When you are trying to market your business on a tight budget, you really need to start thinking outside of the box.
According to research conducted by HubSpot, companies say that the third top challenge they face when marketing their business is the lack of a decent marketing budget. Most small business enterprises start out on a shoe-string budget, while some are lucky enough to start up with some venture capital in place. Whichever situation you are starting out with, it is usually your marketing budget that will suffer in favor of other more crucial or essential business investments.
Using your resources more creatively
1. Create content of value
The days of cold, hard direct advertising have long gone. These days people like to gather a lot of useful information about a product or service before deciding to buy or not. This is why building up trust in your potential customers is important if you are going to persuade them to buy your product or service.
People love good content – but so does Google too! A great way to attract and engage with new customers, keep existing customers happy and also achieve good rankings on popular search engines is to provide high quality content that is of great value to your readers.
You can provide valuable content through many different channels, such as via your website blog, a regular newsletter, creating interesting videos, streaming live podcasts, creating eye-catching infographics to share on social media, or writing guest articles and blog posts for other authority sites within your business sector or niche industry.
Creating high value content in this way will also give you great recognition as an expert in your field. Not only can valuable content attract a lot of free traffic to your website, but you will come to be recognized as authority figure that can be trusted, so therefore more people will be inclined to buy from you rather than from another seller offering the same thing.
If you are worried that you are not a good writer, are hopeless with design software, or feel you would clam up in front of the camera, you can always hire freelance writers or graphic designers as well as video producers and editing services that can make you very engaging company videos to share.
2. Go Social
With more than two-thirds of adults using social media (and growing each year) it makes sense to turn to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit and Instagram etc. to engage with and entice new customers to your company.
Choosing your social media platform may look easy, but each channel is quite unique, so you will need to do some homework before choosing a channel and diving in with a full-on social media marketing campaign.
First of all, do you actually know where your target audience likes to hang-out? If your customer base is largely interested in visual content, then you may find more of them choose to hang out on Instagram rather than Twitter for example. You may be a B2B company that only deals with other businesses in your chosen sector. In this case, LinkedIn would be your platform of choice as you will need to have a credible profile on there to be seen as trustworthy by your peers.
It can take time to learn all the ins and outs of mastering a social media platform as they are all unique in the way they work. Take your time to learn how they work and set your profile up properly to give your company a good foundation before going in pursuit of new customers.
3. Everyone loves something for nothing
Here is your chance to think creatively and come up with ideas for free and fun competitions, prize-draws, contests and giveaways. Everyone loves freebies, and most people are wise enough now to know that to get a chance at a free prize they may have to give something away to enter, such as their email address. This can be great for when you want to build up an email list from scratch for potential customers that have some interest in your products or services.
Your prizes need not be expensive. If you market very desirable products or services, this could be as simple as offering something from your own range as the main prize. If what you sell isn’t so easy to give away as a prize, then you could offer other things as prizes such as free copies of an e-book, a newsletter subscription, a specialized report, or even a fun event like a trip on a barge or a free meal for two at a popular local restaurant. You could run a competition each quarter and see if you could work out a deal with the local boat owner or restaurant owner for a special discount for your prizes.
Another idea is to give away your own goods as prizes and get your customers to try your products or services for free in exchange for them posting an honest review on your website or your Facebook page.
Credit: Photo by Andrew Neel