Marketing your company’s product or service can prove to be a costly undertaking, especially for small businesses.
If you are not equipped with much information, your company can end up spending money marketing their products without getting any returns on investment.
Marketing your business does not need to cost much money, equipped with the knowledge and utilising the right techniques, your company can market any product or service while staying on a budget.
Below are a few suggestions on ways to market your business online… on a budget.
Although this might sound like a no brainer to most businesses, the truth is that most small businesses don’t set a budget.
They wing it! Most often, the focus is on spending “whatever it takes” to get the customers. The resultant effect of this is that many resources are spent with very little business growth.
Thus it is essential to have a good structure budget, so you don’t end up wasting money on strategies that aren’t working for your business.
When considering tips on how to set up a marketing budget for your business, they could include the following:
A great way to maximise your business marketing budget is to get as many free services and tools to supplement your budget.
Although it might seem like there isn’t anything of real value for free, however, in today’s marketplace, there are several free services with great value.
Some of these free services come with a trial version, with the hope that at the end of the trail, you’ll become a paid customer.
Some of the free content comes in the form of apps and analytics software, and in return, the service provider earns your trust and gets increased brand awareness.
Another reason why some service providers give you stuff for free is that they connect with your business. Whatever the case is, make sure you utilise these free offers timely.
Here are some places you can get this free stuff:
This is one of the best marketing tactics that are cost-efficient and has the power to increase awareness for your brand.
A report released by 99firms.com states that the percentage of regular internet users that read blog posts is 77%. While another 44% of marketers say, blogging is the marketing strategy that has benefited them the most.
For your business to create productive market strategies using this medium, you must be very consistent with your blog posts.
Offering quality content through blogging establishes you as a master in your field, which enables you to connect more with your target audience and gain other benefits such as:
To achieve optimal results through blogging, it is essential that you blog regularly, deliver relevant content that relates to your product/service, and have a user-friendly website.
A perfect example of a business that utilises the power of blogging to market their product is Whole Foods.
Their blogs have quality content where they answer customer questions and give insight into the best type of food you should be consuming.
You can also get writing service reviews from a website such as Best Writers Online to help you create quality content.
82% of marketers say they get a positive ROI when they target customers.
The numbers go to show just how much more effective your budget can be when you have a perfect understanding of your target market and zoom in on them.
You shouldn’t waste your business marketing budget going against the flow by marketing to people who will never buy your product.
With this group of people, you realise that you need to invest heavily to convince them that they need your product.
On the other hand, you have a target audience that doesn’t need much convincing. They’re already looking out for what you’re selling, and chances of them buying from you are very high.
Such customers are also prone to become your brand ambassadors and bring in a ton of referral business.
Because each potential customer has their peculiar traits and complex needs that change with time, you need to apply effective market targeting strategies such as:
According to statistics released by slideshare.net,the percentage of customers that believe marketers and salespeople are at only 3% as opposed to 84% that trusts reviews and referrals by other customers.
Testimonials, reviews, and referrals are essential when it comes to marketing any service or product because they are a form of social proof that is indispensable in marketing.
People generally leave reviews about products/services because they want to inform the next buyer about how good or bad a product/service is.
Consumers also give positive reviews about a product/service if they were satisfied and would like to show appreciation to the business/company.
To get the most out of these reviews, your businesses can create multiple channels for customers to talk about your products.
Also, some of the methods you can use to encourage customers to give reviews, referrals and testimonials include:
Having a well-optimised successful website means you provide quality content; generate user traffic that can be converted to product sales.
While on the other hand, an unoptimised website amounts to poor visibility in searches, low conversion rates, high cart abandonment rates, etc.
The great thing about optimising your website is that you don’t need a huge marketing budget-queue in SEO ( search engine optimisation).
What SEO does for your website when properly optimised is to rank your website tops on a search result on any search engine such as Yahoo, Bingo, Firefox, Google, etc.
Another way to save money on marketing is to outsource to another business/company that specialises in marketing.
Outsourcing to another firm involves transferring all the marketing-related responsibilities of your company or business.
Having a department in your company for just marketing can prove to be a costly endeavour.
Your company also gets to save the thirty-per cent from taxes and benefits associated with the wage package of employees.
Some of the activities involved in marketing that can be outsourced include:
A business that is not optimising its marketing strategies ends up spending more than it should. As a small business, this is a waste you can’t afford.
Thankfully the digital world has led to the creation of a lot of marketing strategies and techniques that previously did not exist.
For your business to make profits, they need to cut down on cost and be able to utilise the power of free advertising to market your product/service.
