One of the most common challenges that new businesses face is having to operate with a shoestring budget. It can be difficult to place your product or service in front of people when you simply don’t have the means to. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways you can market your business without breaking the bank, so let’s get started.
Build a Mailing List
If you know anything about email marketing, then you understand its potential power. It’s a great way to start exposing your company to the masses. The great thing about it is that it costs almost nothing to send out a mass email campaign. In fact, if you’re just getting started, Mailchimp will let you market to as many as 2,000 subscribers FREE of charge!
It’s no wonder why email marketing is a favorite amongst small businesses. However, what’s the point of a cheap marketing strategy if it doesn’t work, right? Even though a mailing list won’t get people onto your site instantly, it can help you obtain valuable data. This data will often be comprised of customers who are more likely to do business with your company, which is, no doubt, valuable for a small company looking for potential customers.
Use a Referral System to Market Your Business
Finding the right people to market to can be very difficult and expensive for a company to do. However, there is a proven strategy that can bring loyal and long-term customers to your doorstep. What exactly is this strategy? It’s referral marketing. By implementing a referral system, companies can begin using their most powerful asset: their customers. The challenge here is getting your customers to refer your company. You can encourage them to do so by offering incentives such as a discount on their total purchase, advanced notice on future promotions, a freebie or free shipping, just to name a few.
Become a Source for Journalists
Offering up your expertise on things relevant to your industry can definitely grow your business! Free sourcing services such as Help a Reporter Out (HARO) have over 30,000 journalists who write for popular media outlets such as the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Mashable, ABC and more. All you have to do is register as a source then wait for requests from journalists to arrive in your inbox. To increase your chances of being interviewed, only respond to requests that are relevant to your business.
Stay Connected Through Social Media
Social media for the past few years has been the number one medium that companies are choosing when it comes to marketing their products and services. It not only provides you with a large audience, but it also costs nothing to market your business, unless you purchase advertising from the network. If you do choose to buy advertising on the social media network, you get to select a cost that will fit your marketing budget.
Note that small companies should be extra cautious when using social media as anything negative that you might get yourself into will no doubt make its way to your customers.
Place Your Company Information on Free Listing Sites
Listing sites are a great way to place yourself in front of people who didn’t even know your company existed. This is essentially a method of placing your company information online in order for people to easily find you. The most common example of a listing site is Google’s My Business. Say someone wants to find a place selling outdoor clothing. Looking up these words can place your business in front of millions of those people.
Remember to always include as much information as possible when marketing your business on listing sites. The number one thing people look for when they are searching for your website is your hours of operation, as well as a phone number or other contact information.
There is nothing more concerning to a potential customer than doing business with an unknown company. They may have concerns regarding sharing their credit card information or the product they will be receiving. The best way to deter these negative thoughts about your company is through customer reviews. When customers see that others have had a positive experience with your company, they are more likely to go through with the purchase. You can get people to leave reviews by contacting them through email after their purchase or offering an incentive, such as a discount, on their next purchase.
Collaborate With Other Businesses
Another effective way to market your business is to collaborate with other companies or organizations. These collaborations should be conducted with non-competitive companies that complement your business. For example, a supplement company can collaborate with a local gym company, which leads to members being exposed to their products. It is recommended that you provide them with value as well. This could be through carrying their products or providing them with a discount to carry yours.
Give a Speech
Understandably, many people hate public speaking. However, this is often the best way to expose your company to the public while networking at the same time. Providing your expertise to local schools or organizations is a great way to accomplish this goal. Don’t worry, public speaking becomes easier the more you do it, and in return, you get to be seen as an authority in your particular industry.
Hand Out Business Cards
Believe it or not, business cards are still an efficient way to market your business, and you can get 100 of them for under $30 at Vistaprint. Not only can you give them to people you come in contact with, but you can also leave them on tables in restaurants and in public restrooms.
To track how well this method works, write a discount offer with a special code on the back of the cards. The special code is what the recipient will use to claim the discount, but more importantly, it will give you information. For instance, cards that you leave in public restrooms can have a code that starts with PR followed by the discount (e.g. PR10OFF). PR stands for public restroom, of course. R could reference restaurant and HO (hand out) would let you know that was a business card you gave to someone.
These strategies listed above will provide you with the much-needed stream of customers to grow your business. It is also proof that you don’t necessarily need the marketing budget of companies like Amazon or Apple to truly create success for yourself and your company.