Marketing is perhaps the most challenging part of starting a small business. After all, you’re not just introducing your brand to the world; you’re asking them to hand over their money in exchange for something they probably don’t even know exists yet.
That kind of bravery doesn’t come cheap, so marketers often have to get creative when it comes to getting their product or service in front of potential customers without breaking the bank.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to market your business on a budget. You just have to be willing to think creatively and stay resourceful. If you’re ready to get started, read on for our top tips for marketing your small business on a budget:
Know your customer
Marketers often assume that the best way to reach their customers is through a one-size-fits-all approach. The reality, however, is that every customer is different – especially when it comes to their purchasing journey.
The difference between your customers can make all the difference when it comes to your marketing strategy. For example, if you’re trying to reach parents of young children in the middle of their dinner rush, you’re going to have a much harder time than they’d have if they were retirees looking for a fun activity to do with their grandkids during the day.
To determine which marketing strategies are likely to reach the right people, you have to first know who your customers are. Start by identifying your core customer and the person they most likely are. Doing so will help you to identify the best ways to reach them and make your business successful.
Even if you have a big budget for marketing, your best bet is to just be yourself. People can smell artificiality from a mile away and it’s a great way to turn away potential customers.
Rather than trying to create a new, artificially trendy persona for your brand, focus on being authentic to you. People will appreciate the honesty, and you’ll be better able to connect with them on a real level.
It’s okay to be somewhat aspirational, but don’t try to be someone you’re not. You’ll have a much easier time reaching the right people if they feel like they know you already.
Try video marketing
All around the world, video marketing is on the rise. In fact, one study found that video has become so important for marketing that it now accounts for 64% of all online traffic. And, although it’s been predicted to be even more important in the future, it doesn’t come cheap.
But there are ways to make it work for your small business budget. You can start by repurposing your content. If you already have video content on your website or social media, consider repurposing it for YouTube.
If you don’t have any video content, don’t worry: there are plenty of ways you can get started without any up-front costs. You can try making videos using Google Hangouts or Facebook Live. You can also use pre-recorded videos to do things like showing step-by-step instructions on how to use your product.
Leverage free events
Events are an excellent way to build your brand, gain exposure, and generate leads. Unfortunately, they can be really costly to put on. However, if you’re willing to look in a different direction, you might find that there are plenty of events that are free or low-cost.
For example, you might be able to reach out to local museums and libraries to see if they would be interested in partnering with you to host a meet-up.
Alternatively, you could host your own event. You could host a game night at a local bar, or host a potluck dinner at a park. Hosting an event is a great way to build a community around your brand, and it doesn’t have to cost anything.
Take advantage of online tools
Many companies, especially those that focus on small business marketing, offer free (or low-cost) tools that you can use to streamline your marketing efforts.
Start by researching which tools are best for your budget and then reach out to those companies. Let them know that you’re a small business and see if they have any discounts or offers.
You might be surprised by what they’re willing to do to get you on their platform. Some of the most commonly used online tools for small business marketing include:
– Email marketing: Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your customers and build your brand. It’s also relatively inexpensive to set up.
– Social media: Social media is one of the best ways to get your brand in front of potential customers. However, it can be really expensive if you hire someone to do it for you. Luckily, there are plenty of social media platforms that have free or cheap plans.
– Website and hosting: If you don’t already have a website, starting one can be really expensive. Fortunately, there are plenty of website builders out there with cheap or even free plans.
Utilize social media
Social media is a great place to start marketing your small business. Not only are you able to reach a massive audience for free, but you also get to keep track of those people through the use of analytics and the insights that come with those metrics.
Unfortunately, you can’t just start posting on every social media platform and expect results. You have to tailor your approach to each platform, so you can maximize your reach.
For example, if you’re posting on Facebook, you should be aiming for an extremely high-level summary of your business. Posting a link to your website might direct people away from your content, so Facebook might even ban you from the platform if you do so.
Use email marketing
Email marketing is a tried-and-true way of building your brand and reaching out to potential customers. It’s a great way to stay in touch with your customers and provide them with value.
Moreover, it’s relatively inexpensive to set up. However, before you can start blasting out emails, you have to build an email list. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to build your email list without paying a dime.
There are a couple of ways that you can go about getting people to sign up for your email list. You can either ask people to sign up when they purchase from you or you can ask people to sign up at the end of your content.
The best way to market your small business is to remember that it’s not about you. It’s about your customer. Your job is to make your customer feel heard and understood, and then to help them get what they want and need.
Your marketing materials should reflect that by being authentic, friendly, and helpful. You can start by conducting some research to find out what your customers want and need from your product or service.
Then, develop a marketing strategy that meets those needs as effectively as possible. Follow our tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating an effective marketing campaign that resonates with your target audience.