In a perfect world, we would all have unlimited funds to market a small business and deliver the right message to the right audience. Unfortunately, that is not reality.
Small business budgets are almost always tight.
Even those of you who are lucky enough to operate on a bigger budget should spend every dollar wisely.
So, even though marketing is critical to boost sales and build brand reputation, it’s worth stepping back and understanding where your money is going before hurting your business’s cash flow.
Luckily, effective marketing does not always need to bleed your budget dry.
There are many wallet-friendly ways you can market your business and promote your brand to the right people so that you can get the best bang for your limited buck.
With that in mind, let’s see the benefits that come along with a well-thought marketing strategy and the most effective tactics for marketing your small business without breaking the bank and negatively impacting your overall budget.
Table of contents:
1. What Are the Benefits of Marketing Your Business?
Cliché as it may be, good marketing is extremely beneficial for businesses of all sizes – Not to mention small businesses that need to gain an edge over competitors and capture market share.
As you build your brand and increase visibility, good marketing has the power to propel your business to success and help you reap great rewards.
Considering that, let’s take a quick look at the far-reaching benefits that marketing can bring to your business:
- It helps you get your business name known
How can customers find you when they are looking for what your business sells without a good marketing strategy in place? Effective marketing is the secret sauce to establishing your brand, getting your business name known and creating a consistent, cohesive brand experience.
- It boosts your sales
Once you’ve found a way to effectively market your business and deliver the right message to the right target audience, your ability to sell your products or services will significantly improve.
- It helps you gain and retain more customers
Are you looking to get a steady stream of new customers and transform them into lifelong fans? If that sounds appealing to you, good marketing helps you bring new customers to your business, increase retention rates, and grow customer relationships over time.
- It builds brand awareness
Your marketing strategy helps you build brand awareness, which is often the first step to driving business goals such as collecting leads and maximising sales. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), increasing brand awareness is the end goal for B2C marketers.
- It enhances your brand’s reputation
While brand awareness describes consumers’ familiarity with your products or services, your brand reputation measures how customers perceive your brand. Both go hand-in-hand for creating business success and are achievable through an effective marketing strategy.
So with that said, let’s explore the easiest and most effective ways to market your business on a shoestring budget so that you can create a great marketing plan.
2. 5 Ways to Market Your Business on a Budget
When money is tight, implementing low-cost marketing strategies is an incredibly nifty way to simultaneously keep cash flow in check and bring in results.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “as a general rule, small businesses should allocate 7-8% of their revenues to marketing.” Nevertheless, even 2-3% of your revenues can go a long way with a well-thought marketing strategy in place.
Here are the top wallet-friendly strategies to promote your brand:
- Increase word-of-mouth referrals
Word-of-mouth referrals are a free, powerful form of marketing. Turn your happy customers into a sales force, and you’ll see your business grow and achieve incredible results.
As a business owner, you need to be aware that word of mouth is something that is going to happen whether you focus on it or not. So, why not speed the spread of positive word-of-mouth?
To use positive word-of-mouth to your advantage and grow your business, make sure you deliver consistently great customer service (such as the one provided by a professional virtual receptionist) and make your customers fall in love with your business.
- Publish high-quality content
Maybe it goes without saying or maybe not, but consistent, high-quality, engaging content is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Though high-quality content has the ability to make clients stick around, build trust, improve conversions and SEO, and nurture a brand’s fans, I keep seeing businesses producing thin content with little or no value.
However, producing content that converts isn’t rocket science, and you can do it yourself if you cannot afford to hire a skilled content writer.
Choose unique and relevant topics that address your audience’s actual needs, and you’ll soon begin to reap the benefits of high-quality content.
- Claim local business listings
Gone are the days when the phone book was an essential ledger in every home.
While printed phone directories have disappeared from our lives forever, online business listings have become the easiest way for customers to find the products or services they need.
More often than not, it costs you nothing to create consistent business listings that guide potential customers right to your doorstep.
Here are some great resources to help you create accurate listings if you haven’t done it yet:
- How to set up your Google My Business listing
- How to set up your Bing Places listing
- Top 20 directories to list your local business
- 15 review platforms to list your business
One caveat, though – To harness the power of business listings, providing consistent business details is an absolute must.
If you operate from home to cut overhead costs and don’t have a professional business address, a cost-effective virtual office will help you maintain brand consistency across your marketing.
On top of that, a virtual office will also help you raise awareness of your brand and improve your business’s reputation.
- Post and engage on social media
Social media is more than just a trend – It is a vital piece in your business marketing strategy.
What is more beautiful about social media marketing is that it is a free way to reach new audiences and nurture your customer relationships. Social media marketing is, in simpler words, your greatest chance to humanise your brand by creating real human connections.
Unlike a blog post or longer piece of content, which can take hours to write and edit, a social media post is something you can write whenever you have a few minutes to spare.
Extra tips: Make sure you are regularly active on your business social media accounts. And don’t forget to tag loyal customers, suppliers, and other businesses! Tagging people and brands on social media helps you expand your business network and get more followers.
- Encourage user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content created by people who have interacted with your brand.
According to a study conducted by TurnTo Networks, 90% of consumers say user-generated content influences their purchase decisions. Put simply, user-generated content is marketing gold.
There are many ways you can facilitate user-generated content for your business.
For example, you can start creating a buzz around your brand by giving your fans a bunch of really good reasons to talk about your business, such as sensational freebies or an interesting event you will be hosting.
Alternatively, you can consider running contests or quizzes on social media or rewarding your fans for their contribution.
Conclusion: An old adage says that “you have to spend money to make money”. But is it always true? Of course not!
Effective marketing doesn’t always have to be expensive marketing. You don’t need to splurge on expensive marketing campaigns to promote your products or services to the right people. With so many digital tools available, you can also market your business with 0$!
While the tips provided in this post may take some time to generate tangible results, they are the most incredibly powerful methods to build more trust with customers and boost sales. Applying them is a necessity, not an option when you don’t have the money to spend on expensive marketing – yet.
If you’re looking to maximise your marketing efforts while protecting the financial health of your small business, look no further than an affordable, all-in-one B2B HQ Virtual Office package.
When you’re operating on a shoestring budget, a virtual office has everything your business needs to run properly and build a strong brand image. If you have your heart set on creating an effective marketing strategy and need to enhance your business reputation, do not hesitate to contact us!