Most startup businesses operate on a shoestring at first, with no extra funds for frills. However, the marketing budget is vital to the company’s survival and growth.
Without allocating too much of the operating budget to promotion and marketing, promoting a business on a tight budget can be done by a company owner who effectively optimizes strategies like the following.
Put Up a Website
Websites can be low-cost to organize as well as maintain, and they are vital to success in today’s tech-savvy economy. College students often charge low fees to build a website and update it monthly, if requested. For the cost of a domain name and a host site, together often totaling less than $100 per year, you can hire a student or another knowledgeable person to organize a simple but effective website to promote your business. The site should include information about your company and its leading officers, information about the products or services offered, and an easy, convenient way for site visitors to contact the company for more information or to place an order. A simple design works better than one that is cluttered or confusing.
Buy Reusable Print Materials
It’s easy to forget about the importance of print materials in the age of digital media. However, there is no denying the enduring allure of an eye-catching cut-out or custom foam board printed signs and displays. While they provide the means for a small business to decorate the waiting area or another part of the workplace, these items can also be transported for use in trade shows and other events. Having a small arsenal of interesting and/or informative posters, signs, and displays printed on durable materials can provide a strong backbone to your marketing and advertising efforts for years to come.
Publish a Blog
If you or someone who knows the company fairly well can write a few paragraphs with weekly updates or industry news, you can post a blog at your website or on its own through a platform like WordPress. Blogs are basic narratives about the organization. Weekly posts can feature heartwarming but confidential customer stories, exciting product news, or upcoming special events. Written in an informal tone or perhaps a humorous style with factual information added, blogs can serve as a useful communication and relational link aside from business transactions between the company and its current or potential customers. As people become more familiar with the business and the writer’s personality, they are often likelier to become customers.
Utilize Social Media
From Facebook to Instagram, it seems like most people and businesses are connecting via social media these days. Many companies join as members corporately or individually through key employees to establish an online presence. Twitter is a useful tool for sending brief messages to keep your company name in front of followers who are already customers and may recommend your business to friends and relatives. If social media takes too much time away from other company work, you can hire the ever-qualified college student or a new parent who is looking for part-time work to do it at home.
Get Involved with the Community
Spending wisely on a startup requires investing in the local community to enhance your company’s professional image. Participating in the county fair or handing out swag at a seasonal festival help to get the company name known throughout the area. Sponsoring a community sports team or speaking to a class of high school students about business practices contributes to a professional persona and reputation. A chamber of commerce membership is usually inexpensive and provides access to other members of the local business community, where networking opportunities often abound.
Marketing your company on a limited budget can yield positive results. Target your efforts to organizations and events that will likely render a high return on investment. Get involved on the Web and in your neighborhood to make new acquaintances and spread the word about your company.