Zero Budget Marketing
Small startups often have limited budgets for marketing and sales. Here are some tips to get your business of the ground with little funds and lots of enthusiasm .
Small business owners are the front line of our economy and we have to commend you for being entrepreneurs. All business owners will tell their story on how they struggled in the early stages of their startup. Its no surprise opening a business is expensive and hard work. But marketing your business can be low cost when getting started.
Marketing options with limited funds
Initial startups for marketing your business could cost you very little if not anything. There are many online platforms to utilize for building your brand and creating awareness within your community and digital presence. Companies like Google and Bing are fantastic free sources to list your business online and get connected with clients. There are also free review sites like Yelp, BBB, Yahoo and others. Not to mention a large amount of Social Media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more.
But free resources don't stop there. Many direct campaigns are low cost or free also. Direct mailing campaigns or telemarketing can be low cost options to generate leads. And community events are a fantastic way to create PR with your community. Being creative with your allocated budget and utilizing open free tools will allow you to develop a quality marketing mix.
How to get started
If your just starting out from scratch with no branding experience at all, you'll want to start off with creating a voice for your business. I like to tell my clients your brand is your companies voice! When creating a brand you should incorporate what your companies purpose is and what it's culture is like. Exactly what is it you offer, what problem do you fix, and what feel and culture do you want your company to represent.
Another way of saying your companies voice is asking what flavor you like most. Think of your company as a living breathing thing. If you company can talk, what type of logo would they want, and what catch phrase would they say.
Getting back to zero budget marketing, you can apply this when developing your brand and creating a voice. Companies like Wix can help you create a logo with little cost that looks very professional. They also have many marketing tools to test out prior to purchase, like creating a free website.
Listing your business online
Search engines across the internet are constantly updating directories and a website alone may not be enough to get your company noticed. Listing your company on sites like Google, Bing, Manta, Yahoo and others will help boost your awareness online when people search for your related services or product.
Specialty business listing sites can be utilized for specific industries. For example; tradesmen can benefit from listing their business on sites like Houzz, Thumbtack and Home Advisor.
Utilizing Social Media
Dive right into social media platforms and start showing off your work by posting your best content on your page. It's no mystery why most businesses have some type of social media page available to the public to view, join and contribute to. Utilizing social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are fantastic free sources for your startup or small business. Deciding what platform best fits your companies needs is another question.
Creating a page is simple and usually can be completed within a couple hours. Linking these social media sites to your main website can help boost awareness and search engine rankings.
Creating a business plan can be done solo and usually within the comforts of your own home. But creating a Public Relations Campaign take upfront extroverted strength to produce great awareness. Utilizing the free nature of being generous to your community and helping those in need can produce a rock solid reputation of trust between you and your community.
As your business grows it will eventually crave a stronger marketing strategy. This does not always have to be expensive or vast. Allowing a flexible but manageable marketing budget will allow you to develop brand awareness and consideration within your target market. Marketing strategies can be changed periodically by weeks, months or quarters. In one month you can focus on a stronger PR strategy and follow next month with a stronger PPC strategy. Keeping a diverse mix of marketing campaigns is a good way to be present in many avenues.
Keep a log of where your leads come from. This information is very valuable and can be used to determine what campaigns you might want to invest more in. Tracking can be done with a variety of tools like forwarding phone numbers, barcodes, referral codes or landing page visitor counts.