When you’re starting a business and your budgets are tight, marketing might be the first expense you look to cut. Typically traditional advertising methods can be costly and hard to measure however, small businesses now have access to better, cost-effective, trackable marketing tools.

With so many new digital tools available, where do you start? Here’s some of our top tips to help you market your business on a shoestring budget.

  1. Make sure your pitch perfect
    When starting your business you should take every opportunity to market it – wherever you are, you need a compelling elevator pitch. The average attention span of an adult is 6 to 8 seconds, that’s all the time you have to grab their attention and make them want to know more about your business. Make sure you invest some time into creating a none-forgettable pitch, that way you’re business ready, at any time.
  2. Use your local community
    You don’t always have to think big when it comes to marketing, think locally. What’s happening within your community and how could your business get involved? Sponsoring local events such as school efforts and charitable events boosting your reputation within the community and makes people talk. Take the time to get to know your ideal customer and think about how and where they spend their time.

  3. Collaborate
    Could your business collaborate with non-competitive businesses within your area? Why not contact them and see if you can help each other. You can use personalised voucher codes, website links, and social media posts to expand both of your customer bases. For example, do you offer offsite catering services? Chat to local suppliers, use they’re produce and ask them to promote your services in return.  

  4. Ask for feedback and testimonials
    We don’t always want to know what people think of us, but when you’re starting a business any feedback can be used to your advantage. Ask your customers to provide feedback and testimonials that can be used on your website and social media platforms, any ‘negative’ feedback can be used to update or streamline processes, ’positive’ reviews and feedback can be posted and used to draw new customers in.

  5. Turn your friends, family and customers into walking advertisement
    Ever seen someone using a reusable bag and think ‘I like that pattern’? There are loads of cost-effective, printable items you can give others to wear/use to advertise your business. Do you make clothes? Hand out some items for people to wear out and about. Make your own brand of teas and coffee? Get some re-usable carry mugs made for people to use with your products. From laptop stickers to notepads and pens the list is endless, find something that is relevant to your business and distribute them accordingly. Everyone loves a freebie!

  6. Engage with your customers
    May sound obvious, but businesses often lose touch with their customers or never fully ‘seal the deal’. A quick, easy way to engage with your customers is by using social media, create competitions and polls that not only engage with your existing client base but also expand your base. For example, tattoo shops often run ‘Voucher Prize Draws’, offering their clients a voucher od discount on their services by asking them like the post, tag 3 friends and then share it to be entered into the draw. It’s a great way to engage with customers but also reach more potential clients.

  7. Create a Customer Referral Program
    Recent surveys have shown that customers would provide businesses a referral if asked, but wouldn’t do it unprovoked. Offer your customers a free product, free months of service or incentive for referring new customers. Word-of-mouth can be a powerful tool, so make sure you ask and use it to your advantage!

  8. Apply for online Business Awards
    Most industries have business awards that are free to enter. These Awards often provide online badges that you can post on your website, add to email footers and publish on social media. These badges can boost credibility and increase sales!

  9. Email Marketing
    Email marketing is a great way to get new customers to engage with your business, as well as help maintain existing relationships. Make sure your website, email footers and social media platforms offer customers the chance to sign up to your newsletter (if you don’t have one, make one). Newsletters provide you the chance to celebrate achievements, advertise services and customers and offer competitions. Try out MailChimp, it’s a free email marketing service!

  10. Reddit
    Believe it or not Reddit can be incredibly useful when it comes to marketing. The self-proclaimed ‘Front page of the internet’ can be a powerful tool when used strategically. To ‘win’ at Reddit, make sure you share good content and post to extreme niches, the platform has so many subcategories (known as subreddits) that often deal with some specific interests. Find your niche and dominate it.

Is your business less than 12 months old? Want to expand you knowledge of marketing for free? Check out one of our Marketing Masterclasses!  

Marketing Masterclass
This interactive masterclass has been designed to take you step by step through the core elements you need to successfully market your new business.

Establishing an Online Brand Masterclass
This interactive workshop will look at key branding ingredients, building and developing a brand identity, creating a visible web and mobile presence and much more.

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