Small businesses and sole traders need to market their products and services just as much as big businesses do. However, most small businesses and sole traders don’t have large budgets so they have to think outside of the box and use low budget marketing methods instead. These methods can achieve great outcomes for your business — without breaking the bank! Here we take a quick look at the need to invest in marketing and share some of the best low budget marketing methods available.
Why every small business and sole trader should use marketing
A strong marketing strategy helps consumers to find your business, develops trust in your business and ultimately facilitates a purchase. Marketing helps your business:
Build brand recognition in the marketplace
Attract new customers and retain existing customers
Inform consumers about the products and services you offer
Develop your businesses reputation in the local community and online
Identify the consumers who are interested in your products, and much more
To make the most of your marketing campaign, your business should use a range of marketing techniques and advertising channels. Your business should also look for ways to precisely target your marketing efforts, so you reach consumers who are within your businesses target demographic.
With effective marketing, your business will reach many more customers, attract much more interest and establish itself as an authority in the marketplace! Here are some of the best low budget marketing techniques.
1. Build a website
A few years ago, building a website was considered optional by many businesses. A website is now one of the central pillars of business marketing and it’s essential for every business to have one.
Having a business website is important because most consumers now use the Internet to research businesses and learn more about their products or services. Your website should provide useful information about your business and what you offer. It should also look professional and include contact details for your business.
If you’re concerned about your ability to create a professional looking website, you could source some creative marketing support from freelancers for a very low price instead.
2. Build a blog for your business
A blog is a part of the website where you can publish information relating to your business. This information could be simple how-to guides for customers, reviews of products, announcements of new products or any other kind of content that would be beneficial for your customers.
By publishing informative blog posts, your business will develop a reputation as being knowledgeable and gain brand authority in the market. Search engines also value informative content and will increase the rankings of both your website and blog if you continually post great articles.
Again, if you don’t feel comfortable in your ability to write great content you could use a virtual digital content marketing manager to arrange the content for you. The approach is quite inexpensive and can greatly benefit your business.
3. Marketing a business through social media
Marketing a business through social media is one of the smartest decisions a small business owner or sole trader could make. It is effective, cheap and you can craft your social media marketing campaign to focus on the key objectives for your business. A business can use social media websites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Tumblr to:
- Promote your brand name and obtain exposure
- Promote the content that you have written on your blog
- Offer support to existing customers
- Tell customers about sales and limited offers being run by your business
- Answer sales questions from prospective customers, and much more
Registration to most social media websites is free and it is a valuable way to reach out to both new and existing customers. The key to being successful on social media is to join groups and become involved in the discussion. Get out there and talk to people who are interested in your products. Offer help to people and answer their questions. The more you engage with the public via social media, the more your businesses profile and reputation will improve.
4. Use press releases to promote special events
Press releases are very useful for letting customers know about any exciting changes happening at your business. The press release can be forwarded to many news stations, websites, radio stations and magazines. Your business can make use of marketing personal assistants to prepare and send press releases on your behalf.
5. Upload video content
Video content is becoming increasingly popular online. Many Internet users don’t have the time or patience to read an 800-word article, but they will happily watch a short video. Produce videos that review products, help customers solve problems and share your knowledge.
If you are building a project, share the process with others via an online video. Personal videos can help with customer engagement and the building of brand authority.
The video doesn’t need to be professionally produced, it just needs to be educational, informative or funny. Most smart phones are capable of producing 1080p quality videos, which is fine for most purposes. Upload your content to a social media website like YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook videos. You can also promote your videos through social media channels with the help of creative marketing support staff.
6. Create an email marketing list
An email marketing list contains the email addresses of people who have asked you to send them information about your business. You can gather the email addresses of these people in a number of ways including via your website, at trade shows and at your retail locations.
Your newsletter emails can share your latest specials, announce product launches, inform customers about your businesses promotional events and much more. It is a fantastic way to communicate with consumers who you know are interested in your products or services.
If you are struggling to build your email list, consider using marketing personal assistants to create a marketing campaign that attracts more subscribers.
7. Offer customers discounts if they recommend your business to a friend
Consumers place a great deal of trust in a business that has been recommended to them by a friend. To take advantage of this, give your customers discount codes that they can share with their friends. When a new customer makes a purchase and uses that code, they obtain a discount and the person who recommended your business obtains a free gift or discount.
It’s a very cheap way to harness the social network of your customers and bring new customers into the business.
8. Use bulk order discounts and incentives
By applying discounts and incentives to large orders, you can tempt your customers into ordering more. A common technique that works really well is to offer free shipping on all orders over a certain amount. Customers love the feeling of getting a discount and the technique encourages them to spend more money!
9. Record testimonials and place them on your website
Placing testimonials on your website is a useful way to build trust with potential customers. The testimonials can be from customers, authoritative websites or media organisations.
If you are struggling to get enough testimonials, offer customers a discount when they submit a testimonial that you publish. Encourage them to share stories about how they use your products or service and why they love your business.
10. Start a competition with great prizes
A competition can encourage customers to order more often or spend more with each order. Encourage people to spend more by limiting entry to the competition to people who spend more than a certain amount in a single order.
11. Get published
A great way to improve your personal recognition and the brand awareness of your business is to write high quality content that gets published. If your content is published in a magazine, journal or a reputable website, both customers and industry peers will be more likely to notice your business.
12. Share your knowledge
By imparting some of your valuable knowledge with the local community or via the Internet, you can raise awareness about your business, improve customer engagement and build brand authority. Think about the topics that are related to your business and the ways you can teach people about those topics. You might run a local class at your retail store or perform a “webinar” where people from around the world can join in via the Internet.
Use the content that you create in as many ways as possible. If you give a class for locals, video tape the event and upload it to YouTube. Create a slide show of the class and distribute it to media sharing websites that accept slideshows. Transcribe the contents of the talk and upload the text to your blog. Share an audio file or podcast of the class — think about the many ways you can take your knowledge and share it with other people.
13. Join local business groups and attend networking events
Most cities and towns have a wide range of business groups where proprietors meet to make contacts. Attend a few of these meetings and introduce yourself to other business people — once they understand what you offer, they may refer some business your way.
There are also many online groups that your business can join to build brand awareness and talk with other business owners.
14. Find industry partnerships
Look for other businesses that offer a related service to yours and discuss the potential of a partnership. That may involve sending customers to each other or ensuring that your products and services compliment one another. Promote the partnership via your blog, website, social media and email newsletter.
15. Be an ethical company
Many consumers prefer to deal with ethical companies that look after the environment and work with charities. If your company does the right thing by your local community, it will be reciprocated with respect and trust. Highlight your ethical stance on your website and encourage feedback from customers.
Thanks for taking the time to read “Low budget marketing methods for small businesses and sole traders”. We hope you found it useful! If you would like to know more about our virtual assistant marketing support services or want to know about virtual assistants services for your business call us on 0800 994 9016 or click here to request a free consultation.