I should start by noting that although these marketing and advertising ideas don’t require a direct outlay of cash necessarily, nothing is actually “FREE” if it requires a business owner’s time, attention, and discipline. When I started my business, one of the reasons I chose the name TikTalk is because I’ve learned, working with small business owners in Dallas/Fort Worth over the past 5 years, that the most valuable resource we have is our time.
If you are really good at making and selling milkshakes, chances are you will be best served by focusing on making and selling the best milkshakes in the world instead of spending time learning, implementing, managing, and analyzing a dozen different marketing platforms. That’s where WE come in! TikTalk saves you time and money by building and managing the marketing programs you need to grow your business! Contact us today if you could use some help with your current marketing programs, or ideas for new ones! It’s time to talk about growing your business…
Everybody knows they should be doing it but so many of us don’t! Why? My guess is the primary excuse is “it takes too much time” and it’s true that if you attend networking meetings regularly and commit to one-on-one “get to know you” meetings to encourage people to refer business to you, it can be time-consuming. My advice is to find a group that fits well with your schedule. Everyone eats lunch, why not find a group that meets for lunch once a week? Are you a frequently participate in happy hour? Find a happy hour group and start building some relationships while you unwind from a long workday. The truth is, you don’t know what opportunities you may be missing.
You can find a variety of networking groups across Dallas/Fort Worth with various meeting schedules and specializations on meetup.com.
I am also putting together a weekly networking group for the Oaklawn/Uptown area. If you’re interested in joining us, let’s get in touch!
Oh, and don’t forget to bring plenty of BUSINESS CARDS! Mention this blog post and get 5,000 business cards for $39.99 + tax & shipping at tik-talk.com/print-products !
Organic search drives a larger percentage of buying decisions each year. Make it easy for customers find you who are ready to buy what you’re selling! One of the easiest ways to boost your rankings for relevant keywords is to have updated online directory listings and social profiles. I’ll be putting together a list of local directories as an online resource in a few weeks, but the MOST important directories include:
It goes without saying that you should also keep updated social profiles for your business on all the major social networks including Facebook, Google+ (more important than you may think!), Linkedin, Twitter, and sometimes Pinterest & Instagram.
Remember, it’s not just about posting your address, phone number, and hours! Take time to fill in every possible informational section (like owner bio, products & services, policies, amenities…) with keywords that will help drive traffic to your listing and your business.
Pretty much all of the major online directories allow business owners to create an account and manage their profiles for free with paid upgrades to include additional content like photos, videos, content feeds, testimonials, etc. Proving you are the business owner can be hassle…taking automated phonecalls, waiting for postcards in the mail, etc. If you want to save a LOT of time, we recommend using TIK:TALK’s Online Directory Management service, which includes updated listings in over 50 directories, enhanced content, and review monitoring. Give us a call at 214-235-3951 for more info.
I know your immediate reaction is probably “ew, craigslist?” Depending on your type of business, however, this could be a pretty valuable resource in 2 ways.
First, you can post a small business ad in the “Small Biz Ads” section. Craigslist posts get indexed by Google regularly and if you include pertinent keyword strings, you may just get some welcome organic traffic. Don’t include your email address or phone number unless you want to be inundated with spam and solicitors, but if you include a link to your website people who are genuinely interested in your product or service will have a way to find you.
Second, depending on your product or service, you can use Craigslist to actively source potential customers. I, for example, will occasionally look through the local job postings for part-time and temporary marketing-related jobs and projects, and will reach out to prospects that may be better served at a lower cost by using a small business Dallas/Fort Worth marketing agency like TIK:TALK. If you sell cars, concert tickets, electronics, or any number of products or services, chances are there are people looking for them in the wanted section.
