Every business needs a way to market that doesn’t necessary cost an arm and a leg, shoestring marketing could be perfect for you. Just because it’s inexpensive, it doesn’t mean it’s not effective or as effective as more expensive solutions, in fact some of the most effective forms of marketing are the least expensive ones.
Use Your Business Card
Business cards are inexpensive and everyone in business should have them, they should be professionally printed as quality does count. Ideally your business cards should be printed on both sides so as to maximize the marketing message you can incorporate. Oh and before someone says business cards cost hundreds of dollars, business cards cost as much as you are willing to pay, my own business cards are plastic and printed on two sides and are a little costly, however good quality printed cards are available from places like Vistaprint.com for just a few dollars.
Whenever you meet someone in business, at a networking event, at a meeting, be sure to leave your business card with them. You never know when someone will need the services you offer and I know of business cards, I have handed out helping send people my way, years after being handed out. Hand your business cards out freely because they are no good in your pockets.
Build a Website with a Blog
It’s very important to watch your budget, especially when starting out but don’t be cheap. Using self-hosted WordPress makes having a website with a blog that looks professional really easy. You can purchase a theme for 50 dollars, buy a domain for about 25 dollars, and host your website for as low as 5 dollars a month. Every penny of that cost is worth it and think of it as an investment.
If you’re technological deficient, you should hire someone after all that’s how I make my living, however sometimes you just can’t afford it. So consider using a website builder that offers a blog function. You want the blog to be on your website and not separate from your website like a Blogger or WordPress.com blog. However you choose to do this, the next step is to write regular informative, keyword-rich blog posts that you then promote via social media.
Let me be blunt, every single business should have a blog and every business should write blog posts regularly, the more often you write them, the more successful you will be.
Use Social Media to Promote Everything
Set up branded social media accounts for your business, use the same basic profile for each social media platform so that as people encounter you on different social media platforms the same marketing message (your profile) is encountered and reinforced. I’d personally suggest that every business have a Twitter and LinkedIn account, as these really work well together especially when combined with an active blog.
Find a Joint Venture Partner for a Project
A joint venture partnership is not a real business partnership, it’s simply a joining of forces or a collaboration between complementary business owners who share an audience but are not in direct competition. Finding a project to work on like this can essentially help you both double your audience.
Make the JV partnership a time-limited project that has a definite beginning and ending. Determine all the rules and how money will be handled up front and write it down in a contract. Define each aspect of the work that each of you will be responsible for completing. Be clear and stick to the plan and you’ll both come out successful.
If you’ve visited https://website-designs.com you’ll notice that we give away a free eBook, titled “five things you can fix on your website to generate more leads” … I’ve ran a few successful joint ventures with this eBook, in that I co-brand it with a suitable joint venture partners logo and my joint venture partners distribute it to their customers… consider this for a minute, I get access to the clients of a local business, in fact I get referred to them by a business they already trust … and my joint venture partner gets to share some quality information and so help his customers. A win, win for everyone and an easy to explain marketing joint venture plan… perhaps you could do something similar.
Write a Book
If you’re an expert on anything, you can write a book about the topic. You can publish it easily on Kindle, or promote it as a PDF document right from your website. You can sell it, or give it away for free. It’s up to you. But, a book can push you forward in the eyes of your audience as a true expert.
Get on the Speaking Circuit
Using your book as a foundation, put the word out that you’re ready to give talks locally and for the cost of a ticket, room and board, go to other speaking events and participate. Sometimes, you can even get paid for speaking once you’re established and in demand. So, not only can speaking become a good marketing opportunity, but it can also become a new revenue stream.
When you really have no money, a great way to get the word out is to create a lot of buzz. You can do this in a number of ways. Write a controversial blog post, or have a contest with videos that get voted on by the video creator’s friends, family and audience. It’s a great way to get people talking and to get free advertising. Offer a relevant and amazing prize package and it’ll also create buzz. You could also circulate a press release about something news worthy, this can often create a lot of buzz especially if your focus is local.
Build Relationships through Networking
Choose networking events to attend wisely, as you want to network where you target customers go to network, for most people this means the chamber of commerce. Also since your budget is limited, try to find online or local networking events that you can attend. There are many mastermind groups online that have a fee for joining (some are free), but are awesome ways to find clients once you spend the time building relationships and developing trust you just have to remember that it takes time to build this trust and as such networking is not a quick fix.
A really great way to increase your customer base is to convince your customers to refer you to others. Most of the time satisfied customers will tell others about you, but in some cases they may not because they want to keep you to themselves. This is especially true with service-based businesses. So, a great way to overcome this issue is to give your customers a reason to tell others about you, such as a discount coupon, or additional freebies for each paying customer they send your way.
Use these marketing ideas when you have little to no money will take mostly time, especially if you need to learn how to use the technology. However, putting to work even a couple of these ideas will push your business forward.