Small business owners face a number of worries when building your brand and establishing your company. One of the chief concerns business owners face throughout the world is budgeting.
If you’re a less established, newer business, you may struggle to decide where your money should be best spent – should you invest heavily in product development, or spend lots on marketing and PR? Should you save money on advertising or go all out?
Nobody wants to spend money unnecessarily, but don’t let yourself think that marketing can be ignored. If you’re growing your company then marketing is one of the most important methods of growing your customer base, increasing your revenue, and developing your brand awareness. Failing to put resources into marketing will limit your business’s potential, and leave you facing a brick wall.
With this in mind, limiting expenses is still vital for many businesses. To help you do this, we’ll show you how you can save money on marketing your business online.
Utilize Your Social Networks
Online marketing has grown in ways we never could have expected. The rise of social media has meant that it’s easier than ever to engage with your audience and attract new customers. And the best part? They’re all free.
Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pintrest and even LinkedIn are all free to sign up to. You’ve probably found that most businesses you’ve seen have a profile on one or all of these networks, because it not only provides free marketing but also lets you interact with your customers or potential customers.
Social media channels let you do the following actions for free:
- Provide customer support and feedback
- Connect with influencers and other brands in your industry
- Make customers and followers aware of promotions or company updates
- Gain media coverage by sharing unique or focused content or news
As well as all this, social media networks also let your fans share updates with their followers, in turn increasing your marketing reach. This can be especially useful if for example, one of the leading influencers in your industry shares some of your content.
Failing to put effort into your social media endeavours will limit your growth and may even stop potential customers from converting. Think to yourself – would you buy from a company that has no social media presence?
Spend time researching Search Engine Optimization
Being found easily on Google is paramount to growing your business. Search engines are used every day by millions of people, so if your customers can’t find you, how will they buy your products?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the act of optimizing your website to be indexed better by search engines like Google and Bing – which means getting your website to appear higher on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This is done by optimizing the content of your website (on-site SEO), and using techniques such as guest blogging and forum marketing to build links towards your website and in turn, increase it’s ranking.
SEO is often incorrectly seen as expensive, unnecessary, and complex. It needn’t be that way. Methods of optimizing your website for free include:
- Using free SEO plugins, such as Yoast for WordPress, to help guide you towards optimizing your content including meta descriptions, photo alt tags, and heading tags.
- Generate natural high-value backlinks from media outlets by using methods such as guest blogging, or product reviews
- Research which keywords best relate to the type of brand your target customers are searching fo and then designing your website, content marketing, and social media content around this.
Provide valuable content to your audience
In the marketing world, there is one constant saying that’s been echoed by influencers and businesses alike: “Content is king”. In other words, valuable content is the most important way of marketing your business. Not only does it inform your customers about your products and services, but it can also help grow your audience. If you see a really interesting article or post, would you share it with your friends and family?
As well as making a lasting impression, Providing this kind of knowledge to your customer base will aid your customer engagement too. Well-written content that delivers useful or exclusive focused information is likely to attract interactions from your customers, be it a share on Facebook, retweet on twitter, or a simple comment. Interacting with your customers in this way is not only beneficial to your public image, it also helps you gauge what kind of customer you’re marketing to.
However, you may not have the resources to hire a content writer or creator. So you may be asking yourself – what content can I create on a low budget?
Some types of content you can create with little-to-no cost include:
- Blog posts – creating news articles, guides, or tips can be done relatively quickly by yourself or otherwise in-house
- Video – creating video content doesn’t need to be costly, for example creating an office tour or product introduction video can be done cheap and quickly
- Photo – photographic content can also be done relatively easily, and can provide many benefits especially when shared on social media networks
Start using Giveaways and Competitions, and Offers
This may sound counter-intuitive, but hear me out.
How many times have you seen competitions or giveaways being held online? For most people the answer is probably “lots” – and there is a reason for this. Competition and giveaways work as great marketing tools, in addition to giving something back to your customers.
A common way of utilizing competitions and giveaways as a marketing tool is by introducing an entry requirement. This can be several different methods, but the most common are:
- Signing up to your mailing list – providing you with their contact details for future email marketing
- Sharing the competition on social networks – increasing your potential customer base and growing your brand awareness
- Engagement – asking your customers to engage with your social network profiles by liking or commenting for example
One of the best ways to get your competition seen by many people, especially if you’re a newer or smaller business, is to post it on competition or giveaway websites. Websites such as My Favourite Voucher Codes, Money Saving Expert and Loquax let you share competitions and giveaways to their thousands of users. This will help increase exposure of your brand as well as bring in new customers.
While it may cost you money initially to setup the competition, giveaway, or offer – the marketing benefits can provide a significant return on your investment. After all, there’s a reason so many companies do it!