6 Affordable Marketing Methods for Your Local Business
When a business is pinching pennies, the marketing budget is often the first thing to go. For many business owners, it’s more important to continue paying employees and to pay utilities than it is to try to attract new customers.
However, eliminating your marketing altogether is a mistake that can cost you in the long run – and there’s no need to do it.
Here are six ways that you can continue to market even if your budget is tiny.
#1: Make Cold Calls
There’s no way to attract new customers or clients without having a “first touch” that introduces them to your brand and lets them know what you can do for them. That’s where cold calling comes in.
Some companies offer cold calling services but you can also do it in house if you want to stretch your budget. For the best results, do as much preliminary screening as you can and prepare a cold calling script for callers to use. It’s also a good idea to think about what time of day people will be most receptive to hearing from you.
#2: Start (or Optimize) Your Referral Program
Referral marketing is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to get new clients for your business. A referral can come from an existing customer or from another referral source such as a professional colleague or local business owner.
You can also incentivize people to refer others to your business by offering rewards, points and commissions. These are great ways to get people to refer friends and family members.
#3: Get Involved Locally
One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has done is to remind people of the importance of supporting local businesses in their communities. You can gain some good will and increase brand awareness by participating in community events.
Even if you don’t usually attend in-person events, you can still get involved in them through your local charity or organization. If events are planned, you can also offer advice and support.
#4: Create Useful Content
One of the best things about content marketing is that it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. You can write blog posts, create graphics, and even film videos without going over your budget.
The key to not spending a lot is to focus first on how your content will serve your target audience. A video that demonstrates various ways to use your product will be immediately useful and people who view it won’t need to connect any dots to understand how it has helped them.
Keep in mind that the content you create can be shared on your website, with your email list, and on social media. Cross-posting is free and it’s always useful because the people who follow you on Twitter may not follow you on Facebook – or vice versa.
#5: Take Advantage of Free Social Media Features
There are plenty of ways to get started with social media marketing without spending a lot of money.
Creating a poll and running a social media contest are both free options. Creating a poll and a contest are both effective ways to get people talking about your content without paying.
If you decide to go the contest route, make sure to incorporate Likes and shares into your contest rules. One common tactic is to give your followers one entry for Liking your post, one for commenting, and a third for sharing. You could even give additional entries for people who share your contest on multiple platforms. Track everything meticulously and articulate the rules to eliminate misunderstandings.
#6: Partner with Other Businesses
With a lot of small businesses struggling, it is essential for business owners to help each other out whenever possible. Cross-marketing is an effective way to help each other out during tough times. This strategy works by creating a campaign that benefits both of you.
For example, if you own an insurance agency, you could do a cross promotion with a local real estate agent or car dealership. If you own a furniture store, you could partner up with a store that sells gardening supplies and market your products to new homeowners.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a marketing partner is that they will appeal to your customers. There might be a good chance that the customer who bought a product or service from your cooperative marketing might also want to do business with you…or vice versa.