So, you’ve started a business, and now you need to let everyone know what you’re offering. It’s rare to have a big wedge of money in place for your marketing budget straight out the gate, but here are a few cost-effective ways to market your business on a budget.
1. Get to grips with your social media.
It’s not enough to ‘be on Facebook’ and hope that the likes and enquires start rolling in. You need to engage with your customer base. Lots of small businesses shy away from this type of marketing because it’s too time-consuming or they aren’t familiar with social media, so they avoid it like the plague.
Check out how your competitors are using their social media channels. Take inspiration from them, but do it better! Post about what's going on in your business, what you’re passionate about or tips and tricks that possible customers could gain from.
When you are open and honest and willing to help, people tend to gravitate towards you for your business. It’s not showing off; it’s vital to your marketing. If your customers don’t know what you’re doing or what you’re all about, why would they opt to spend their money with you?
We’ve recently written a blog for beauty Salons tips on Facebook which covers off using Messenger as a tool to engage with visitors. You can adapt this to many business models.
Facebook is also launching Facebook shops. In 2020 many small businesses were struggling, and with many businesses closing, more looked to take their business online. 'Facebook shops' is the answer to many businesses wanting to sell online. It makes it a simple process for businesses to set up an online store for customers to access products on both Facebook and Instagram platforms. The Facebook shop willl be customizable, giving the owner an array of tools to brand their business effectively and simply.
2. Create a free Google My Business account
Before you do anything, make sure you create an account with Google My Business. This means if someone searches for your type of business in their area, you will show up in the search results plus you’ll be visible on google maps and google+ too.
3. Become a source for local and national journalists.
This is a really easy way to get your name out there. Connect with local journalists to help them with quotes and information for relevant articles. Once you build up your relationship, they’ll keep coming back to you for your comment which results in you and your business is mentioned. It’s great exposure for your business plus you become the person people go to because they trust your knowledge and advice.
4. Flex your networking muscles.
Networking – you either love it or you hate it, but it’s definitely changing. People are creating networking groups that are much more casual and based around creating an inclusive community rather than an exclusive one. So search your local area for new networking groups or even better, start one of your own! You’ll meet loads of new people and in the long run, gain referrals from your new contacts.
5. Take advantage of email marketing
When you start a business, building an email list is very low on your list of priorities, but once you start getting your customers data, it’s invaluable! Letting them know what’s going on in your business or any deals they should be taking advantage of. Run a competition in-store or online or ask them to join the newsletter and receive 10% off their next order. Customers like a bit of an incentive, they know their data is worth something these days, and they’ll rarely hand out their details to just anyone, so give them something back in return. Take a look at an email marketing platform to get you started – a good, free one is MailChimp.
6. Ask for reviews
If you feel the service or product you’re providing is 5 star, then ask your customers for reviews or testimonials! These are vital for any business to thrive and customers who are on the fence about whether to use you will always seek out reviews, whether it’s on Facebook, Google, Feefo or Reviews.io. Check out how our customers rate their experiences using our merchant cash advance loan product here with Reviews.io
7. Create a Facebook group
If you’re savvy with Facebook, you could create a Facebook group to help your customer base. When people engage in a Facebook group and find a community, they’re more likely to trust you and in turn, spend their money with you. It’s a great way to see how your target market works, talks, thinks and ultimately, what they need and want from you. Best of all, it’s completely free.
8. Make use of a blog
If you already have a website, you might as well add a blog onto there. Start posting content that’s relevant to your business. This helps Google find you and starts to push you up the search listings in your local area. The more you post, using keywords relevant to your business, the easier it is for customers to find you.
With all of these free resources at your disposal, it makes marketing your business on a budget an absolute doddle.