Marketing for your business is never easy, especially as a startup or small business operating on a tight budget.
As you analyze your finances, naturally you begin to allocate dollars where they’ll be most beneficial. As a business owner, it’s important that you understand marketing is one area you can’t afford to forget.
Marketing allows you to sustain your business, engage your customers, increase brand awareness, and educate consumers. Without it, you may very well have built a business that no one knows about.
Word-of-mouth referrals can only get you so far as a new business. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank to develop an effective marketing strategy. Here are five tips for marketing on a shoestring budget:
Start a Blog
Blogging is one of the best ways to put your business on the map. Not only is it effective, but it’s essentially free. There are ample benefits for blogging. First and foremost, but writing relevant content, you’re able to attract customers with valuable resources, thereby establishing thought leadership in your field.
And secondly, the more you blog, the more likely you are to appear in search engine results pages when potential customers search for terms related to your business. Studies have shown that businesses who blog are nearly 500% more likely to reach the top of search pages than those that don’t blog.
Launch a Direct Mail Campaign
Direct mail marketing has one of the highest return on investments, making it a viable option for a shoestring strategy. Purchasing a batch of custom window envelopes, printing coupons or fliers, and adding postage doesn’t take much work—nor does it break the bank.
As you’re on a lean budget, be sure you send mailers to a highly targeted market to increase your chances of conversions. Head over to the USPS website and use their “Every Door Direct Mail” tool to find relevant customers based on your desired demographics.
Create “Google My Business”
“Google My Business” is a free service offered by Google that allows you to list your business and capitalize on local searches.
After all, according to Google, one out of three searches have a local intent. If you own a brick and mortar business, registering your business name in this directory is crucial—and cost-effective.
When you list your business here, not only will it appear in search results, but it will also appear alongside map-based results.
Google My Business also allows you to display important information about your business in a user-friendly way; users don’t have to take several extra steps to find your phone number and address, for example.
And lastly, Google My Business is the key to generating Google reviews, and in today’s business world, reviews can make or break a new company.
Use Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO is a great tool you can use to generate free publicity for your business. Here’s how it works: create a free account and scan the long list of journalist queries who are searching for professional opinions that will be used in their pieces.
New emails are sent several times a day with a comprehensive list of journalists looking for valuable sources for their content.
For example, if you owned a health food store, you might respond to a query from a journalist requesting expert advice on incorporating vitamins into your diet. If the journalist is interested, they’ll reply to your pitch and include you in the finished piece—attributing a quote to you and often including a link to your business.
Public relations can become pretty complex, but using a free tool like HARO is a great way to get started.
Start Guest Posting
Part of the frustration you might experience launching a blog for your new business is that not only is it difficult to rank, but your readership levels are likely low.
Building an audience takes time. One way to get more traffic to your site and get more eyes on your content is to start guest posting on more established websites.
There are a myriad of benefits for guest posting.
First and foremost, you’ll benefit from the traffic that more popular websites get. Secondly, you’ll be able to link back to your own website, increasing your inbound links—one of Google’s most important ranking factors.
And lastly, you’ll be able to grow your social media following by including social links in your guest profile.