Looking to learn how to market your business without spending a thousands of dollars on ads? I’ve gotchu!
Whether you’re just starting out in business or you’ve been at it for a while, marketing often comes up as a big question mark for most entrepreneurs.
Frankly, I’m not surprised.
- Marketing is an ever-evolving field, especially online, so it might feel difficult to keep up with the trends.
- Putting yourself (and your business) “out there” feels uncomfortable to many new entrepreneurs.
- Fear of failing (or success) plagues many people who know they have to market their business but are afraid of actually doing it.
These are not the only reasons, unfortunately, but I want to tackle at least the first concern in this post today: how to market your business, online and offline, using techniques and ideas that work at any time and for any business.
But because every business is different, not every single one of these suggestions will be applicable to your specific business and that’s okay. Just take what you need out of this, adapt it to make it fit, and move forward, because with 65 effective suggestions for how to market your business, you really have no excuse now to NOT do it, do you?
How to Market Your Business on a Small Budget
1. Create a Facebook Page and post valuable engaging content to get people excited about your topic of focus as well as excited about your product by staying updated with what it has to offer in a non-salesy way. Struggling with getting engagement? Try these ideas.
2. Build your email list. Use that email list. Email has an ROI of 4,300% and is one of the most cost-effective AND revenue-driving online channels out there.
3. Send a personal email to your friends, family, and acquaintances letting them know about your business and inviting them to think about someone they know that might benefit from your services and products and ask them for a referral.
4. Have your business listed as your place of work on your personal Facebook profile so that each time a friend or a prospect visits your profile, they can easily learn more about your company. Make sure it’s publicly visible too!
5. Send a personal email to friends and acquaintances who might be interested in working with you. Offer them a special deal for being one of the first clients that you’d love to serve.
6. Upload engaging promo videos directly to your Facebook page and enjoy the boost in organic reach, especially if your page is already at least somewhat built up.
7. Upload your engaging business videos, whether they’re content-focused or promo-focused, to YouTube, making sure you’re using the relevant keywords AND your branded keywords in the description, title, and tags.
8. Make your customers feel special by adding that WOW factor to your post-purchase experience. Whether it’s adding a nice hand-written note to the package you send with your product, filming a special video for the new client, or sending them a heartwarming welcome gift through snail mail. They’ll be left amazed and happy for having done business with you, and will be more likely to tell their friends about you as well.
9. Create unique business cards. Don’t go for the typical templated approach – hire a designer and get creative with it. Give your prospects a reason to NOT throw that card away.
10. Attend networking events in your city. Try Meetup.com or events by Chamber of Commerce. Sure, small talk might not be your favorite thing but one or two drinks in, it becomes a lot more fun and a lot less awkward. Make sure you make actual connections during these events though, don’t just shove your business cards down people’s throats (not matter how crazy cool they might be).
11. Guest post on someone else’s website or blog, especially a popular one.
12. Create a freebie to give to people in exchange for their email address. Stuck on what to include in the freebie? Here’s a checklist of things for creating your Irresistible Opt-In Freebie.
13. Put up flyers and posters on the bulletin boards of your local coffee shops, co-working spaces, and other places where your customers might hang out.
14. Give your product away for free and collect email addresses as a way to enter to win. Have sharing the giveaway with their friends be a way to get extra entries to bump up that viral potential.
15. Send thank you notes to past clients and customers on gorgeous stationary. Handwritten? Even better.
16. Get interviewed on a podcast.
17. Give a talk at your local networking or business event. It might be free but the exposure, authority, and trust you’ll establish with real live people is fantastic.
18. Write great content on your blog and keep in mind SEO tips to get more traffic.
19. Pin photos of your product to Pinterest. Include relevant keywords in the caption. Make sure the photo drives people back to your website where they can buy/learn more.
20. Engage in Google Plus communities. But find the one that are actually worth your time. The right ones can be a great place to get your content in front of new audiences worldwide.
