You want and need to grow your customer base, but it seems as though you never have enough money to market your business and attract new customers. It can be a vicious and discouraging cycle! But you might be surprised to learn that there are plenty of ways to market your small business despite a small budget. Need some ideas? Check out just 10 of many inexpensive marketing ideas below.
1. Provide Educational Content
Creating high-value, useful content such as blog posts and informative emails is one of several free ways to market your business. You can even produce infographics and videos without breaking the bank. Creating content that’s genuinely helpful to your target demographic is an effective way to promote your small business. How so?
Among other things, quality content can boost your rankings in popular search engines such as Google. It can also go a long way in increasing your credibility and the trust people have in your business. Ultimately, this can persuade people to become your customers.
2. Get Active on Social Media
Social media is, of course, one of the main ways people stay in touch and engage with one another. But this doesn’t just go for individuals. Social media is an effective way for businesses to engage with their target audiences and to market to them. Are you taking advantage of this cost-effective marketing opportunity?
If not, you should be. Endeavor to get and stay active on the platforms where your customers are found. To boost the appeal of your accounts, use them to distribute and promote your educational content, as opposed to promoting your products and services 24/7. This will draw people to you, likely resulting in a larger following and the potential for earning their business.
3. Create Your Own Business Award
While you can certainly apply for business awards in your industry, there are added benefits to instead creating your own award. Consider. If you apply for an award and don’t win it, you get no recognition. However, by creating your own and encouraging various organizations to apply, you put your business on their radars. In addition, those who win will likely make it known to their customer bases and business connections, increasing your exposure.
Additionally, offering an award and sifting through ] candidates to choose the best can show that you truly care about a certain cause or have high industry standards. These things can attract more customers to you.
4. Be a Guest on a Podcast or Radio Shows
People are always on the go and, therefore, many now consume information by listening to podcasts or the radio. Some people can’t consistently be reached through other means such written content. And others simply prefer to listen and learn.
Whatever the case with your audience, being a guest on a relevant podcast or radio show can expand your reach. It can help you reach potential customers you may struggle to reach otherwise.
5. Host a Class or Other Event
Also along the lines of providing education, many businesses choose to host events, webinars, and workshops. This doesn’t have to cost much at all and has built-in appeal. As long as you promise to teach something relevant and useful to your target audience, you’re almost guaranteed to see a good amount of interest.
The same goes for other types of events. Offering the type of value your audience wants—a good time, a learning experience, etcetera—can generate excitement and increase the exposure of your small business.
6. Partner With Another Business
Have you ever considered partnering with a non-competitive business? Having a credible, complementary company promote your business (in exchange for the same service) is an excellent to way extend your reach and boost brand awareness.
How could you promote one another’s businesses? Perhaps by collaborating on a product or service offering, doing a giveaway, or hosting an event. Double the promotion can lead to outstanding results without the need for a large financial investment.
7. Create a Referral Program
Speaking of partnerships, you can also team up with your current customers to gain some low-cost promotion. By offering incentives to those who are ready and willing to refer you to others, you make the way for increased exposure. You also instantly become a preferred business by those who are referred to you since most people trust personal recommendations.
8. Have a Sale or Offer Discounts
Few things get people more excited than sales and discounts. You can use this to your advantage, especially since people aren’t known for keeping excitement to themselves. Often, they tell family and friends of special offers as well, likely resulting in more sales and an extended reach for you.
How much does this approach cost? Not much. After all, you already have the products that’ll be on sale so it’s not as if you need to buy them. The same goes for services that you may plan to discount; you already have what’s needed to offer them. And since sales and discounts are usually for a limited time only, it won’t be a financial burden to offer them occasionally.
9. Network In-Person
It might be worthwhile to look into some networking groups in your area. You never know who you may meet there and how building relationships could benefit your business down the road. The same goes for finding and attending local business mixers and even trade fairs. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to introduce yourself to businesses owners in your locale.
10. Order Printed Materials in Bulk
As you network, it would be helpful to pass out something by which people can remember and contact you. This could be a business card, a brochure, a flyer or perhaps even a piece of branded swag. Make sure your printed material and/or swag is evergreen so that you can save extras and use them again down the line.
You Can Market On a Tight Budget
You may only have a meager supply of funds to work with but don’t fret! You can still market your small business effectively, as shown above. If you put the suggestions to use or think of other cost-effective promotional methods, in time, the growth of your business will yield a better budget. You’ll then have a host of other options available to you. But, until then, don’t give up on marketing!
SOURCE: Nia Gyant November 6, 2018 - Content Marketing Manager for ThriveHive