Many small businesses struggle to stay profitable, with cost-cutting a priority in leaner times. A common way to cut costs is to strip down the marketing budget, avoiding substantial investments in riskier strategies. Reducing marketing spend can severely damage customer acquisition efforts, though, making it harder to come out of the slump.
Marketing the business is extremely important, so it is worth looking for areas where you can promote on a smaller budget. Thankfully, there are various online marketing strategies that won’t take too much time or investment to see results. So, what are some of the main marketing strategies you should consider?
Harness Your Existing Support
If your business has been operational for a while, you will probably have many satisfied customers. You may have the chance to use these customers as brand ambassadors, recommending your business across their social media networks. You could also develop a referral service to compensate people for recommendations. In many cases, though, people will promote your business if you give them the resources to do so.
Collaborate with Other Businesses
Small businesses can often look at similar enterprises from a competitive standpoint. There are, however, businesses in your niche who are not in direct competition. You may sell different products or be focused on alternative segments of the marketplace. Collaborating with other small businesses can provide you with a new audience, reciprocally helping each other to succeed.
Provide Free Content
Providing free content is a great way to offer value before asking for a sale. If the consumer can see proof of your knowledge and can learn something, they are more likely to trust you. You can create content for a blog, while also publishing on external sites. Even though you may have to pay to create the content, the ROI is often enough to justify the expense.
Build an Email List
It can often be tempting to try and make immediate sales, but you may get better results taking a long-term approach. Building an email list lets you message subscribers on a recurring basis, helping to build a relationship. You might sacrifice an initial sale, aiming to make more money over a longer period. The cost for an email marketing service is fairly low, so you can link a content marketing strategy to secure low-cost leads.
Create Newsworthy Items
There are many blogs and news sites looking for industry updates that will interest their readers. If you can create something of interest to these people, you can receive a lot of free publicity. The subject matter will largely depend on the niche and location of your business. Local businesses could create an event in the community, inviting reporters and sending details and images to those who cannot attend. You don’t have to manufacture news to get attention, but you can think about the subjects that interest your audience and cater to them.
Build Relationships with Affiliates
Affiliate marketing is effective for anyone on a tight budget as you can gain leads and customers without the initial expense. Affiliates will pay for advertising or use their own email lists, bringing in a new audience for free. Of course, you do have to factor in the commissions, giving enough reason for affiliates to promote you.
A substantial marketing budget can allow for quick and significant growth. Paid advertising can find leads, with sales likely to increase. You can also experiment with different techniques that may not always get the desired results. However, a smaller budget can also work, encouraging creativity to overcome budget issues. A small business can become more efficient, focusing on the areas that will bring the best results. While most businesses will want more money for marketing, working with a smaller budget can provide the focus that allows you to thrive.