What simple marketing steps can small businesses take?

One of the biggest issues that many small business owners face these days relates to how they can expand their visibility in their local communities. The proliferation of online commerce and other things that just make it harder to stand out from the crowd don't make life easy for any small business, but there are a number of marketing tools that they can probably use to increase their name recognition around town.

Experts in the area of small business marketing tend to recommend that firms of any size that are not yet investing in email marketing should do so as soon as possible, according to a report from the Asbury Park Press. This is often a wise decision because generally companies are only going to have email addresses for people who have already purchased something from them or signed up for a list, meaning that they are a potentially dedicated and even captive audience that will be interested in what they're selling.

Often, email list services can be found for relatively small amounts of money depending upon how many people are receiving the messages being sent out, the report said. However, consumers may need a little extra incentive to not simply put the email directly into their spam folder, or unsubscribe from it entirely. Discounts of between 10 and 25 percent often go a long way toward enticing them to make a purchase, and keeping them as a loyal customer.

Getting on social media
Meanwhile, experts also say that companies need to at least have a Facebook page if they want to connect with consumers these days, the report said. This is a place a lot of consumers now spend much of their time online, and it appeals pretty broadly to all demographics. However, for those with younger-skewing customer bases, other platforms such as Twitter or Instagram might also be good time investments. Meanwhile, businesses with older demographics might want to stick with sites like LinkedIn to make connections.

Small businesses should get involved with as much free marketing as possible.Small businesses should get involved with as much free marketing as possible.

What else can be done?
Finally, companies should also make sure they're being listed on sites like Yelp and Google so that satisfied customers can review them positively, the report said. That, in turn, will help them to appear higher in search results in their local areas, and potentially bring more people who are looking for exactly what they sell into the fold going forward.

Of course, a comprehensive marketing strategy – especially one that is going to take at least some initial investment – is something that has to be planned for carefully. As such, it might be wise for entrepreneurs to make sure they're sticking closely to a sound financial plan that will allow them the flexibility to achieve these new goals while still keeping their companies running smoothly. This may not always be easy, or immediately rewarding, but in the long run it's almost certainly going to be the best and wisest step to take in this regard.

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