As you build a business, you also need to build an audience — people need to know your company exists before they can buy. But what if you’re working with a tiny marketing budget? With a little creativity and a few free tools, it’s possible to spread the word even when money is tight. So here are few of the low cost marketing ideas for your small business.
Do you know of any other small businesses that need marketing? If so, why not join forces? Teaming up with another business exposes your brand to a whole new group of customers. To start, pick a company with a complementary customer base and figure out how you can help each other. If you own a running shoe store, you might choose an athletic clothing company. You could host a “how to choose running shoes” workshop in the clothing store, and the other business owner could come to your store to give a special sneak peek at a new line of running clothes. Neither of you spends any money, and you both get access to new buyers.
Social media is free and attracts a wide audience — the perfect combination for a business on a budget. It’s not enough to simply create a Facebook profile and post once in a blue moon. To turn social media into a valuable marketing tool, you must:
- Post frequently
- Engage with your audience
- Mix informative or entertaining content in with your promotional posts
- Use built-in analytics to see which post types get the most attention and share more of them
- You might consider setting aside 15 to 20 minutes a day to write new posts and respond to comments.
To get the highest ROI, you can stick to popular platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram, and avoid sinking time into low-traffic social media sites.
Get Media Coverage
News stories are like free advertising for your company. The challenge? Figuring out how to get media outlets to cover your business. To start, you might try sending press releases to local TV stations, newspapers, and radio stations every time you do something newsworthy. Perhaps you’re launching a new product line or, maybe you’re offering technology training to local teachers.
If you’re an online business or you sell to an international audience, you might try signing up for a service like Help a Reporter Out (HARO). When a journalist needs a quote or a source for a story, they send it to HARO, which emails it to you. You can respond to the journalist if you have the right experience. When your quote is chosen, the press can drive traffic to your website or store.
Internet media is another great way to get coverage. You could try writing a guest post on a popular blog, or offer to do an interview on a local podcast. Even if the outlet is small, each appearance adds to your company’s web presence.
No matter which marketing option you choose, it’s important to figure out which strategies have the highest ROI. By integrating a time-tracking app with QuickBooks, you can compare costs, time, and results to determine the most effective marketing activities for your company.