Concerns about the cost of marketing can put sole traders and small businesses off dipping their toe into the sea of self-promotion, however there are plenty of cost effective ways to market your business and some of them are even free!
Cheap ways to promote your business
There are many cheap ways to promote your business if you are prepared to be creative. As a starting point, it’s useful to think about the resources that are already available to you and find ways of building upon them. Here are some ideas:
- Invest in a new sign for your premises
- Put brand advertising on your work vehicle
- Use branded clothing for employees
- Use a mobile sign for when you are working at different locations
- Improve your website by starting a blog and offering value-added content
How to market your business locally
If you’re specifically interested in boosting your business locally here are some tactics that can help:
- Write a press release once and month and send to local publications
It can be about anything from new staff, charity partnerships or winning a new client. The purpose is to let people know that you are there and working hard!
- Encourage customers to write a review of your service or product
Whether this be on social media, in a community publication or on a website this can provide a useful endorsement of your work and your business.
- List your business on popular local directories
There are many popular online directories, including Yelp, Yellowbook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Google, Bing and Yahoo.
- Attend local networking events
Get out there and get involved! Many local networking events are free and can be a great opportunity to meet new people and promote your business.
How to market your business online
Regardless of the size of your business it’s crucial to your marketing to have a presence online. Here are some tips for how to promote your business on the internet:
- Make sure your website adds value
It’s not enough just to have a website – it needs to work hard for your business particularly when it comes to marketing. It should explain clearly what you do and display up-to-date contact details. You should aim to have quality content on there to inform and engage your target audience so consider adding a blog and information area.
- Prioritise blogging
A blog increases your chances of getting noticed as it helps with SEO (search engine optimisation) and gives a unique voice to your brand. It is also advisable to guest blog for other reputable business websites to build links online.
- Use videos
YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine so it’s well worth considering creating a channel and using it for marketing. ‘How-to’, response and product videos can all prove popular with potential customers.
- Use email marketing
Grow your database regularly and give customers the opportunity to opt-in by signing up for emails and newsletters. Self-service email platforms such as MailChimp will help you get started.
- Be active on social media
Promote news, events, services, promotions and interact with your customers using Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook. With millions of small businesses using these channels you can’t afford not to!
How to advertise your business for free
Many small business owners don’t have the luxury of a marketing budget but there are ways that you can advertise your business for free if you’re prepared to put in the time and effort.
- Use social media
Identify the social channels that reach your customers best including Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Aim to provide your followers with something that will interest them, be useful to them and that is shareable.
- Create awareness
Research publications and writers that cover local business stories and your industry and pitch them a story. Provide them with a high-quality image to use and with contact details. You can also subscribe to Help a Reporter Out which is a free service that allows you to contact writers directly.
- E mail marketing
Free services such as MailChimp allow you to build a community of customers by encouraging them to sign up for e mails and newsletters. You can use this channel to provide timely information about your business as well as events, promotions and more information about your company.
So, there you have it! There are loads of ways to market your small business on a shoestring without having to pay out costly agency fees. Good luck!