No Budget, No Problem: Marketing Your Small Business For Free
As a small business owner, you undoubtedly see the benefits in marketing your business. You’ll be able to attract new clients, build your reputation, and increase your profits. However, marketing costs a lot of money so you’ve decided to put it off for now…right? Wrong! In fact, there are plenty of methods to market your small business at little to no cost. Take a look at the tips below to start marketing like a professional without forking over an arm and a leg.
Do Your Market Research
If you don’t want to waste you time and money on marketing, you have to make sure you’re saying the right things to the right people in the right ways. This means thorough market research before you even write a single tweet, send out an email newsletter, or tell a customer to visit your Facebook page.
Start asking yourself who your target audience is, what kind of services and products they are looking for, what kind of companies they are interacting with and how. Listen to what your consumers are saying about you via social media channels, how they are responding to the marketing you’ve already done, and how they are finding out about your company.
When you start to learn about what makes your customers tick, you can find ways to market directly to their needs and wants. And the best part is that you don’t have to hire a data mining company to do all the work for you. A simple Google search and several in-person conversations should give you plenty of information to move forward with.
Get A Microphone (Or A Blog…)
Think of your blog as a microphone in a crowd. A blog will allow people to hear what you’re saying loud and clear. And if you have something interesting to say, they’re willing to listen. Since you most likely already have a website, tacking on a blog should be relatively easy and cost-free…unless you have to call your website developer to do it!
Once you have a blog, use it to discuss happenings in your company, events you’re putting on, showcasing great customers and how they’re using your services or products. Include blog posts that talk about your company’s culture and mission, the goals you’ve set for the year, and how you plan on accomplishing them. Not only will a regular blog reel in your clients, but it will boost your website’s SEO ranking, as well. It’s an all around marketing win.
Connect With Influencers
When money is tight but you still need to market your business, let other people do some of the work for you. Whatever industry you’re in, whatever products you sell, there’s a blogger out there with some relevant influence. If you’re in the business of selling handmade ties, find a fashion blogger with a serious following. If you own a catering company, get in touch with some food bloggers that review local restaurants and offer recipes to their readers.
These kinds of bloggers already have the influence and audience you’re looking for, so why not throw your company’s name in the mix? Send out your products, offer to write a guest blog post, and invite them to review your services. You’ll be able to reach more people at relatively no cost.
Ask For A Piggyback Ride
Connecting with bloggers is one way to get a piggyback ride for your company; partnering up with other businesses or organizations is another way. Find companies that you can relate with and mutually benefit then think up an event or promotion you can both offer. For instance, if you own a jewelry company, find a woman’s organization that holds events to fundraise for breast cancer research, battered women’s shelters, etc. Offer to sell your jewelry at the event with a percentage of proceeds going to the foundation. You’ll be able to put your company in front of thousands of new faces while generating some good press.
Don’t forget to publicize your new partnership in your email newsletters and on your social media channels. On platforms like Twitter, people that are interested in your partner company will be able to find you by association. A great partnership can mean reaching a wider audience that already has a vested interest in what you do.
Host A Social Media Event
Social media is free and easy to use. Any marketing plan on a shoestring budget would be foolish not to include the power of social media. Get to know the ins and outs of the most popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. Apply your market research to produce content and post links that will interest your followers and build brand loyalty.
Once you have a decent following, host a social media event where you ask users to tweet with a branded hashtag on Twitter or participate in a Google+ Hangout. You can even host a contest on Facebook or Pinterest that will motivate users to share with their friends and post links back to your company on their walls. A quick Google search and a little bit of effort will turn you into a social media guru, allowing you to save your company thousands of dollars while being able to perform marketing like a professional.
Don’t put your small business’ marketing plan on hold because you can’t afford to pay the advertising agency, hire a social media manager, and send out a direct mail campaign. Instead, use a little bit of elbow grease and creative thinking to market your company through social media, influential bloggers, and partnerships. You’ll save yourself a lot of money while achieving similar, profitable results.
Pete Wise is the SEO Manager at blue onion whom have been on the cutting edge of ad creation for the better part of two decades. If you need a denver advertising agency to take your service or product offering to the next level, contact blue onion today. We do everything from branding seminars to full advertising campaigns.