21. Come up with a cool online campaign and actually go through with it.
22. Attend tradeshows and conferences. Have business cards or brochures ready.
23. Interact and engage in relevant Facebook groups.
24. Start your own Facebook group. Invite your ideal customers to join. Make it fun and valuable.
25. Make friends with local media. Have a friend who works at the local newspaper or news network? Pitch your product to them for coverage.
26. Host a workshop and teach your potential customers something valuable. I taught a class on Google Plus at my local co-working space that hosts various free workshops throughout the week. The class was small but very engaged and I gained some valuable fans who saw me as an expert.
27. Participate in discussion boards and forums. Have your signature be filled out with your website and business name along with your quick tagline.
28. Update your email signature to include your name, title, business name, tagline, and website. Many people use Wisestamp for this.
29. Create a Twitter account and start engaging with some potential customers. Create relationships.
30. Invite someone else on your blog or website.
31. Have someone else, who already has a following, guest post on your website or blog.
32. Start a podcast.
33. Write a super valuable EPIC piece of content on your blog and let everyone know about it. Invite people to link to it and share it because it’s so darn awesome and valuable and better than what you see on the first page of Google today.
34. Review someone else’s product on your YouTube channel or blog. Let them know about it.
35. Create an infographic out of your popular content. Bonus points if you can tie it to your product or service. Here’s an idea of how I did it with this post (it’s about Google+ Marketing).
36. Upload your content to Slideshare to get it exposed to a new audience.
37. Subscribe to HARO (help a reporter out) and see if any of the pitches relate to you. Pitch yourself. Get featured all around the web. We love free publicity!
38. Put your business up on Yelp even if it’s not a local business. People use Yelp a LOT to search for various businesses. When I was focusing on my first business, photography, I got a lot of leads just from putting my business account up and not even doing a whole lot to keep up with it afterwards.
39. Offer coupons or special discounts to those who came to your business to entice them to come back.
40. Find bloggers to review your products. I know I did this a LOT back when I was focusing on my wellness blog, and in fact, many bloggers will do this for free just in exchange for product. You’ll be surprised at the amount of traffic and interest you might get when you get reviewed by a popular blogger. Use simple query keywords in Google, such as “[your product type] + review” (ie. “granola review” OR “restaurant review Chicago”), to locate promotional review opportunities for your product offerings.
41. Bloggers also love doing giveaways because it’s a great way to treat their audience right. Consider having a blogger do a review AND a giveaway of your product. This creates even more excitement and buzz around your product! To find these bloggers, use simple search terms, such as “[your product type] + giveaway” (ie. “indie jewelry giveaway”).
42. Add social media sharing buttons on your website to make it easy for others to share, whether it’s your product, blog post, or a page on your website. A plugin I like to use is Shareaholic for blog posts.
43. Answer questions all around the web. This allows you to share your expertise and grow your authority without being salesy. If someone is especially impressed by your helpfulness and aid, they will look at your business and inquire to learn more.
44. Use LinkedIn groups to and answer group questions and post news and updates about your company.
45. Add people to your LinkedIn connections. Create conversations with these people and introduce yourself and your business as a resource without any sleazy selling. Just you. Being there. Happy to help.
46. Do a crowdsourced post on your blog – ask people in your niche a question and have them answer. Let them know about the post when it’s up and encourage sharing. Extra bonus points if you ask bloggers or other entrepreneurs who already have a following.
47. Create a “Best in the Industry” blog post and spotlight some of the best influencers in the industry. Then let them know about it. Chances are, they might share it with their own tribe. Just don’t target giants like Oprah or Apple, go for the up and coming stars instead – they’re more likely to respond and share it.
48. Run a weekly blog roundup of links from around the web around your niche and target audience might find interesting. Then let these featured bloggers/websites know by emailing them or tweeting at them. They might just share or retweet your link.
49. Comment on popular blogs and include your website in the URL field so when someone finds your comment helpful and interesting, they can click through to learn more about you. Make sure your Gravatar has a picture too, so it’s not some anonymous random pic that pops up next to your name. And actually read the post first and be thoughtful when you write the comment.
50. Respond to people’s comments on popular blogs. Many times these commenters will get a notification that someone responded to their comment and you can then start a conversation.
