Many small businesses are operating on shoestring budgets right now. Is yours in the same boat?
Trying to grow a business on a very small budget can be challenging, but it is far from impossible.
Take Chip and Joanna Gaines for example! Jo started out with a dream for a tiny home décor shop. When first starting out, she had no idea if there would be enough interest or if she would make enough profit to keep it open for a week. Now, here they are 15+ years later, with one of the most well-known home décor, design, and renovation businesses in the United States. How did that happen?
Well, you’ll have to ask them for the whole story, but part of the reason their business expanded on such a monumental scale was through marketing.
Marketing goes beyond what we think of when we hear the word. It’s more than commercials, brochures, radio spots, videos, professionally photographed ads, and things of that nature. Marketing is about making connections and building relationships with people who are excited about your business. It’s about building a brand and a reputation that your customers believe in and want to share with their friends.
Oh, and here’s the best part: marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune! All it takes is a team with some creative ideas and a bit of hard work.
Here are ten tips to help you market your small business on a budget.
10 Budget-Conscious Marketing Tips
- Create Social Media Profiles
- Send Personalized Email Campaigns
- Make Sure Your Brand is Consistent on Third-Party Sites
- Repurpose Old Content or Ideas
- Start a Blog
- Focus on Customer Service
- Host a Webinar
- Update Your Website
- Engage with Your Community
- Join a Networking Group
TIP ONE: Create Social Media Profiles
Social media is an outstanding marketing tool you can leverage for your business at little to no cost.
If you haven’t already, take the time to create profiles for your business on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. If you don’t have time to get to them all at once, that’s okay. A good rule of thumb is to start by focusing on the platforms your customers are most likely to use. This gives you the best chance of engaging with them right away. Be sure to include key information about your business in your profile, including:
- Your business hours
- Address and phone number
- A link to your website
- Some brief info about your business and the products/services you offer
- Photos of your logo, products, services, building, etc.
On Facebook, Magnolia does a great job of showing exactly what they’re about and how customers can get in contact with them.
TIP TWO: Send Personalized Email Campaigns
People don’t want to do business with robots. They want to do business with people! By sending personalized communications rather than mass email blasts, you can provide a refreshing experience that your customers won’t get from big brands like Walmart or Home Depot. This small effort can go a long way for your business, and all it costs you is time.
TIP THREE: Make Sure Your Brand is Consistent on Third-Party Sites
Your company information may be available on many websites, depending on the nature of your business. Take some time to read through your information on third-party websites to make sure it is consistent and accurate across every page. Examples of some sites that may display your information include:
- Yelp, TripAdvisor, HomeAdvisor, etc.
- Your local city or chamber of commerce website
- Vendor or partner websites
You can also create a business profile on Google My Business and manage it for free. Since many of your customers will turn to Google to find a business like yours, this tool is truly invaluable!
TIP FOUR: Repurpose Old Content or Ideas
It’s very likely that most of the customers you serve today are not the same people you served three years ago. Maybe there’s some mix of old and new, but that just means you’ve done a great job building a loyal customer base! So, pat yourself on the back and then consider this: repurpose content you have used in the past for today’s customers. You can take old articles, website pages, photos, and more, update them with new stats or information, and publish them again.
TIP FIVE: Start a Blog!
Don’t have any content to repurpose? Then, it’s time to start from scratch! Stretch those literary muscles and start a blog for your business. Your blog can focus on anything you want, as long as it is something your customers will want to read. For example, Content Marketing Institute is a company focused on “advancing the practice of content marketing” by providing helpful resources and industry-leading insight. Their blog is diligently maintained and jam-packed with thousands of posts and tips for marketing professionals. (You may even find some marketing tips there to help your small business!)
TIP SIX: Focus on Customer Service
Providing excellent customer service should always be a focus for your small business. However, truly going above and beyond for your customers is an essential part of building your brand and marketing your business. This is because today’s customers are more interested in supporting businesses that provide an excellent experience, not just a great product. If you can do both, word will spread, and your business will grow.
TIP SEVEN: Host a Webinar
Part of offering experiences is hosting events. Due to COVID-19, in-person events aren’t advisable right now. You could try to host one in-person, but chances are there won’t be many attendees and you could face health and safety violations. Instead, get creative and host an online webinar or class! For example, if you own a candle shop, hold a webinar demonstrating how to make your own candles at home. This is something that you can then record and post to your website and social media pages as well.
TIP EIGHT: Update Your Website
Remember earlier when we mentioned keeping those third-party websites updated? Don’t forget to do the same with your own website! Your website is your most essential marketing tool. Keep it updated with any changes to your hours, product offering, health and safety practices, and don’t forget to use it to advertise those special webinars. Don’t have a website or need an upgrade? We can help! Click here to read about our web design solutions or contact us today.
TIP NINE: Engage with Your Community
Even though you might have to do it online for the time being, remember to engage with your community! You can easily use social media as a tool to show your support. Here are some ideas:
- Purchase your produce from a local farmer’s market and tag them on social media as a thanks.
- Donate food or supplies to your local humane society and encourage your followers to support them as well.
- Volunteer your time helping to pick up litter in your neighborhood.
- Post social media shout outs for your local vendors and encourage others to support them as well.
There are many, many more ways to show your support for the community and other businesses in your area. Even these small things will not go unnoticed by your customers and can help draw them closer to your brand.
TIP TEN: Join a Networking Group
Another great way to get the word out about your business is to join a local networking group. This could be an online community on Facebook or another platform or even your local Chamber of Commerce. This is a fast, easy, and often free way to make connections in your local community.
We hope you find these tips helpful as you move forward with marketing your small business. For more tips and resources, check out these blog posts: