Marketing Tips For Small Businesses On A Tight Budget
Starting out in business is tough, especially at the start of your journey when you are building exposure and trying to gain your first sales or clients. According to the Office For National Statistics, only 60% of businesses survive their first five years. This is a quite a sobering statistic of how hard it is to establish a business that will survive in the long term. Careful planning and steady growth is key. If your growth is too slow, then you may not survive as your cash flow could be at risk. However if you experience an extremely fast growth then you may not be able to service your clients at your best level or get a steady supply chain of products in place depending on your type of business.
How do I market my business on a small budget?
Whatever your journey for your business may be, marketing should be one of the key elements you consider and be at the forefront of your business, driving interest in your product or service. One of the key challenges small businesses have with their marketing activity is how to get the word out on a small and tight budget. I know this all too well! It can be hard at the start, especially if you don’t have investment or investors behind you. You know you need to market yourself and or your business, but you’re not sure what to invest in as you are worried about making a costly mistake. Here are my top 5 marketing tips, which may be useful at the start of your business when investment is tight:
- Social Media
The joy of social media is that it costs nothing to set up apart from your time and effort! It really does pay off to have profiles on social media so that you can promote your business or products. Join groups and get the word out. Instagram and pinterest are lovely channels for visually appealing products or services. My advice would be to pick the ones that you feel connect well with your business or that you feel confident in using. Start populating them with interesting posts, pictures etc and see if you can start building a following up. Maybe you could trial an offer to see if you can gain some interest? Once you have done these one or two channels well, then look at maybe setting a profile up on one more; eventually building up your repertoire. When you have more investment under your belt, then maybe consider using some paid for advertising with these routes to really target your audience.
A website is always something I would recommend prioritising, even if it is just one or two simple pages at the start. It really shows you are professional and are serious about business! Over time you can slowly start to invest in building up your website, adding more information or functionality even e-commerce if you want to start selling online. It is the front window of your business so try to add as much information as you can at the start. Try applying for a google my business account to get a free listing and try to get your business found on google maps.
Public relations or PR as it’s known is a brilliant area of marketing and for the most part doesn’t need to cost the earth. Most small businesses are shy of doing PR but if you have a great product or service then why not shout about it! Most journalists are really eager to learn about new products or services, especially if they offer something new or different to the market so why not get in touch. Write a brilliant press release showcasing your product or service and combine with a sample or a fab and interesting case study to grab the attention of the journalist. You never, you could be appearing in glossy magazine or newspaper!
4. Word Of Mouth
Word of mouth is so powerful for small business, in fact it should be classed as one of your major marketing areas to cultivate. If you already have a client base, even if its just a handful of people who have bought your product or service and are happy to spread the word, then look after them! Create a loyalty program, ask them to write testimonials for your website or leave you a review online. Reward them if they send other people your way; it really does work and its cheaper to market yourself this way, then trying to win new business via other channels.
This is really an extension of the above, but once you build up a client base make sure you collect details including emails and necessary permission to get in touch and hey presto, you have your first database of clients to send out a newsletter to. Continue to build up over time as you collect new customers. Newsletters are cheap and easy ways of getting in touch with people who have already purchased from you. They are great ways of showcasing new products or services, or highlighting special offers etc. Keep them regular but don’t innundate either so your clients get tired of hearing from you! Mail Chimp is a great service to use when you are starting out.
I hope you have found the above helpful and can start to make in roads with building up your visibility for your business. If you need help with any of the above, are short of time, or just need some general strategic direction with your Marketing plans then why not get in touch for a free consultation? Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out my enquiry form on my contact page.