Small businesses often regard marketing as an unnecessary expense, but there are dozens of cost-effective techniques that startups and SMEs can use to promote themselves. Here are eight smart ways to market your business on a shoestring budget.
Many business owners are too busy for Facebook, so they steer away from it as a potential marketing tool. But if utilised correctly, a Facebook page can quickly build your brand and increase your client base. The adverts are inexpensive compared to traditional media, and are highly targeted to location, age, gender, and even specific interests. Ask someone in the know to help you, hire an expert or do your own online research and start an engaging and effective Facebook page for your business. Giveaways and competitions are another inexpensive ways to gain likes on your page and drive traffic to the website that showcases your product or service.
- Quality content
Are you an expert at anything? Do you have information, advice or a particular point of view to share? A professional search-engine-optimised (SEO) website with an active blog need not cost an arm and a leg or take too much time. You should be staying ahead of new developments in your industry anyway – now you just need to share engaging articles and information that you come across, as well as create quality content of your own. By writing articles and blog posts, you can begin to position yourself as an expert in your field.
These days, online videos don’t need to be professionally shot, as long as the content is relevant, helpful and interesting. Tips and advice, success stories, case studies, testimonials and more can be shared via videos on your own YouTube channel. Make sure you do research into what makes a good YouTube video before you start. Be unique, funny, informative or insightful – make an impact.
Once you’ve created a voice for yourself online, consider doing talks around topics that might interest your clients and others involved in your industry. What could you share that others would find valuable? Are there skills that are needed in your field that you may be able to teach via seminars or workshops?
If you don’t see yourself as a public speaker, find other ways to get out there and be noticed. Attend industry events, chat on related forums and follow the relevant people and businesses on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Always have professionally-designed business cards with you – you never know when you might meet your next big client.
- Business directories
There are a number of great online and offline business directories that will list your business for free or at a low cost. These help to ensure people can find you online. Always triple check that the information and contact details given are 100% accurate.
- Community involvement
You don’t need to spend millions to sponsor an event, project or local team. Find ways to create a win-win situation where you receive publicity in exchange for doing something meaningful in your community.
- Exhibitions, Expos and Trade Shows
According to recent research, 86% of business directors agree that exhibitions are the second most effective way to generate sales leads, after a great website. Stands at expos may cost a bit, but there’s often an excellent return on investment as exhibitions are a great way to engage directly with your target market, demonstrate your product or service, and create interest in your brand.
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