5 Ways to Market Your Small Business with Little or No Budget
Small business owners struggling to add customers and increase sales often find themselves paralyzed due to the lack of a marketing budget. Continuing to do nothing is not an option! Don’t let marketing budget paralysis keep you from taking advantage of free options available to jumpstart your marketing.
Be found online! Most business directories offer free listings for your business so even if you lack a website you can show up in Google’s search results. Local directory listing for your business can often times outrank your competitor’s websites in the search results National directory listings such as Manta, CitySearch. Local, and Better Business Bureau are free and loved by search engines helping your business rank well locally. If you have a website, these basic listings allow you to link directly to your website which helps your website rank higher because search engines view these directories as important authority sites.
One word of caution is to be sure that your business name, address, and telephone number are exactly the same for every listing.
Social Media is a great way to get the word out about your business. Best of all the only cost is your time. Facebook, Google My Business, LinkedIn, and YouTube are great ways to market your business. Each of these sites offer free business pages and will help you showcase your businesses products or services. Interact with your current customers and have them comment on your business. There are many ways to utilize these social sites to increase customers and sales.
Caution: Social Media sites can be addictive! Be mindful that unlike personal social media accounts business pages are for doing business. Check in to each for a few minutes each day to see if a response could enhance your business. Post something about your business and then get back to business.
Do you have something of interest to tell your community? A new technology, product or service? Local stations are constantly looking for interesting content for their local morning shows or community sections of their news programs. Send out press releases announcing these new products or services and fax or mail them to each of the local stations. Be sure to post your press release with free online press release outlets because they will also rank in the search engine results.
Don’t be afraid to tell the world. Never think that by regularly submitting press releases you are bothering them just because they haven’t responded previously. As in everything timing is important.
Keeping in touch with your customers is important for customer retention and future sales. A newsletter by email can be an inexpensive way to let customers know of upcoming sales and get them back in the door. Timely information about products or services can help your business to be viewed as a problem solver and expert in your industry. Start collecting email addresses from your prospects and customers and build a list of loyal repeat customers. Newsletter articles can also be shared with other non-competing businesses for entry into their own newsletters. Work together to get to each other’s customers.
Newsletters require planning and commitment and are ongoing marketing strategies that will constantly reward your business with future sales. Don’t be discouraged if you only have a small email list at the start. Remember, you are building an email list of future sales without having to spend money on delivering your message through more expensive media.
Most businesses don’t take advantage of free listings on Craigslist. Craigslist has a loyal base of customers looking for products and services. Most people believe that only closeout or used products are on Craigslist. Quite the opposite is true. There are used equipment sellers, wholesale vendors, service providers, and retail outlets listing their products or services. Because Craigslist has a local listing section for most cities, your local customers can be found looking on Craigslist for your products or services. Remember to include contact information, store or service hours, and of course your website.
Craigslist uses a last in at the top system for products or services in each category and some categories have many listings which could push a listing down on the page in just one day and eventually to the next page, so you may want to post more than one product or service in a number of categories regularly to get the best exposure.