WRITTEN BY: HARUNA SUZUKI
Do you have a great product or service to offer, but only a small marketing budget? To make every marketing dollar count, it’s time to get strategic and creative about promoting your business. Take a look at the following ten tips to help you get started—you should be creating some low-cost buzz in no time!
Understand your audience. Having a small budget means that you have to take an especially focused approach to creating your marketing content— take the time to learn who you’re talking to before you decide what to say. Is your target audience primarily women, men, or both? How old are they? Do they study, work, both? What questions do they have? What problems do they want solved? Do they use social media? Only after you’ve thoroughly considered these types of questions can you begin telling the story of how your product or service meets their needs in a language and medium that resonates with them. Getting this part right at the beginning will save you time and money down the line.
Recycle. You won’t always have time to refresh your content from scratch. Find something that has already been created or compiled and add your own touch to it. Compelling statistics or studies in your industry are always a good option— with a bit of design work and branding (and proper crediting of the original source, of course) you’ll have created some attention-grabbing content.
Do it yourself. While reading the last tip, you thought “a bit of design work”? Easier said than done! But with fantastic, free programs like Canva, YOU can create beautifully designed materials. Take a peek at our blog post on Canva to learn more.
Hone your pitch. You never know when a marketing opportunity will present itself. Often times you’ll have a minute or two to share your idea—get this pitch down to a science. You should be able to tell the same impactful story, whether in an hour-long presentation or in a one-minute exchange.
Open a Google My Business account. Signing up for a free account will do wonders for your visibility—not only will your business or organization come up in search, but also in Google Maps and Google+. Check out our blog post on Google My Business for more info.
Master social media. Simply having a social media presence won’t do the trick—like your overall marketing plan, you need to do the necessary homework first. Learn about the different types of social media, where you can best engage your target audience, and the dos and don’ts of social media marketing. Whatever route you take, remember that effective social media marketing requires three key elements: a well thought-out plan, curated content, and transparent engagement (e.g. acknowledging and responding to negative comments). To learn how to create your social media plan, check out these excellent tips from Hootsuite.
Hire an intern. Again, be strategic—don’t hire just anyone. Recruit a social media-savvy college student with solid writing skills; a personal interest in your product or service is a plus! You’ll increase your visibility and they’ll strengthen their resumé. Offering the internship as a paid, part-time opportunity shouldn’t be too much of a burden if you’re strategic in other areas of your marketing plan.
Think local. Create a list of local events, conferences, and networking functions where you could volunteer to present your expert knowledge, give free samples or demos, distribute branded items, or contribute a small prize for a contest. Choose the ones that you can participate in without significantly cutting into your marketing budget and start promoting your business.
Join the conversation. Volunteer to guest post on another person’s blog in your field or share first-rate content on social media. Participating in these exchanges will get your name and brand out there and help you learn more tricks of the trade.
Join forces. Are there any other local businesses that you can partner with to host an event or run a sweepstakes promotion? Consider your goals, products, and target audience and see if they align well with another organization that isn’t in direct competition with you.
Ready to spread the word about your business? What other ideas do you have to get the most value out of your marketing efforts?