How to achieve small business marketing on a shoestring budget
Very few small businesses have a huge marketing budget to work with. Fortunately, there are a number of simple, free and low cost ways to get the word out about your company that are also highly effective.
These tips will show you five simple ways to promote your business locally without breaking the bank:
Get free press
Advertising rates for local newspapers and radio stations can be way too costly for small business marketing. Instead, think about how you might generate a story the media will want to share. For instance, a grand opening, anniversary, community fundraiser or special event can be the perfect opportunity for an interview on local TV or radio. Likewise, get in touch with your local newspaper to see if they’d be interested in an article about your latest product launch or move to a new location.
Partnering up with another local business for a product release, new project or service bundle can exponentially increase exposure for your company. Brainstorm non-competing, complementary businesses in your area – then think about how you might work together to attract new customers. Small business marketing in the form of cross promotion creates an opportunity to reach out to each other’s mail lists, add each other’s business name to any mail outs, post information about your partner’s company in-store and team up on an event you can invite all of your customers to.
Support a cause
Start or get involved in a local fundraiser. Giving back will raise your community profile and provide free advertising, while creating goodwill as you help an individual or organization in need. Schools, libraries, hospitals and not-for-profits all benefit from volunteerism and community fundraisers. And if that isn’t reason enough, customers want to support businesses that care. Demonstrate that your company is interested in improving the wellbeing of your community and you’ll instantly gain new fans.
Host a workshop
Contact your local library, Chamber of Commerce or small business bureau to arrange a free educational talk on a topic of interest to your target customers. Providing valuable information is a great way to build credibility, trust and initiate customer relationships. Consider a prize draw for a free product or service – and be sure to have promotional items available to take away, including information on your loyalty program to entice new leads to make a first purchase.
Run a contest
Offering a prize giveaway is a fantastic way to generate buzz online and in your community. It’s also a great way to build a mailing list you can send promotional information to (with permission, of course). You can work together with other local businesses in your area to extend your reach when promoting the contest, with each company donating a prize to the basket. Without much investment, you’ll be able to offer a much more valuable prize this way – and reach many more potential customers with every business doing their part to get the word out.
Marketing your business locally needn’t cost a lot of money, but it does require a regular time commitment. Build free promotional activities into your annual business plan and get strategic about timing your marketing.