You want to get the word out about your small business, but you lack the advertising funds much bigger enterprises have to spend. All this means is it’s time to get creative with how you approach marketing your company — it turns out there are lots of ways to engage with potential and existing customers that won’t break the bank.
Here are five tips for marketing your small business at minimal cost.
Let People Try Before They Buy
If you ever went to your local mall before the pandemic hit, you’ve probably walked by a food stand offering free samples of whatever they make — orange chicken, cookies, smoothies, you name it. Of course, some passersby would take the sample and keep walking. But a certain percentage would be swayed by their enjoyment of the sample, which reached them at the right time right as they were making a decision where to eat or drink.
Offering sample sizes, either in the form of freebies with purchase or even as an introduction to your products, is a wonderful way to build trust and get people hooked on what you’re selling.
Make Your Business Blog a Must-Read
One of the most cost-effective marketing ideas for small business is maintaining a must-read blog. With a working knowledge of keyword research and a dash of creativity, you can reach new and existing customers alike with your content.
Above all, you want your blog to become a hub for useful and interesting content. Yes, your blog is the perfect place for product and promotional announcements, but it should also be a goldmine of informative content from which people can learn.
Take Advantage of Referral Marketing
Nine out of 10 people are more likely to trust a brand if someone recommends it to them personally, whether that person is a loved one or a stranger. Thus is the power of word-of-mouth marketing. The focus here is not only providing positive customer experiences to people so they’ll want to tell others, but also incentivizing and reminding them to do so.
How can you go about motivating people to refer your company in real life and/or online? Here are a few suggestions from Entrepreneur:
- Ask via email, social media or after confirming a transaction.
- Provide an incentive, like a percentage off their next purchase.
- Reach out to your most loyal customers personally to encourage referral.
Partner with Other Businesses
Have you ever walked into a coffee shop and noticed shelves filled with delicious looking pastries? Some coffee shops make the pastries themselves, but others stock products from local bakeries. This is a win-win, as it allows customers to enjoy a nice donut or muffin with their coffee — while boosting both brands’ bottom lines.
Consider whether there are any local or online businesses offering complementary services to yours and how you might work together to market your companies together. For instance, if you’re running a wedding photography business, a partnership with a local florist might be a smart choice to add some blooms to your studio during photoshoots.
Hold a Contest on Social Media
It’s hard to resist entering your name into a contest, whether it’s dropping your business card into a fishbowl at your favorite lunch spot or buying raffle tickets. Your small business can tap into this excitement by hosting a contest on social media in which people are entered to win freebies if they tag a few friends, follow your social media accounts and leave a comment — or whatever terms you come up with.
Marketing a small business doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, but you’ll have to look outside paid advertisements to really get the most bang for your buck.