Best Advertising Options for Small Businesses
Don’t have any bucks to spend on your biz? No worries – there are plenty of marketing tactics you can make use of that won’t blow your small marketing budget. Let’s see how far you can stretch those dollars! Here are 20+ marketing ideas for small businesses working on a small budget.
Publish Great Content
It’d be neglectful not to mention the importance of kick-ass content. If you can create it yourself, all the better (isn’t free always better?). Even if writing isn’t your strong point, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting someone on your team to crank out some articles for your blog. Try top 10 lists, tip collections, best practices for your industry, etc.
Create Instructional Media
Video content is really valuable, and while it can cost big bucks to get professional YouTube videos produced, there’s nothing wrong with giving it a shot yourself or hiring a film student off craigslist. Wistia offers a great video tutorial showing you how to shoot expert-looking footage on your regular old iPhone! If videos sounds like too much of a challenge, try making slide decks and sharing them on slideShare.
Get Ad Promo Credits
While massive campaigns may be out of your budget, there are often discounts and coupons floating around for paid Facebook ads or Google ads. Some web hosting services offer advertising discount codes as part of their membership offering. Check and see if yours does.
Reddit, a bare-bones social network self-titled as the “front page of the internet,” can be a powerful too when used strategically. It is composed of a very tech-savvy audience that bristles at any obvious marketing tactics.
To win Reddit, share only truly awesome content, and post only to extreme niches. In Reddit, there are subcategories (known as subreddits) that deal with some of the narrowest, most specific interests in existence. There’s a subreddit for lockpicking (/r/lockpicking), a subreddit for unicycles (/r/unicycling). Find our niche and dominate.
Be a Savvy Social Networker
Create business accounts and participate in the big social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. And Instagram in there too if your business is image-oriented.
Plan your Attack
Define who your best prospects are, and then determine the best way to reach them. Be as specific as possible. Is the decision maker the CTO or the company, the director of human resources, or a 37-year-old working mom? Will you find them on Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube or Instagram? What about in-person networking at local business meetings? Will you find people at those meeting who are likely prospects or who know and could recommend you to likely prospects? Will customers be searching for your type of production on Google or Bing? Do you want to start promoting your business to them at the start of their buying cycle, or when they’re about ready to pull out their credit card and make the purchase. Write your answers down, and refer to them before you start any new marketing tactic. Use this marketing plan worksheet to gather your information.
If you Don’t Have Website, Get One Set Up
If you can’t afford to have someone custom-design your website, put your site up using one of the company like Wix, SquareSpace or Godaddy that provide templates and tools that make it easy to create a basic website.
Set up a Listing for your business in Search Engine Local Directories
Google and Bing both offer a free listing for local businesses. To get listed on Google, go to Google My Business. To get listed on Bing, go to Bing Places Business. Yahoo charges for local listings, but you get listed on a lot more than Yahoo if you buy their service. The service, called Yahoo Localworks, costs $29.99 a month and lists you in 50 directories including Yahoo Local, Yelp, WhitePages, Bing, Mapquest and more. The benefit of paying: You have a single location to enter your data to make it consistent and available on multiple online directories that your customers might search to find what you sell.
Sign Up for an Email Service
Send an email newsletter and/or promotional offers to customers and prospects for your business. Be sure you ask for permission to send email before putting any person’s email name on your list. One good way to build a permission-based email list of people who want your mailings is to give something away. It could be a free ebook, or even tip-sheet on how to do something related to your business. If you’re a health coach, for instance, you might offer people who sign up for your free newsletter a tip sheet with ” 10 Ways Ways To Lose Weight Without Going on a Diet.” If you don’t have anything to give away, try offering a signup discount on products or services as an incentive. An email service like Constant Contact* makes it easy to manage your list and send professional-looking mailings.
Attend Meetings for Professional Groups
Attend groups such as Chamber of Commerce, other local business groups. local chapters of national groups such as NAWBO, or civic associations. Have business cards in a pocket where they are easily reachable. Don’t forget to ask what the people you speak with do, and to really listen to them. They’ll be flattered by your interest, and better remember you because of it.