If you are thinking about marketing your business and only have a small budget to do it with, the prospect may seem a bit bleak. Many startups and small businesses face this same problem. You are not alone.
Fortunately, in this article we’ve assembled a list of several (mostly offline) starting points for your first marketing campaign that won’t require a small fortune to implement.
Firstly – Identify your key customers or clients
Identify who your key customers are and decide how you are best going to reach them. Are they a manager or owner of a local shop? Or a parent at your child’s school? Will you find them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Google Plus? Do they attend any in-person networking meetings? Would they search for your product or service on Google or Bing? Think about who and where your customers are and how they will find your business online.
Keep your blog updated
Your blog can become the source for all your marketing efforts. It is where you can direct your visitors to, publish promotions, warm leads and begin to build a relationship with your customers. So, publish regular content that will meet the needs and interests of your customer-base on your blog.
Write an article for your industry’s magazine
Placing an advertisement in a magazine can be surprisingly expensive. If you were to write an informative article, many magazines will accept guest contributions and allow you to promote your business in your bio. Contact the editor of the magazine and ask them about the submission process.
Attend local business networking events
Check if there are any seminars or workshops that you might be interested in attending at your local Chamber of Commerce . Take a look on meetup.com, there may be some special interest groups that might be relevant and suitable for you to represent your business or groups where you share a similar interest. Don’t forget to take a small handful of business cards to hand out. Remember these events are primarily networking opportunities rather than a platform for you to present your elevator pitch about your business.
Host a live class
Offer a free on-site class it’s a great way to meet like-minded people in your community. People enjoy having an opportunity to socialize and especially love anything that’s free. It is also a great way to showcase your business to a small but interested audience and give them a reason to return and become regular customers. Offer free drinks and appetizers as an extra incentive for them to attend. Give them a small gift bag with samples of your product or vouchers for future visits. You could find yourself with a core group of loyal customers and meet more interesting members within your community.
Create a Yelp listing
If you have a local business, consider adding it to Yelp. As your business grows, customers may publish reviews on the site about your business, thereby increasing your reputation through their ‘word-of-mouth’ experiences. You can’t have bad reviews removed, so just make sure that your customer service is always exceptional. It’s free to sign up and a great way to increase visibility in search engines and create another link back to your website.
Develop an email marketing list
Not everybody likes to receive promotional advertising (also known as spam or junk mail) through their inbox so make your emails enticing by offering giveaways, or give customers the opportunity to win something from your business. A good email database can be valuable for your business, just remember to give customers an easy way to opt out of future emails, if they wish. Having promotions run throughout the year helps create momentum. Try coinciding promotions to run at the same time you publish your seasonal newsletter so people receive an engaging email about what’s been going on in your business since their last visit.
Offer your services as a speaker
Many groups like to invite speakers to present a small speech/presentation to their members. Contact groups like your local Rotary club or other civic-minded voluntary organisations to present to. Perhaps you could turn it into a demonstration and ask members to participate. You’ll benefit by receiving name recognition, contacts and publicity from speaking at these meetings.
Interview others in your industry
Contact other people in your industry and ask them if you could interview them and publish the conversation on your blog. A friendly way to approach your competitors and do a little knowledge-sharing too. Be genuine in your request and put some time aside to come up with some thought-provoking questions which you think customers have always wanted to know the inside story on.
Marketing your business
Hopefully a few of these marketing strategies for your business offer some fresh inspiration to get you started. Not all small business owners have the funds to pay for a full page ad in the newspaper or an ad on the radio. Marketing your business can be achieved with a little creativity and a small budget. You can reach a wide range of customers and still make a big impact.