4 tips to engage with your audience that won’t cost you a dime

Small businesses looking to get their marketing efforts in order surely have come across the harsh reality sooner rather than later – most of the time, you’ll have to spend money to get your strategy going. That’s what keeping many small companies back, since not many of them have their own budget exclusively for marketing. In fact, most of them surely work their campaigns with very few resources.

Money shouldn’t be an obstacle on your way up, nonetheless. You can always use your brains to make up for the lack of funding. It’s just a matter of putting your mind to work to come up with some ideas that can attract your audience – and keep it engaged. Can’t think of any? Here are some to get you started.

5 questions (and answers) to understand Marketing Automation

We’ve heard a lot about marketing automation in the first half of 2015. In fact, some are calling this the year of marketing automation, marking it as THE way to go for marketers everywhere. But even with all the talk that has been making the rounds about this trend, there are lots of people that are missing it out and are now asking what the heck everybody else is talking about.

Are you among them? Don’t sweat it. You still have time to catch on and reap all the benefits of marketing automation. But first things first – you have to learn the basics about it and understand how you can turn this automation in your favor. Thus, we’ve prepared a brief 5-question questionnaire that should solve any doubt you might have. You’re welcome!

The latest Google mobile update is here- how does it affect your small business?

For something called Mobilegeddon, the latest Google update for its search engine isn’t as scary as everyone else is trying to make you believe. I understand if you’re in disbelief – the whole Internet has been panicking for quite a while now over an update that could crush virtually anyone, big or small. But going deeper beyond the surface, the new Google update could mean good news for anyone that knows how to take advantage of it. Yeah, that’s right – even you and your small business can profit from these changes.

But, how? And why your business of all the businesses in the world? The explanation is simple: Google rewards sites that follows the guidelines deemed by the company as mobile friendly. In other words, the Mountain View-based company wants everyone to get on board of its idea of user experience as big player – in fact, a player as big as content, the supposed king up until this month. So, get on board with them and you’ll be ok.

Ideally, you already made the change to a responsive site months ago, even before Google started announcing the update back in February. Though that was what should have happened, there’s a chance you forgot to make the change or shrugged it off. Look, I’m not here to judge but if that was your case, let’s say you shouldn’t include it in your list of brightest moments. Google still controls what people searches on the Web, so listening to it (and acting accordingly) are a must if you’re to survive.

So, you didn’t make the change on time and now the update is in full force. Is everything lost? Not really. However, each particular site and its competition will determine whether the update’s effect is huge or something controllable. If all of your competitors have jumped to mobile-friendly sites before the update hit, then you’re already running them from behind. That’s because all of their indexed pages won’t just keep the rankings they already got before the Mobilegeddon –they’ll get a boost as a reward for playing along.

If, on the other hand, your competitors are in your same situation, you are in a less grimmer scenario. You’re in time to make the jump and make all of your future efforts count towards a better ranking. But for that to happen you need to make the change now. Here’s where small businesses have their shot at glory.

Though you might think that big companies had all of this figured out for years and are now laughing while they roll over their piles of money, new reports show that they are in bigger trouble than small businesses. Sites as big as reddit and Interviemagazine.com are among the biggest losers after the update went live. The same goes for big businesses all over the country and the world. This means that search rankings suffered a major rearrangement that is still making waves.

The timing for you is perfect because for all of those big businesses that didn’t make the change on time, getting back on their feet will be harder than for you. I’m assuming that as a small business, you’re in control of practically every major decision concerning to its whole marketing plan. So, you’re definitely able to prioritize the change to a responsive site accordingly – meaning right f**k now – without having to plan that much. Just contact the IT Guy and ask him to do it. It will be half as hard as you think it may be.

All of the above is especially true if your business relies heavily in localized search. Imagine someone that types “donuts in Sunnyvale” on their phone looking for a place like yours: if you haven’t made the change to a responsive site, that someone will get another recommendation by Google. In other words, if most of your visitors/customers came from organic searches made from Google, then your numbers are already suffering and making the change should be your top priority (you should even stop reading this!).

I repeat to make it perfectly clear: if you haven’t made the change, the damage is done by now. But that doesn’t mean the game is over. You just have to act quick and get yourself a responsive site (you know, the one with big font, easily clickable links that resizes to fit any screen) and start paying attention to the mobile aspect of your digital presence. Given how much it has increased in the last years, mobile is already defining the Web, so you start thinking a business designed for it or go looking for another job.