Your time is valuable and no one wants to spend all day crawling Craigslist for potential customers. Guess what!? You can use a free service to do the crawling for you! ifttt.com (If This, Then That) is a free online automated script service that integrates with dozens of websites, applications, and data feeds. You can set up “recipes” for the ifttt engine to run for you automatically. For example, THIS RECIPE will check craigslist once a day for new posts that include search terms you specify, and send you an email with the results. Set it up once and get an email with potential prospects every day!
Technically you can write your own press releases and submit them manually to any number of relevant media outlets, but again, this can be very time-consuming and requires some expertise. Press releases have a specific structure and format, and the submission process is different for each media outlet you may want to reach.
TikTalk provides professionally-written press releases with local distribution and digital syndication.
The benefits of a well-executed press release can be significant! If you have a unique story to share, of course you may be approached by any number of journalists interested in turning your news into a published story. Syndication of the story alone, with relevant keywords and links to your website, can also boost your organic traffic!
I don’t care what type of business you’re in, every Dallas/Fort Worth business owner should have an email marketing strategy. Mailchimp offers an “Entrepreneur” package that allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month with up to 2,000 subscribers absolutely free!
Getting an affordable, or even free, email marketing software platform is a piece of cake. What makes an email marketing program effective however is a disciplined list-building strategy and dedication to creating content that is meaningful and valuable to your current, past, and potential customers. If you need some help, check out TIK:TALK’s email marketing service and let’s talk!
It may not be incredibly apparent, but one of the best sources of new customers could be your current and past customers. Take some time to reach out to them by phone, email or in-person, and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals! If the customer had a good experience, chances are they know at least a couple other people who could use your product or service.
Making a one-time effort to contact your existing customer base can be fruitful, but the BEST opportunity to get customer referrals is immediately after the sale, when the customer is (hopefully) riding high on the satisfaction of unmatched product quality and brilliant customer service. That could mean training your staff to regularly ask for referrals and testimonials, or even sending an automated “Thank You” email to new customers with a special promotion or offer for referrals.
Your perfect customer is out there interacting daily with businesses that are completely unrelated to yours. Think about opportunities to partner with non-competing companies to cross-promote each other to your existing customers. If your milkshake store is across the street from a dry cleaner… guess what!? There are hundreds of consumers who live near your milkshake store who will be across the street from you every week! Maybe you each print some flyers, swap, and hand them out to each of your customers! (Mention this blog and get 5,000 1/2 Page Full Color Flyers from TIK:TALK for $117.99 + tax & shipping!)
We don’t all work in retail, but I bet if you do some thinking about what type of businesses your best customers frequently patron, there’s probably a unique opportunity waiting to be exploited!
Thought leadership is one of the most common content-marketing strategies… where you encourage customers to pay attention to your content because you are an expert in your field and provide valuable information. In fact, that’s part of MY content strategy, and why you’re reading this article! Good content can be entertaining, educational, or both! If you have expertise that people find valuable, consider giving a class, seminar, or online webinar on a topic that spikes your potential customers’ interest. Remember to gather as much contact information as you can so that you can follow-up afterwards. Comment below if you would be interested in attending a Dallas/Fort Worth marketing class and what topics you would be interested in!
At TIK:TALK, we love pay-per-click campaigns. Clients can set their own budget and only pay when a potential customer takes action on one of their ads. It’s not the end-all-be-all of lead generation, but there is a way to generate a positive ROI for almost any type of business. What you may not be aware of is that there are tons of opportunities to get free pay-per-click coupons for platforms like Google, Bing, Facebook, Amazon, etc. You can find a great list of these free PPC coupons here.
If you own your own domain with any mainstream registrar like Godaddy, Network Solutions, Dreamhost, Host Gator, Yahoo, etc. chances are you also got some free PPC advertising credits when you purchased your domain. Contact your registrar to see if you have any credits available. If you don’t own your own domain yet, check out tiktalkdigital.com where every domain purchase comes with free Bing advertising credits!
Why should we stop with 9!? Comment below with your own ideas for free and low-cost advertising and marketing in Dallas/Fort Worth and let’s grow our businesses together!