While having a small marketing budget can be tough, marketing isn’t about who has the biggest budget. You can be a success with a small (very small!) marketing budget. That is, if you market your business the right way.
In fact, there are many marketing strategies that won’t cost you a ton of money, and are still extremely effective.
Here are 15 ways to maximize your exposure, even with a shoestring budget.
#1. Write great blog content
If you don’t have a blog attached to your website yet, you absolutely need to start one. Your blog will be the foundation for many other ways you market your business, like social media, giveaways and more. Your blog can also be used for
#2. Write even better guest posts
What’s better for promoting your business then writing great blog content? Writing even better content on someone else’s blog. Target bigger, more well-known blogs that have more traffic than your own. Landing a guest spot on these blogs will get your name out there and can bring more traffic to your site.
#3. Comment on blog posts
Another way to leverage more popular blogs is to leave comments on them. Many bloggers use commenting software or plugins that let you include your website URL. Write longer, valuable pieces of content for your comments, and readers will naturally want to check out more of what you have to say.
#4. Sign up for Google My Business
If you plan to target local customers, you need to get your business a Google My Business account. Google created this service for local business owners, to help them get their website found in the search engine. But Google My Business is more than that. It also integrates other Google services like Maps, Insights, Reviews, Analytics and Google+, to give you an easy place to access and manage all your business apps.
#5. Check out HARO
HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, is a great site that matches websites, reporters and national magazines with businesses like yours. All these sites are looking for help with their reports. All you need to do it is sign up and search through media queries that are relevant to your business. If your response is chosen, you can be linked or quoted – basically it’s free PR for your business!
#6. Build your email list
Building an email list can be free, and it’s absolutely invaluable! With a list of email subscribers in hand, you have list of people who you know are truly interested in what your business is about. Build your list quickly by offering something in exchange for those email addresses. It can be anything that your readers are interested in; an eBook, detailed guide, resources, checklists, a coupon code.
#7. Submit articles to magazines
While running an ad in a magazine will cost you a lot, contributing a useful article does not. Many magazines accept guest authors, and will even let you promote your website in your author biography. For this tactic to work, do your research. For any magazine you want to pitch, read current articles paying close attention to wording, tone, style and length. You want to make sure your one article is something the current audience will find interesting and valuable.
#8. Do some local networking
Look for local networking events on Meetup.com. You may find events hosted by your local business chamber or other associations in your area.
#9. Run a contest
Or co-sponsor one. Contests are a great way to bring attention to your business. Quickly set up an online giveaway using Rafflecopter as your entry form. Require anyone entering your contest to sign up for your email list, follow you on various social networks, like a post on Facebook, leave a comment on your blog, etc. If you can’t fund the prize yourself, collaborate with others in your industry. You can split the cost, and all of you get the promotional benefits.
#10. Start an affiliate program
If your business sells digital products, set up an affiliate program so your customers and followers can help you promote it. Starting an affiliate program doesn’t have to be costly; in fact e-junkie costs just $5 a month.
#11. Join online groups
Facebook, LinkedIn, Google. Online groups connect you with others in your industry, increasing your reach across the web. Groups like these are often very reciprocal. If you help promote others, they will in turn help promote you.
#12. Start your own Facebook group
Utilize groups in a different way by creating your own group, one that your followers will want to join. Create your group around a certain topic or theme that your customers/readers/followers are interested in. The group shouldn’t totally be about your business. It should be a place where others can connect and learn from you and each other. As the host, they will naturally turn to you as the expert.
#13. Make use of online review sites
Getting reviews is great marketing tactic for local businesses. Review sites like Yelp are great because customers literally find you. Before patronizing a business, majority of consumers now go online to check reviews. Make sure they find your business before others, and read good things about you. Sign up, thoroughly fill out your profile and start encouraging your customers to leave reviews.
#14. Hand out business cards
No, business cards aren’t dead. They are still a valuable piece of marketing equipment. They are a way to brand your business, easily hand out information and make sure people remember you.
#15. Engage your community
Another tip for local businesses: take part in your community! Sponsor events, run a booth as your local fair. Put up flyers in your local libraries or grocery stores. Mail out postcards or brochures, or hand out pens, magnets or other promotional items with your business name on it.
Marketing a business can be a huge endeavor, but it can also be a much smaller one! Even if you don’t have the largest budget, you can market your business, and thrive, on what you have.
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