When it comes to small businesses money is a huge issue. There is never enough money to go around for you to market with. I understand because I am a small business owner. When money is an issue…how do you market? I want to give you some cost effective ways to market your business for the low.
- Have a table at events – This is a great way to show off your stuff right in your own backyard. Find out whose having an event or a show in your neighborhood. See if you can score a table for free or for a low cost. I work for Macaroni Kid and we want to get people to sign up to our newsletter. We wanted to do something huge and have a grand party but after talking with another Macaroni Kid mom I decided to start small and call my local Chick Fil A who loves us. I bargained with him to score a section in his place of business on a busy night (kids night) so that we could set up and have parents come to sign up for our newsletter. The only thing it cost me was an email……If you can’t afford to attend a trade show or have a table somewhere try to at least attend the event so that you can still network.
- Refer a Friend – This works wonders because word of mouth is still ideal for small businesses. If you want to take it further do an affiliate program with your site. If someone refers someone to you offer them 5 or 10 percent of the earnings. I will be starting that program soon myself for Visually Kokoa. For everyone you refer you get money in your pocket. It’s a great way to get some business in. Only do this if you can afford to give money away 5% is a lot when you aren’t making much but it will help to keep customers coming. Make sure you make it plain that the person you refer has to pay in full or there is no deal.
- Do something unique on Social Media – You have to think outside the box on this one. You want people talking about your business. So let’s say you sell t-shirts. Maybe you can get customers to tweet a small video of them getting their shirt in the mail. Call it first reactions or something to your product. Make sure you can take the heat if a customer says something bad….you can flip that and learn from it too. If you own a photography business do a themed photo a week maybe a black and white photo of the week or a Food shot of the week something that maybe you don’t regularly do and get your clients involved. Say hey do you mind joining in on our weekly challenge using our unique hashtag. Don’t forget to utilize these pictures on Twitter and Facebook…you have different customers on each platform and you want all of them to see what you do.
- Get your family and friends involved – I utilize my friends all the time. My bestie owns her own hair salon whenever I get my hair fixed I leave a stack of business cards on her table. I have another friend who owns a bakery. I make sure she has my flyer (which is huge) on her wall when clients come into her establishment. My family is not into social media (their old) but they do ask me to make flyers and do pass my name around for gigs. I tell my tweeps to rt me or ask them to share something on their wall from time to time also. Utilize your tribe to help get the word out about you. It’s free help…don’t go overboard with it though. I ask my tweeps to do this for me once a month or so normally if I am doing a special for Easter or another Holiday.
- Free Products – A friend of mine was concerned when she saw that I was offering free products on my Facebook Fan page. I understood her concern because she knows I do good work and she doesn’t want me to do it for free. Although I don’t offer free all the time it has landed me clientele and it also boosts my portfolio up. From every free product that I have given away… I have gotten at least 3 new clients from it. I think that’s a win. I never give anything big or anything that will take up too much of my time because at the end of the day my time does cost. I also only giveaway to 2 or 3 people never to a lot of people. I also try to be fair and try never to let the same person win over and over again. I like to give others a chance.
Network at lest twice a month at events around town and showcase your logo in every possible way that you can. If you can’t do your logo at least do your website. If I am on a computer and I don’t have my watermark handy I always put my www. at the bottom of my pictures.