Here is a post I wrote for Grey: https://greyjournal.net/hustle/grow/small-business-marketing-on-a-budget/
Congratulations! You started or are thinking about starting a business. Now, how do you start getting customers? Marketing can help get your first paying customer without a large budget, a large team, or experience.
Sure, it would help if you could spend more money; however, it’s not essential as you can implement basic marketing tactics with little to no budget. Here are some tips on how to get started.
There is always a cost to marketing; however, while these tactics won’t cost you any money, they will require time and hard work to get them started.
My personal favorite promotional method is content marketing. Develop content that will be useful to your customers. Address the problems that they have and offer a solution through your product or services. This can be in the form of a blog, an infographic, a video, or a presentation.
Then distribute that content using my second favorite inexpensive promotional tactic: social media. Social media is a great way to promote yourself and your business. You can also fine-tune your messages by listening and incorporating feedback. Make sure you set up business pages on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Once you have content posted on social media, it is time to network! Reach out to friends, family, and acquaintances to see if they are interested or if they can introduce you to anyone that may be interested.
Regardless of who you talk to online or offline, always ask if you can email them information. This will help build your email list. You want to make sure that you develop a regular cadence of email communication with your list, maybe once a week. This will help build a relationship with your prospective customers.
My last free tip is to post on freelancing sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer. You can develop your skill, get reviews, get paid, and most importantly, develop relationships with potential customers. Once you have a relationship with a customer, you can work with them outside of the freelancing sites without having to share your profit with the site.
Don’t forget to utilize online directories like Foursquare, Google My Business, and Yelp to make sure that you have a listing and can be found. These listing will also help drive traffic to your website if you have one.
Bonus Tip 1: Educate yourself for free on YouTube. There is a lot of great and free YouTube content on digital marketing, lead generation, and growing a small business.
If you have a small budget, I would recommend a simple website and business email address to get your name out there. Once you have a website, there are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) websites that offer free SEO audits. You can use the results to fine-tune your site on your own. Keep your website simple!
Join your local chamber of commerce. Fees will vary based on the location depending on your municipality. A chambers of commerce often will offer many benefits, marketing opportunities, and the opportunity to network.
Depending on your business, you should consider online advertising. This can be through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or using Google keywords. Determine which one is most likely to lead to you to being found by people interested in your business. Then test different methods for $10 to see what works best.
Bonus Tip 2: Combine paid strategies with unpaid strategies. Host a webinar about your business (free for 45 min) on Zoom or free on Facebook Live. I would suggest promoting it first through social media, on Craigslist ($5), and if you can, spend $25 promoting it using Facebook ads. The goal is to get people to join the webinar to see your expertise. Make sure to collect their email addresses so that you can email them later!
Bonus Tip 3: Join different sites on copywriting, lead generation, or SEO. Usually, when you sign-up, they will start emailing you with valuable information trying to convince you to buy their services. You may not be ready to buy from them, but you can use their free content to improve your business.
You can often get free trials of software services (which ones) that you can try. But I wouldn’t sign up for the trial before you have your first customer.
Call to Action
The most important action that you need to take is to GET STARTED!
Join some email lists. Watch some YouTube videos. Do some research. Start to network.
Putting up business pages on social media or a website will force you to take your business seriously. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can start today!
If you are still confused, you can find some content to get started on my website, www.blackbirddigitalmarketing.com.