The term “small business” covers a pretty broad range of business, from Etsy shops to tech startups. But one thing most small businesses have in common is a limited budget, as well as limited personnel. It can be difficult for a small business to market itself, among big brands that can afford large, expensive advertisements and PR campaigns. Here are a few ways your business can successfully do marketing, without breaking the bank.
1. Partner Up
One of the best ways to get some cheap advertising for a small business is by partnering with another small business. You could choose a business that shares an audience with you, without being in direct competition, or partner with a small vendor to throw an event of some kind. Together, you can do things like offer prizes for online contests that will increase traffic to both of your websites, virtual desktop solutions, or offer package deals for a discounted price. Because you’re working with another business, you can share the costs of the project while sharing the benefits. You can even have a referral deal, offering discounts to customers if they also shop at your partner’s store. Plus, this is a great way to connect to others in your industry and start developing a supportive and lucrative network.
2. Start Content Marketing
Having an on-site blog is a great way to increase traffic to your website for no cost at all. Provided you have the writing skills, you can start creating content relevant to your industry, and updating it on a regular basis. You can also write for other blogs and forums that have relevant interests, directing readers to your website in subtle ways, without directly making a sales pitch. Writing content has the added benefit of showing customers that your business is still relevant, and that you are a business owner who cares about knowing their industry.
3. Get Business Cards
Business cards might seem like an outdated approach to networking, and you may feel a little self conscious giving them out. But if you consider how many emails and calls your potential connections are getting on a daily basis, you’ll realize how much a physical business card might stand out and make your interaction memorable. Include only the basic contact information, along with your name, title, and company name. Invest in a good, clean design that matches your other branding, and keep them on you at all times. A business card is something that can easily be given out without having to awkwardly exchange phone numbers or email addresses, increasing the chances that someone will actually hold onto it and contact you later.
4. Use Your Network
Networking is something you probably did a lot of as you started your business, so you now have a phone full of useful contacts. What can be tough sometimes is knowing how to use those contacts. It can be nerve wracking to cold call someone you met once at a seminar to ask them for something, but getting used to leveraging your contacts is a great way to market your business. Even something as simple as posting about business updates on Facebook and having friends share the post is a free way to get your name out there. Encourage friends and other connections to tag interested parties in your posts and interact in other ways. Reach out to your connections regularly and let them know what you’re offering, making it clear you’re prepared to do business and aren’t afraid to sell to them. Plus, just having a few people recommend your products or services to others is a guaranteed way to get new business.
Running a small business can be a thankless task. It might take years for you to get off the ground and start achieving the goals you had when you started out. Using these tips to approach marketing in an economically smart way will help you get there a lot more quickly.
Guest Article by Kevin Gardner
Kevin Gardner graduated with a BS in Computer Science and an MBA from UCLA. He works as a business consultant for InnovateBTS where he helps companies integrate technology to improve performance. He shares his knowledge and expertise not only with his clients but with his fellow bloggers and readers.
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