New small business owners often run into the problem of how to get the word out about their product or service without spending a lot of money. Even experienced small business owners run across this problem when cash flow for the month ebbs.
What can you do to make the most of your marketing and still get ways to reach your customers? It can take a bit of creativity and cleverness to develop a marketing strategy on a shoestring budget – but it can be done!
Below we present five popular ways you can effectively promote your business without a lot of money. So without further ado…
Effective Email Campaigns
One of the most cost effective marketing strategies that has the most impact are email campaigns. Direct, customized, and targeted, email campaigns can return significant responses, all for very little or no cost.
However, there is a tremendous difference between legitimate email marketing and spamming or sending unwanted or unrequested marketing messages to unsuspecting email boxes. You want to send your email marketing campaigns only to those who opt-in.
To do so, collect email addresses through your website. A popular strategy is to offer a free ebook or other useful download in exchange for an email address. Have existing clients fill out contact info sheets. In light of joint ventures, you could even swap email lists from similar businesses to send out messages to their customers and clients about special offerings.
Your email campaigns should be succinct and to the point, providing value to the reader. Offer a special sale, introduce a new product, or share press coverage with your readers.
Produce a Vodcast Series
Videos are the hottest trending thing on Web 2.0. Open your Twitter or Facebook account, or even read the online news, and you will see a link to an interesting video at least daily.
Now, consider if your video is one of those getting passed around the viral networking sites. Your website could generate a lot of traffic, and you could profit considerably.
You can use a decent consumer camcorder and video editing software to make an entertaining vodcast. Make your videos short, no more than five minutes. Talk about your products, but make it interesting and viral. Perform a clever demonstration or create a highly useful tutorial.
These types of videos cost very little, but can help you promote your business online in a spectacularly viral way.
Tell Your Story – Obsessively
There is no harm in bragging. Don’t be afraid to tout your company’s achievements whenever you get the chance. Take our friend, Stephen, for example.
Stephen was a 30 year old writer for a local metropolitan newspaper. With his involvement in the community, combined with his overabundant energy, creativity, motivation, and overall gumption, it was no surprise that soon after his 30th birthday, he was awarded the position of executive director for a regional non-profit organization.
In his first year after being awarded the position, he doubled the amount of donations to the group, quadrupled the contact list, and raised considerable awareness of the group’s mission. How? By his consistent messages through social media postings every day, constant press releases of news and happenings, and not being afraid to approach people to talk about his group’s objective of which he was passionate about.
Why shouldn’t you be as passionate about your business as Stephen?
Get a Celebrity Endorsement
Unlike paying a celebrity for a voiceover or taping a national commercial, a single high-profile celebrity can help your business. Even local celebrities can get the word out about your business if they like what you offer.
Consider the above example. Stephen met the cast of Sesame Street during an unrelated fundraiser for a different cause. While socializing with the long-term members of the popular children’s show, he pressed his cause for his non-profit. Some of the Sesame Street members were very interested in Stephen’s cause, and with a few mentions on Facebook and other online sites, Stephen’s little local non-profit got national exposure from well-respected celebrities!
Your for-profit business can get similar results. All you need is the gumption to approach high-profile individuals. Go for it! The best that could happen is that you’ll get national exposure. As they say in negotiation rooms, “don’t ask, don’t get.”
Ask Your Loyal Customers To Spread the Word
And lastly, don’t be afraid to ask your loyal customers to tell their friends and family about your product or service. Word of mouth marketing is absolutely free and can get you big rewards in higher customer numbers without spending truckloads of money on advertising.
Bootstrap marketing can work for your small business. All you need is a little creativity, assertiveness, and possibly a little luck from a hit viral video to get your company noticed by your target customer.