It’s a scary world when you see businesses splashing out $1 billion per year on marketing. All you can think is “how can we compete with that?”
The good news is that, when the purse strings are tight, it’s totally possible to market your business on a shoestring budget and still get noticed.
All it takes is a bit of marketing guile, creativity, effort, and know-how. Let’s take a look at 7 crucial tactics to market your business on a shoestring budget.
Has someone ever put you on the spot at a networking event and asked you what it is that you do?
When you realize that you’ve not written and rehearsed a compelling elevator pitch, it’s easy to crumble.
“What do I do?” you begin to wonder to yourself. Then, you start to sweat.
Before you know it, you’ve just spent 10 minutes gibbering away about something and nothing, leaving your acquaintance confused and a bit scared.
An elevator pitch allows you to succinctly and powerfully explain exactly what it is that your business does at a moments notice. It can prove to be incredibly useful in so many situations and it’s well worth dedicating some time to answering the killer “what do you do?” question in less than 2 minutes.
Now that you’ve got your elevator pitch, you can go ahead and network better.
I’m a big fan of networking and still firmly believe that it’s one of the best - and cheapest - ways of building your business.
Even if you run a digital business, it’s important that you put yourself out there and make yourself seen and heard. According to stats, 100% of people consider in-person meetings to be essential for long-term working relationships. This means that you can’t keep hiding away behind a computer screen.
As well as being armed with your elevator pitch, you also need to have confidence - and a good handshake. Indeed, 72% of people say that a handshake impacts how they initially feel about someone.
There’s one more thing you need before you start networking …
The big guns spend a lot of money on branding, but you can totally do this on a shoestring budget.
Without a brand, it’s impossible to stand out. Whatever your budget is, you need to apportion some of it towards your branding.
For example, you can use Shopify’s logo tool maker to create a professional looking logo in a matter of minutes. There’s no need to hire an expensive graphic designer who charges so much by the hour that you’re out of resources within 27 minutes.
Moreover, it costs nothing to work out your values, persona, voice, and purpose - all of which impact your branding, from your content to your colors, to the images you use.
Branding is how we recognize companies and side with them. As long as you blog, create content and display your logos and colors and remain consistent with your values, persona, voice, and purpose, you can build the right connections without spending a fortune.
The Zoological Wildlife Foundation know this. Once they’d found their voice - which cost zero - they boosted their online presence by a whopping 343%.
It’s really important that you create an email list because all your customers have an email address. It costs nothing to create a list and nothing to email your customers on a regular basis.
The great thing is that, once your customers are on your list, they’re all in one place. There’s no need to be constantly finding new ways to acquire new customers.
All you need to do is add each customer to your list when they make a purchase from you. Alternatively, you could offer them a lead magnet - such as a free eBook - in exchange for their address.
Once they’re on your list, you can then work out a marketing campaign that keeps them engaged.
Segment your list too, so that you target the right people with the right content. This will improve clicks and conversions, and it will help to minimize unsubscribers.
“Stan” is the latest buzzword to hit the world of marketing. Stan refers to a super-fan. These are obsessive fans who, perhaps without realizing it, do a ton of marketing for a pop star by sharing their work like crazy all over social media.
While you won’t want to have a load of obsessive’s on your hands, you can still leverage your loyal customers and turn them into your own little marketing team of sorts.
How? By offering so much value and goodwill that they voluntarily spread the word.
Guest blogging doesn’t cost you money (unless you hire a writer), but it will cost you time.
However, it’s an effective shoestring marketing tactic that helps to grow your brand.
In a nutshell, guest blogging is when you reach out to a high traffic blog in your niche with a pitch. If they accept, you write the blog post and publish it on their site with a link back to your blog.
This link can help to boost your position on Google, and it also drives more traffic to your site.
Moreover, by blogging on a high traffic website, you’re positioning yourself as an expert.
Lastly, collaborate with related (but not competitive brands) in your niche and cross promote.
This is a super handy, low-cost way to market your business to another audience.
There are many ways to cross-promote and many channels, from social media to coupons. Just find someone in your niche, build a relationship with them and partner up.
However, in order to increase your chances of being able to cross-promote online, you will need a website. I suggest using a WordPress website builder - one that requires no coding and still builds high-end designs.
As you can see, marketing your business on a shoestring budget is doable. It requires hard work from you, but once you’re up and running the results will be there for all to see.