Marketing your small business on a budget is becoming increasingly important as the economic landscape continues to present challenge after challenge. Unfortunately, many of those in the early stages of business don’t have piles of cash to invest in marketing — making advertising budgets difficult to factor in. But luckily, you don’t have to fork out large sums in order to get noticed once you’ve set up a limited company. Here are some tips on how to market your small business on a budget.
First and foremost: make sure you optimise your social media strategy to get as much engagement as you can. Although platforms such as Facebook and Instagram do offer paid advertising options, businesses can leverage a basic free account to great effect. Posting regular, consistent content is a great way to build up a following, while activity such as tagging will extend your reach and help expand your customer base. If you do want to explore paid ads, keep an eye out for the regular discounts and credits on offer at Facebook and elsewhere.
Next, consider your search engine optimisation. While SEO specialists can be pricey, it’s relatively easy to learn some tricks of the trade yourself and apply them to your online content, improving visibility for your company online. For example, try using localised keywords to improve your rankings in regional searches and post regular blogs and articles that are relevant to your industry. SEO can have a huge impact on how you market your business, especially if budgets are tight, and once you apply best practice it’s something you can do forever.
Another important — and often totally free — way to market your business on a budget is to make the most of any networking events in your area. These provide an opportunity for you to mingle with other businesses and potential customers, opening up possibilities for beneficial partnerships and deals in the future. For a very small investment, you can print business cards and hand them out to any contacts that you meet; or better yet, purchase a digital business card to easily and digitally share your business details with contacts.
While you’re searching for networking events, keep an eye out for any relevant business awards too. Often, these work on a self-submission basis and are another great way to meet potentially useful contacts for the future. As a bonus, if you manage to win, you’ll get free promotion courtesy of the awards organisers. There are many local and national awards to go for so you are sure to find one that fits with your business.
Once you’ve started to attract loyal customers, you can leverage them to help market your business even further. Why not reach out to any prominent fans — particularly those with large social media followings — to become ambassadors for your brand? In return for perks such as discounts, they can start raising awareness on your behalf. Another version of this would be a customer referral scheme, in which existing customers receive rewards in return for recommending your business to a friend.
If you’re a creative firm, you could also explore guerilla marketing techniques, a popular — and often cost-effective way — to get your business out there. One of the most popular ways to do this is to produce content that goes viral, although this can be difficult to plan and predict. If successful, it’s a free and easy way to promote yourself to a huge audience, so spend some time researching current trends and see what you can create. Or, if viral videos aren’t your thing, consider more low-tech options such as street art and stickering campaigns.
Whether you’re a large, established company with plenty of cash to splash or an ambitious start-up hoping to stretch your budget, keeping track of your spending is a huge part of planning a successful marketing campaign. With a GoSolo Business Account, you can monitor your income and outgoings all in one place, making it easy to manage large expenses such as advertising and more.