Budget-friendly tips for advertising your small business
An advertising budget may not be within reach when you start your small business, but getting the word out about your product or service should be a priority. Use creative thinking to avoid expensive methods of traditional marketing. This could force you to see your business and its market in a different light.
When seeking inexpensive publicity, you invest time and patience instead of money. For example, relationship-building is more useful than simple membership to industry associations: people must be aware of what you do in order to refer you. Be memorable by being truly engaged and helpful; imparting sincerity is better than the need to close a deal.
As you build relationships, pay special attention to media contacts. The more you get published or broadcast about your brand, the more recognition and credibility you will gain. Create press opportunities by trying different angles:
- Write articles about your business for local papers.
- Create a hook to get noticed – what's your story? What details or challenges make you stand out?
- How does your business fit into the bigger picture or adapt to trends?
- Can you share any interesting data?
- Host events that warrant sending out media releases.
Free social media tools can help you promote your brand. A blog or a video might offer instruction or advice that relates to your business; microblogging could provide links that add value to the customer experience. Establish your brand on networking sites to access your customers, but be prepared for feedback. Remember, consistency produces results.
What are some other ways of advertising your business?
- Sponsored events: donate products or services in return for advertising
- Open houses: invite neighbours, suppliers and potential customers
- Contests: get current and potential customers excited about your brand
- Classes or workshops: share your expertise and build credibility
- Speaking engagements: get your name out there
- Customers as brand ambassadors: reward them for referrals
When you do develop a budget for more marketing, consider less expensive, tried-and-true options like flyers, local coupon books and pay-per-click social media ads. It helps to define your audience and start with a smaller demographic. Focus on the local market before expanding outwards.
Don't let the lack of a budget impede your promotional progress. Let your creative legwork lead to rewards.