Are you looking to get your business out into the world, but keep some money in the bank? Look no further! Here we’ve put together a list of cost-effective strategies to market your small business on a budget.
1. Know Your Audience
Have a vision of your “ideal customer” in your mind and then compare that to your actual customers. Is your vision lining up? Make sure you’re marketing to the type of people who have expressed interest in your business to keep them coming back and referring their friends, instead of to a fictitious ideal customer!
2. Create a Referral Program
You’ll want your customers to refer their family, friends, and co-workers to your business, so make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Try creating a referral program to incentivize them to “advertise” your business to their friends by word-of-mouth.
3. Social Networking
It seems like a no-brainer, but social networking is a MUST! Create an account for your small business, and make sure you are on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and even Instagram. All that is a lot to keep up with, so consider hiring a social media intern or a student to work on a low or no-cost basis.
4. Keep a Side Blog
On your business website, it’s likely you have your services and products displayed, but to generate more web traffic to your site, try expanding your page to have a blog section. This is also an ideal place to use “real-life examples” about how and why your services are of use to people. Blogging can be a bit of work, so feel free to outsource this one to writing interns or local students.
5. Create Video Content
This is another great way to popularize your website and build your client base to promote to a larger group of people. Don’t bother dropping big bucks on a professional videographer. You can try to do it yourself at home following a video tutorial on “Wistia,” or once again find interns and students.
6. Online Advertising
Start small, and look into paid Facebook and Google Ads. Some website platforms even offer discounts on these, so see if yours does. If your business is primarily online, this is a good way to expand your client base outside of your geographic region. StumbleUpon also offers very affordable advertising options.
7. Form Alliances with Compatible Shops
A simple way to market to more people for free is to work with other small businesses. You’re selling flowers, they’re selling vases? Point your customers over there, and have them do the same. Of course, this is a very rudimentary example, but look around your area or market, and see if your service is compatible with anyone else’s. Strike up a conversation about you each promoting each other!
8. Most Importantly: Be Reliable!
Honesty is so often overlooked when one is trying to get ahead, especially when money is a motivator. Don’t fall into that trap! Avoid promises you can’t keep, don’t spend money when you can’t afford to, and never give half-hearted work or provide sloppy service to your customers! Cutting corners and inconsistency are helpful in the short-term, but if you want your small business to steadily grow over the years, never compromise on integrity.