By Mike Kappel (Forbes)
To get customers, you must market your business. But if your business is running on a shoestring, you probably can’t spend on billboards, radio ads, and mass mailings. You need to find effective, low-cost marketing methods that provide ROI.
7 Low-Cost Marketing Ideas
Marketing on a small budget is possible; you just need to be strategic about what you spend on. Try out these seven inexpensive marketing ideas for small businesses.
Almost everyone is on social media, so your business should be, too.
You can pay for advertising on social media. This will get your business in front of a lot of potential customers. But, this can be expensive. You can also do some free small business social media marketing.
Some social media sites let users leave reviews on business pages. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your profiles. Then, when potential customers come across your profiles, they will see the praises from other customers.
You can also post content that encourages people to buy from your business. You might post photos of new products, coupon codes, and online contests.
Every small business needs a website. When people do a web search for your business, your website should show up at the top of the results. And if people are looking for products or services in your area, your web page should be among the results. You can improve your website’s chances of showing up in search results through SEO.
So, what makes a website effective? Your business information must be clear. People should be able to easily find your location, hours, and contact information. Your website should at least have basic information about your products or services. You might also have customer testimonials and a blog.
Try teaming up with other local businesses. You can promote each other’s businesses. For example, you might give your customers a coupon to the other business, and vice versa. Or, you can promote each other to your email lists.
Look for complementary businesses. Obviously, you won’t want to partner with competitors. You might look for a business that sells a related product. For example, a sandwich shop might partner with an ice cream store.
If you have a company vehicle that you regularly drive around, consider branding it with your company logo and information. A full paint job can be expensive, so you might opt for magnets that stick to the sides. Or, you can purchase window decals to put on the side and back windows.
If your business is located on a main street where a lot of pedestrians go, try putting a sign on the sidewalk outside your business. You might list a sale or announce new inventory. As people walk by, they will hopefully stop in your business to learn more.
You might try getting your local media to cover your business. You can do this by sending out press releases and networking with local reporters.
Keep in mind; reporters won’t cover promotional things, such as sales. You’ll have to buy an advertising spot for those. But, if your business has something unique or newsworthy to share, you might get some free publicity.
Marketing To Existing Customers
Marketing to existing customers is a great way to improve your bottom line in business. You know these people will buy from you, so you just need to turn them into repeat customers.