If you are just a beginner or you have exhausted your initial funds, then you might be in search of possible ways to market your business on a shoestring budget. And being inexpensive or free does not mean at all that these are not effective. Rather, few of the most effective marketing methods are quite inexpensive any way.
Your Old Business Card
Online services like PrintsMadeEasy.com and Vistaprint.com have enabled marketers to get inexpensive business cards. You can print cards using your own printer attached with your computer. It is not recommended to use free business cards. Try to get hold of a discount code or coupon and use the premium versions of business cards because you do not want your business card to look cheap.
Make it a point to leave your business card with the people when you go at an event. Even when you need to share just your phone number with someone even for reasons unrelated to your business, always hand out your business card. You never know when the services or products you offer are required by persons you meet in your family and friends circle or when someone related to them needs these. Give out your business cards freely at social and business events.
Make a Website and Blog
When creating a website, keep an eye on your budget but do not present your business as something cheap. Having a website along with a blog is really easy these days by using a self hosted WordPress. Many quality WordPress themes are available at no price from WordPress.org and a domain costs less than $15 and good hosting is available for around $5. And every single penny on these costs is worth investing.
If you do not feel confident technically and it is not possible for you to hire someone for the job, try to make use of a website builder that also has a blog option. The blog has to be on your own website and not on a separate domain like on WordPress.com or Blogger blog. Whichever way you go with this, do not forget to follow the next step and that is writing informative, keyword-rich and regular blog posts which you should also be vigorously promoting using your social media channels.
Promote Using Social Media
Create separate branded social media accounts for your business solely. It is not essential that you ensure your presence on all social media channels. Rather select those channels which are essential based on the inside knowledge about your audience. Create profiles on these social media networks in a cohesive way which reflect your brand.
Share your blog posts on social media. Make a mention of any pictures you take or anything interesting you come across or any question on your social media outlets. Try to make extensive use of social media for getting more email signups, for promoting events and everything else – all free.
Find JV partners
JV partnership is distinct from a real world business partnership. This is not competitive but a joining of complementary business owners in a collaborative way for exposure to a shared audience. Both the JV partners can actually double their audience by engaging in such JV opportunities.
Any JV project should have a clearly defined timelines and goals. All the terms and conditions, especially how the money shall be distributed, upfront and write down a formal contract. Clearly define the tasks that each of you will be doing in suitable detail. You can both taste success if you remain clear and stick to the mutually agreed plan.
You can explore the possibility of writing a book if you have an expertise in a particular area. You can then either promote it as a PDF on your own website or get it published on Kindle. It is all up to you if you want to charge a price for it or use it as a free gift in exchange for building your email list. But it is a sure thing that you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche by publishing your own book and actually your book can be your calling card.
Establish Yourself on the Speaking Circuit
Making use of your book as a foundation, market yourself as a speaker who is willing to give a talk locally and also in other cities at the cost of a room, board and ticket at other speaking events and opportunities. In fact, if you establish yourself, you can actually get paid by speaking. So speaking is not only an opportunity to market yourself and your business but also it can be a revenue stream too.
Make a Buzz
In the absence of a lot of money, a good way to market yourself is by creating a lot of buzz about your business. This can be done in many ways. Make a viral video, publish a controversial blog post, or create a video contest where videos are voted upon by family, friends and general audience. This is an excellent method of getting people talk about your business and get some free advertising in the process. Another way to further create the buzz is by offering an amazing and relevant prize package for the contest.
Build Relationships with Networking
Wisely select your networking events. The two types of people you want to network with are potential clients and those people who can refer clients to you. With a limited budget, a good strategy can be to look for local networking events or online events. There are numerous free to join matermind groups online which can be very useful in finding clients once you have invested enough time and energies in building trust and relationships there.
An excellent way of increasing customer numbers is asking and convincing your existing customers to refer their friends. Many a time, satisfied customers refer your business to their friends but there are times when they act possessive and want to keep you exclusive for themselves. This is more true in case of service oriented businesses. An excellent way of overcoming this situation is by offering some freebies or discount coupons for every customer they refer to you.
Think of introducing an affiliate programme if you are selling some products which will act as an incentive for people to introduce and refer your products and you will be making more revenue without any additional costs other than sharing a percentage of your profit with the affiliates.
By putting these marketing ideas to work, you can promote your business for free by just investing your time. The time spent will be related to your knowledge of the technology. You can definitely see your business going forward even if you earnestly work on even a couple of these ideas.