Running a business is no easy task, and certainly not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of things can go wrong, and you can easily end up on the back foot, losing your investments and all the effort you put into creating your company. However, if you get your basics right, you are sure to have a more stable foundation upon which to build your company – and one of those is marketing.
Marketing is, basically, the act of promoting your business to attract customers. There are many ways you can do it, but in this article, we'll list 7 ways you can promote your business that also won’t break your bank. Let’s check them out!
Creating a Website
No business can go without a website in the modern world, and that’s a fact. Your website is your storefront, a place where visitors that don’t have the time or luxury to get down to your store personally to check out what you’re all about and what you have to offer. Moreover, nowadays, building a website is much easier than in the past, as numerous web design engines have emerged that can make a complete novice look like a professional web designer – and they often include a free trial/version!
Of course, if you want a good website and somebody to take care of it, and you don’t have the skills, you’ll have to hire a professional web designer. Even so, these professionals offer premium prices for the amount of work they do and the skill level they possess, and they are sure to pay off their cost several-fold.
Creating your website doesn’t mean you’re all set – you also have to optimise it! Your website won’t do you any good if people can’t find it, and that’s where SEO comes in with its many techniques of boosting your website’s rating.
SEO (search engine optimisation) is, in essence, a practice centred on making your website more relevant to people's search queries, and making it rank higher on Google so people can find you. This can also be done very cheaply if you have got the skills, but it's best you hire a professional firm that will cover all the things your website needs, like tracking metrics and analytics, optimisation for mobile, keyword research and implementation, link building, etc.
Utilising the Social Media
Yes, social media can be full of nonsense and you might think it only exists to waste your time, but, if used correctly, it can become a powerful tool for promoting a business.
In fact, no modern brand can afford not to have a presence on social media. Social media marketing helps build brand identity, form a community around your product/service, and allows you to keep in touch with your customers, as well as let those interested reach you more easily. Platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are great at quickly disseminating information, as well as a simple, cheap and relatively reliable too for performing market research. It is also the modern version of word-of-mouth marketing, the most powerful form of marketing in existence, as people can share your page and have discussions about it among themselves.
Many businesses underestimate the power of email marketing, but you’ll never see an industry giant ignore this form of self-promotion, and neither should you.
Though you run the risk of having your emails marked as spam, statistics performed by numerous analysts in the industry show that engaging in emails marketing is well worth the effort. You have to be careful about it though – in the beginning, simply ask your visitors to sign up and leave their email, then occasionally send them a subtle reminder of an upcoming sale or special deal. You'll be surprised how many people will remember you when they see your mail and engage you once they have a need for your products/services.
Banners and Flyers
Though considered a somewhat outdated form of marketing, there are plenty of people that prefer having your flyer in their hand, as something tangible and real, something they can see with their own eyes and feel with their own hands, and know it's real.
With that being said, don’t focus simply on online marketing tactics as your only source of enticing visitors and converting them into customers. Handing out a few flyers can appeal to older generations that aren't as tech-savvy, and banners with your logo proudly displayed on them instil a sense of identity, pride and determination in the beholder. Also consider getting some quality custom door mats for entrances in your store, as a way of showing the visitor they’re entering a business venue characterised by the highest form of professionalism and dedication to the brand.
Reach out to Local Newspapers
An especially cost-effective way of promoting your business is engaging a local newspaper. Whether it is to feature your ad, give an interview or provide an expert article of your own on a certain topic, the local newspaper is an excellent way of getting noticed by people in your immediate area – something smaller businesses are sure to benefit from.
The great thing about newspaper agencies nowadays is that they are two-fold marketing system – they operate both online and in the real world. Most newspapers have an online forum and blog while continuing to print physical copies, thus reaching the older and less tech-savvy part of the population and the younger part of the population that prefers to spend their time on the internet.
Customer Testimonials and Word-of-Mouth Marketing
We already mentioned that one of the most powerful forms of marketing is word-of-mouth marketing. Indeed, most people are much more inclined to trust a business if somebody close to them has a positive experience with said business.
You can go two ways about starting a word-of-mouth campaign – either through your friends and relatives or by including testimonials from your previous customers. Engaging your friends and family to refer you to customers, or other people to you is a great way of starting out when your business is still small. With luck, those close to you will send customers your way or introduce you to somebody that you can partner with in your business venture and establish a valuable connection. After that, you can use customer testimonials as proof that your customers think your products/services are high-quality and worthy of notice.
Well, that’s about it from us for today. As you’ve seen, all of the marketing techniques we’ve mentioned are quite affordable and cost-effective, making them especially attractive to smaller businesses that are just starting out. Finally, remember – finding the right product for your niche and the right niche for your product is the most important thing, and, if you manage to find that, everything else is a piece of cake!
Emma Williams is an Australian writer with a master‘s degree in business administration, who has a passion for anything lifestyle and design related. She spends most of her time redecorating and participating in house projects. As a great nature lover, her biggest pleasure is spending time in a small cottage by the river.