Many small businesses (and even large corporations) do not understand that you can market your wares on a relatively low budget. I'm hear to tell you that you don't just have to throw money at a situation.
It is all about delivering the message to the target customers or target market and the more inexpensively and more efficient you can do that, the smarter you are and the better marketer you will be. There you go, that's the challenge - let's see how smart you are!
To run a successful business, we all need money coming in and so much so that we turn a profit, but to get the money flowing in, we need customers.
To get customers, we have to offer them a product and service that they need and want to pay for.
But the trick is that they need to know that you have a product/service that they need.
That's where marketing comes in.
While marketing does take time and effort, often money marketing doesn't have to be costly or budget blowing to be effective and successful. Yes, money helps the challenge move from you to another person but if you can afford the time to brief them, you can afford the time to do some free marketing.
For a business working with a restrained budget, getting the best results for their marketing efforts should be their priority. You need to make every marketing pound count!
Before you begin your marketing campaign, it is important to ask yourself these questions about your ideal customers:
You can usually do basic research – or just take some time to think about it – to find the answers. Once you know your target audience, you can begin to develop your marketing plan and evaluate your marketing budget.
These six ideas will help you market on a budget;
Make your message clear and targeted. Present your message in a clear and unambiguous manner that a lot of people can understand it. The more people that get your message, the more leads you will get, and the more money you will have to prove that your marketing efforts are paying off.
- Make sure you are targeted however, more people is only useful if it is more of the people you want to be talking to.
Engage with the community. This does not have to be a rocket science. Your primary goal should be to present yourself as an expert in your field and be regarded as someone worth listening to. You can do this by:
- Commenting on and sharing other people’s great content in your field.
- Offer to guest post on another person’s blog in your field.
- Volunteer to offer your products or services FOC to gain exposure while helping another in need.
Attend local networking events and meetings to talk up your business face-to-face.
- There are loads of free networking events or ones which cost the same amount as a cup of coffee. Business Buzz is a networking event in the northern home counties. - Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to find out what is available in your area.
- Are there any industry awards or events that you can attend? Your customers won't just be focused on finding your business, they are probably busy doing their job, who else might know them?
Share your expertise. Give potential customers a glimpse into your intelligence and style by sharing your knowledge in newsletters, blogs, social media or articles. Also, consider following selected blogs and newsletters. When you can, provide informative responses and link readers back to your website.
- People want to know that you know what you are talking about, whether that is little snippets or free content. You will have heard of content marketing I'm sure, make sure you don't give away all your ideas - just enough to entice people in.
Create business allies. Identify businesses targeting the same market as you and offer to mention them in your next mailing and send them referrals if they will do the same for you.
- Referrals and asking other people for guest blogs, doesn't cost you anything as long as you're happy to do the same in reverse.
- You can also take your business allies to another level and hopefully make money from them if referrals are successful. Have an agreement that any leads that come from a cross-referral are financially rewarded and it will encourage people to market your services for free more often.
Create an affiliate marketing program. Affiliate marketing can be thought of as outsourced marketing, whereby you hire affiliates who are paid to bring you customers. If they drive visitors to your website, you don’t have to pay them. You only pay them if they convert visitors into customers. While you are trying to generate traffic as a marketer, the main goal is to increase the number of customers. If you generate a million visitors a month, but the visitors don’t equate to more leads or revenue, it’s almost useless. This is why affiliate marketing is so popular, especially in the web hosting industry, where most of their business is from affiliates.
Affiliate marketing generally can bring good results for your business. As an entrepreneur or a marketer, the risk for you to use affiliate marketing is extremely low, and the reward is high.
These are just a few of the ideas that you can market your business for free. I admit, they all take time and you may not have a huge amount of time. You have to ask yourself, can you afford the time or the money? Businesses need marketing so reach customers so pick which one is more available to you.
No More Ifs Or Buts.