Don’t know if your site is mobile friendly? Use this tool to check it now”

Google Plus Feels Kind Of Useless, But It’s Not!

With rumors about its imminent demise floating around the Web, it looks fair for regular folks to ask why marketers feel so fond of Google Plus. Once wrongfully and almost maliciously labeled a “Facebook killer”, the social network from the Mountain View guys never seemed to catch on with the mainstream audience but was fiercely adopted by anyone remotely related to social media marketing. What is the rest of the world missing out here?

The answer is pretty simple, actually. Being in Google Plus is amazingly beneficial for the online marketing strategies of small businesses. Why? Well, remember that kid in your neighborhood that owned a football and only allowed you and your friends to play if and only if you followed his rules? That’s precisely what’s going on here. Basically, Google will provide you with certain advantages SEO-wise  – as long as you play according to its whims.

Email Marketing Is Still Alive And Has Lots Of Benefits

Email marketing is often counted as one of the victims of the social media marketing rise. It’s perceived as old fashioned and obsolete, with people even claiming “why the hell would you spend even the slightest part of your budget in it?”. Well, though certainly it isn’t as popular as it once was, email marketing is still a great and (dare I say it) safe bet and you should consider using it for your overall online marketing strategy.

Is Your Website Responsive? If Not, Well, Get Your Sh** Together!

Talks about responsive website design have been around for years now, so engaging in one of them in 2015 feels like digital archeology. However, given how many sites still ignore what we should now know as a capital sin, we believed it high time for someone to scream at them: get your sh** together and turn your site into a mobile friendly website!!

Small Businesses That Rocked with Viral Videos (Examples)

When you have a small business and are struggling to get some attention, a creative use of the Internet can be essential. With a properly designed online marketing plan you can start to make some noise to finally get the customers you’re looking for. Of course, you’ll have to make something unique to catch the eye of the fast-browsing masses. You’ll certainly have to develop an interesting content marketing strategy that includes the most powerful tool in the web today: videos.

Small Businesses That Rocked Content Marketing (Examples)

When content marketing made its appearance on the marketing world a few years back, many marketers were in disbelief. Dumping traditional ads for content? Just content? That didn’t seem right by marketing standards. Yet here we are, years later and with content marketing stronger than ever. Businesses started to realize that content was indeed a powerful way to lure some new customers and establish a relationship within the ever-changing scenery of the Internet.

In a few months, everyone got on board. And so should you, if you haven’t already. Having an online marketing plan with a proper content marketing strategy can really make a difference for you. It doesn’t matter if you just own a local business or are just starting with one: the perfect content marketing strategy can get results regardless of your size. Here are 5 examples to prove it and, while we’re at it, to inspire you with your own plan.

Tourism Australia

The goal of this organization is pretty straightforward: to get people to visit Australia. Its strategy to do so was to allow its fans to create their own content, more specifically images of beautiful Australia. The strategy really worked since people felt involved and engaged with the site’s purpose. Tourism Australia also had an explosive growth on all of its social media sites.

What can you learn from this: engage with your audience, give them spaces to express themselves. By providing them with the possibility to create their own content, they’ll suddenly become ambassadors of your brand.


Equinox’s slogan reads “It’s not fitness, it’s life” and that’s pretty much the approach the fitness company got to content marketing. In other words, they don’t try to sell you the idea of fitness but rather promote it by showing the benefits it can have in your life. Thus, you can be inspired by their videos and articles to finally start exercising . When you do, the company will already be there for you. With this content marketing strategy, they seek to encourage people to live better lives.

What can you learn from this: help your target audience with what you know – what you’re offering. But don’t lecture them in the benefits of your products. Inspire them to make changes in their lives and instruct them in how to do so. Then, you’ll get loyal followers, which will be easier to turn into customers. Equinox’s is a lesson in subtle marketing.


Sweetgreen is a restaurant chain that focuses on organic cuisine. But what they do goes well beyond promotion – they market a way to live. Much like Equinox, what Sweetgreen does is promote certain values regarding healthy eating and living. And while doing so, they always maintain they brand identity. The company promotes that lifestyle through its own app, its community section and even through events in local communities. The idea behind this is to associate the brand with positive actions while, you know, making something good for the people.