51. Give a donation or volunteer at a local organization or a charity and get exposure through their event or website when they feature you.
52. Offer a testimonial or endorsement for another company on their website.
53. Sell your products and market yourself on Craigslist.
54. Help influential people in your industry promote their own products on your blog and on social media, many times they will gladly return the favor when the time comes for your own launch or promotional period.
55. Create a free webinar or online workshop where you give away a ton of value and teach how to do something that people would even pay to see. This helps you build your list and establish your authority and expert-level status.
56. Partner with non-competitive businesses and co-create a product or webinar together.
57. Create an affiliate program and reach out to people who might want to be your promoters. Offer them a great incentive, typically 40-60% commission for digital products and around 10-20% commission for physical products.
58. Attend a conference or big event and “live tweet” during it using their hashtag or write up a review on your blog using the blog’s relevant keywords. Let the organizers know. They just might share it too!
59. Create products that are available by paying with a tweet or a Facebook share. This is perfect for people who are already on your email list. That way they get the freebie but they share it out there first so there’s potential for more people to get exposed to your stuff still.
60. Get your business listed in relevant directories that your target audience might potentially use.
61. Find business membership groups to be a part of. Many cost only a nominal fee but give you access to a lot of people whom you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Plus, you KNOW they aren’t cheapos since they’re paying money for a membership already 😉 I like Female Entrepreneurs Association for a great online option that not only features monthly trainings but also has the membership community aspect.
62. Do a survey to learn some market data about your niche or target audience and reach out to people to have them take it. It’s for education and research, ya know.
63. Then, create a report or create a pretty infographic and pin it to Pinterest and let everyone who took the survey know about its results by giving them full access. Host it on your site. Ask them to share it and have the access be opt-in gated for others.
64. Write and send out press releases to your local media about something really freaking cool you decide to do. The more unusual and unique the better, they like to cover stories that they don’t typically hear on a daily basis. Again, get creative with it.
65. Offer no-strings-attached free consultation calls or discovery calls to get your name out there, show your potential clients you know what you’re talking about and simply ask them for a testimonial and recommend someone else to you. It’s how word of mouth spreads.
66. Make “cold calls” or send “cold emails” to potential prospects letting them know about how you can help. This is typically better for B2B rather than B2C but can also work for bloggers. Just make sure you’re not weird and sleazy with it by focusing on YOU… You always want to make it about THEM.
67. Create a value and information-packed webinar or tele-class without a pitch and invite everyone you know. Ask them to invite their friends. After all, it’s a no-pitch uber valuable training! Who wouldn’t want to attend that?
68. Talk publicly about the work you’re doing, don’t be shy or overly humble. “I’m writing a book” or “I’m creating a new program” not only helps with public accountability but you also never know who might be listening.
69. Run your own web TV show or podcast and invite others on it. Make it freaking awesome and be consistent with the production and promotion of it. Pretend like millions of people are already watching or listening. That’s who great quality stuff gets made.
70. Have a grand opening party – whether it’s in real life or online. Make it fun. Who doesn’t like a good party? Confetti and champagne included.
71. Have a Flash Sale or a pay-what-you-can day to get yourself out there and really serve those who wouldn’t be able to afford you otherwise OR trust you enough yet to invest lots of money in you. In the least, it’ll get the word out.
72. If you’re selling anything on Amazon, you can upload a sales promo video to go along with it. It might just be the thing to get people to buy.
73. Offer a class or a workshop with all the proceeds going to a charity.
74. Do something crazy. Take a stand.
75. Throw a thank you party. Be genuine. Build those relationships.
Over to you…
I just gave you 75 ideas for how to market your business on a small budget and you have no excuse now to say you don’t know what to do when you’re starting out. There are always things you can do and it will be up to you to get them done.
Of course, a marketing strategy that actually makes sense for your business and specific goals is the best way to go when it comes to a consistent plan, and that is something I’d be honored to help you with.
But until then, I hope this post inspires you.
I’d love to have you SHARE this post with your colleagues if you found it useful.