As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to figure out where to put your money, and how to make it grow faster. Without revenue growth, your business will be stuck at a dead end with nowhere to turn.
It can feel like a catch-22 situation: How do you spend money marketing your business when it’s so new that there isn’t extra money to spare?
The answer lies in strategic marketing on a budget. It’s completely possible, and it’s helped propel small businesses to success. Here are a few of the best, most affordable ways to market, and grow, your business, without spending more money than your business can handle.
Help a Reporter Out
One of the best things about being a small business owner today is the internet. It’s proven to be one of the biggest helpers in growing a business with little to no money involved.
Why do you think so many businesses are turning to blogs and social media for marketing? They require little expenses and can act as free marketing when your content gets shared.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is one of those internet gems that you can’t afford to miss. The website connects journalists with the information they need to complete their stories. Where does your business come into play?
You can search for needed information that matches products or services of your company and send a press release or web content, for example. If you’re lucky, a journalist may snatch up your information and provide free advertising for your business in his or her story.
Get a Partner
No, not a business partner. A marketing partner! Co-marketing is all around us. Think of how smart McDonald’s is with its Happy Meal toys. The company switches its toys every so often, focusing on things that are super popular with kids, like superhero movies or small versions of popular toys.
McDonald’s gets more sales because kids want to collect the toys. The movie or brand that the Happy Meal toys are connected to, in turn, gets a lot of exposure via McDonald’s. It’s a win-win for both companies.
Find a local business that can complement yours, and create a proposal for a co-marketing opportunity. It can be much cheaper to go in together, while doubling your exposure, than shelling out big bucks for your own advertising.
Just make sure you detail what you will do for your partner, too, so your proposal isn’t one-sided for your benefit.
Become a Creative Trade Show Expert
Trade shows are still popular, even with the sensation that is the internet. People still want to meet face to face, see products in person, and get to know the businesses they’re buying from. Fortunately, entering a trade show to promote your business doesn’t have to cost you a lot.
The key is to utilize creative conference table ideas for small budgets that will stand out in your audience’s mind, rather than spend a lot of money for hand-out products that will easily be forgotten. You don’t have to be outlandish, but having a creative booth is sure to attract attention your way.
Get Involved in Charity
It takes a small amount of money when compared to huge advertising costs, for your business to get involved in volunteering or charity. But, the overall impact it can have on your business can be huge.
According to Entrepreneur, 82% of consumers in the United States consider a company’s social responsibility before they will purchase its product or service.
If your company has not yet become involved in its community, it could be missing out on some really important customers.
Your first step should be looking to your immediate community. What events are coming up? Are there health fairs, basketball tournaments, or even a small business event.
See what you can do about setting up a booth at an upcoming fair or sponsoring a sports’ team. Better yet, volunteer your team to work the concession stand at an upcoming sporting event.
The more your local community sees your business in a variety of ways, especially volunteering and giving back, the more your business name will stick in their heads as one to admire.
Create a Referral System
If your business has some loyal customers already, don’t forget to get the most out of them that you can. Kindly ask for their word-of-mouth referrals to their friends or family members who may also benefit from your business.
But, make sure you reward your customers for their referral, as well as the new customers they bring on board.
You should have a referral system in place to help attract customers and make it worthwhile for others to spread your name. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to cost you much.
Your reward can be as simple as $5 off a customer’s purchase, a 15% discount for a service, or a free month if you offer a monthly subscription for your service. These rewards go a long way to your customers.
If you own a website for your business, create a referral system for it, too. Make it something that can easily go viral if people choose to share it with their networks. For example, each friend a customer refers will give that customer another entry into sweepstakes for a cash reward or free product.
Place Frequent, Small Ads
Advertising is expensive, especially if you blow money on big advertising, rather than focusing on ways to let cheaper advertising do the work for you.
Just because small advertisements seem less effective, doesn’t mean they are. In fact, if you use smaller ads more frequently, you can gain more exposure for your business than spending a lot of money on a large ad that will be seen less often.
Instead, target smaller ads to your audience. Use a newspaper to create a small ad on the section that relates to your business. Or, place an ad in a magazine that will available for months at a time.
Some magazine issues are distributed to trade shows or doctor’s offices, for example, so they’re seen by many for longer than just a month. Before placing your ad, ask for this information so you’ll know where best to spend your money.