For many small business owners, marketing dollars are being stretched thin. A 2012 survey showed that while 66% of small business owners do have a marketing budget, most of those budgets barely surpassed $2,000.f To make the best use of your marketing funds, it’s helpful to get to know your audience. By determining where they look for information and who they trust, you can narrow down your marketing options and create a marketing plan that will work for your business.

Traditional marketing strategies

If your audience is local and accessible through more direct routes of communication, then a traditional marketing strategy – such as print ads or handing out brochures, business cards, and promotional merchandise – would probably work best for your business. If you’re located in a town where street festivals and community events are prevalent, these events could be an opportunity to meet your customers and make a lasting connection.

To generate even more exposure, consider appearing on local news shows as an expert in your field, or sponsoring local charities or school events. Not only will these methods get the word out about your business, but they will also help you establish a relationship with your customers.

Online and social media marketing strategies

If your customer base is more widespread, you may want to focus on online marketing initiatives, especially those that incorporate social media. In 2011, 56% of customers said they were more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after becoming a fan of that brand on Facebook.

To accommodate this influence, consider creating a social media page and encourage customers to follow your updates. Facebook, Twitter, or a company blog can be great tools for starting a conversation with your customers. Think about creative ways to interact with your audience, such as implementing contests, polls, and tagging fans in your posts.

Whether you use local, online, or social media marketing strategies, try to monitor your results regularly. By focusing your time on ideas that work – and retooling those that don’t – you can make the most of your marketing resources.

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