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8 expert online marketing tips for small businesses

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | May 9, 2014
Small business digital marketing pros share their top picks regarding the best ways for businesses with big plans but small budgets to market their products or services.

3. Create a Facebook business page and use Facebook advertising. "Facebook is one of the most important marketing tools for any business to use, especially a small business," says Tori Hoffman, the social media strategist at Potratz, an automotive advertising agency.

"Americans spend one out of every seven minutes on social media, providing a huge opportunity for small business owners to build a relationship with fans by sharing relevant content and interacting by commenting and liking fans' comments," Hoffman says. "The more a user interacts with a page, the more likely their friends are to see it, increasing awareness."

Also consider Facebook advertising.

"We have been having great success for our mobile marketing clients with Facebook advertising," says Bob Bentz, president of ATS Mobile, a mobile marketing agency. "The ads appear right in the news feed so it's really impossible to miss. It is especially effective with local clients, because there is virtually no waste as with traditional media," he says.

"A local restaurant, for instance, can promote just to the zip codes where it draws from. It can even target specific age groups and sex," Bentz says. "Best of all, you can target those customers during the time that they are most likely to buy; for instance, you can display your ads just before and during the lunch and dinner hours." And if your Facebook campaign isn't getting the desired results, "there's no long-term commitment. You can cancel at any time."

4. Post to Pinterest and Instagram. If you are selling a highly visual product or service, say you are in the bridal or food business, you should be regularly posting images on Pinterest and/or Instagram. Posting is free and both platforms have large followings, particularly among women.

"You can drive major traffic to your website via Pinterest, and no platform uses hashtags to build audiences like Instagram," says Eric Elkins, CEO and chief strategist at WideFoc.us, a real time social media company.

"For goods and services specifically targeting women ages 18 to 65, [we] recommend companies utilize Pinterest," says Ria Romano, partner, RPR Public Relations. "Since women are inherently more visual than men when it comes to shopping online -- it's not just a clichÒ© -- a picture really does speak 1000 words," she says. Indeed, "for every dollar a female consumer spends on our clients' products and services they find on Facebook, the same shopper will spend $3 on the same product or service on Pinterest."

"My favorite place to sell my handmade jewelry is Instagram," says Mindy McCarthy, owner of MinMac. "It's the queen of virtual markets. Potential customers can scroll through your collection of pictures and see who they're supporting," she says. "They make a connection with you as a person, not just a business owner. It's very rare that I post a piece of jewelry that doesn't sell within minutes."

 

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