If you want your business to grow, then you’re going to have to set aside both time and money to marketing. You should also become a member of business organizations like Business Networking International, the Young Entrepreneur's Council, the Entrepreneur’s Organization, or SCORE. Teaming up with a business related to your industry is a great way for you to introduce your business to a whole new audience. Believe it or not, cold calling or emailing are still effective ways to obtain new business -- it also doesn’t cost you anything but time. After all, if you want someone’s business, then you’re going to have to go after it. The idea is to create an opportunity for you to make your pitch. In fact, industry conferences, volunteer organizations, local business group, community colleges and libraries are usually in need of speakers. Make it personal. This is a simple and cost-effective way to market your business. Asking your customers to share images of how they use your products or service.
Effective marketing begins with a good elevator pitch delivered to anybody interested in listening.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
If you want your business to grow, then you’re going to have to set aside both time and money to marketing. That’s not an issue when you’re an enterprise level business that has the resources to spend on marketing.
These types of businesses may even have an entire marketing department or spend millions on a third party to launch a campaign, but what if you have a tight budget and limited time to devote to marketing your startup? Does that mean you just need to wait until you have more money flowing into your business? Of course not!
Instead, market your business without breaking the bank by these 30 low budget marketing ideas.
1. Perfect your pitch.
Whether you’re at a family BBQ, a friend’s wedding, traveling or watching you kid’s soccer game, you need to always be marketing your business. The most effective way to do this is by having a compelling elevator pitch.
That’s no easy considering that most people have a short attention span.
“You have 90 seconds, if you’re lucky,” says Robert Herjavec, serial entrepreneur and Shark Tank investor. “If you can’t make your point persuasively in that time, you’ve lost the chance for impact. Facts and figures are important, but it’s not the only criteria — you must present in a manner that generates expertise and confidence.”
So, how can you perfect your elevator pitch? Start by:
- Knowing what motivates your audience.
- Incorporating social proof.
- Telling a story that shows your expertise and how you’re qualified to solve your audience’s problem.
- Anticipating key questions from your audience, such as “What’s your competitive advantage?”
2. Get involved with your community.
Often times when you think of marketing you think of a large scale national campaign. But sometimes you should think smaller and see what’s going on your community.
Can you sponsor a 5K charity walk or little league league? Is there a charity or non-profit where you could volunteer? Could you organize a block party with other local businesses? Can you print out bookmarks and leave them at your local library?
3. Ask for referrals.
As I wrote in an earlier Entrepreneur article, “referrals are the most effective, and cost-effective, way to generate new business.” The problem is that we often feel awkward when asking for referrals. Even worse, you don’t want your request to come off as a bit desperate.
Thankfully, there plenty of ways to ask for a referral without having to feel awkward or desperate. Here’s just a couple of ideas to get you started:
- Just be direct and just ask for referrals through an email, online, in-person or at the bottom of your invoices.
- Focus on asking your best client or customers, instead of all of them.
- Offer incentives “like a gift card, percentage off of future work, a small gift or charitable donation in their name. ”
- Make it easy for them to refer others, like an email script or recommend function on your site.
- Give referrals.
- Ask your customers to like your Facebook page.
- Join a referral or professional networking group.
4. Join face-to-face networking groups.
Networking is key. After all, it’s one of the fastest, easiest and most effective ways to build meaningful relationships that can help grow your business. If you haven’t already, then you need to join face-to-face networking groups in your community like your local Chamber of Commerce.
You can also use apps like Meetup to find upcoming networking events in your area.
You should also become a member of business organizations like Business Networking International, the Young Entrepreneur’s Council, the Entrepreneur’s Organization, or SCORE. Also search for industry specific organizations that you can join.There are hundreds but the ones above are the best I’ve personally been apart of.
5. Participate in local business mixers/trade fairs.
Local organizations like the Chamber of Commerce frequently hold local business mixers, as do most coworking spaces. Now that you’ve perfected your pitch, go ahead and add these events to your calendar.
Also don’t rule out attending any industry trade shows. The Balance put together some helpful tips for creating an effective trade show display.
6. Apply for business awards.
It’s common for industries and organizations to have business awards, such as “Best Restaurant of 2018” or “Best Customer Service.” This not only generates some free buzz for your business, if you win, you can place a badge on your site or storefront to boost your credibility.
7. Target influencers.
“People buy what they know and from people they trust. This is why influencer marketing is becoming one of the most popular marketing strategies in the modern world,” writes entrepreneur Renzo Costarella. “With so many digital channels at our disposal influencers can easily promote products and services to millions of followers with the click of a button.”
Renzo suggests that when looking for influencers “you need to focus on quality over quantity. Look for high engagement over a large following. In addition you should make sure you pick an influencer specific to your industry.”
When you’ve identified “your influencer you should offer them free products or services in exchange for a product review. This is a very popular strategy used with YouTube influencers.”
8. Collaborate with other businesses.
Teaming up with a business related to your industry is a great way for you to introduce your business to a whole new audience. You can do this by collaborating online with a webinar or offline through a exclusive event.
If partnering with a local business, you could simply place business cards, flyers or brochures at their physical location.
9. Go cold calling/emailing.
Believe it or not, cold calling or emailing are still effective ways to obtain new business — it also doesn’t cost you anything but time. After all, if you…