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Generate Buzz on a Shoestring with These 8 DIY Marketing Tips
By Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide
Managing a small business often comes with a small marketing budget. Large-scale ad campaigns can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, not to mention costly beyond the budget of many small businesses. So how do you manage to generate interest in your company when you don't have the funds to advertise? Luckily, there are a few quick and cheap tricks you can use to help spread the word about your company. By utilizing these easy marketing tips, you can minimize costs while you’re getting the word out.
Keep Finances in Check
Before you can feel comfortable managing the tight marketing budget for your company, you might want to make sure your own finances are in check first. Take the time to examine your past personal expenses and spending habits, and create a solid budget. Be sure to have enough money to pay for the essentials, as well as contribute to your savings. Learn your credit score and understand the ways you can repair and increase it. Making astute financial decisions for your personal finances can trickle over into smart habits and decisions for your business.
Automate the To-Do List
Most often, companies with a small marketing budget also have a small team of employees. It can be challenging for everyone on staff to find enough time to do everything — including managing your company's online presence, even if you all share the social media burden.
Start addressing the time crunch by taking advantage of cloud services that help you share info and automate simple tasks. Many cloud-based apps can help maintain websites and automate tasks such as scheduling social media postings. You also can automate email responses (carefully, friend!) or opt-in procedures for mailing lists. Each time automation takes a task off your to-do list, you'll be making better use of your time and resources — and saving money in the process.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Time to kill two birds with one stone: Chances are, your company's products or services align nicely with that of another local company. You see this at your local coffeehouse when they serve pastries from the bakery down the street, for example. Look around your community and see which businesses have offerings that pair naturally with yours.
Then take advantage of that symbiosis by reaching out to the company to propose a joint marketing opportunity. Build a collaboration that allows you to cross-promote on each other's websites and social media postings. And consider strolling down other avenues together; investing in an expensive ad campaign only costs half as much when you go in together with a partnering company.
Make Your Logo Visible
Every time someone picks up a household item, you’ve got an opportunity to help them remember your business. How? With a time-honored practice of investing in a stock of useful, personalized promotional items that anyone would be glad to have.
Make a sponsorship deal with a local fun run to include a branded water bottle in each runner’s welcome package, or with your local food co-op to hand out tote bags bearing your company logo to help shoppers carry home their groceries. Every time customers use an item like this (which will be often), they’ll think of your business.
The latest trend on social media is to produce your own short films and clips for marketing and promotions. Take advantage of this trend and start filming! These “shorts” can simply feature your product or service in an eye-catching way — or they can be demonstration videos, short interviews with the creator, funny moments or anecdotes (related or sometimes even unrelated to your product), or customer testimonials. Vary the type of clips you post to gain more interest and a bigger social media following. Be sure that the films are not too lengthy. These films can be created for minimal costs, and this social media trend can offer a huge return on investment for your marketing efforts.
Blog It Out
Start writing a blog, or freshen up the old one you haven’t touched since you started the business. First of all, a blog is great for sharing your company's mission and activities day to day, but it also offers a great opportunity to utilize some cheap marketing practices. Linking your blog to your company's website and social media pages can help make sure customers are exposed to all aspects of your marketing efforts:
Align With Customers on Social
One of the basics of any marketing effort is to make sure you fully understand your target market and where they go to shop. While social media is free to use, you’ll want to make sure you’re posting on the platform your customers use most. This will help you channel your efforts most effectively.
If your customers flock to Twitter, keep your Twitter account closely monitored and stay in the conversation. If your customer base is more photo-centric, be sure to post regularly on Instagram. Making sure you direct your time and energy where your customers are likely to see it will help stretch your marketing dollar even further.
Get on the SEO Track
Learn the basics of Search Engine Optimization and how to use it to your advantage. SEO means using the metrics of online search engines to direct search results to your advantage. Learning about popular keywords that are most commonly searched for, and associated with your product, can help drive new customers to your website.
SEO also extends into other metrics that rank search results based on how reputable and trustworthy the source is. Learning how to optimize searches to target potential customers is an excellent, and free, way to boost your company's visibility.
Marketing is necessary to grow awareness of your company's services or products. But running a business on a small budget often leaves very little money to dedicate to marketing campaigns. There are many marketing tips and tricks that can not only help you save money but also can free up valuable resources while advertising your company. Taking advantage of automated services, SEO, and collaborative efforts with fellow companies is an excellent way to market on a shoestring budget.
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