For small business owners, dedicating time and money to marketing efforts can feeling challenging. Beyond being strapped for time, knowing how to market your business is not necessarily an area of expertise for all entrepreneurs. However, there is good news! Regardless of your marketing prowess, any small business owner can successfully promote their businesses on their own and with little fiscal investment.
There are a plethora of free or budget-friendly ways to promote your business; you just need to know where to look. Review our top four promotional options and see which marketing mix works best for your small business.
Have a Website
First and foremost, a professional website is a powerful tool for small businesses as it promotes a business without spending much marketing budget. A well-designed website shows visitors that a business is legitimate, and understands that a branded online presence is important for establishing equity and trust. A small business website is a simple way to market your business and garner the attention and traction your business deserves.
Don’t believe in the power of a website? Vistaprint Digital’s recent Digital Impact Report found that,
“36% respondents report finding new businesses through online research.”
With more than one-third of customers using online resources to inform and validate their buying choices, designing a professional website should be the first item in a small business’s marketing plan. Vistaprint Digital’s website builder is intuitive, easy-to-use, and cost-effective. It was designed specifically for small businesses. If website design is beyond your area of interest or bandwidth, you can enlist design services, and work directly with a design professional to create a small business website that perfectly represents your brand for less than you think ($35 per month with no upfront fees).
Send Weekly Emails to Distribution List
Some claim that email is dead, but email marketing continues to generate impressive brand awareness and sales year after year. With this in mind, a fun and light touch way to market your business is through weekly emails. Design a template to establish recognition and familiarity with your email distribution list, and provide helpful tips, interesting articles or exclusive “insider news” about your business.
Use weekly emails to keep your business top of mind, without bombarding your customers with sales emails. Including a call to action, though, is important. Encourage readers to “click to read more” or download a free guide, instead of creating urgency to buy. Consistently sending weekly emails that are all about your audience reinforces that you understand their needs and wants. These types of emails aid brand loyalty and create a connection to your customers. Weekly emails require very little cost, and once the template is designed, takes only a few minutes of your time. It’s a no-brainer if you are looking to promote your business on a tight budget.
Write Positive Reviews for Other Businesses (Local or Otherwise)
Whether your business has an actual storefront or is based online, you likely have relationships with other small businesses. Tap into your small business network, and write reviews for those businesses. If you dealt with them professionally, post a review on Yelp or directly on their website. An authentic endorsement goes a long way with prospective clients and builds on your existing relationship with those businesses.
Taking time to write an honest assessment of a business also broadcasts your brand to a host of new potential clients. Also, make sure to include your name and link to your website at the end of your reviews. This way, anyone visiting the website will see your review and can click directly over to your business site (just don’t be spammy about it – include your details only after a detailed and thoughtful review).
Posting positive reviews is mutually beneficial to the business you’re supporting as well as casting a larger net for your target audience. It can also lead to those owners doing the same for your business! The best part is that it takes no financial investment to participate in this kind of marketing. Consider which local businesses make sense to help and get writing!
Index Your Business with Local Directories
Once you have a business website, your next marketing priority is to get listed in local directories. Getting found online is critical to a small business’s success. Having your business registered in local directories means that your business site will show up in pertinent online queries.
Indexing your business is an easy tactic for marketing your small business. You can manually catalog your business with dozens of directories, or you can use services like Local Listings, which do the grunt work for you and submit your business all at once. These kinds of services are low cost, and the time saved by outsourcing more than makes up for the fee.
Marketing your small business does not need to take a lot of time or money. By utilizing the available resources and thinking outside the box, you can successfully promote your business without breaking the bank or working 24 hours a day. Try implementing these four tips and watch how your marketing goals quickly come within reach.