Marketing is essential for any business, but what if you don’t have a marketing budget? Never fear, you can do great things with tiny budget.
Let’s look at five creative ways.
1. Leverage Google with Google+ Local
Everyone searches with Google. If you haven’t yet joined Google+, do that now. The people who are searching for you and your products are in your local area, so your Google+ Local entry will get you business. Cost: zero, just the time it takes to create your entry.
Creating a Google+ Local page is easy. Google explains:
Local Google+ pages are unique from other categories of pages because they have features that allow customers to easily connect with that business’s physical location. For example, local pages include a map of the business’s location and feature its address, phone number, and hours of operation. Local pages also share the functionality of other Google+ pages – you can create and manage circles, start and join hangouts, and share content like posts and photos.
2. Network creatively
No, I’m not suggesting that you go to your local Chamber of Commerce meetings, although that couldn’t hurt.
Think about reciprocal marketing: you promote others, and they promote you.
Let’s say you own a pet shop. You can’t afford the rent in the high traffic streets in your town, so your business is on a side street. Reciprocal marketing would help you to get known.
Call on other local businesses, and introduce yourself. Watch for reciprocal opportunities. For example, you could promote your local veterinarians, and they could keep a stack of your business cards and flyers for their customers.
3. Get them talking – encourage word-of-mouth referrals
Think about ways you could encourage business referrals. If you’re in a service business, and have a client roster, give your clients a little something extra whenever they refer someone to you.
4. Go retro with paper: use personal letters and postcards
Think in terms of personal letters, rather than mass mailings. Everyone loves to receive letters. Yes, letters take time to write. However they do make an impact.
Recently one of my clients, a management consultant, landed a $25,000 contract which stemmed from a letter he wrote. The letter took him 30 minutes to write; time well spent.
5. Get publicity: PR always works
Many years ago when I was still a romance writer, I was working at a company which spent enormous sums on display ads in Sunday newspapers.
One day I wrote a press release and send it out to local media. That single press release had huge effect. Not only did the business get mentions in newspapers and magazines, a national magazine wrote a complete spread with photographs. Our boss did radio interviews as well as TV appearances.
That single press release had a bigger effect than pricey advertising ever did. It got the business known, and the business traded off that storm of publicity for years.
What’s newsworthy about your business? Publicity is much more valuable than advertising. If you can get press coverage, you’re golden.
These five low-cost marketing methods work for any business, and they work even if you have a tiny budget. Try them.