If you’re on a shoestring budget (which small business isn’t) and are looking for ways to save money and increase profits for your business, here are five great money-saving ideas to boost your company’s bottom line – from slashing your bills to free ways to generate high quality leads.
Spend less on traditional advertising and more on content marketing.
Traditional advertising is expensive and has become much less effective than it was in the past. In fact, research shows that millennials do not respond to ads and are more likely to ignore them. This research also showed that when contemplating whether something is worth buying, millennials will often consult their social network, online reviews and their friends to see what other people think.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the process of strategically publishing content that is designed to engage your target audience through relevant information, education or entertainment. To understand just how effective content marketing can be for your business, consider the following example: let’s say you sell smartphones. You regularly blog and share useful information about smartphones, offering exclusive tips that smartphone users find really helpful and cannot find anywhere else.
If your readers like your content, they are likely to share it with their connections. By publishing content that is valuable and relevant to people in your target audience, you are building your business’s online reputation and your customers and prospects will, over time, develop an emotional connection with your brand. Your reputation will spread as more and more people hear about you and come to trust you over time.
Sharing your content will not only send powerful social signals about your online business to the search engines, it will also spread the word about your business as your content gets shared. This will keep you top of mind with your target audience and you’ll be the one they turn to when they need a new smartphone. Just by sharing your knowledge and expertise, you’ll be able to reach prospects in a way no banner ad could, because people are far more likely to ignore banner ads than engage with them in any way.
One good example of how you can replace traditional advertising with content marketing is by replacing traditional banner ads on Facebook with page post ads that contain meaningful content. You are far more likely to get results from an ad promoting a page post that describes how your product or service solved a specific problem than a traditional advert of the same product or service.
2. Use a vіrtuаl office.
If you’re a start-up company, using a virtual office can be a smart option, especially for businesses that lend themselves well to operating in a virtual environment. For example, if you provide a range of functions that are easily accessible through the internet and you or your employees are willing to work from home, using a virtual office rather than leasing office space can help slash your business costs. These prestigious аddrеѕѕеѕ will also mаkе уоur сuѕtоmеrѕ believe you are thrіvіng іn уоur fіеld to bе able to аffоrd to rent in such place. An аddrеѕѕ is a more powerful and соnvіnсіng аdvеrtіѕеmеnt thаn a nоrmаl рrоmо.
What is a Virtual office?
A virtual office is an arrangement that allows a business owner to use a physical location as their official office address whilst working from a remote location. It also allows businesses to create and maintain a physical presence in a specific location. This type of arrangement typically provides considerable savings on office rental costs which is typically the biggest overhead for most small businesses. It also saves costs on commuter hours and expenses, as well as fuel and electricity costs.
One fantastic benefit of virtual offices is that they allow you to create and maintain a presence in a prestigious location and appear to be a larger and well established company without having to pay the actual cost of operating from such locations. This is a massive benefit especially if you’re an online business.
Google My Business
Google has now updated their terms of service that appears to make companies that use virtual offices ineligible for a Google My Business page. That does not apply to all businesses unless your company is listed as a “service-area business”. This is a business that is designed to cater to customers at a specific location.
3. Build relationships with your customers.
The cost of acquiring customers is one of the most significant factors that could ultimately lead to start-up failure. This simply underscores the importance of building relationships with your customers and prospects. According to global research by Bain and Company, a 5% percent increase in customer retention can lead to increase in profits of between 25% and 95%. What this means in effect is that the more loyal your customers, the higher your profits.
You cannot underestimate the value of a loyal, repeat customer. If you are able to successfully build meaningful relationships with your customers, they will have an emotional connection with your brand and bring their family, friends and social connections with them. Thankfully, social media has made the process of connecting with customers a lot cheaper and easier to accomplish than was the case before social media. The best way to begin the process of building relationships with your customers is by connecting with them on social media platforms and through your newsletter.
Keep in mind that the quality of the content you publish through these channels will form the basis of your relationship with your customers. This is why the content you share needs to be useful and valuable to them or you risk losing them to your competition. Share content that builds confidence in your knowledge and expertise, and effectively establishes your credibility. When sending out your newsletter, aim to educate, inform or entertain. Share tips and advice that would be difficult to find elsewhere on the internet. Show your followers and customers the value of having you as a social connection.
4. Build a large social network.
You should aim to build a large social network on the various social media platforms on which you are active. Having a large network on certain social platforms has significant advantages. For example, if you have a large Google+ network, if you publish content that is relevant to what anyone in your network is searching for on Google, your content will appear prominently in their search results as long as they have not logged out of Google+.
Equally, having a large network of 2,000 to 3000 business professionals in different fields on LinkedIn means you will be able to connect with the entire network without having to pay for the privilege of doing so. This provides the opportunity to initiate contact with potential clients by sending a message.
Given the astronomical cost of pay per click advertising on LinkedIn, the amount of savings you make can be quite significant. Bottom line is, having a large social network can definitely make you more successful at what you do.
5. Be active on social media.
Social media is a collaborative platform where people go to connect, engage, share, cooperate, interact, learn and build relationships. In essence, it is a powerful and effective way to connect with customers and prospects, generate high quality leads, increase customer loyalty and build a strong brand. At the same time, it pushes down your cost of sales, marketing, customer service and much more. The importance of social media to small business cannot be overemphasised.
Today’s consumers are social and expect the businesses they deal with to have an active social media presence on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Not having an active presence on social media can be really damaging for your business, especially if your competitors have been able to build relationships with customers and prospects on social media.
It is also important to note that people are not going to pay attention to you just because you are active on social media. You need to share valuable content in the form of tips, advice or information that they cannot easily find elsewhere. This can include the latest content from your blog in addition to high quality, curated content from industry influencers from across the web.
Note that to give yourself the best chances of success on on social media, you need to have a coherent social media strategy as well as a content marketing strategy that is tailored to the people you are trying to connect with on social media.