12 marketing ideas for a small business on a budget.
Learn how to market your small business! It doesn’t matter if you sell a service, or any kind of product, you need a solid marketing strategy in order for people to find you. Having little or no money available to market your business can make it hard to attract the attention of potential customers, but it is certainly not impossible.
The tips and ideas I share with you will not break your bank account, some are even free, and can be used by any type of small business.
How to market your small business!
Take a look at my 12 ideas and pick out the ones that work best for you, your lifestyle, your budget and your business.
Idea #1 – Introduce yourself
This may be a no brainer, but very few of us do this in real life. Whenever you visit a local store, meet a fellow business owner or wait in line somewhere try to strike up a friendly conversation. Ask questions about the person’s business, talk about the weather or the local sports team. Whatever it takes to get them talking.
Before you know it they will ask you what you do for a living and exchange business cards with you. Having a well rehearsed speech in place is key to making this idea work best.
Have you ever heard of an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a short prepared speech to quickly define a person or profession. You don’t necessarily want to to sell your products or services while you recite your speech, but make people want to learn more about you and what you have to offer.
Spend some time thinking about what causes you or your business to stand out. What truly differentiates you from your competition?
How to deliver a powerful elevator pitch:
- Think short and sweet
- It has to roll off your tongue easily
- Use a powerful verb (e.g. I’m … I partner with homeowners who want their new home to feel like a vacation getaway.)
- You have to believe the speech yourself
- Give it some attitude and don’t forget to smile
- Be quiet once you’re done, this will prompt the other person to start talking
- Have a few different variations ready
How to market your small business in person? Express yourself in a way that is simple, honest and uses words the average person can understand. Introduce yourself whenever you have an opportunity, make conversation and get comfortable saying your pitch.
Remember, the more you do this, the easier it gets, and always have business cards handy.
Idea #2 – Utilize major Social Media Sites
Social media networking is a must for every small business owner these days. That being said doesn’t mean you have to create an account and update hundreds of social sites.
The 5 most visited social media websites in the order of their importance: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube.
You should create an account for at least two of these sites and share regular content. Your fun to business ratio for posting content should be about 5 : 1, share five fun or interesting links, pictures or videos to one business related posting.
People don’t want to see advertising or sales pitches on social media sites.
We don’t go to social sites to shop, we go there to socialize and share ideas and interests. So the best way to utilize any social media website is to make connections first and do the marketing later on. Make friends by offering free information, share useful tips and try to provide value in any way you can. This is a great example on how to market your small business on a small budget.
Figure out what people want and how you can provide it for them.
Then let them know about it on your social media pages. Creating a social media calendar is a great way to get started. Avon offers a free, easy to use Social Media calendar and scheduling system to all of their Reps. You can find it in YourAvon.com under ‘Avon Social’.
To get started, pick only one social site per day, create an account and add a few pictures and postings. Once you created all the accounts you want to participate in take turns adding
more content on a regular basis.
A couple of times per week to post fresh content per site is usually sufficient at the beginning. Don’t forget to like other pages and interact with them by sharing content from other businesses in your local area as well as in different states and even countries. After you have followers that interact with your page you want to check in daily to answer any questions that might arise. Learn more about best practices for social media marketing.
It is a good idea to create a social media spreadsheet to keep track of it all. Write down your log in information, keywords, interests, short and long term goals, contact information, website URL and other important information. Add lines for each social media site you joined and update the information from time to time.
Idea #3 – Transform your Waiting Area
If you have a dedicated area for waiting clients or customers, either a room or maybe a counter, then try to make their wait time more productive. Set up a laptop or tablet opened up to your Facebook page, your blog or Yelp! profile and encourage social engagement.
This is a great tool for vendor events as well. Encouraging social sharing for your small business is very important!
Make a flyer or write a friendly note and place it in a highly visual place asking your visitors to ‘like’ your page, leave a comment or invite them to write a quick review. You could also offer a small gift like a keychain or water bottle with your logo on it for leaving you valuable feedback or for sharing your social media pages with their friends and family.
