Cheap and Effective Ways to Market Your Business
Marketing is one of the most important parts of ensuring your business’s success. It’s right up there with “awesome products” and “amazing customer service.” Unfortunately, marketing is one of the areas where most entrepreneurs and business owners tend to fall behind. Why? Because marketing eats up time in an already busy day and because it can cost a lot of money.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of “I’ll market my company when I’ve made enough money to pay for marketing.” The problem is that if you don’t spend some money on marketing now, you’ll never get enough customers or clients to earn the amount you think you need for a proper marketing campaign.
The trick isn’t to avoid marketing until you feel more financially solvent. The trick is to find ways to market your business that won’t drain your marketing and PR budget. Here are some of the ways you can do that.
Build a Website
You don’t have to be a coding genius or even hire a coding genius to get at least a basic business site up and running. You can do that work yourself in just a few minutes. In fact, we’re willing to bet that it will take you less time to set up at least the framework for your company’s website than it took you to come up with your company’s name.
There are two tricks to keeping site costs low. The first is to track down a hosting provider that offers affordable packages now (but that also will allow you to upgrade as needed). Bluehost, for example, offers hosting for around $4 a month to start. They also offer the possibility of shared hosting, which can work well for larger businesses.
The second trick is to start a blog using a free or open sourced content management system. WordPress and Drupal, for example, are free and easy to set up (WordPress is definitely the easier of the two) and will allow you a lot of flexibility in terms of your site’s appearance and behavior.
PRO TIP: Make sure your site is mobile friendly. Most people are choosing to access the web via smart phones and tablets now.
Guess what. Right now, all of the major social media platforms are totally free to use. Sure, Twitter and Facebook have paid options to help you promote your posts to a wider audience, but you aren’t obligated to take advantage of those options. Creating a solid social media presence can be done in an afternoon. Maintaining that presence will take some time, sure, but if you set aside time for it on your schedule every day, you should be able to build a pretty great following on any of the platforms you choose. Right now the most popular platforms are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. YouTube is also quite popular if you are interested in trying your hand at video marketing. Speaking of which…
You don’t need to have a fancy setup to create awesome looking and well made videos. Heck, there are some very famous YouTubers out there who built their profiles using their phones and a few cheap appliances (like $5 shop lights) and free editing software they found online. Yes, it will take time to learn these skills but that time will probably cost less than trying to hire someone to do your video marketing for you, especially in the beginning.
Your website is an important “home base” for your business online and you likely already know how important it is for your site to have a blog.
If you really want to get the word out, especially to web users, you’ll want to do some content marketing. Content marketing, at it’s core, is simply creating content that you then distribute via a variety of web-based channels. For example, you might submit guest posts to blogs in your niche. You might pitch a few articles to popular web periodicals like Slate. There are lots of ways to approach content marketing. The avenues you choose will depend primarily upon your niche and your audience.
These are just a few of the ways to promote your business online for almost zero cost, save for the time you spend developing your channels and skills. You do not have to do all of these things, but you do need to do some of them. Start with your website and grow your marketing effort a little at a time as you figure out what works for your company and what doesn’t. If you keep at it, you might find that you don’t need traditional advertising as much as you thought you did!
Photo courtesy of: FirmBee
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