Whether you’re a start up, or your business is going through a rough patch, there are times your company might not have the resources available to launch a massive marketing campaign. What can you do to capture the attention of your target with a small marketing budget? Here are some easy ways to promote your business on a low budget.
1. Take Advantage of Social Media
Social media is a powerful marketing tool that is often overlooked or improperly used by small business owners. To optimize your marketing efforts on social media, look at which social media platforms your target audience is using. The most commonly used social media sites for businesses are: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Most businesses will find at least one of these four platforms has an audience for them.
Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest are helpful if you have an image-based business like interior design, photography, or having interesting pictures to share. Don’t waste time on platforms that don’t have a following for you, just because you think you ‘should’ – when it comes to social media interaction is the goal. If you’re not connecting with your customers, it isn’t the right medium for you!
Advertising on social media platforms is also a low cost marketing strategy. Facebook advertising is cheaper than Google AdWords, and you can target your audience based on a vast number of conditions like interests, marital status, occupation, income, relationship status, and so on.
2. Work with Other Businesses
Working with other local businesses is a great way to drive traffic to your business. Work together with businesses that are not direct competitors but in similar industries to promote your business. This happens a lot in retail, especially in malls. Sales associates will bring coupons to other stores and hand them out to the employees, and ask if they can leave some on their counter for customers. Customers who are paying see the coupons for another store and make their way over to use it. As long as the other business is not a direct competitor, there is no harm in sharing customers.
3. Look at What Your Competitors Do
It’s important to look at what your competitors are doing in order to get a good idea of how they have become successful, and where they are lacking in their marketing efforts. If you see your competitors are driving a lot of traffic through Facebook interactions, then you should be using Facebook too. Take it a step further and notice what social media platforms they are not using. For instance, if your competitor doesn’t use Twitter, you should target Twitter and gain the customers they haven’t reached yet!
4. Create Promos for Email Marketing
Email marketing keeps your current clientele engaged with your brand and coming back time and time again. Send regular emails to your current clients with coupons or other incentives to bring in repeat business. Also, have new clients provide their email address when they purchase your product or service. Let them know about the great discounts and sale notifications they will receive if they provide their email, as an incentive to sign up with your email list.
5. Case Studies Showcasing Your Successes
If you’ve had success with clients in the past, create case studies as a way to advertise these successes. You can demonstrate to new or potential customers what you have to offer and the results you can produce. You want the world to know how valuable your products or services are with real-life examples of producing results for your customers.
6. Teach People How to Use Your Products or Services
A great low budget marketing strategy is to teach people. Many companies believe you need to hide the secrets of your service or product, but in fact you’ll receive a great response if you are open with people. Create videos or slide shows on your website showing people ways to use your product, or tips about the service your provide. You can even host a class or webinar on your site in your office. This brings people to your business and gets them engaged with your products or services, as well as giving them the impression that you are an expert in your industry.
7. Encourage Your Customers to Refer Others
Referrals are crucial to the success of any small business. Not only are referrals free, happy customers are the best marketing tool available to any business. Think of businesses, such as Amazon, that have outstanding customer service policies. These businesses are the ones that get word of mouth recognition from customers. In order to promote referrals from your customers, you can offer incentives. For example, for every friend they refer to your business, they will receive a discount or a free product or service. This will encourage current customers to bring in new customers, and the cycle will continue, creating a snowball effect of new customers!
8. Think Creatively
If you have a small marketing budget, you have to be creative to get the most out of it. Think about guerilla style marketing. Think: bumper stickers, posters, balloons, art on the sidewalk, pads and pens with your logo, creative business cards, and don’t forget to put your web address on everything. These are all inexpensive options that can be used to great effect, if you come up with a great advertising idea.The point is to be unique in order to capture your audience’s attention and promote interest in your business.
9. Target the Best Possible Audience
Marketing is most effective when it’s directed at people who actively need your products or services. Depending on the demographics you’re targeting, you may find that some media are better than others to reach the customers you’re looking for. Don’t know where to start when outlining your optimal target? Check out our blog on finding your target market for more information.
10. Try Your Hand at DIY Search Engine Optimization
Organic search is free advertising that receives 94% of the clicks for Internet searches. There are over 3.5 billion Google searches a day, and 68% of the clicks on search engine results pages are the top three results. If you keep your content fresh and relevant to your business, your website will begin to rank on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. If you don’t have the time or inclination,consider hiring an SEO agency to write your content. You’ll have to pay a management fee, but the costs can be significantly less than traditional marketing and provide a high ROI.
11. Start a Blog on Your Site
Maintaining fresh and relevant content on your website is key to staying on your audience’s radar online. Unless you have an established relationship with a customer, it’s unlikely they will visit your website directly. Blogs help bring in new customers looking for your products or services. Writing a few blogs each month helps keep your site on top of search engine results, and ensures your existing audience remains engaged with your website. Emailing your blogs to your database will remind them to revisit your site and use your services again.
12. Use Google Products
Google has provided businesses with a toolbox of marketing goodies that will only help your business grow. By following their terms of service and best practices, you can help your business gain recognition.
Google+ is one of the fastest growing social media channels with approximately 400 million active users each month. Joining not only helps connect you with these customers, it also raises your profile on Google search. Google uses many of their auxiliary products as a part of their search algorithms to determine how popular and fresh your site is.
Google My Business allows you to post your business’s address so it shows up on Google search, Maps, or Google+ when people are searching for your products or services. Google Reviews are also useful for building your brand’s credibility with customers, and boosting your website’s rank on Google.
Google Analytics is a free website analysis tool that helps you gain valuable insights on how you can better optimize your site and online marketing strategy to boost results.
Take advantage of Google’s toolbox and gain local customers and grow brand recognition.
13. Run a Paid Search Campaign
Paid search is another online marketing strategy that can drive highly targeted traffic to your business. Paid search can become expensive if you don’t know how to run an effective campaign. On an affordable budget, the trick is to work with highly targeted keywords, and a website with closely correlated content. By keeping your keywords and location extremely targeted you won’t have to worry about wasting your budget. You will only be paying for targeted click-throughs that are more likely to result in a conversion for your business. Not sure how to run a paid search campaign? There are plenty of resources available to you online. Another option is to hire an agency. Again, you’ll be paying a management fee, but you’ll have their expertise on your side to get the best results for your budget.
As you can see, there are plenty of options available to businesses that can’t shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars on top tier marketing campaigns. Keeping your budget small, but carefully allotting it into the most effective channels is an equally valid marketing strategy.
Print Three’s marketing experts are available to help you determine the best way to spend your company’s marketing budget. We offer print, web and marketing tools in order to offer our customers the diversity they need in a marketing strategy. Contact the location closest to you for assistance.
What do you think of our suggestions? Do you have other ideas for low-budget marketing? Share your comments below.