Marketing can be a daunting and expensive undertaking. But it doesn’t have to be, especially for small businesses. There are a lot of ways that you can market your business, effectively and affordably. This blog post will explore some of those ways to set you on a path to marketing success.
1. Launch a website
Launching a website can indeed be expensive. But even if you have a limited and modest budget, almost every business today needs to have a presence online. Rather than contracting with a full-service advertising agency, look for a competent coder who can implement an out-of-the box website template. There are thousands of beautiful web templates available online, many of which will provide you with the functionality you require. You need not spend more than $500 if you have basic website needs.
2. Use Facebook Advertising
There are a lot of different pay-per-click advertising platforms online. But certain platforms, like Google AdWords can become very expensive over time. Facebook advertising, however, is a much more affordable and realistic option for small businesses. Facebook advertising allows you to target your market very narrowly, based on parameters such as geography, age and interests.
3. Donate your services
This is one of the most affordable and effective ways to put your brand out there. There are a couple of ways that you can donate your services:
• Provide gift certificates for charitable raffles and auctions. In exchange, the charity will include your company as a sponsor in their promotional materials.
• Donate your services directly to a registered charity, and ask to be acknowledged as a supporter on their website, along with a link back to your business site.
4. Enter contests
Often there are online contests specific to certain industries that can garner a lot of publicity for the winners. You need to measure the amount of time and energy it takes to submit your entries, but this can be a very affordable marketing mechanism.
5. Host a contest
This is arguably an even better marketing strategy, and quite affordable as well. Host an industry contest on your website and invite participation from your constituents and stakeholders. For instance – if you own a music shop, host a lyrics contest, and provide an appealing prize to attract participation. If you promote the contest properly through social media and your blog, you will drive traffic and entries. Remember that every entrant is a potential customer!
6. Talk to your vendors (word of mouth)
It still holds true that the best and most effective type of advertising is through word-of-mouth. People naturally seek referrals from their friends and family but one of the most underleveraged resources is your network of vendors. In a sense, they owe you. You provide them with business – explore whether they would be willing to spread the word to their networks
7. Join a professional association
Joining a professional association is a great way to extend your network. Usually, there is a nominal membership fee, and then you are invited to meetings on a regular basis to network with other professionals in your industry, share best practices and make referrals.
8. Create a blog
We saved the best for last. Once you have a website, creating a blog is virtually free. As long as you keep up a good cadence of posts, a blog will help you to optimize your website, drive traffic and engage your audience.