Marketing is ever-evolving – but it is crucial for any business, big or small. The cost of marketing sometimes can really throw some entrepreneurs into a whirlwind of fear and doubt. Everyone wants to succeed and grow a fruitful business, but sometimes the lack of funds to achieve that growth through marketing (especially when you are beginning) can feel overwhelming. If you are on a tight budget, use it wisely. And yet, at the same time, you do not want to ever skimp on quality marketing. Remember – the old saying really does hold true: “you get what you pay for”.
We have put together a small list of 12 things you can do right now to market your business on a small budget. Keep in mind, you will still need to make some investment. However, these tips should help give you some ideas as to how to keep from breaking the bank.
- Hire a designer: Now, this is where you really should make an investment. As we said earlier, you do not want to skimp on certain items that require design because that is your brand on the line. The visuals matter! Have the designer create a great logo that stands out and a website that is functional, visually appealing and responsive (which is a design that responds to the visitors behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation). Also, have them create a unique and creative business card that makes an impact, giving prospects a reason not to throw away that card!
- Create a Facebook page for your business: If you have not done this already, it’s time to start one. Make sure you properly fill out all of your business’ important details, including hours of operation, website address etc. Invite friends and family to like your page and don’t be afraid to ask them to invite people they know who can support your business. Having a Facebook page is a great way to engage with people you know as well as have new customers find you. Facebook pages allow people to leave reviews (just like they would on sites like Yelp) and it is a great way for people to see any new and exciting business news you want to share (like a new product launch). As with all social media, make sure you are posting daily – even if it is just an inspirational quote on days you may not have huge news to share. And remember, Facebook loves video (and video posts have a higher likelihood to be seen and really boost organic traffic).
- Ask for referrals: Don’t be afraid to send an email to friends, family and acquaintances and let them know about your business – they may know about a person who may benefit from your products and/or services. If you have a customer base already (big or small) send an email to them as well! If possible, find a way to offer a great incentive to them for their referral. For example you can offer them a 10% discount for future services or purchases anytime one of their referrals does business with you or maybe a free sample product (if you have physical products to sell). And, who doesn’t love a little incentive?
- Build your email list: This is one of the biggest cost effective ways of reaching out to customers and prospects. Need a few tips on how to do this? Check out our recent blog post: 3 quick tips to building your email subscriber list.
- Attend networking events: Check out your local Chamber of Commerce or local Facebook neighborhood groups for any upcoming events. When you attend make sure to socialize and always have a few business cards with you! Get to know the people in your community – they may just turn into your next customer or refer you to many others!
- Make your customers feel special: Whether you surprise them with a free sample product, a hand written thank-you attached to their order, or a small card or gift sent to them (maybe they just bought a home or had a new baby); your customers will feel very happy they did business with you when they feel you have thought of them. Chances are they will definitely do business with you again or they will definitely tell everyone they know about how amazing their experience with you or your company was!
- Host a workshop: Do you have something valuable you can teach others? Maybe you have a jewelry business and can teach people how to make custom pieces. Or maybe you are a family lawyer and you can teach others how to start the process for adopting a child. Whatever it may be, there are always people who want to learn how to do it! And again, when they need your services or know someone who does – they WILL reach out to you.
- Pitch yourself to the media: Yes, you can totally get free media coverage if you pitch a great story or send out a press release. Write to your local paper about a new product or really cool service you offer. Or let them know about the awesome workshop you are hosting! You can also use websites like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) which is a popular sourcing service that connects journalists with relevant expert sources to meet journalists’ demanding deadlines and enable brands to tell their stories. Give it a shot!
- Use LinkedIn groups: Join a few LinkedIn groups and introduce yourself. Make conversation and answer any questions other users may have that you may be able to help them with. Connect with them and add them to your LinkedIn connections to stay in contact.
- Create a contest or giveaway: Promotions are always fun for the customers and for prospects. Offer a great freebie that people want to share. You can ask them to enter to win and offer an extra “entry” for each social media share. This will really pump people up to sharing the giveaway post and place your business in front of hundred or thousands of new potential customers. You can find some free software like Rafflecopter to help you record entries and choose a random winner.
- Become YouTube famous: Ok, well maybe not “famous” but at least “known”. Create videos, tutorials, educational web shows/series etc. Make it great and fun, be consistent and share your videos to promote it. Make sure to read our blog post, 8 reasons you should be using video for your business in 2017.
- Good ‘ol fashioned sales: Yes – don’t forget the old tried and true methods of reaching out to potential customers: cold calls and cold emails. Reach out to potential customers and let them know about your business. Do not get pushy or to “salesy”, you may turn them away. Make it about them. Always be courteous, even if they turn you away. You will encounter rejection and that’s ok. Remember: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Wayne Gretzky
Don’t let the budget scare you into thinking you can’t market your business. Try a few of these tips out and let us know which one works best for you.