Here are seven low cost or free ways to keep your business ahead in the marketing game.
One of your key goals as a business owner should be to promote your business’s products and services. But if the thought of spending uncontrolled amounts of money on marketing and advertising makes you nervous, then we have some good news. With a bit of planning and the right mix of activities, you can set yourself apart from the competition without the need for a bottomless marketing budget. Here are seven of the best low cost or free ways to advertise your business locally.
Print Advertising and Door-to-Door Leafleting
If you have a local focus then off-the-page advertising or leaflet distribution through a company like the Local Directory can be a low cost and effective way of capturing the attention of a local audience. Print advertising has better recall and is trusted more than online advertising and tells readers that your business is professional and trustworthy. It costs less than you might think to advertise in publications such as ours, as many of our regular clients have found, and is a great way to establish your business as one serving the local community.
If you have a database of current or past customers or prospects then email is a quick, easy and cheap way of marketing to them (but please read our recent blog about the new GDPR regulations to make sure you’re doing it legally). Many email service providers such as Mailchimp provide a free service for small businesses, which includes providing customisable templates and managing responses and reports. If you don’t have an existing database, now is the time to start compiling one!
All main social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest – are free to use and allow you to create a business page or profile to promote your business. But for social media to work you must be posting on a regular basis: most days as a minimum, several times a day can sometimes be beneficial (with the right content and messaging), and in as many places as possible subject to what works for your business. You’ll be creating brand awareness, promoting your offers for free, and – so long as you include links – driving traffic to your website.
Optimise Your Website
There’s no point putting a website live and then sitting back hoping for the business to roll in. You need to be working at it on a very regular basis, with updates, new content, new products and customer testimonials. Regular updates mean that search engines will see your business as being viable, and your page rankings will improve as a result. This doesn’t mean a completely new blog post every day (although one a week is a good plan). Small tweaks or edits to the content will help do the trick. Also, make sure your website is fast, optimised for mobile devices, and has a logical structure for visitors to find their way around.
By far the quickest and easiest means of getting your business name out there is to create great online promotional content. This can be used on your website, your social media posts, your blog, your white papers, your emails – anywhere you appear online. It increases brand awareness, builds trust in your business and encourages your target market to find out more. If you have limited time and budget then you can always hire a freelance copywriter to create the content on your behalf.
Google Adwords/Google Grants/Discounts/Pay per Click
While ongoing online advertising campaigns may be beyond your budget, there are always offers popping up from Google or Facebook for discounts or free credits to trial pay-per-click advertising. These can be a useful toe-in-the-water if you’ve never tried PPC before. If you are a charity or non-profit organisation, then Google offers an Adwords grant system where you could qualify for thousands of pounds in free advertising.
Networking has a bit of a “marmite” reputation – most business owners either love it or hate it. But getting out and about around networking groups is a very cost-effective way of promoting your business. Yes, you need to put in the legwork and have a plentiful supply of business cards. But so long as you remember that networking is mostly about building relationships, then you will find it a very useful way of getting your business name known. Many networking groups give their members the opportunity to give spotlight presentations or longer speaking opportunities, and there’s no denying that the regular prospect of talking to a captive audience about your business is a great use of your membership fees.
For more advice about advertising your business locally, please call us on 01494 72 7000 or email us.