We all know the benefits that a good marketing campaign can have on your growing business, but many small businesses have a hard time funding the type of campaign that is going to get their business noticed. Many small businesses want to know, “how can I market my business or website on a limited budget?” Fortunately, many boot-strapping entrepreneurs have found creative and reasonably priced alternatives to traditional marketing methods to help launch their businesses or market their website. Let’s look at a few ways that startups and small businesses can begin to market on a limited budget, making it easier for you to get your name out there and noticed without spending thousands of dollars on services that might not get you where you need to go.
Whether you choose older more well-known ways of marketing your brand or the paths less traveled, you’ll have plenty of options if you know where to look and how to get there. Check out these marketing tips for businesses on a budget.
Get Your Brand Noticed Through A Press Release
The simple press release is a tried and true method of drawing attention to your business and can be quite cheap in comparison to other traditional marketing means if you know how to get started. While it is possible to hire a professional to create these documents for you, many small businesses are choosing to write their own press releases or having freelancers write them for a small fee. Once you have this information on paper, it can be sent to your local media; this means community websites for local news, as well as niche outlets such as blogs that report on your industry, product, or service type. My recommendation would be to then create a second version of the press release and use some online press release distribution services such as; PRWeb or i-Newswire to market your website.
Get Updated And Verified
Nothing is less helpful during a marketing campaign than discovering that your online profiles and public information aren’t up-to-date and accurate. While this may seem to have a minimal effect on actually getting your brand noticed you’d be surprised by how much traffic can come in from social networking profiles. Your Google Local Business listing can also make a difference as they have been absorbed recently into the Google+ system. Your company contact information, product listings, available services, and links to blogs, press releases, and other defining factors can all be presented to consumers through updated networking accounts. These profiles can help with word-of-mouth advertising, as linking and sharing have become very popular and successful over the past few years. One of the best ways to stay on top of your local business profiles is through Moz Local which covers all the major players at a minimal cost.
Consider Deals With Other Local Businesses
Providing something to your local community might seem like small time stuff but this can be where your business starts to get noticed and this can grow substantially if you make the right moves. Reaching out to other local businesses and striking up deals to promote them for similar exposure can be highly beneficial to both companies. It might be a good idea to steer clear of businesses that are in your specific field of work, but complementary shops and services can help to promote what you’re trying to sell. For example, a carpet installation company could help promote a floor cleaning service, so long as cleaning floors isn’t something that they also specialize in. The key here is to keep business coming in while promoting another local company that won’t steal any of the sales you could be making. You also need to make sure that your clients will find this other business useful and beneficial in regards to the products and services that they gain from you. This means that if you’re a hair salon then promoting a local hardware shop might not be an effective marketing strategy.
I’ll us my own business as an example; recently we purchased a new building and held an open house to welcome in members of our community and help raise awareness for those who might not be aware of our services. We went around to many of our neighboring businesses to not only make an effort to get to know people face-to-face, but purchase some of their products to offer as raffle items at our open house. You would be surprised at how generous other businesses can be when you make an effort to promote them along with yourself. Great Harvest Bread Co. donated enough sandwiches, breads, dips, cookies, and fruit bars to feed 80 people. Apple Bandit Hard Cider donated a case of their hard cider. It worked out very well for everyone involved.
Help Your Customers Find You
Google Maps is a cheap way to show your customers that you care and bring in new clientele through word of mouth, social sharing and general interest. By creating a public map and embedding it on your website you can add links back to content that is relevant in relation to points of interest. Add descriptions of your shop, storefront and nearby interests so that people searching this section of Google Maps will find your information, possibly through a query for a nearby location. Whether this brings in much new traffic cannot be ascertained but it will certainly give you points with existing users as it gives a personal touch and shows that you care about how people are getting to your shop.
Public Relations Possibilities
Public relations can build brand awareness and bring site value, but you have to be careful about what types of PR you choose to become involved with and who is in charge of them. Using professional services can cost you an arm and a leg but there are some real benefits to this strategy. As mentioned above, a press release works as a strategic form of PR, you can also consider creating a blog to represent your business’ image to the public in a way that makes it more personable and real to those who use your products and services. If you’re updating this blog on your own then be sure to keep content informative and of the highest quality. It can be easy to forget you have a blog and lose track of how many articles are being posted each day but fewer updates that get out to the public means less keywords and less content for search engine optimization and customer review. Content doesn’t always need to be specifically about your brand but it should be relevant, interesting, and properly researched because this blog can easily become the face of your company. If consumers feel that they can’t trust what is being said then they aren’t going to trust you as a business.
Get Your Customers Involved
Social networking can be effective here of course, but there are other ways to get your customers more involved in the marketing process. Consider the possibility of contests, polls, and of course e-mail subscriptions on your website with coupons that can be forwarded to friends by existing recipients. This might not get forwarded by everybody on your mailing list, but every new message counts as a potential new customer, and if the campaign is successful you can try again with another marketing concept like a contest or a different discount, such as “buy together get 10 percent off,” or something that is just as inviting to couples and groups.
Remember one of the best ways to get noticed is to actually get out their and meet people.