Promote More and Spend Less

When you start looking at promoting your business, it can be a little bit scary.  You want to reach as many people as possible and drive your revenue but you’re on a limited budget and you don’t want to break the bank, wreck your cash flow and fail before you’ve even started.

Thankfully for sole traders and small businesses there are loads of good ways that you can promote your business on a shoe string.  With the recession leading us to be more innovative, there are loads of techniques that have emerged.

2014 looks like a better year.  Ernst and Young have projected 2%+ growth in the UK economy so now is the time to start looking at your marketting, your key performance indicators and how you can get more out of your website and your business in general.

Let’s take a look at some of the top marketing tips for when you are on a budget.

Tip No. 1 – Use Press Releases

Press releases are one of the least used ways to promote your business but this channel can be the most powerful of all.  If you get your content into newspapers, onto authority websites, into magazines, and on the radio, your products will get massive exposure and you’ll end up with a successful business sooner than you could have thought. 

People in the media are always on the lookout for interesting topics and ideas and if you tell the right story then you may well get picked up, and it may get a decent amount of exposure.  It takes time and perhaps some outsourcing expense to do a decent press release and carve out your story, but it’s well worth it.

Use Facebook

Facebook is an easy way to promote your business.  You can promote to your networks and get a viral effect going when others like your products.  Get your products up on Facebook and let your customers know how they can purchase the items. 

If you run a service then you can connect with other people on Facebook who run similar services, and that have synergy with you, make friends and tap into an ever increasing audience.

Utilize Twitter

Twitter is a great way to tell people where your business is located and about special offers and discounts that you have running at any particular time.  By tweeting out special offers, you can tap into not only your current following base but also develop new followers who will tweet out to their followers.  It can become viral, especially if you are a well-known company in your area.

Establish a Website

It goes without saying that you should be establishing a website in this day and age.  By providing an online portfolio of your products and services, you’ll be able to reach more people locally, nationally, and internationally where appropriate. 

Businesses without a decent website and without an email that is branded to the business are taken less seriously these days.  One of the first things we all do when we start looking at the possibility of using a business is jump online and try and find their website. 

In addition, social media channels and email marketing, as well as flyers and other marketing routes are often pointed at a website, as they are in themselves not a place where you can actually physically purchase an item.  With a website, you can sell items, take appointments, and generate leads and business revenue.

Begin Blogging

Blogging is not always seen as a productive way to generate business.  However, if you are targeting certain keywords and you are engaging with more people, you’re a lot more likely to generate revenue and build your brand. 

In addition, people that come on to your website and read quality information will be more likely to buy because they’ll see you as an expert and authority in your field.  It is an investment that doesn’t have a direct return in some cases, but it is an investment that is well worth your time; and in fact doesn’t cost you much at all.

Email Marketing

Emails are becoming increasingly important in business.  We went through a phase where emails were seen as a poor quality advertising medium.  However, it seems they are coming back. 

With more and more of us having email on our smartphones, the messages are becoming more concise but are also having more impact.  Consumers are sifting through their emails faster and are able to be more discerning in their purchases.  A quality email marketing campaign, targeted at specific demographics, can really do a job, especially if you have used a quality subscription process to get the emails in the first place. 

Use Referrals

Word of mouth advertising is the best form of advertising in the world.  If you can turn your existing customers and clients into referrers then you will be able to generate more business and you’ll end up being a success. 

There’s nothing cheaper than asking people to tell their friends about you.  If you provide a quality service then they’ll be happy to do so.  And if they do so through their social media networks, then quickly you’ll get increase sales revenue and opportunities through new followers of your brand.

Ring-Fence Your Customers

It’s possible to ring-fence your customers by offering discounts and membership options for those that are loyal to you.  Every business, from the fish and chip shop offering one free  meal for every ten bought to online search engine marketing companies that offer several months free service after a certain number are paid can benefit from the loyalty that is engendered through these membership-focused discounts. 

The biggest retailers in the world understand that clubs and member incentives work; and so should you.

Produce Content for Trade Magazines and Authority Websites

By guest writing for trade magazines and authority websites you’ll get in front of a wider market than you could just through your own website.  This is a great way to get something for practically nothing. 

All you have to do is come up with some really good content that will be valuable to the people that you are offering it to, and useful to the audience of their publications.  If you can get a regular gig in a trade magazine, you’ll quickly become an authority, will gain trust in the sector and will have a ready stream of links from quality publications into your website.  You’d also gain more followers and promotion will become relatively easy.

The hard part is getting a yes from the organisations and you really must take a very quality focused approach.

Try to Become Recognised in Your Industry

When I say try and become recognised I mean essentially try and win something.  If you get the best new comer in a certain category on a top website, or you are recognised by a local magazine for contributions to your sector, you’ll get massive exposure and if harnessed properly, you can turn it into a marketing dream.

Look for Synergetic Partnerships

There are lots of ways that you can synergize with other companies to generate leads.   A great example is when mortgage brokers partner with estate agents in order to both benefit from the customer interaction.  The estate agent will gain revenue from the mortgage, as well as some more control in the process of how the mortgage proceeds, and the mortgage broker will gain access to clients at a point of readiness to get their mortgage.

So there you have it a look at some cheap ways to promote your business.  Just because they’re cheap, or free, doesn’t mean they’re any less valuable than expensive strategies… so make sure you understand how these can be powerful in your business.

Whether you’re selling mobile broadband deals or whether you are generating leads for an independent financial adviser and being paid as an affiliate, it’s crucial that you make the most out of every marketing opportunity available to you.

Marketing Tips