In a highly competitive world like today, where everything happens in the blink of an eye, ensuring that you are at the forefront & reaching your audience can be a big challenge. Marketing is one way that can help you reach new customers and propel your business to success.
Unfortunately, small businesses have a relatively tight budget when compared to large scale ones. Most of the money that arrives ends up in the operations of the business.. payroll, inventory, payment of suppliers, etc.
In this context, marketing or advertising can get short shrift.
But did you know you can effectively market/advertise your business with under $200? It seriously is possible! However, with a minimal budget, you must be more creative in determining the right marketing strategy.
Here are 15 ways for business owners to grow their business on a tight budget.
1. Ensure a strong & competitive online presence.
The internet has brought endless possibilities for small businesses. Social networks have opened doors to reach many more people without insane costs. E-commerce has revolutionized the way of selling products online, becoming a showcase giant just a click away.
If you are just taking your first steps into the marketing world, put on the top of your checklist: the creation of a website & Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Pinterest pages. Always take into account your target audience. Creating a page for your business on various socials is free and easy.
In relation to social networks, you can promote your business by creating online ads. You can invest less than $50 on this and reach thousands of people. In addition to generating heavier traffic by varying the options, your business gains the opportunity to make a more effective campaign by figuring out what your audience actually wants.
2. Invest in a quality website.
Have you ever heard that your website is like the home of your business? Well, in it, you can have all the info that is important about your business and bring in people that may become customers. Nowadays, about 81% of people search the internet before buying. Not being able to find your services or products on Google is a clear waste of sales opportunities.
Having a website is not as expensive as you might think, either. There are several platforms available for creating one at a reasonable cost. The important thing is to always focus on user experience and to make sure your website is responsive. The customer experience should always be the best it can be, with clear information that’s easy to understand.
3. SEO optimization.
Having a website is not only a great tool for presenting your business, It’s also a very good way to be referenced on search engines & thus helping you reach your target quickly. Good optimization of your website is necessary for Google robots to locate your websites pages within the multitude of sites on the Internet.
Because you may not have a ton of money in your budget, this can be an interesting way to stand out. You will first need to find the most suitable keywords for your industry in order to integrate them on your site, whether in your content directly or in your Meta tags. To do this, you can use a keyword planner that will help you find new ideas for queries likely to be typed by your prospects.
4. Focus on email marketing.
Email marketing is an inexpensive tool that can generate excellent results for an organization. That’s because, in addition to improving your relationship with customers, an email marketing campaign can make your business sell more. But, to invest in email marketing, you need to collect the emails of each of your customers when making a purchase from your business. Or, you can invite visitors to your page to sign up for your newsletter.
But remember for this strategy to generate results, you have to go beyond the simple promotion of promotions. Create messages that help your customers to solve problems in their day to day, which will justify their registration in your newsletter. Customers need to feel that it is worth staying connected & receiving information about your business. That is, any content sent by email must be relevant and provide useful info.
Think it out in detail, not only to attract attention but to maintain the connection & stimulate a purchase or repurchase. Also, segment your audience, avoiding sending standard messages to all your contacts.
For example, you can create an email list for those who have already purchased from your business, and for those who haven’t yet. That way, you are providing value to the potential customer while at the same time helping you further your business.
5. Partner with others.
Another way to advertise your business while spending under $200 is to enter into partnerships with other businesses that serve the same customers as your company. This can help you reach an even larger audience quickly and easily. When the marketing effort is shared between organizations, it lowers costs.
For example, a beauty salon can offer special discounts for gyms or something like cosmetic stores. Because these places offer inter-related services, it’s clearly beneficial for both businesses. The realization of partnerships increases the reach of your business, and this helps you to sell more.
There are so many cool ways you can partner with other businesses such as co-marketing, guest posting or by exchanging backlinks (to name a few).
6. Produce creative content.
Creating a business blog is often overlooked these days & it shouldn’t be! Blogs can help to educate users, demonstrate the usability of your product or service, introduce new trends, as well as generate credibility for your brand.
