How to Promote your Small Business with Little or No Budget

I get asked a lot from small businesses owners on how they can promote their business when they have a limited or non-existent budget. The great news is that in today’s world, the internet makes it more cost-effective than ever before to get the word out about your products and services, no matter what industry you’re in. From this, all it takes is a bit of time, effort and knowledge to know where to direct your limited resources and you can soon easily benefit from increased promotion of your business without having to spend a lot of money, or in some cases without having to spend any money at all.

two 3d humans look at human with megaphone

  • Get a Presence and Stay Active on Social Media

Social media enables you to build your online reputation, increase credibility and help generate business and drive sales. By taking advantage of social media, you can make your business gain more exposure, be more personable and generate and maintain long term connections as well as benefit from rich insights into your customers and industry. The key to being successful on social media is to not spread yourself thinly over lots of social media platforms, but rather, align your brand strategy with certain social platform(s) that have the most relevant audience, positioning and strategy for your business. Concentrate on creating and providing engaging, useful and relevant content so you know you are attracting the attention of your target audience and keeping them engaged on your platforms. Consistency is also key when it comes to social media, so it is therefore vital that in the very beginning you figure out a comfortable writing routine that works with your editorial calendar, be it posting daily or several times a week, and stick to it in order to maintain consistency and maximise your impact. Although it takes some experimentation to find the best publishing schedule for you, there are two things that should always be considered and will dictate your posting schedule; your company goals and what your audience wants.

Here are some quick reference guides to help:

 

  • Become a Voice in your Industry with the Help of a Blog

Blogging is an excellent marketing tool for businesses and is often seen as the ‘heart’ of social media. Whilst it takes time and effort to establish your blog, the results are well worth the effort. Studies show businesses that blog have 97% more inbound links than those that don’t (Source Hubspot) so it is vital that you help spread the message and establish yourself as a voice in your industry. There are many free Blog platforms out there to try but I personally recommend WordPress. By regularly updating your business Blog with valuable, interesting and relevant industry analysis and comment, it shows that you have a deep interest in your sector and are more informed than the average participant and this gives potential customers a compelling reason to choose you over competitors. Moreover, those customers will continue to visit and spread the word to others of your valuable and interesting Blog.

 

  • Give People a Reason to Talk about you with the Content you Share

Content marketing is producing and distributing quality content that is relevant to your audience and is one of the most effective ways to market your business and attract customers. If done correctly, content marketing can prove a key asset to your marketing strategy. The key to successful content marketing is to produce a variety of content types such as articles, videos, webinars, white papers, infographics etc. that are engaging, informative and directly address and target your reader’s needs and questions. All too often businesses use their social media platforms as outlets for direct sales and self-promotion, so you need to avoid making this mistake and set yourself apart from your competitors with your insightful and valuable content. In short, give people a reason to talk about you.

Here are some quick reference guides to help:

 

  • Interact with Others

If you’re not using social media to listen to, interact with your customers and to keep up to date with what is going on in your industry, you’re missing the point of social media. The most successful brands always use social media to listen to what their customers are saying about them and what is being said about their competitors. Listening to customer conversations helps you to learn more about your consumers, their likes, dislikes, passions, challenges and concerns. All of which can be used to greatly benefit your business in the future. So start generating and joining into the conversations around you online by contribute to other blogs, adding your opinion to forums and of course interacting with your customers. Providing helpful, valuable comments on other blogs, forums and outlets can be a great way to generate traffic, develop relationships and build a following. Showing yourself to be insightful and willing to provide advice is always welcomed and appreciated and is often rewarded in the form of new relationships with others who are more likely to mention and promote your business.

 

  •   List Your Company in Online Business Directories

Oddly enough, not listing your business in various online business directories is a common mistake that most new businesses seem to make. There are many online business directories such as Google Plus Local, Yelp and lots of business lists on Twitter that are free for you to add your business too. Make sure to include a good description about your business with direct links to your website, contract information and social media profiles as when someone searches your industry or directly searches for you, you want to make sure you’re listed properly and accurately. This all takes time, but in the end it’s worth it for the organic search mentions and strengthening of your business’ online presence.

