Starting a small business is no small task. From getting your head around taxes to running a website, you may be a little overwhelmed by how much you have to learn in the first stages of being a new business owner. Commonly this is referred to as ‘wearing many hats’, but it’s more like juggling sharp knives while, at the same time, about fifty hats are piled atop your head all at once.
To say the least; it’s difficult.
Which is why, then, marketing your small business can quickly fall to the wayside. Especially if this particular business necessity is outside the remit of your regular skills. For example, you may be a really good baker, but to find true business success for your bakery you need to incorporate marketing. Otherwise, it would be like putting a cake in the oven to cook, but you’ve left out the rising ingredients. Meaning you are left with a very flat and sad cake at the end.
Don’t let your business become a sad, flat, cake.
So, without further adieu, here are some of the best ways for you to market your small business, whilst on a tight (read: non-existent) budget.
Build an Email List
Email marketing is one of the biggest methods of modern digital marketing. Yet, many small businesses fail to truly utilise this source and therefore miss out on a big area of potential business.
An email list is the best way for you to control and touch base with your customers on a regular basis (though not too regularly, as this tends to annoy people).
Network and Build Relationships
Networking and the relationships you can build are some of the most important ties you can make for your small business. After all, your business relationships can actually be an extremely powerful tool when it comes to growing as a business.
You don’t have to attend “networking events” in order to be able to network successfully. Instead, you can attend local meetups and talks for the same effect. It’s a lot less pressured and less likely to attract high-powered ‘business execs’ who may be intimidating to meet as a small business.
The relationships that you build early in your business can have a big impact on your early success. It can also be very useful later down the line, as having such strong ties can benefit your business at any stage.
Ask Customers/Clients for Referral
Once you have built a good relationship with your customers you then need to leverage this good will.
Asking for referrals might seem ‘cheeky’ if you’re not yet confident in yourself as a business owner. But, it is one of the most guaranteed ways to draw in business for free when you’re first starting out. Do a good job, invest in the clients or customers like Roger Hannah that you first attract and your base will quickly grow thanks to this goodwill.
Blog About It!
If your business has a website then it should also have a blog. With a blog, you can offer your customers a level of free advice and expertise. Which they will then either use or it can help to prompt them to seek out your product or service, as you have successfully showcased your superior expertise on the subject.
Writing a blog can also be a great way to demonstrate your expertise, both as a business overall and then yourself as well. Remember, in a small business the way you represent yourself is almost as important as anything else you do. So, always attempt to put your best foot forward in everything that you do.
Offer a Discount to be Competitive
10% for new customers might not seem like a lot. But, it can just the kind of hook your business needs in order to draw initial interest.
You can also offer a free giveaway or a competition, as this can be a great way to draw attention to your brand. Anything like this is guaranteed to create an interesting buzz around your business, which can help you to grow rapidly.
Do More Locally
As a small business, your biggest market will be the locality surrounding your base of operations – whether that be your home or whatever rented commercial space you may have. Which means that in order to be truly successful you will need to tap into this more local audience.
Growing a strong local following and audience can be invaluable as a small business. So, don’t be afraid to focus on the area surrounding you at first! It’s always possible to branch out later once you have achieved that initial local success.
Whether you’re just starting out or want to grow a small business, marketing your small business on a budget of ‘free’ can be quite difficult. But, if you understand what you are doing and work towards it incrementally, then you will eventually succeed. Especially if you have the slow and steady growth of your business in mind as you do so.