A member of one of my LinkedIn Groups asked, “What are the most effective and least expensive marketing/promotional tools for a Small Business Owner (1-2 people) in any given market-place?”
That made me stop and think. The fact is, most marketing doesn’t work for micro business and small business because they don’t use ALL of the elements of successful marketing.
Those 3 basic elements are: 1) Go out and get found, 2) engage and 3) follow up.
From my personal observation, I've learned that most micro business and small business owners focus on going out and getting found.
But, once they're found they have no way to keep the marketing touches rolling, i.e. no engagement to become memorable and no follow up to retain top-of-mind awareness.
So social media is great if you feed it content (both yours and other people's) that others want to consume.
Business networking is great (and low cost) but you have to care enough about the people you meet to nurture the relationship through follow up and engagement.
Online marketing and SEO is worthwhile if you have a website that engages, gives people the information they want and follows up with them consistently over time.
There are many things you can do for free or low cost. You just can't stop at the first level of using a tactic.
Unfortunately, that's what most small business owners do and that's why marketing is difficult for so many.