 

  • Optimize your Website (or get one if you haven’t!)

When optimizing your website try to focus on three key areas; functionality, Search Engine Optimization and making your site accessible to mobile users.

Whilst having an attractive website will make your business look professional, the real benefits and success of your website will depend on functionality and the ability to acquire customers for your business. If your website is outdated and not easy to navigate you need to consider a redesign.  If you cannot afford bespoke web design or you don’t even have a website then you can take advantage of other affordable website services to get your business online fast and cost effectively. One service that I have used before and recommend is Moonfruit.com. They offer ready-made website templates with a very easy to use interface for editing and personalisation.

Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your website discoverable on search engines when people enter words or phrases that are related to what your business offers. Your optimization aim should be to rank, at minimum, on the first page of Google for your target keyword, but there is so much more to maximising your SEO so try and get as much advice and guidance as you can. The good news is however that the time and effort spent getting your website SEO up to an excellent standard is well worth it as your brand awareness will be greater and you will receive better conversion rates that will greatly benefit your business.

Having a mobile optimized website is fast becoming a must-do for businesses as there has been a vast surge in mobile internet use. People are spending more time than ever before on their mobiles where they enjoy social networking, making purchases and browsing the internet. This means it is so important for your business to utilize the mobile market and optimize your website for mobile.

Here are some quick reference guides to help:

 

  • Don’t Forget Email Marketing

Most businesses are aware of the benefits of email marketing, however many small businesses fail to leverage their website and social media to build their email list. A simple email sign-up form on your website can produce great results but what is important is that you give users an incentive to sign-up to your list be that free advice, a voucher or whatever is relevant to your business.

Here are some quick reference guides to help:

 

  • Get a Business Card

You never know when you might meet your next client and therefore having a business card to hand out to customers or new acquaintances with your name, title, and contact information is a useful idea that makes you look a lot more professional. There are many business card producers available but I strongly recommend the company Moo.com, they display excellent customer service and offer affordable and great quality cards where you can quickly and easily alter an existing template or design your own from scratch.

 

  • Utilize Your Local Community

Utilizing your local community is a great way to build up your brand awareness and also get involved and connect with the people around you. There are many simple but effective ways you can connect with your community, from sponsoring a local event, to handing out flyers and connecting with other local businesses and promoting each other’s products. Whatever you choose you will instantly benefit from exposure to a larger, more diverse audience, and will be engaging in a public service by helping your community and its local businesses.

 

  • Consider a Contest, Coupon or Give-away a Freebie

Every consumer loves a discount or to be in with a chance of winning something. By giving discounts or other benefits to people, you give them a reason to follow you or sign up for emails etc. and that gives you a captive audience for other business messaging. Whatever you offer make it useful and valuable to your target audience and remember to cross promote your giveaway across all social media channels and that includes creating a landing page. Not only will you benefit from an increased surge in attention, you will also build a community and help to drive future sales.

Here are some quick reference guides to help:

 

  • Ask for Referrals

For small businesses, a strong referral base can really set you apart from your competitors.  By providing that extra level of customer service to make your business stand above the norm, you’ll inevitably build a strong customer base that is happy to promote your business. If you already have a strong and happy client base it can be as simple as asking them for a referral, if they are truly happy with your service they should have no problem in referring you to others. Happy clients with great referrals are often stronger than any marketing campaign so keep focused on providing great customer service and you will likely be rewarded with more customers because of it.

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10 thoughts on “How to Promote your Small Business with Little or No Budget

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  2. Hey there are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but
    I’m trying to get started and set up my
    own. Do you require any coding knowledge to make your own blog?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Like

    1. Hi! Yes I am using WordPress for my site/blog. In regards to the coding knowledge you can buy a template site that has it all done for you with little or no coding knowledge needed at all (this is what I did!). There are options however for you to customise your site platform even more if you have the coding knowledge and wish to do so but it is entirely up to you! I would recommend getting on the wordpress website and forums and have a look around and ask questions, that way you can get all the knowledge you need from WordPress users (those who code and those who don’t) and find out everything you need. If you want any social media advice about promoting your blog I can help you there a lot more, feel free to get in touch!

      Like

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