Running a small-medium business means managing a slew of tasks from resource allocation to product designing. This could be demanding in terms of both time and money. If you own a small/medium enterprise, you are surely nodding in agreement. How then, can you make space for branding and marketing, which we all know are important, on your limited budget?
In this article, let us try to explore some ideas for marketing your business that comfortably fit your limited budget.
1. Blogging: Gone are the days when the only way to reach your customers was through print ads and leaflets. We are now living in a digital space where it is possible to converse with your buyers directly through your blog. If you are reluctant to invest in a domain, you could start first on free blogging platforms like Blogger, Medium, and WordPress and make the purchase only after you gain a consistent audience.
Remember that your blog is not a place to hard sell your business, but rather a means to establish a value yielding relationship with your readers. Don’t hold back here and share your knowledge, that’s how you convert your leads into customers.
2. Engaging visual content: According to a survey by Animoto, four times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. Using visually appealing, engaging content such as explainer videos, infographics, and images, makes it easier for you to capture the attention of your readers. You must note here that a range of free video-making applications and websites are available online. If you are tech-savvy you can even make your own videos using your mobile camera!
3. Social networking: The extent of influence social media has on us today can never be overstated. While choosing a social media platform for your business, remember to identify what works best for you. If you run a boutique with impressive designs or own a bakery that specializes in enticing cakes, opt for a visual medium like Instagram or Pinterest. Remember that whatever be your choice, you should consistently engage your followers with valuable content that makes them want to come back for more.
4. Business cards: Let’s go back to offline marketing for a minute. As a business owner, you are bound to meet several people every day, in different contexts. Invest in a well-designed business card that sums up the essence of your business and the value you bring to the table. End every conversation with a potential customer by offering your card. Word of mouth still remains a powerful marketing tool, and you will be surprised how many customers your card can win you!
5. Email marketing: Are you a florist with interesting flower arrangement ideas to share with your customers? Do you own a restaurant and have a list of delicious recipes to share with your subscribers? Do you run a departmental store and want to keep your customers informed about the latest offers? Whatever might be your goal, email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your customers.
Remember to give enough gap between each mail you send out, though. Nobody welcomes a stream of promotional email into their inbox!
6. Mobile apps: From location-specific targeting to customer service, an array of free mobile applications are waiting for you in your mobile app store. Geotargeting is an especially useful marketing tool offered by mobiles apps such as FindMe@ and Yelp. Such apps just require you to register with them and your store’s location will be accessible to all the customers in your locality who search for the services you offer. The best part is that you can promote your store, hire people, and stay in touch with your customers, all by means of a single free application.
7. Customer loyalty/referral programs: These are free products, discounts, or services offered to customers for revisiting your store or for bringing in a friend. This is a common practice today, and a great marketing idea, as it is a win-win for both your business and your customers.
This is just the beginning of a long list of free marketing resources available to businesses today. You could start with one or all of the above listed strategies based on your convenience. As you experiment with new ideas, you will end up designing a marketing model that works best for your budget and your objectives.
If you think we missed any important ideas in the list above, do let us know in the comments below. We’d love to have a conversation!