Are you looking for ways to market your business with a limited budget? Fortunately, there are several things you can do to make a big impact without spending big money. Keep in mind, all of these suggestions can be budget-friendly, but they all do take time.
Here are 15 budget-friendly marketing ideas your business can implement today.
1. Create a website. While a website does have an initial cost, it is a necessity for your business and offers a high return on investment. However, there are many affordable options: you can DIY or outsource to a professional. Your website allows your customers to find you, understand your brand, and search through your products and services. Make sure your website is clear, well organized, and easy to navigate based on what your prospective customers are looking for. Visitors should be able to easily find information about your brand, products or services, location, hours, and contact information. If you already have a website, make sure it’s updated and reflects your current brand.
2. Utilize social media. Social media is one of the best ways to market your business, and it’s completely free to set up. There are many free tools and resources geared toward businesses, so take advantage of those! When planning your social media efforts, have a plan! Focus on the channels where you audience is. Engage on one or two platforms first, then expand to others if needed. Regardless of which channels you start with, remember to engage regularly with your audience. Of course, you can always try some paid advertising, but free social media is a great start. Social media is never a one-and-done marketing strategy, but one you can expect to spend time on daily!
3. Start email marketing. Email marketing is a simple and cost-effective way to promote your business. There are many free email marketing tools that are designed to make the process simple and easy. Email is a great way to keep in touch with customers to notify them of company news, sales, or events, or to direct your audience to your website. If you haven’t started email marketing, now is a good time to start.
4. Update online directories. Make sure your business is easy to find by updating your online directory listings. Google is a great place to start, but don’t forget about local directories either. Make sure all your information is correct and up-to-date.
5. Start a blog. Blogging is another great way to set yourself apart from competition and establish your business as a leader in your industry. Use your social media channels and email marketing to promote your blog posts and to drive traffic to your website.
6. Join networking groups. Networking is a great way to build relationships that can help your business. If you haven’t already, join your local Chamber and look for networking events. Even though many events are currently being held virtually, this is a good time to research and identify groups you are interested in joining. Also, look into business organizations specifically for small businesses or groups in your industry.
7. Offer to speak. Reach out to local business groups, volunteer organizations, conferences, libraries, or local colleges and offer to speak. By offering your expertise you also spread the word about your business.
8. Host an event or class. If you want to speak at an event, but you don’t have any opportunities, consider hosting your own event or class. If you are unable to meet in person, this can be done virtually. You can even host a class through your social media channels or directly from your website.
9. Start a podcast. A podcast is another great way to promote your business. You will need a microphone and a hosting service, but the initial investment isn’t very expensive. You can showcase your knowledge, build brand awareness, and collaborate with other business owners and experts.
10. Reach out to local media. While a traditional media campaign can get very expensive, you may be able to get local media to cover your business. Start networking with local reporters and send press releases about newsworthy content. While this can be somewhat expensive, consider purchasing advertising on local t.v. or radio stations - sometimes they have discounted rates available, so it's worth checking!
11. Partner with other small businesses. Introduce your business to a new audience by collaborating with other businesses related to your industry. Co-host an event, collaborate online, or promote each other’s businesses through social media. Get creative and think of ways to develop mutually beneficial relationships.
12. Get involved in your local community. One great way to spread the word about your business is to get involved in your community. Consider volunteering for a local nonprofit, organize a fundraising event with other businesses, donate items, or sponsor a local event. You will promote your business and help a good cause!
13. Brand your vehicle. Build brand awareness everywhere you go by adding your company logo and information to your vehicle. You don’t need to have a full paint job to promote your business. You can use magnets or decals with your business name and contact information. Make sure the information is clear and easy to read.
14. Host a contest or giveaway. Offering contests for free products or discounts can be a great way to promote your business. Consider hosting an online event through your social media channels to increase online engagement while also showcasing your products.
15. Build customer relationships. Customer engagement goes a long way. Don’t forget to show appreciation for your existing customers. You can offer loyalty discounts, send handwritten notes, offer a referral discount, or host a customer appreciation event.
These are just a few ways to market your business while sticking to a budget. If you need more ideas or would like a custom plan, reach out to The Social Bullpen. We understand the budget challenges of small businesses and we are committed to creating value, not just activity.