What can you learn from this: Complete your online marketing efforts by going offline. A good content marketing strategy can prepare the terrain for you to reach out to your audience through other channels. Offline events like Sweetgreen’s allows the company to meet their target audience and learn more from them as well as getting new leads the old way – face to face.


Under the Zady name there’s a business that sells green-made apparel, accessories and home products. Since production is such an important part of the whole company’s appeal, Zady understood that it could benefit from making it more transparent. Thus, each product they offer is accompanied by the manufacturer’s background: location, production and eco-friendly processes involved. This serves a double purpose. First, to show customers that all the companies that work with Zady care about the environment. Second, that marketing like this adds a personal touch with which people can connect.

What can you learn from this: don’t hide yourself. Show your customers and potential clients that there’s real people behind your brand, persons with which they can relate since they share the same passion and interests. Social media is perfect to do that.

Man of the house

You can argue that Procter and Gamble isn’t really a small business and you’d be right. But this blog made it to this list since the company was able to build it from scratch and find the perfect audience for it. How did they do it? By addressing a very specific target audience: fathers. Sharing tailor-made content that helped them with their everyday challenges was key to the blog’s success. P&G, however, decided to take down the site after some time. The reason? They felt the blog didn’t do much to promote the brand.

What can you learn from this: two things. First, that there’s no target audience specific enough not to address it. The Internet is a big thing and there are lots of people competing for the same audiences. Make sure you identify yours in the most specific way and talk to it exclusively. Second, study your content marketing strategy in detail before putting your effort in it. You certainly don’t want to end up like P&G: having a successful content that doesn’t translate into new customers.

There are many other stories about small businesses that rocked the content marketing world and from which you can take some pages. But the lesson here isn’t that you should copy what other brands are doing. You should understand that your best strategy is to be creative with what you have and what you know. If you put that two together, you’ll certainly have a winning online marketing plan.

Beware of Online Marketing Gurus, They Can Break Your Heart (And Your Wallet)

We can all agree that marketing is a very complex topic, right? When it comes down to managing a business, developing a successful marketing strategy requires a lot of knowledge, a lot of research and a lot of work. Without any of that three key points, no marketer or company can achieve anything. There are no tricks, there are no formulas, there are no universal rules to apply: only guidelines, suggestions and lots of effort.

10 Low-Budget Marketing Ideas For Your Small Business

When talking about successful marketing strategies, many people believe that you have to go all-in to really make a difference for a business. Well, that might be the case for big companies competing with each other, but for small businesses with a tighter budget, that’s never an alternative. In fact, most of the times that’s not even necessary.

With the right content marketing strategy, any small business can certainly stand out without spending all of its money on online marketing. Wanna know how to do it? Read on for our 10 best ideas for your needs!

Online marketing for small businesses tips

1 – Create and share interesting content

Saying this in the golden age of content marketing might seem redundant but it’s always worth to remember it. Why? Because creating attractive blog posts, images, videos and infographic for your targeted audience works as the best advertising in the Internet age. People loving your content will always come back for more and will start acknowledging your brand as trustful, useful and – most importantly – as a referent in its field.

2 – Pay the right price for creative talent – or do it yourself!

Freelancers are a great asset – when their fees are reasonable for your budget. Don’t overpay for professionals or consultants to get the proper job done. Just research your area and find the creative talent that suits both your needs and your budget. You don’t have to hire the best photographer, writer or consultant to achieve the perfect work for your company.

Want a better alternative? Do it in-house! If you have some writing and photo skills or some marketing knowledge, then there are tons of tasks you can do yourself. The rule that you should apply here is: if you can do it, then do it and save the money to hire someone when you really need it.

3 – Turn yourself into a social networking expert

Having great content (AKA having something interesting to say) is just the first step in your low-budget online marketing scheme. After that, you have to get it out there to make some noise. And is there a noisier channel than social networks? Everyone uses at least one of them multiple times a day, so your business definitely has to be there in order to find its audience.

The positive side? Chances are you already know how to use most of them, so you won’t have a problem in developing a publication schedule. The downside? There are too many of them: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine and even Reddit are among the most popular. Which one should you choose? You’ll have to find out according to your specific needs and your targeted audience. One thing is sure: don’t divide your efforts but rather focus on two alternatives that suit you the most.