If your blog is interesting, informative, well-written & optimized for readability, you will draw the right readers. Those readers will value what you have to say. Eventually, they’ll see you as the expert. And then they’ll buy. It’s a well established process, and it works.
Make sure you take the time to produce relevant content for your audience & identify how you should write, what topics are most sought after by them, and how you can help solve their problems or just bring new information.
7. Install an online chat service.
If you already have a website, you need to install an online chat as well. You’ll be able to interact with your customers and increase sales through a much more direct contact. People like real-time contact yet sometimes don’t want to have to speak to someone on the phone. That’s why it’s an often overlooked addition to a website that can really help your business continue to succeed.
Most live chat options are low cost and have free trials so you can try them out first & see which one works best for your business.
Closer contact between the visitor to your website and your business is essential. Forget the old contact form.. Once you install an online chat tool on your website, you will see a significant increase in contacts. It’s one of those small customer service tools that can provide such a positive impression right off the bat.
Being “known” is important to create a strong image and publicize your company organically and with little investment. Often, customers arise from referrals or conversations with strangers when looking for solutions. But they still need to get to know your business better in a more personal way.
Therefore, try to attend events, attend fairs, and courses within your industry. In addition to exchanging knowledge that can help your business, you have the opportunity to make contact with other people and increase your social network. After creating contacts, transform the relationship into something more consistent.
9. Conduct a webinar.
A creative, easy way to position yourself as a genuine thought leader in front of your customers is to host a webinarReferral Program. These educational experiences help you create authority, build trust, raise brand awareness, and interact with your audience. It’s likely your customers can benefit from your knowledge and expertise, so share it with them. Creating a webinar is much cheaper than hosting a conference and can be nearly as effective.
10. Develop a referral program.
Word-of-mouth is a powerful thing. So, friends who tell their friends about your business are incredibly valuable. Referral programs have long been used by many small and large companies for good reason. Many develop systems that involve commission payments, bonuses, and prizes. But you can start with a lot less.
Offer existing customers a free product, service discount, or other rewards to refer new customers. Many will recommend your business simply because they like it. This simple technique can significantly increase your turnover while improving your relationship with your existing customers. It’s a win-win!
11. Encourage customer testimonials.
Customer testimonials immediately enhances your viability & creates trust among your audience. Try putting testimonials on your website, in your emails, or in your social media posts. Ask satisfied customers to share photos of your product in their home and then promote those images on Instagram. For everyday customers, make it easy to leave reviews and they will usually be happy to do so.
12. Brand giveaways.
One of the best ways to increase customer acquisition is by giving your customers a chance to try your products. Try doing giveaways every once and awhile to see how your target audience responds to this kind of marketing strategy. Some of your customers will definitely spread the word about the quality of your product, and that is the time when your customer acquisition and retention rate can significantly increase.
13. Recycle old content/material.
Focusing on content marketing doesn’t mean that you always have to publish new material for a daily or weekly publication. Different people like to consume content in different ways. Why don’t you recycle your old material? Take an old blog post and turn it into an info-graphic, recording, or relevant how-to video tutorial that addresses another segment of your target audience & potential customers. This will help you save the cost of acquiring new content and spend less converting it to another form.
14. Participate in community events.
If you are looking to get in front of your potential customers, then participate in events that you think your targeted customers are attending. You can take part in charity events or other local happenings to show that your company cares about the community.
Taking interest in community events even as a small business, will promote people to have at least a basic-level of trust in you & be excited about working with your company.
15. Call on an Influencer.
Influencers on Instagram can be the ultimate promoters of your brand. These people not only select the right products to promote, but they also engage with the audience in a way you cannot easily replicate. With this in mind, you can also create referral programs that distribute your content & products to the right influencers who will ultimately promote your products and services. There are more and more niche influencers that you can partner with for a reasonable compensation.
In order to apply the above ideas in your business, you will still require the investment of other resources. While these ideas for low-cost marketing doesn’t require a lot of money..it will require your time, effort, energy, and knowledge. Now that you have a loose roadmap of ways to advertise your business, you can start trying them one by one to grow your business!
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.