Here’s a hypothetical: you’ve allocated your budget for the year and barely have any funds left for marketing. You probably feel like you’re stranded on an island (and not the holiday kind). How can you draw in customers and increase your revenue without marketing dollars?
What you need is a survival kit of sorts — some easy ways to market your business on a tiny budget. Here are eight great ideas:
1. Start Blogging
Blogging can be a creative and low-cost way to market your business. Use your expertise to create unique content that’s helpful to your customers, and from there you can build a readership. Start with 1-3 high-quality, well-researched posts a month, and add an email signup on your blog so you can build an audience of dedicated readers.
WordPress is the most popular tool for blogging, but you can also check if the content management system (CMS) or website builder you’re using has a blog option. Be patient: This strategy can take several months of consistent content creation to pay off.
2. Try Email Marketing
With free online tools like MailChimp, your email marketing campaigns won’t cost you anything — at least not at the beginning. Collect your customers’ contact details by having email signup or opt-in forms on your homepage, checkout pages, and blog posts.
Connect these signup forms to your MailChimp account to automatically build a list. As your list grows, you can create a schedule for emailing promotions, newsletters, and other announcements.
3. Answer Questions on Quora
Quora is full of people inquiring about everyday problems, and among these people are your potential customers. You can use Quora to your advantage by finding topics relevant to your business and becoming an authority on those topics. For example, if you have an online pet supply store, you can answer pet-related questions to let people know you’re an expert when it comes to grooming and training pets.
4. List Your Business on Online Directories
Getting listed on online directories is an effective way to get publicity and advertising without spending a single cent! Once you add listings on directories like Facebook Pages and Apple Maps — or update them with an accurate business name, address, and phone number — you’re bound to appear on local searches in a short time.
Remember, there at least a million people doing searches on these types of directories, so don’t delay in getting your business listed!
5. Design Your Brand
Building a strong visual identity is an important part of digital marketing. You can use an online tool or marketplace to find free designs without having to hire a graphic designer or learn Photoshop. Several ready-made templates, illustrations, icons, fonts, and photos exist, which you can use to create social media posts, website announcements, and more (you can also design your own logo!).
6. Write Guest Blog Posts
Research authoritative blogs in your industry, find the site owner’s contact details, and pitch your article ideas to them. By publishing articles with your name and a backlink to your site, you can improve your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) over time. But don’t fill your guest post with too many links to your website! One backlink from the article and (possibly) another from your author bio are more than enough.
Tip: You can also use a DIY guide to getting your local SEO right without spending a penny.
7. Learn From Competitors’ Negative Reviews
Another way to help your business grow is by researching your competitors’ negative reviews on sites like Trustpilot or social media. Two things you can learn from this research:
– What customers are complaining about that you can do better
– What you can offer that will differentiate you from the competition (and how you can message that on your website and in your email marketing)
You can also collect the contact details of unhappy customers from these sources and reach out to them to see if you could help.
8. Join Google Communities
Google Communities are a great place to build networks and authority in your niche. Find communities that relate to your business and the entrepreneurial space. From there, you can share blog content, join discussions, and meet other business owners (which can lead to more marketing ideas or partnership possibilities).
Commit the time to trying a few of these marketing ideas, and you’re bound to see results despite spending much less money than most others.
About the Author: Suzana Joel is a content marketer/writer at Synup who is currently scaling the local SEO summit. When she’s AFK (away-from-keyboard), she’s sipping on some masala chai and reading a good book.