Thus, using the best marketing strategy that works is paramount to market your business online… on a budget.
Social media marketing is a much more cost-effective tool than traditional or press advertising. But before you jump on Twitter or Facebook to shout about your product, you’re going to have to have a pitch and know a little about your target audience.
If you can’t get your point across in less than ten seconds, the viewer will likely have got distracted by something else on their timeline.
Once you get their attention, you have to keep it, or you will have wasted your chance.
It’s a good idea to create a marketing strategy outline beforehand.
Helping the community is a great way you can market your business, while of course, helping others.
Maybe try sponsoring a local Sunday league football team, for example, by buying their kits or equipment.
This approach may not be just sufficient for more global marketing, but associating your brand with community events can only be a good thing.
Try to build up relationships with other companies whom you could collaborate with in future. You could exchange perks, such as discount vouchers or promotional codes. You scratch their back; they scratch yours!
If a customer spends £25 with you, then they get a £5 discount voucher for the other store. In return, the other store will issue money off coupons for you when they make a sale.
Link to them on your website so they can do the same, and then post on each other’s social media sites. Networking is an effective marketing strategy.
It’s a great way to meet people and pick up some free marketing tips.
It helps if you treat it as a social occasion and not just a way to market your business, as that may leave people a bit cold.
In other words, be real, be genuine and not just a pushy salesperson.
Even the best thought-out marketing strategies may not make you money overnight.
But if you are thinking long-term, it’s going to be one of the most effective and cheapest ways to market your business.
If public speaking interests you, there are plenty of opportunities at conferences and meetings.
Some will pay, others will just want a quick speech made to a group of like-minded enthusiasts. Whichever it is, you will be meeting people and getting your message across.
Who knows, somebody may pop in to see you for a chat later and soon become a regular customer or valued contact.
It’s another area where you wouldn’t push the hard sell, but if you show a genuine interest in people and give good speeches, you can’t go wrong.
People will begin to associate you as an authority figure in the industry, and if the expert is right, then their brand will be trustworthy too.
One important thing is that you need to look for opportunities — not wait for them to come knocking. What you save in money may be added in time, but if you get it right, it’ll work.
There’s a tonne of opportunities within social media marketing online and in the ‘real world’ that allow you to get your brand in the public sphere.
It doesn’t even need to be an event or situation related to your industry; if you have an insight, you’ll be a valuable commentator.
Even going back to marketing your business on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, look for people that are asking for your services or product.
Send them a helpful, personable message linking to you, and they’ll most likely check it out.
Do the same on sites like Quora, Q&A sites and forums.
These are great, untapped sources of potential customers who may not have heard of you, even though your brand is the perfect fit for their needs.
Let them know and spread the word when marketing a new small business.
There are a variety of ways your existing customers can do the marketing for you, for free (more or less).
I talked about discount codes earlier, and it’s something you can offer customers as a bonus or thank you.
Graze, the healthy snack supplier, include vouchers when you buy, allowing you to get a discount for five friends.
It’s such a small thing, but it works wonders because you feel valued as a customer, making you willing to talk about them positively.
Ask your customers questions on social media, or in person, on what they like or dislike about your brand — how would they improve it?
Incentives and rewards will get more people talking, and this interaction is the first hurdle of brand marketing.
Maybe try a short quiz on your website, or offer a fun competition in exchange for their name and email address.
Collating a list of potential and current customers is a great way to stay connected and keep them up-to-date with your company.
When you release a new product or service, this list will be a great marketing opportunity to start people talking.
Getting them involved early in the process will increase the chances they become a customer.
Keeping existing customers is just as important as bringing in new ones, so make sure that your customer service is second to none.
Always, always, always over-deliver!
Put your hands up if you hate free stuff! No one?
Invest a bit of money on some pens with your company logo and website URL, maybe a keychain or some stickers.
Hand them out for free at social events, school fairs or leave them (with permission) in accessible public spaces.
Getting your logo design into the subconscious mind of someone that uses that pen afterwards, builds up a brand connection.
This makes them much more likely to favour you in future.
On that note, we do offer promotional design services, so be sure to check that out if you’re so inclined.
If your budget won’t stretch that far, and it’s not that much of an investment — start small.
You don’t need a million branded cufflinks with your logo on it; ten or twenty will suffice at first until you can gauge a reaction.
With a bit of elbow grease, creativity and persistence, It is possible to run an effective marketing strategy and not spend a penny.
If you have any advice or ways to market your business online on a budget, I’d love to hear about it — please feel free to leave a comment below.