Don’t assume you can’t promote your brand effectively without access to a huge advertising budget. Many new business owners get discouraged because they lack deep pockets. They think the only way to market their goods or services successfully is with massive amounts of money, and this can’t be farther from the truth.
In fact, even with unlimited advertising dollars, you must have a creative and compelling marketing campaign in place that produces results. The process is much more about effectively communicating your brand message and crafting unique ways to get it out there than it is about having access to the big bucks. Businesses that work with large marketing budgets, still require a truckload of creative thought. Ideas are your biggest asset, and those can come for little to not cost.
Marketing your Business with Little to No Money
If your advertising budget is $10 million or zero, there are ways to boost your brand effectively. The following five action steps can help you market your business cost-free, or on a limited budget.
- Build a strong presence on social media with an active, loyal following
Prioritize the social media platforms where your target audience is likely to engage. Top networks like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram provide direct access to a vast number of potential customers, all over the world. It is important to stand out and show your fans exactly why you are worth their time. Just being average will get you nowhere on social media. There are far too many competing businesses looking to attract your followers. To build a large, loyal and active following, you need to give them relevant content that is also creative and unique.
As you attract more social media followers, you will build a valuable audience that you can market your brand to, repeatedly, without dishing out a dime. But, keep in mind, don’t abuse this privilege by overwhelming your fans with constant incentives to buy or promotional offers. If a user opts to follow your business on any social media network, that consumer has already taken an interest in what you may have to offer. There is no need to keep posting direct ads, this practice is shunned upon and will, in turn, lead them to unfollow you. A better approach is to provide clever, well-written posts that spark interest in a subtle way. Let your target audience come to you naturally.
- Establish referral partnerships with similar business types
Working with businesses that share the same audience as you do, is an easy way to position your brand in front of your ideal target groups. Through this approach, you can quickly grow your customer base and boost revenue. You will have more working capital to scale.
To start, you must identify all referral possibilities that will complement the partner business. For example, a website design firm might map out an agreement with a nearby attorney who focuses on corporate issues. The lawyer may send the designer clients looking to launch a company website and be compensated either a percentage of the final sale or a flat fee.
For this merger to be successful, you must keep two important things in mind, the longevity of the relationship and keep the partner happy so the referrals will continue to come your way. This strategy may take away some of your profits, but it will bring in new business without the marketing expense.
- Stay constantly engaged with your loyal customers
Never forget that your best customers are repeat buyers.
Maintain a current email list of all your repeat customers and touch base with each of them regularly, and often. Instead of bombarding them with a plethora of direct sales offers, provide your loyal base with interesting industry information relevant to them.
For example, a ticket reseller may segment customer lists into groups, based on events they have attended in the past, or past ticket purchases. This way, the reseller won’t waste time sending out generic mass emails. Instead, lists are broken down by interest so the right target audience gets reached.
This type of thought out marketing strategy helps your customers remember you when they need you. Therefore, the next time one of them is searching for what you offer, your company will be the first to come to mind.
- Get out there and hustle
It is not uncommon for new entrepreneurs to start up a business, put together a decent website, and relax, and wait for the profits to just up. We hear of so many fairytales, success stories where a company starts from nothing and blossoms into a multimillion dollar enterprise. There are plenty of these examples, but the media rarely focuses on how hard it is to keep a business afloat in the early days. There are struggles and most fail in the first 18 months.
The businesses that succeed do so because the owners knew how to hustle so the operation could gain the necessary traction that leads to long-term success. You must eat, breathe and sleep thinking about how to best promote your endeavor. Dive in and get the ground work done by hitting the street, talking to prospects and making sales calls around the clock if need be. Get the word out to everyone who will listen, it doesn’t cost a cent to get out and hustle.
- Take risks and go viral
A popular shave club posted a creative and captivating video that quickly went viral. Viewers took notice due to the shock value. This bold marketing approach helped the brand boost its subscriber base in record time, allowing it to scale, lay claim and take over the market.
If the same brand chose to post a dry, mundane advertising video offering only information about the service, it would have never gone viral. This is an incredible amount of free promotion and media attention simply for thinking outside of the box. Taking risks is worth it if it pays off in the end.