Small businesses have to think big on a small budget – and this is one big challenge to face, especially when it comes to marketing. Competing with larger companies is largely unfeasible, but even competition from similar-sized businesses is difficult. Some small business owners bet a lot on paid marketing strategies and take out bank loans, or mortgage their homes.
If you are unwilling to take on such a risk, you have to make do with whatever budget you can allocate from your savings and early incomes, and replace lack of finances with creativity. Today we want to give you a helping hand and show you how to succeed with really cheap marketing strategies which still work. The success of these strategies depend a lot on you: your personality, and your willingness to go out and meet people, be friendly and helpful.
Without further skirting around the issue, these are some awesome and low-cost marketing strategies to consider applying:
1. Sign up on HARO
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is an online platform where reporters ask questions related to various topics they are covering and reputable sources of information provide answers. Once you sign up as a source on HARO, you will receive a daily digest of questions and you can pick those which you can answer with confidence.
There are two ways in which this helps you in your marketing effort: on the one hand, you will most likely be cited and your name and business name will appear in the article; on the other hand, you will build goodwill with the reporters you help out, and they in turn will be willing to help you get a story out and promote your business.
2. Get Listed on Google Maps/Local
Localisation is very important nowadays. There are a lot of businesses which may have built a stronger online presence than you, but they are located farther away than yours from a customer who is interested in your products and services.
So, even if they find the competitor on the first page of Google search, once they check Google Maps while driving, they will notice that your listed business is much closer. And you have scored a new client. The best thing about getting listed on Google Maps? It is completely free!
3. Join Bartering Programs
There are various types of bartering programs available for small businesses, but one of the most effective is offering non-competing local businesses the possibility to exchange links with you on your respective websites. This practice not only helps with SEO, but also allows people who browse a specific website to discover other businesses which offer products or services which they may need.
4. Grow and Cultivate Your Network
Referrals are still the best marketing tools. Nothing is more effective than the endorsement or validation offered by an industry leader or by respected members of your community. In order to gain their goodwill, you need to be socially active both on the social media and during various public events.
Get involved in organising various events either through sponsorship and give-aways or in any other way, attend these events in person and talk with people, answer their questions, exchange business cards and find common topics of interest for conversations.
5. Give and You Shall Receive
Do not be afraid of sharing your expertise for free through blog posts, video tutorials, or live Q&A sessions with your social media followers and newsletter subscribers. Once you have established your reputation, people will request your paid advice, products or services because they have the confidence that you are qualified to offer them value for their money.
The principle of reciprocity is, after all, one of the core values in life – not only in business. If you have the right people skills, they will successfully replace a large marketing budget and will help you build, maintain and grow a thriving customer base.