When budgets are tight, online marketing is usually the first expense businesses look to cut. I’ll stop you right there. Traditional advertising methods are hard to measure and incredibly costly. But thing is, small business have never had greater access to cost effective and highly trackable marketing tools. So even with a shoestring budget, the best way to market your business might be a lot more accessible than you think.
According to Hubspot, the third top challenge to marketing is a lack of budgeting resources. Unless you’re a startup with angel capital, you’re probably working on limited resources. Well, we’ve got some good news for you. Marketing doesn’t have to cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Nope. We’ve outlined 10 different ways for small businesses to market themselves on a shoestring budget – or no budget at all.
1: Create Valuable Content
Needless to say, your site will be the foundation of all your other marketing efforts. Why? Well firstly, you’ll never get to as many people with brick and mortar stores as you can online. And secondly, it’s where you direct visitors, capture leads, nurture relationships, and pretty much showcase everything you can. That’s why you need to post fresh and regular content that meets the evolving needs of your audience.
Potential customers definitely love great content that’s always being updated. But you know who else loves it even more? Google! You could benefit a lot just by using a few of the different ways to share info (videos, blogs, podcasts, and authority sites etc.). See, not only will you gain authority as an expert on your preferred topic, but Google guarantees an ever flowing throng of free traffic as long as you remain relevant.
What makes content production ideal is that you can tailor it to your budget. If you can create it yourself, you’ve got zero dollars spent here. But if you’re short on time or writing isn’t your strong point, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding someone to crank out top notch material for you.
2: Guerilla Tactics
Hold on now, we’re not talking about waging warfare. Guerilla marketing is a strategy that simply looks to take advantage of imagination, creativity and originality as opposed to big budgets. SMBs with limited funds often us guerilla marketing to compete with huge companies that have already established their million dollar brands. The good news is that there’s no shortage of creative, versatile ideas.
For instance, I’m sure you’ve heard of flash mobs? Why not organize one to draw attention and promote awareness of your brand? And remember when Sony hired undercover agents to ask strangers to take photos of them with their new cameras? It was a great tactic that got people raving about photo quality. Alternatively, you could go old-school with your brick and mortar by getting the storefront painted or chalked with art/ graffiti. Your only limit here is your imagination.
3: Milk the Media
This tactic has been in use by businesses all over the world even before the inception of media. If you can get your business featured by these guys, that’s what we call free marketing right there. Question is, just how do you capture the attention of the media?
Well, you could try the ol’ publicity stunt that surprisingly never gets old. Think of something crazy and creative that will definitely get noticed by the masses. Remember when Brunson dressed like a female flight attendant complete with shaved legs and tights? Of course, he’d lost a bet, but it got his airline a lot of attention at the cost of a new dress and a gallon of makeup. Alternatively, you could do something for the community or sponsor an event where the prizes are your products.
4: Socialize on the Socials
Research shows that almost two thirds of all American adults use social media now. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice this is a near tenfold increase just within the last decade. As a business, this is an avenue that you simply can’t afford to ignore.
The most popular social media channels include Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Reddit, Snapchat, Google Plus, and Linkedin among others. The great thing is that each of these platforms is unique in its own way and will require personalized engagement. So instead of trying t master all of them at once, just choose a few and try mastering those first.
5: Piggyback your Partners
When you’re a small startup with limited marketing funds, it makes total sense to partner up with other complementary businesses. These can include anyone such as your manufacturers, vendors, and suppliers. The good news here is that not only do you both with when your business succeeds, but there’s added credibility when another business recommends you.
So, how do you piggy back your partners? Well, you could exchange customer lists and offer to pay your partner a commission for every sale. For a more direct approach, offer to share postage costs and include flyers with the other business’s mail as well. Or if the business has a physical retail space, you could ask them to place your business cards in the customer waiting area. Another creative move is to create a referral rewards program where customers get rewards for referring friends and family.
There you have it guys; these are just a few of the ways you could use to marjet your business on a shoestring budget. As you’ve seen, all you need is a bit of creativity and outside the box thinking. Because even with millions of dollars to throw around, you won’t get much done if you’re not creative with it.
Similarly, you’ll realize that marketing becomes easier if you can target it. So the better you know your customers, the easier it’ll be to reach out to them in a personal style. If you still don’t know who your main customers are, not to worry. Veloxy’s got your back with tools designed to help you know your customers better.
With Veloxy, companies can keep track of all their customers’ needs, expectations and behavior patterns as they proceed. Sales leaders can then use this data to generate forecasts and predictions that will not only improve the overall experience of multiple services and business operations, but also help in creating highly tailored marketing strategies.