Small Budget Marketing for Small Business Owners
Working within the confines of a small budget while chasing after big dreams for your business can be frustrating at times. Making the right moves to navigate your industry depends on your unique business plan and stages of development.
First, start with the basics. Figure out who your audience is through research and product dynamics. What kind of buyer are you trying to target? Then, you’ll want to establish your brand identity, a logo that represents that, and the overall theme you want to portray to your audience via your website and print documents (brochures, flyers, business cards, etc.).
If you’ve identified some of your target audience as local communities, then begin your marketing efforts there. Hand out the flyers and brochures and include your website information on all materials. Take ads out in the newspaper and clippers magazines with a brief synopsis of why they need to find out more online. Offer free workshops or coupons. Have your company be seen at festivals and farmers’ markets. Get people to sign up for emails and have them follow your social networks. Engage your community, and get them excited about what you’re trying to accomplish.
If you find your business is catering to a wider audience, start asking yourself: what complementing sites would your audience visit, what associations are they involved in, what activities do they do, what do they like to read? You should link your site to the websites that answer these questions. You do not have to be a paid advertiser; you can contact the writers of the website and ask to be a contributor to their site and then include your site’s information for the readers. Create partnerships and trades; offer other sites space to contribute to your site and bring it full circle.
You can also create a blog that interlinks with your main website. Create free press releases to add dynamics to your blog; include what’s going on in your company and industry. For example, you can use sites like prlog.com and 1888pressrelease.com to create and post free press releases. Find trade magazines and journals that are relevant to your audience, then submit your news to be published. Register your site with every type of social network, forum, directory, or community that you can think of to get your site noticed on the Internet, opening paths to talk to your audience. This will help you improve your ranking organically in search results and also build your fan base. You can use tools like Google Analytics to help you determine how well your marketing efforts are doing with your website and blog.
If you have a little more budget to work with, you can start a paid search campaign, also called “pay-per-click” campaign. Using various search engines like Google, Bing, Facebook , and even LinkedIn to promote your website can prove to be very profitable. By this point, you’ve established an audience and know whom you’re trying to reach. Next, you’ll want to research keywords to get those end users to click your ad and get to your site. You can use keyword research tools that advertising interfaces will usually provide, like Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Set your budget to as much or as little as you can afford. The smaller the budget, the more in-depth your keyword research will need to be. The more unique your keywords are, the cheaper they cost. You can learn more about PPC here.
- Establish your brand image.
- Research and know your audience.
- Get involved with the local community; most cities have local community social sites.
- Build a fan base using social networking: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Be creative by creating a competition or a game that is relevant that will attract qualified visitors.
- Develop partnerships, conduct trades, and join associations. Some associations could cost around $100 for a one-year membership.
- Start building an email list to send valuable information to your clients. This can cost around $15 a month.
- Create a blog and connect it to your site.
- Make a list of directories, media, and forums to connect with and list your company (ThomasNet, GlobalSpec, Alibaba, etc.).
- Research intricate keywords and create paid search campaigns.
- Track your efforts. Use Google Analytics to measure your goals. Place a poll on your site or a survey in your email campaign. Understanding your audience and how to improve your efforts is key in creating campaigns they will enjoy!
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