By Chris W. Dunn
According to HubSpot, the third top marketing challenge for companies is the lack of budgeting resources. Unless you are a startup with venture or angel capital, you probably have a limited marketing budget. Here some ways you can market your business on a limited budget.
1. Go guerilla.Guerilla marketing looks to leverage creativity, imagination and originality in place of a big budget. Smart small businesses with a limited budget often use guerilla marketing to compete with huge companies. There is no shortage of creative guerilla marketing ideas. Here are just a few examples:
2. Socialize on social media.According to the Pew Research Center Report of Social Media Usage: 2005-2015, nearly two-thirds of American adults use social media now. This is a near tenfold increase within the last decade.
3. Create valuable content.Not only do potential customers love great content, but so does Google. There are many ways to share information -- blogging, creating videos, hosting podcasts, designing infographics or submitting articles to online authority sites. Not only do you gain authority as an expert, but you also get free traffic. You can also offer to be a guest blogger for another complementary website or be interviewed on a podcast.
You don’t always have to produce the content yourself. You can hire freelance writers, graphic designers and personal assistants through websites like Upwork. If you run out of ideas, you can repurpose old content and give it a new spin.
4. Contests and giveaways.Everyone loves free gifts! Give away desirable or fun items to gain goodwill, build brand awareness and connect with potential customers. They don’t need to be expensive. Things such as online ebooks, white papers and checklists don’t cost you anything but your time.
You can also promote your products through Facebook groups where members agree to try your product for free or a discounted price in exchange for an honest review. Physical gifts with your advertising on it such as balloons, smartphone wipes, key chains, fridge magnets, pens and notepads are always popular too.
You can also create a viral marketing effect by making your marketing interesting, attractive and fun. One of the craziest marketing efforts that went viral is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. People dared their friends and family to pour ice cold water on themselves within 24 hours. Those who failed to do so would then have to donate to the ALS charity.
5. Piggyback your partners.When you are a small business with a limited marketing budget, it makes sense to partner with other complementary businesses. These can include manufacturers, suppliers and vendors. Not only do you both win when your businesses succeed, but there is added credibility when another business recommends you.
Related: The Ultimate Networking Guide: 4 Ways to Expand Your Network
As an example, you can exchange customer lists and offer to pay the business a commission for every sale you make. Just make sure that you have requested permission from your customers to share their details!
For direct mail marketing, offer to share postage costs and include your flyer with the other businesses’ mail. If the other business has a physical retail space, ask to put your business cards in their customer waiting area.
You can also seek partners within your existing customer base. Create a referral rewards program where you reward your customers for referring business to you. Word of mouth is extremely effective when it comes to marketing.
6. Leverage scalable advertising channels.Conventional advertising mediums such as TV, radio and newspaper ads can be extremely costly and hard to measure effectiveness, but online advertising can be cheaper and more targeted. Popular options are Google Pay Per Click ads and Facebook ads. Also, don’t forget to list your business in free online directories like Google Business for Google Maps and Yelp.
You also can promote your latest products and services through these free or cost effective methods:
Related Book: Market Like You Mean It by Al Lautenslager
8. Help yourself by helping others.All your marketing should be of some use to your audience. There are many ways that you can make your marketing efforts a welcome intrusion rather than an annoyance to your audience. Try these:
Catch up on my current posts along with industry articles