If you run a small business, you know how important it is to watch every penny. Many small businesses operate on a shoestring budget, and their owners must constantly make trade-offs to meet payroll and keep the lights on.
Don’t Let Your Budget Get in the Way of Marketing
One mistake many small business owners make is cutting back on their marketing activities to save money. While reducing paid advertising is indeed a good way to economize, there is no reason to abandon marketing altogether.
In fact, forgoing all advertising and marketing in an attempt to save money will actually be counterproductive. Without customers, even the leanest company cannot survive. No matter how limited your budget, you still need to let potential customers know you are out there.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways for small business owners to market their firms without spending a dime. From social media to content development and community involvement, business owners can get the word out without breaking the bank or neglecting other priorities.
Start Using Social Media
One of the best free marketing ideas is as close as your own computer. It does not cost anything to set up a Facebook page or establish a Twitter feed for your small business, and social media can be a very effective marketing tool.
Yes, full blown social media marketing strategies can be involved and time consuming, but getting started is easier than you think. Think about starting by inviting your family and friends to follow your business online. Then invite some customers. A small number of interested people is all it takes to catapult your message to a broader audience.
Use Your Expertise to Produce Content
Modern marketing thrives on content. Blog posts, images, and videos are three common types of content, but there are countless others. You can use your expertise to produce content that educates, entertains, and engages your target audience.
For example, if you provide a service that some people may try to do themselves, you could provide a free guide that outlines how to go about it. Sharing that content on your website and social media channels may attract visitors who simply consult your resource and leave, but others may find that it’s too complex and decide to hire you for the job.
If the product you sell or the service you offer is a visual one, you can also create how-to videos and instructional information and upload it to YouTube for free.
Get Involved in the Community
Giving back to the community is another great way to establish yourself in the area and build your brand. The next time there is a charity event in your area, reach out to the organizers and offer to donate some items. You will get valuable exposure, and you will feel good about helping a worthy cause.
You can also encourage your employees to participate in charitable endeavors. Many small business owners provide extra time off for employees who volunteer their time and talent in the community. This kind of strategy can be a winner for all involved. Local charities get the expert help they need, you get your name out there and your workers feel good about giving back to the causes they believe in.
Leverage Your Existing Customers
If you already have established customers, you can harness their enthusiasm to build your brand and bring in more sales. Rewarding current customers with special discounts and other offers is a great way to encourage them to buy more. Offering referral bonuses to existing customers who refer a friend is a great way to spread the word and make more sales. Best of all, this kind of outreach can be done at very low cost – or even for free. You can reach out to existing customers via the email addresses you already have, or post a special offer to your followers on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Marketing your small business does not have to be expensive – in fact it can be free. If you use smart marketing strategies, you can build your brand and gain new customers without spending any money at all. The above suggestions will no doubt get you started, and as you build your business you may discover some great ideas of your own.