Running a small business is hard and marketing on a budget can be even harder. Let’s face it, budgets are tight, but the importance of marketing is essential for business growth. So, how do you get the biggest bang for your buck when marketing on a budget? How does your small business continue to grow with a limited marketing budget?
Here are 23 small business marketing ideas.
23 Small Business Marketing Ideas For Any Budget
Content Is King
Blogging for business is going to give you the biggest bang for your buck. Over time, you are going to be able to build an audience and find potential customers. Blogging for business also provides a platform to be seen as the industry expert, this is always good for business. Use your blog to attract the right customer and build a sales pipeline of qualified leads. Give your website a purpose. If your company does not have a blog it is not too late, get started today.
Context Is Queen
Okay, you are now blogging and driving traffic to your website. Don’t forget about the content of your blog posts. The context of your blog posts is just as important as actually sitting down and writing. You need to clarify a pain point, answer a question, or add value to the visitor. Get to know what your ideal customer is searching for and create content around that. Your context will connect you with your audience.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is the marketing tactic that optimizes your website to be found on search engines like Google. SEO will help you drive more traffic to your website. More traffic to your website means more leads. More leads mean more customers. Get to know what your customers are looking for through search and optimize every page to drive more traffic. This will also help your blogging efforts.
Use Directory Sites
Use Redditt and StumbleUpon to promote your blog posts. These sites are a great way to promote your content to a new audience. There are tons of blog directories that you can submit your content to. Make sure to uses these services to grow your blog audience. Hey, they are free for the most part.
Furthermore, submit your business to local and national business directories. This might not help your search engine optimization, but it will provide a link to your website. Business directories can help drive traffic to your website, usually for free.
Video marketing is a big deal. Now that the largest social media network, Facebook, allows native video, it is time to start filming. Yes, I get it video can be demanding and intimidating. Just remember, video marketing does not have to be the next Star Wars. In fact, many of the biggest YouTube stars have a simple video strategy. Again, it comes back to the context of your video. Are you connecting with the right person at the right time?
Update: Have you see the amount of live video on social media? Live video is a great way to connect with your audience and continue to nurture leads. Live video is becoming a must for any social media strategy.
Have you ever been told that you have a face for radio? Well, podcasting is for you. This is a simple way to get your message in front of your customer. The best podcasts are those that help and add value. Yes, it is about the context of your message. Podcasting is very affordable to get started and can have huge benefits for your business. It is just another way to get your brand and marketing message out there.
Use Your PPC (Pay Per Click) Promo Credits
Typically, PPC is not an option for most small businesses. It can be very expensive and fail to yield the return your business is looking for. However, if you use Google or Facebook products, you can typically get some sort of promotion credit. Spend $25 and get $100 in free advertising is a typical Google promotion. You should also get free credits from your website hosting provider. Use these free credits to drive traffic to your site and test the market. Who knows, you might find a gold mine. There are plenty of business built on pay per click campaigns.
Use Social Media For Networking
I am sure that you knew social media marketing would pop up on the list. You are right, but use it for more than just promoting your products or services. Use it to network with the right people. There are over 1.5 billion active users on Facebook, you should be able to find 1 or 2 people that you can mutually benefit from a business relationship.
Social and Online Contests
These contests are becoming huge and simple to execute. There are programs out there like Raffle Copter that make these contest easy to set up, run, and monitor. Social media contests are a great way to grow your social media presence and promote your products or services. Just make sure your giveaway is worth signing up for.
Everyone loves a loyalty program. Now, you do not need to have anything as robust as your local grocery store. You can use the old fashion punch card, buy 10 get 1 free. The main focus is rewarding your customers with something that will continue to bring them back and promote your business to their friends. A loyalty program can go a long way.
Find Industry Partners
You cannot specialize in everything in your industry, but you can share leads. For example, if you own an insurance agency that specializes in auto or home insurance, you should find a legit financial partner to share leads. You have very similar customers and your customer can benefit from the services you both provide. Industry partners are a fantastic way to grow your business, just find the right-parters that actually share leads.
Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Should you join the Chamber of Commerce? Yes, this is where you are going to find your industry partners. Besides finding like-minded people, you are going to be able to build your network and build lasting business relationships. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a great place to start your marketing efforts. The Chamber of Commerce was built to help you grow your business.
Apply For Business Awards
This is a hard one. I am not a fan of tooting my own horn. However, it needs to be done. If there is an award in your town or industry you need to apply for it. Many times these awards come through the Chamber of Commerce. Think of the potential exposure it will bring your company. Business awards are great for exposure, do not miss the opportunity.
Host An Event
One of the most common real estate marketing ideas is the open house. Really, what is an open house? It is an event that showcases the product, the home. Events are a great way to gain exposure to your business. Give away a free seminar just to get people in your doors. Event marketing, when done correctly can be a great way of generating new leads for your business. This is also where having great industry partners comes in.
Attend An Event
Are there events in your industry? Sure, every industry has trade shows, conference, or annual awards dinners. Make sure to attend them. These events can be costly, I get it. However, they are really just pennies when you think about knowledge and relationships you will gain. If you really want to get benefit from these events, apply to be a speaker. Being seen as the industry guru helps customers come to you. Event marketing can become the cornerstone of your marketing plan.
Local Events/Farmers Markets
Every weekend there is a local farmers market, festival, sports event, etc. If it makes sense from your customer segmentation strategy, show up. You could even participate or volunteer to get to meet even more local residents. Local events are a great way to build your brand exposure in the community that you live in. I have even seen some of the larger companies participate in these marketing tactics.
Email marketing has the highest return on investment of any marketing tactic. In fact, it can yield a 4,600% return on your efforts. Start building your email list. Value always trumps promotion in email marketing. Take the give, give, give, ask mentality with email marketing. Give value 80% of the time and ask for the business 20% of the time. This will help you stay in the customer inbox.
Marketing automation services can be costly. The software alone can cost hundreds of dollars per month. However, it is the only way you are going to be able to custom tailor your marketing message to your audience. Marketing automation is about segmenting your marketing based on customer’s behaviors and preferences, not pushing your marketing message. Marketing automation will help your small business send the right marketing message at the right time. This will increase the chance your customer buys from you.
There are tons of different types of vehicle advertising out there. From the full out wrap to the car magnet, you can find something that fits your budget. You are driving anyway, you may as well use the miles to promote your business.
Hire The Right Marketing Agency
Finding is the right marketing partner can be hard. There are some really good marketing agencies and some not so good marketing agencies. The trick to finding the right marketing agency writing down the expectations and deliverables. If you and your marketing agency have a clear marketing plan and schedule of deliverables, everyone will be on the same page, making it easier for both parties involved. A marketing agency can be a great way to increase your marketing potential.
Measure Your Results
As a marketing professional, I tend to think this is a no-brainer. Most businesses take the approach of flinging some mud on the wall and seeing what sticks. Marketing without data is a no-win scenario. You need to know what is driving revenue for the business. Knowing what is working will help your small business stretch your marketing budget even further.
Friends & Family
Do you fear to market to friends and family? Now I am not talking about going all network marketing on them. We are not sitting our closest friends and family on your couch and telling them about an investment opportunity that they can’t miss. I am talking about asking for introductions to the right people. Avoid marketing to friends and family too much, you still have to live with them.
Follow Up With Old Leads
Once a lead goes silent, what do you do? Do you follow up or do you give up? For the majority of sales, we give up too early. We fail to make the seventh contact, the contact that would have sealed the deal. So take a look back at your contact database or CRM and fire off an email or pick up the phone and ask how they are doing. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no again.
Building a business is hard work. Nobody has ever said it was a cake walk. Marketing on a budget can be even harder when you do not have marketing assistance. It would be great to spend thousands of dollars on marketing every month, but the good news is you do not have to. These budget-friendly marketing tactics can help you grow your business fast. The trick to marketing on a budget is executing against your marketing strategy.