Marketing Ideas for Start-Ups on a Budget
Small businesses are often hindered, at least in the early days, by small marketing budgets. When cash flow is limited, you’re focused on delivering the best service or product you can, and when the big bills are rolling in, marketing tends to get pushed down the list of priorities. This is a real shame as a massive part of building a customer base and increasing awareness of your brand lies in marketing and advertising. If you don’t shout about the fact that you’re doing great things, how will anyone find out? Luckily, there are some very low-cost (and sometimes free!) marketing tactics you can try to boost your business on a budget.
Engage with Social Media
Social media is a crowded place, it’s true, but with the right social media strategy, it can be a low-cost and incredibly effective way to market your business. Do some research around which types of people are using which platforms and see where your potential customers are likely to be. It’s free to set up social media accounts, to post content and to engage with other businesses or prospective customers who have displayed interests related to your niche. The best way to increase your following is to keep content relevant to your brand and as engaging as possible while linking it to current trends or news.
Become a Video Star
There’s a huge trend right now for video content, such as creating short videos which inform and engage prospective customers. Video creation platforms like Vimeo and YouTube are the most popular, and they are relatively simple to get to grips with. Your videos don’t need to be complicated or revolutionary; simply choose an area of your business and communicate it. It could be your business’ story, telling people where it all started, or it could be a video of you giving advice to your customers about how your product or service can help them to overcome challenges. You can display your videos on your website or via social media to reach a wider audience.
Show Your Expertise
Showing your expertise and skill set doesn’t need to be limited to a video on your website. The local and national press are always looking for industry professionals on a range of subjects, and if you can be included in their articles as an ‘expert’, you can enhance your credibility and increase awareness of your company. Get in touch with some publications which are relevant to your industry (or have published content which your business is related to) and let them know you’re available for comment. It’s also a good idea to connect with appropriate social media groups such as LinkedIn groups so that you can comment on trending news stories and get your opinions out there. Finally, if you have the opportunity to speak at a trade event or conference as an expert, grab it with both hands!
Enter Industry Awards
Many industries will have business awards which you can enter free of charge. If you win one of these awards, you can promote your achievement via social media, your website and any printed marketing material you distribute. These achievements are certainly worthy of press coverage too, so be sure to contact the press to let them know.
Share Your Expertise
Many businesses run events or workshops to promote their business and expertise. What sort of information could be useful to potential customers? You can deliver educational classes for existing customers and prospective customers or even a workshop for other businesses. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on these events as you can use your office or store to host them in and can even deliver them online via a webinar.
You could also host celebration events to mark important milestones in your business’ journey such as anniversaries or moving to new premises. These events are also PR opportunities if you invite the local media along or send a press release with photos after the event. However, these physical events will probably incur some costs so may not be suitable if you’re trying to stick to a budget. If you are struggling with your finances at the moment, consider getting some advice about ways to manage your money or loans which you could apply for at Crediful.
Focus on Low-cost Advertising
You don’t have to splash out on TV or radio advertising, fancy brochures or thousands of leaflets to increase awareness of your brand. Why not advertise on your car? If you add some printed vinyl signage to your vehicle, it will be seen by thousands of people as you drive around. Business cards are also essential so you can leave your details with people you meet and increase the chances that you’ll be remembered when they need a company like yours.
Run a Customer Referral Program
Small businesses and start-ups often rely on word of mouth in the early days to establish their reputation as a quality service. A great way to get people talking about you is to give them an incentive via a customer referral program. If they recommend you to someone who ends up purchasing, reward both the customer and new customer with a discount.