If you’re a business owner, likely, marketing doesn’t take up much of your time. You have other things to worry about: running the business itself. But if you want to grow and see more success, this is an area where you need to focus. The good news? Marketing doesn’t have to break the bank! In this blog post, I’ll share 14 budget-friendly marketing strategies for small businesses.
1. Start with your customers – know them, understand their needs, and meet their expectations
The first thing you should do when starting a business is to get to know your customers. The best way to understand them and their needs is by interviewing them, observing how they behave, and asking what they want most. All businesses have customers and if you’re a business owner, you too are a customer. If there’s one thing I can teach you right now, it’s to always treat your customers how you want to be treated yourself. You’re there for them, not the other way around.
2. Create a social media page for your business, Use social media to create a brand that is memorable and relatable
Having a social media presence is crucial in today’s business world. If you want to make a big name for yourself, one of the best things is to create your own social media pages. You’ll be able to connect with other businesses and people who share similar interests as yourself. Anticipating the needs of your customers, you’ll be able to serve them better as well. Social media is a great way to reach out and connect with your customers where they spend their time. If budget allows, consider hiring a social media marketing agency to help you manage your various pages.
3. Optimize your website for mobile devices so you can reach more potential customers in the palm of their hands. Make your website mobile-friendly
If you want to be successful, it’s important to make sure that your website is easy to use and accessible on mobile devices. This is especially important if you’re in a business that relies on people walking into your office. For example, an accounting firm may conduct most of its business through the internet. Nowadays, we always have our mobile devices with us and that’s where your clients are going to be too!
4. Start a blog to keep potential customers informed of new products, promotions, and events occurring in your industry.
One of the best marketing tools that most businesses don’t utilize is a blog. Blogging can help establish your business as an expert in the field, give you a way to interact with customers on a deeper level, and provide people valuable information they can take action on. For example, if you’re in the event planning business and you have a blog where you share your experiences hosting New Year’s Eve parties for clients, potential customers will see that you know what you’re doing and why they should hire your services. Blogging is also a great way to link to your other social media sites, adding more depth to the information you share.
5. Get the word out with flyers and posters in high-traffic areas of your community.
Posters and flyers are budget-friendly ways to promote your business. Put them up at your local library, restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores – anywhere people will see it!
TIP: When designing your flyer or poster, be sure to use eye-catching colors that will get someone’s attention from across the room.
6. Offer coupons or discounts on your website or storefront, so people can try your business risk-free.
Offering coupons or discounts is a great way to get new customers in the door. Especially if budget isn’t a top priority, consider offering coupons for free items like food, drinks, or products that are commonly purchased together (such as buy 1 sandwich & get another half off). Make sure coupon or discount codes are clearly visible on your website, flyers or posters, and business cards.
7. Add a testimonials page to your website with words of praise from customers who have had positive experiences with you.
Testimonials add credibility to your brand by showing that other people in the community also trust and value what you provide.
8. Create an email marketing campaign that will help you stay top-of-mind with existing clients and attract new ones.
Email marketing can be very budget-friendly; that is if you do it correctly. You don’t want to send irrelevant emails out to customers just for the sake of keeping in touch; instead, think of it as an opportunity to share helpful information or exclusive deals/promotions with your clients on a semi-regular basis. Email marketing is an excellent way to gain trust and authority from your customers.
Have a blog contest where you give away some of your products or services as a prize.
TIP: Run Facebook ads on budget-friendly days like the weekend to reach more people with this offer!
9. Create a Google+ page and fill it with interesting content to build your online presence.
Creating a Google+ page for your business will help you get found in local searches and drive more traffic to your website. It’s also an opportunity to share content regularly, which can lead to links, shares, and social media backlinks from people interested in what you have to say. That being said, you must focus on creating interesting, valuable content.
TIP: Take advantage of free online tools like Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Pay attention to traffic and conversion rates for each form of budget-friendly marketing you use. This will help you figure out what works best for your business.
10. Build relationships by attending networking events or joining professional organizations in your industry or community.
You get more opportunities to meet new people by getting out there, which means more potential clients and referral sources (who knows — one of these relationships could land your business the next big gig!). Make sure you follow up with everyone you meet; this will go a long way toward building those all-important business connections!
11. Install an online store to sell products or services online.
If budget is a concern, you may want to consider starting with an eCommerce website rather than a full-blown website design project. Online shopping carts are budget-friendly and easy to set up; some even offer free designs that get the job done for just about any business.
12. Advertise on budget creative social media channels like Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon.
Although a budget is important when it comes to budget-friendly marketing strategies for small businesses, that’s no reason to limit yourself to free or cheap options! There are plenty of budget-friendly paid advertising opportunities online if you know where and how to look.
Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Digg are all popular sites that will let you run budget-friendly paid advertisements. These budget channels can be used to promote your business in a more targeted way than advertising on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
13. Send postcards to potential customers in your area, or schedule coffee dates with potential new clients in your area.
Depending on your budget, you can send postcards to people nearby via snail mail (remember those?). Or consider scheduling budget-friendly face-to-face meetings for the same purpose. The point is to get out there and meet new people while educating them about what your business has to offer. Remember to follow up with them after the budget-friendly meeting and contact them again if you have something new to share about your business!
14. Start a group on LinkedIn, or use groups for networking opportunities.
Joining LinkedIn groups is another budget-friendly way to network more effectively and grow your business. Find groups on LinkedIn by searching the following keywords: “free small business marketing” and “marketing budget.” To make the most of budget-friendly networking, be sure to join some budget LinkedIn groups and follow up with connections you make in them.
15. Take advantage of Google’s Optimize feature to help improve your budget-friendly search rankings.
Google Optimize is a web-based tool that allows you to test new budget-friendly website designs and layouts in real-time for free as well as A/B testing versions of your content.
16. Consider hiring an SEO company to help you rank higher in search engine results.
SEO companies typically charge anywhere from $500 to $2,000 or more for budget-friendly SEO services. If budget is a big concern, you can hire an in-house employee for about $30/hour (that’s what I do). Either way, a budget will probably be a factor, so use it wisely!
Once the budget for marketing strategies is in place, you’ll be surprised at what your business can accomplish. Not only will budget-friendly marketing get you ahead of the competition, but it will also help you save money and time in the long run!
We hope that you have found some helpful marketing ideas in the list we’ve shared. If not, feel free to reach out, and let’s see what we can do to help your business grow!