Business Ideas and Tips 10 simple business marketing tips on a tight budget

Marketing is essential to any business but it can take a lot of time and money to get it just right. When times are tough, the marketing budget is often the first place where cuts are made. To help you keep your business at the front of clients’ minds, we bring you cost-effective marketing strategies that will also save you time.

1. Know your elevator pitch

You never know when you’ll run into an opportunity to promote your business. It then pays to have clearly defined characteristics of what sets your business apart from competitors. This article will help you craft your value proposition and help you say or write it in a succinct and impactful way. Once you have your value proposition, you can display it wherever possible, from your e-mail signature and website to your LinkedIn and Facebook pages.

2. Encourage clients to create content for you

Content is king but takes time to create, so why not reward clients for doing it for you? Offer a small incentive if they share a testimonial, photo or video, whether it’s something they’ve created with your product, or a successful before/after story.

User-generated content is not only free but also far more authentic. Did you know that user-generated videos are viewed 10 times more often on YouTube than official brand videos? Proof that this type of content will endear you to clients far more than overly branded, subjective content.

3. Automate marketing as much as possible

With so many digital and social media channels to manage, it can be overwhelming to be everywhere, all the time. Use free tools like Hootsuite to schedule your social media posts in advance, and consider incorporating marketing automation software into your website to automate repetitive tasks like e-mails and website actions, as well as measure the effectiveness of marketing processes. While this will take some investment, it has been proven to increase revenue and sales leads.

4. Collaborate with other small businesses

Get more bang for your marketing buck by teaming up with like-minded businesses. Make your own list of (non-competitor) businesses in your area with whom you can share a promotion or ‘happy hour’ type deal. For example, while you have a haircut, why not have your car washed? Or when you drop your pooch for a trim at the doggy parlour, why not get a free photo enlargement or cappuccino next door?

5. Think local

Don’t underestimate the power of a local fan base. You don’t have to advertise city-wide and regionally if you could pack as much of a punch with a local promotion – or even a flyer on the library’s noticeboard. Get in touch with a local school, sports team or club to see if you could sponsor any gear or signage, or even an entire sports day.

6. Make the most of free online tools

There are lots of free or low-cost marketing tools online to help you save time and money with your marketing plan. Mailchimp, for example, is great for e-mail marketing while SurveyMonkey helps you to put together a free online survey to get client feedback. Then there are also tools to organise your campaigns: Trello is a free project management tool, while Slack is messaging system that helps you keep track of all conversations and projects in one place.

7. Google your business

These days, if you’re not on Google you might as well not exist. Boost your search rankings by creating your free Google listing. Why? Because then you will appear right where and when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search or Maps. Google My Business makes it easy to create and update your listing—so you can stand out, and bring clients in. Google your business here.

8. Have an opinion

Are you an expert in your field? Then offer to speak on the subject at an event or even on the radio. Stations are always looking for interesting opinions and local journalists are keen for free content, so get in touch to see if you can offer them a free piece in exchange for some exposure.

9. Experiment with a daily deal website or other e-commerce sites

While it’s a good idea to have your own website and online shop, it could also drive sales to market your products through other niche platforms, for example one that focuses solely on pet food or one that brings together a selection of designer homeware. Don’t forget about free sites like Gumtree and OLX to advertise your product or service – it’s not just for private sellers. If you are in the service business – e.g. beauty or food – it could be good exposure to team up with a daily deal website. It’s a great way to drive traffic to your website or store, and to gain new clients.

10. Network like a pro

Networking is a great way to build your contact base but also to market yourself. Keep an eye out for free events in your area, and go armed with a good elevator pitch and lots of business cards. You could even offer your services as a volunteer, for example at marketing groups aimed at women.

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