Have you started a business recently? Have you found it difficult trying to grow your small business on a limited budget? Small businesses often have a hard time building name recognition because they lack the financial resources of larger companies. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t effectively market their business. The power of the internet has vastly accelerated the viral, word-of-mouth marketing strategies of small businesses. If you’re on a strict marketing budget, try these ideas to help market your small business.
10 Small Business Marketing Tips
You don’t need a lot of money to start marketing your small business. These tips can get you started without a lot of funds.
1. Social Networking. Use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and discussion forums to promote your business. Create a website or company blog where people can visit and talk about the latest trends in your industry. It also gives you the opportunity to market your products for free.
2. Business Stationery. Business stationery is a relatively inexpensive way of advertising for your business. You can hand out business cards, brochures, posters and pens to potential customers. Business stationery is a tangible reminder to customers about your company’s products and services.
3. Professional Clubs. Professional clubs are great for meeting and networking with other professionals. Join your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club to meet new business contacts. If you are in the marketing industry, join the American Marketing Association (AMA) and network with people in related industries
4. Press Releases. Have you just opened a new business or started selling a new product? If so, issue a press release. Press releases are not just for big companies anymore. Use a press release to get the word out about your company. All you have to do is type up your press release with your company name, title, news, and your contact information. Submit your press release to your local television station, radio station, newspaper, online directories, and any other media organizations.
5. Corporate Logo. Design a corporate logo. Place your business name and logo on your car and your apparel. A good logo makes an impression and leaves an imprint on a customer’s mind. What do you think of when you see the Pillsbury Dough Boy? How about the golden arches of McDonald’s or the hands of Allstate? A good corporate logo will speak for your business.
6. Referrals. Word-of mouth advertising can bring you more business than you think. A happy customer will lead to more customers. Reward satisfied customers that bring you new business with a referral fee. You could offer a set dollar amount or a percentage off of future purchases as a reward.
7. Cross promotion. Team up with another business to help promote your product. You can cross-promote products between the two businesses. For example, if you are an accountant and you know an individual who works in financial planning, it’s a win-win situation for both parties.
8. Contests. Offer a free giveaway or run a contest. Pick a desirable product that potential customers would be interested in winning such as an iPhone, Xbox 360, or a gift card. For giveaways, you can offer your company’s product or service free of charge to the winner. As an example, check out the Online Tax Filing Giveaway hosted by Money Crashers.
9. Website. A company website increases awareness of your business. An internet website makes it easier for people to find you. Creating a website or company blog is cheaper and easier than you think. Sites like Yahoo Sitebuilder and Bluehost allow you to build a website for less than $10 a month.
10. Seminars and Forums. Hosting a free seminar is a great way to showcase your expertise and build name recognition for your business. You can also volunteer to be a speaker in a forum. Both opportunities offer free publicity for your business.
Do you know of any other ways to market a small business on a budget not mentioned above?
This is a guest article by Mark Riddix, an investment management professional who writes for the popular personal finance blog, Money Crashers. If you’re a small business owner looking for additional tips, check out this list of 25 online resources for freelancers and small businesses.
(photo editor: shashibellamkonda)