In the early days of any business, a startup budget are tight and sometimes you need to get creative with how you promote yourself. Thankfully, the digital age has made reaching a global audience with a minimum of expense a real possibility.
Here are some of the things you can do to market your business without breaking the bank:
Startup budget 1. Social Media
Without doubt, social media is the quickest way to tell the world (or at least your friends and connections) about your new venture. There are so many social media platforms today, so knowing which ones to use will be important. For most products and services, Facebook and Twitter are a must, and LinkedIn is key for B2B services. If you sell products and services that have visual appeal, also consider YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. The golden rule is to use the platforms your customers use, not the ones you prefer to use. For more advice on how to use social media to promote your business check out our infographic.
Startup Budget 2. Free Websites, Blogging and Vlogging
There are a number of free website providers out there that allow you to get started with your web presence. Wix and WordPress both grant the opportunity to build simple websites with multiple pages for free and with a minimum of technical expertise. Packages often include hosting and the domain name as well as the website.
Once you have your website, blogging and vlogging (video blogging) are great ways to provide your audience with up-to-date knowledge about the industry you’re in. A blog allows you to provide insightful knowledge and advice, with a video blog doing much of the same while helping you to stand out from the usual articles.
Startup Budget 3. Email Marketing
Special offers and promotions are an excellent way to encourage sales, especially to users who are unfamiliar with your business. Email marketing is often over looked in the age of social media, but it does provide an opportunity to get offers out to potential new clients while keeping them informed on what’s happening with your brand. The important thing is to start collecting those valuable email addresses as early as possible. Provide a contact form to capture email addresses and check out the free mail sending tools available from MailChimp.
Startup Budget 4. Networking
As well as developing your presence online there’s also plenty you can do offline to get started. Networking is one of the most exciting ways of growing your business and meeting like-minded individuals. Locally you’ll find many business networking groups who encourage potential new members to visit for free. Across the UK more and more start-ups and freelancers are organising their own free networking groups. Tweetups for example are meetings organised by local business groups on Twitter. Furthermore organisations such as your local Chamber of Commerce tend to encourage new members with free new-member evenings.
Startup Budget 5. Educational Presentations
People do business with people and there’s no better way to grow your network than by informing others about how you can help improve their business. Bear in mind that people generally don’t like being sold to, so by pitching a presentation that educates rather than sells you’ll garner some goodwill, be viewed as an authority in your niche and attract others to you.
For example if you provide a B2B service such as graphic design why not run a workshop on how to be creative when designing flyers and leaflets. Once again look out for local networking events and ask for opportunities to present. Remember, take your business cards to hand out afterwards.
Startup Budget 6. Engage Your Advocates
There’s only so much one person can do and as you start to build your business you may be a little light on testimonials. Take some time to think about who might be a great advocate for you and your business. Your friends, family, former work colleagues and professional contacts will usually want to help you succeed. Tell them regularly about what you are doing and ask for opportunities to introduce potential customers. Just a few good advocates can help to bring in the leads at a staggering rate.
This short guide should help you to start building your networks and find opportunities to do business. In the meantime though remember that quality of products and services you provide builds your reputation which in turn leads to the best and cheapest source of new business of all: word of mouth.
If you’re looking for more marketing advice, visit our marketing resources page.