In order to be successful, a business has to effectively market its services. Marketing and branding go hand in hand to grow a company and make it top of mind to consumers. However, not every business has unlimited marketing resources. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some effective ways to market your business on a limited budget.
1. Social Media – It seems obvious to say that almost everyone you know is on social media. The number of American adults using social media is at two-thirds (or more) of the population. There are paid ads available on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram but you can also use these websites for free marketing. With a bit of research on your part, you can determine which social media platforms is best for your needs and then target consumers using a combination of hashtags and compelling content as discussed below.
2. Unique/Compelling Content – Content viewed as valuable by social media users is also viewed in a favorable manner by Google. Examples of unique content include a regularly updated blog section, videos created by your company, colorful and educational infographics, podcasts and guest posts on other websites. All of these methods brand you as an expert in your field and give you more authority in the eyes of Google.
3. Contests – Everybody likes free stuff! Build brand loyalty and connect with customers by doing giveaways on a regular basis. The prize doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be samples of your products, an online eBook, a gift certificate with a birthday contest and small items like a keychain or magnet. The amount of goodwill you build with giveaways often exceeds the results you get with paid advertising. You can also promote your products and services through Facebook groups where people try your product for free in exchange for a review.
4. Guerilla Marketing – This type of marketing relies on imagination in place of a big marketing budget. Small businesses can compete with larger companies using their creativity. Some examples of guerilla marketing include:
- Park your company vehicle at a prime location during rush hour to get views of your logo
- Work with a local artist to create an eye-catching mural on the outside walls of your business location
- Send promotional workers out on the street to engage with others while using your product
- Hand out samples of your product at street fairs, popular outdoor lunch areas and other locations where your customers work and play
5. Online Advertising – As mentioned in the social media section above, advertising is available on social media platforms. These ads are much more cost-effective than traditional TV and newspaper ads. Online ads on websites such as Facebook and Google can be targeted to be shown in certain mileage areas around your business. You can also get listings, at no cost, on online directories like Yelp and Google Business for Google Maps.
6. Free Advertising Methods – There are multiple free ways to promote your company each day and they require little manpower to make them happen. For example:
- Have a telephone message promote your products while customers are on hold
- Advertise your company name and logo by including it in all of your emails and company letterhead
- Collect the email addresses of your customers and create an email marketing list to share company news, sales, specials, loyalty rewards and discounts
7. Partnerships – Building partnerships with other businesses and vendors can stretch your marketing dollars. Working with other companies adds credibility to your business and it can also help you split the costs of promotional items and direct mail pieces. Partnerships with other businesses can be as simple as referring customers to each other and paying the other company a commission for every sale you close.
8. Media Exposure – Television stations are always looking for fun and creative stories to share with their audience. By starting with a compelling press release, you can capture the attention of the media by:
- Holding a community event such as a food drive or an event where the proceeds go to a certain charity
- Plan and execute an event where you donate your services or products as a contest giveaway
- Let the media know you’ve won a business contest or community service award
- Offer your services as an expert in a certain business category willing to be interviewed by the media through websites such as Help a Reporter Out
9. Be Useful to Others – Make sure your marketing efforts are useful to your audience. Providing useful information through infographics that educate your audience is a prime example. You can also host online seminars and “Ask the Expert” events at local community centers and restaurants. Visit websites where people go for information such as Reddit and Quora. Answer questions relevant to your business and include a link back to your website for more information.
Remember to not be boring with your information! Engage the audience with content that is informative and entertaining at the same time. Marketing a business on a limited budget takes some careful planning and creative steps on your part. Growing your business through creative marketing will increase both your revenue and your marketing budget for future branding efforts.