4 – Tempt your potential customers with contests and discounts

Hosting a contest with an appealing prize is one of the oldest tricks in the book but it still is as effective as ever. If you pick the proper prize, participants will start pouring in and it’ll be just a matter of time before you start getting new leads. Just select a digital contest platform and you’re ready to go! Discounts on some of your products are also amazing at generating leads, although it might attract people that will only stay for the discounts. Be that as it may, consider both options to get the word going around about your business.

5 – Don’t throw something away just because

Many companies often redo their images, marketing strategies and ads just to stay modern in the public’s eye. That’s not bad for huge companies but for small business like yours this is just not necessary – it can be really harmful for your budget. Hence the suggestion: you don’t have to abandon the things that have worked for you just to try something new. This applies to practically anything related to online marketing, from blog posts to digital ads. So, recycle the things that have worked in the past and only change or update them when people show clear signs of disinterest.

6 – Don’t forget about traditional marketing channels

And by that we mean e-mail campaigns. Many marketing gurus and experts love to refer to e-mail marketing as an outdated so-2000 kind of marketing. But reality shows that e-mails are as effective as they ever were. They can keep you in touch with your existing customers by updating them on your new offers, products and discounts.

Additionally, encourage new visitors to subscribe to your newsletter – offer them an exclusive content, for instance. In that way, you’ll open a door to potential clients. Just be sure to get in touch with them fairly regularly but not intrusively and with enough charm to interest them in what you have to offer. Make them feel interested in what you have to say and ultimately in what you’re selling.

The same we’ve said here can be applied to other forms of traditional marketing channels, such as print ads and brochures. Just be sure that the channel you decide to use for your business is the most appropriate and a perfect fit for your budget.

Local marketing ideas for small businesses

Although your business can thrive exclusively on the Web and forget about the offline world, combining the strategies mentioned above with an offline plan can certainly make a difference, especially for small businesses.

7 – Team up with other small businesses

We know that getting noticed is pretty hard, especially with big companies garnering all the attention with their huge ads and multimillionaire marketing campaigns. That’s why partnering with other businesses can be such a good option. Combining efforts can result in joint campaigns that can be beneficial for both businesses.

For instance, you can team up with other store and make its customers a special and exclusive offer. Thus, your partner has something extra to give to its clients while you’ll get free advertising among people that might haven’t heard from your company otherwise.

8 – Work on your business’ image

Another aspect you have to take care of is the image your business will show to its potential clients. This is very important so make sure you don’t overlook it. However, you don’t have to overdo it to get perfect results. To achieve that, you’ll have to use your creativity over the big bucks. This means that you won’t have to spend tons of cash in print ads or expensive business cards but rather go with a more affordable an creative choice.

The concept of guerrilla marketing can certainly help you out here. Use your city as your canvas and play with its public spaces to get a cheap ad in an unusual place that will make people turn their heads. If your campaign is innovative enough, you won’t have to pay much for it: your imagination will be the one that gets the attention, not your fancy pricey ads.

9 – Walk the less travelled road

Although studying your closest competitors to see what they’re up to and get new ideas is a great advise, remember that’s pretty important to differentiate yourself as well. So, although analyzing your competition might indicate that certain type of advertising is perfect for the business, you can always try the less travelled road. Once again, think in guerrilla marketing or even in online channels that haven’t been used by your competitors.

Since you know your business better than anyone, you’ll have to decide for yourself when it’s time to follow the herd and when it’s safe to walk alone. If you choose wisely, your potential clients will surely be seduced whenever you decide to break the mold and do something innovative. Of course, also keep in mind that innovation doesn’t mean expensive, so follow your wild ideas as long as they don’t break your business down.

10 – Host an event

Want people to learn where your store is located? Host an event! You can arrange a public class, a brief seminar or a small conference or talk. Just be sure to open your doors for anyone interested and to print enough flyers to hand out around the city. Additionally, dress the store up for the occasion with some charming decorations. Finally, you can give away some little inexpensive reminder with your business name on it, like a balloon.

The idea is for you to introduce your business to everyone that attends and to let them know you exist! Of course, we surely don’t have to remind you to display your products in the best possible manner, since you’re doing all this to show them to your potential clients.

These are just 10 of the many tips we here at L7sto can offer your business. Want to know more? Then make sure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to learn the latest on how to take your business to a whole new level!