated autoresponder system like GetResponse, it is still a fantastic way to be in touch with customers via text messages. A word of caution though–the TCPA regulations that govern laws in the US regarding spam over SMS are much more stringent than the CAN-SPAM laws for email marketing. So make sure you get explicit confirmation from your customers for this purpose before you reach out to them.
Square Gift Cards
Price starts at $1.50/card
A number of small businesses already use Square to handle their point-of-sale transactions. It’s easy to use and allows businesses to do away with bulky POS machines and replace them with their smartphones or tablets. Besides the software itself, Square also offers gift cards that you could order and send to your loyal customers. These gift cards do not cost a lot and may contain discount coupons which help enhance customer loyalty and repeat purchase–a great way to retain your customers.
Price starts at $199/month
There are a number of reasons why customers stop turning up to your business–they cannot find you on the Internet, they find bad reviews about your business from unhappy customers, or there are businesses that engage better with them online. LocalVox is a tool that can help address these various challenges. It has a suite of features to help businesses create websites, manage their reputation, engage with customers on social media and optimize their website for search engines. Unlike the other tools here, this product is definitely not cheap and so may not be for everyone. But if you do afford it, LocalVox can do a host of things that can help your business grow.
Except for LocalVox, most other tools are extremely affordable and cost should not be an excuse to not use them for your business. Tools like GetResponse provide sustained outreach that help your customers stay abreast of the latest offers and news. This, along with Mozeo and Square should help businesses keep customers connected and happy which is the most important way to retain them.