When you’re running a small business, every dollar counts. You probably don’t have a huge marketing budget, so you need low-cost solutions that give you a high ROI. In the age of social media and internet proliferation, you have plenty of options. Here are eight low-cost marketing strategies that actually work, and are geared towards small businesses.
1. Search Engine Optimization
If you don’t know much about Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO), you’re behind the curve. Even a basic knowledge of how to rank your business higher on Google results can help move you up the lists, and it only costs the time it takes to learn. Udemy has a good free course if you’re looking to master this critical skill for online marketing.
2. Good Old-Fashioned Networking
Nothing beats in-person networking for finding potential allies, business partners, or advisors, and nowadays, it’s simple to find local groups using apps like Facebook. Networking events are a good way to get your business out there and potentially find people who can help you succeed. Don’t forget to bring your custom-designed business cards!
3. Youtube Instructional Videos
It doesn’t cost anything to post videos on Youtube, and if you’re starting a small business, you probably have something to offer potential viewers. Putting together good instructional videos can help establish you as an industry expert, as well as provide some free advertising for your business. There are also plenty of great mobile apps for creating professional-looking videos quickly and simply.
Blogging can turn into a time-suck for a busy small business owner, but if you can limit the amount of time you spend on it, you can use it effectively. Many small businesses also have blogs because the content can drive potential customers to their website, as long as you’re putting together interesting articles. There are also good websites where you can find high-quality content for a good price if you’d rather just pay for it. Blogging does cost something because you have to pay for a domain name and pay for a web host like BlueHost, but it’s reasonably priced.
5. Referral Programs
Word of mouth marketing has several distinct advantages over other forms because usually people trust recommendations made by respected friends, family, or acquaintances. One way to incentivize this sort of advertising is to offer a generous referral program. This is usually in the form of cash, but it could be whatever your customers find valuable. This way, you can get a few highly motivated people to refer a steady stream of clients to your door.
6. Branded Freebies
It’s official; people love getting swag from companies, even if they never use it. Getting your logo onto some fidget spinners, reusable grocery bags, or pens is a good way to remind people of your business for potentially years to come. Bonus if you brand something that’s actually going to get some use, and it looks cool!
7. Google Maps
When you’re looking for a business, do you usually pull out your phone and do a quick Google Maps search to see what’s in your area? Well, you have the potential to show up on that Google search by getting your place of business on Google Maps. Best of all, it’s completely free when you use Google My Business.
8. Email Newsletters
You should try and get visitors to your site to put their email in so you can send them emails and marketing, which you can do for free through a service like MailChimp. However, putting together a weekly newsletter of a couple of hundred words can help provide some value to people whose inboxes are probably overflowing with junk email. You can include a link to your site but avoiding being just another pushy salesman is sure to set your business apart.