This is a guest post by Catherine van Vonno.
If you have been mulling over turning your passion into a business or considering quitting your job to start your own company, now is the best time to start. Taking the leap to start your small business today is indeed a smart thing to do with all the marketing tools at your disposal.
Although marketing may take a small chunk out of your finances, remember that money is not all it takes to get your business out there. You need talent, a knack for connecting to your target market, and impeccable timing to create a name for your business.
With that, here are 10 low budget marketing ideas for your small business:
1. Optimize Your Google My Business Page
If you haven’t created a Google My Business account yet, don’t waste another day to sign up. Google is a major influencer in marketing, so make sure you make the most out of it. Google My Business helps small companies get visibility online. It will help your company have a higher chance to come up in search results through Google+ and Google Maps.
2. Be Active At Local Networking Events
While it is important to create a name online, don’t underestimate the power of local marketing. Sign up with the associations for small businesses in your town or monitor local companies’ business events through Meetup.com. You can also offer your services to charities as part of your social responsibility as a business. Although monetary compensation is not the objective, you will build invaluable connections with people.
3. Create Your Own Facebook Group
Almost every business now has a Facebook Page. But here’s the secret to getting genuine engagement from real people: create a Facebook group!
Tip: Don’t make the group revolve around your business. People are wary of businesses that take every chance to post about themselves. Find a theme for your group instead that encourages people to interact and share.
For instance, if you bake cakes or pastries, create a Facebook group about baking for busy women or baking for beginners.
4. Invest In Content Marketing
Start a blog if you haven’t yet, and create content that is both relevant and good to read. People are more likely to support a brand that they can find connections with and blogging is the best platform to connect with your audience. Hire a content writer VA from staffing agencies to connect you to the virtual staff.
5. Start Building Your Email List
Many small business owners think twice about getting a business email because of the monthly service fee that providers charge. Fortunately, there are service providers like MailChimp that offer business email management free of charge for companies with small lists.
6. Optimize Referral Schemes
Although it is enviable to advertise through costly platforms such as TV ads and billboards, many experts believe that word-of-mouth remains a strong force in marketing.
People are inclined to try out a brand that they know are approved by their family or friends. Capitalize on this through refer-a-friend schemes. Reward clients who refer other people through discounts and privileges and watch the new customers pour in.
7. Create Your Own Gimmick On Social Media
Almost every business has social channels now. You have to be creative if you want to stand out. Find a stunt or a unique gimmick that is close to your niche. This will help your audience identify your brand and look forward to your posts.
8. Watch Out For Promo Ad Credits
Ads on Facebook and other social networking sites are too costly for start-up businesses. That doesn’t mean you cannot land a spot on these coveted social channels.
There are coupons and promotions on Google and Facebook ads that you can take advantage of. Aside from monitoring these promos, you can also get rebate codes from web hosting providers that come as part of their membership perks.
9. Get Up Close And Personal
One of your advantages as a small company is your capacity to get close and personal with your clients. People appreciate being recognized by the companies they do business with.
Send out thank you notes or postcards to long-term customers, celebrate birthdays with treats, or sign holiday cards to send your warm greetings to customers.
10. Dole Out Freebies And Samples
Many people hesitate to try out a new company if they are already supporting another brand. Open your door to new people by giving out samples of your products. This way, they have a chance to decide for themselves that you are worth their patronage.
Don’t wait too long to earn a big budget for advertising. These 10 low budget marketing ideas for small businesses are tailored to get your company out into the big market.
Author Bio: Catherine van Vonno is the President and Executive Director of 20Four7VA, a global Virtual Assistant (VA) Service Provider. She holds a doctorate degree in Applied Statistics, Research Design and Program Evaluation from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and has over 10 years experience in facilitating evidence-based strategic planning, product development, brand management, legislative communications, and medical policy. She is married and has four children. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.