It’s a dog eat dog world out there. Especially for small business owners who are just starting to make their way into the competitive business world, a good marketing strategy is essential to introduce your business to the world and eventually turn it into a brand.
Sure, billboards and TV commercials are surefire ways to attract attention and a very large audience, but you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune to up your marketing game.
Here are a few marketing ideas that will help you get started but won’t break the bank.
Establish an online presence
Social media. If your business isn’t on social media, does it really exist? Taking your business to social media is an effective way to promote your business without having to spend a single cent. Unless, of course, you pay for sponsored content- but how effective are paid ads, really?
With the interconnectedness of everyone in social media, it’s easy to have content distributed online. Especially now that it has become a habit for most people to check their social media accounts multiple times within the day, most would just mindlessly scroll to kill time until they see something that catches their attention. Post interesting content that people would want to share with other people.
If you want to promote your newly-opened restaurant, you can post a promotional offer on unlimited chicken wings every certain day of the week; or a gift check for the first ten people who comes to the opening of your boutique, which would require the customer to share the post and present a screenshot of the post during the boutique opening to be able to claim the promo. Next, to free stuff, something people wouldn’t pass out on discounts, so this is a good way to get the word around fast.
Your own business website. A business website is essential in increasing your online reputation. Having one will also make it easier to find you online. It doesn’t necessarily need to have fancy graphics or complex copywriting. You only need the important sections and pages such as general information about your business and a way for people to contact you. Having a blog will also help. You can use it to post helpful and interesting content that will keep people coming back for more, or updates and special offers on your products. However, if you do decide on keeping a blog, be mindful of how much time you spend maintaining it. Be sure to post regularly so you don’t leave customers with outdated content.
Forums and comment sections. Another way to market your business online is through participating in forum discussions and comment sections relevant to your business. All you have to do is offer insightful ideas and be helpful. Reddit is an online forum that has specific subreddits on almost every business that can help make your advertising and content campaign efforts more successful.
Guest posting. A good way to promote your business to someone else’s audience is by contributing content to other people’s blogs/sites. A guest post you will write will contain a link that would link back to your blog/site, and these backlinks will help you rank well on search engines. Choose carefully which sites/blogs you decide to pitch content to, though. Select only those that have some authority and audiences in your niche. Pitching only to small-time blogs or those with less audience than yours will only be as good as just posting on your site.
Never underestimate the power of business cards
It’s more than just a rectangular slip of paper with your name and contact information- a business card is an important marketing tool and opportunity; it’s a referral tool that will let your business stay on other people’s minds long after it’s handed to them. It’s also a good way to let people know how serious you are about your business. Always keep a stack on your office desk, and give it out any chance you can get- in events, in crowded areas, or when simply making conversation. Every business card handed out to the right persons can make a difference in your business.
Two words: event marketing
Take advantage of local event marketing to promote your business. Consult first with the event organizers and ask them if you could walk around and give out free products or set up a booth where you can offer free products/services. It depends on the type of business you have. If for example, you own a spa- you could set up a booth where people could get a free massage. Or you could simply hand out free balloons with your business name on it. This way, the free product/service would stay longer on people’s minds than just simply handing them business cards. You don’t have to spend a lot, and it will be a good opportunity to attract attention and meet prospective customers in person.
Public speaking as a marketing tool
It could be on your local radio station/TV channel or during local events. Public speaking is one way to get the word around about your business. You can contact your local radio station, TV channel, or businesses and associations in your community and ask if you could offer your services as a guest/speaker. After you’ve secured a schedule, do your research. What kind of audiences will be listening/attending? What valuable insights can you offer them? You don’t necessarily have to promote your business throughout your entire speech. No one wants to listen to an hour-long advertisement. You only have to state your name and the name of your business, then give the audience valuable insights and information they can actually use to succeed. Afterward, hand out your promotional materials/business cards so they could contact you later on.
A good marketer must keep himself/herself updated with the latest marketing trends in order to stay ahead of the competition, especially now that new strategies are constantly being developed to help marketers reach more audiences and attract attention. An example of this would be Bluetooth proximity advertising like Royaltie Gem which is a small wireless device that can broadcast customized promotional messages to phones nearby. This can help your business reach a wider audience.
Take your marketing game everywhere
Get a magnetic sign or have your business name painted on the side of your vehicle. Let people know about your business everywhere you go. The costs will only come initially, but think about how you can benefit from it in the long run.
Whether you’re already a successful business owner or someone just starting out, a good marketing strategy will help you achieve long-lasting success for your business. Be careful on spending money blindly on marketing strategies without checking your progress. Smart marketing involves careful outline and planning. Determine first which direction you should take before starting.
After all, the world of business must live by its own rules. This list only provides you with ideas on ways to promote your startup without breaking the bank, which you can integrate into your business marketing plan. What worked for one business might not work for you. You just have to keep trying to find the perfect fit for yours.
Which low-cost marketing ideas are you planning to incorporate into your startup’s marketing strategy?