How To Market Your Small Business On A Small Budget!
Idea #4 – Claim your Online Business Listings
Claiming your business listings is a quick, easy and free way to solidify your online presence. By simply claiming your business listing on review sites you are letting people know where you are located and that you are an actual, real business.
Eight major online review sites where you can claim your business:
- Google My Business
- Yahoo! Local Listings
- Insider Pages
- Angie’s List
When creating your online business listings use keywords that best describe the products or services you offer. Think about the words you would use if you were looking for a business like yours.
Never be afraid to ask your customers to give you a review after they visit or make a purchase. Most people would be happy to provide feedback when reminded.
Engage with the people that leave reviews and let them know that you value and appreciate their honest opinions. Answer as many reviews as possible, in a timely fashion. This will truly go a long way with your customers and more people will be inclined to leave reviews in the future. It’s a great example on how to market your small business on a small budget.
Don’t fret if some of your reviews are not 100% positive. No business is ever perfect! Use criticism as a learning tool to improve your business and follow up with the person to see how you can fix the problem.
Many surveys have proven that customers are more satisfied with a company if there was an issue and it got resolved, compared to the ones where there was never a problem in the first place. It shows follow through and that you have your customers best interest in mind.
Of course, showing a little love never hurts either! Show your customer appreciation by giving away free products, hold a weekly or monthly giveaway or invite your customers to your open house or new product launch party.
Idea #5 – Start a Blog
Every small business needs to have a web presence. It could be a simple one page ‘digital brochure’ with your contact information or a full blown website with product pages, an about page, contact page and so on.
In addition to your website you might also want to consider starting a blog for your small business success. What is the difference between a website and a blog? A blog is a type of website with the primary purpose of discussion and interaction. I like to think of a blog as a collection of articles, just like a newspaper. Each article can have text, pictures, videos, and inbound as well as outgoing links.
You can have a ‘free-standing’ blog on a blogging platform like Blogger or Wordpress. Many websites also contain a blog within them, you will often see a menu tab labeled “Blog”, “News” or as on my website “Articles“, which brings you to the blog section of that particular website.
Once you start a blog you need to stay committed to blogging for at least 12 months to give yourself a chance to see results. This is a long-term activity that deserves your attention and dedication. Your blogging schedule should stay consistent, with a minimum of adding at least one new article about once a week.
Schedule time to dedicate to blogging, about one hour or the length of a sitcom, and then stick to it. Put away your phone and any other distractions, and simply write about your small business and what you know. Keep a list of article ideas and jot them down on a piece of paper or in the notes section of your phone. Once you have a subject to write about it is much easier to get started. You can always share your own ideas on how to market your small business.
Invite readers to comment on your posts at the end of each article. Reach out to your fellow bloggers to contribute to your blog in the form of guest posts. This will benefit them and will also provide your blog with more substance and diversity. Think about writing guest articles to submit to other blogs to get back-links.
A well written article on someone else’s blog will get traffic to flow from their blog to yours.
You can reach out to fellow bloggers via email, website forms or by phone. Just ask! Take a look at some of the other articles on the site where you want to be a guest blogger and have a couple of topics in mind. Do your homework since you want to offer substance and value that will blend well with the rest of their content.
Another good way to get visitors to read your articles on your blog is to leave thought provoking comments on related blogs that write about similar topics. People that leave comments will read several other comments before adding their own. If you have something interesting to say, add it as a comment with your name and website address, and then continue the conversation on your own site.
Keep in mind, authorship in the form of blog articles will not only improve your brand, but will add to your professional portfolio as well.
Coming Soon >> Ideas To Market Your Small Business Part 2
In part 2 of this small business series I will explain content marketing, different ways to utilize local marketing and much more.
How do you market your small business at this time? Leave me a comment below.
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